Zoe & Sophia Resume Webcam Dating & Enjoy Sexy Dates at the Parker House in Boston as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being

February 10th, 2010

February 10th 2010

PLEASE send you advice to two single women, whose lives are suddenly crashing in chaos! Zoe and Sophia, BFFs for thirty years, find themselves unexpectedly cast into the world of re-creation and redefinition after decades of being faithful wives to George and Marty. They need advice from anyone willing to offer it. For instance, what advice would you give your BFF if she asked, “HOW DO I LET GO OF THE PAIN AND BEGIN TO HEAL?” Any advice you can give to Sophia would be helpful, but this is what Zoe said.

Zoe was dog tired when she awoke the first morning back from her business trip to L.A. Sparky lay on the floor next to her snoring, so Zoe didn’t move a muscle for fear of waking her stroke-impaired Lab. She knew the minute Sparky was conscious, she’d have to race to get him outside before he jettisoned a yellow stream from his bladder. As Zoe lay there, she thought about the night before.

Her flight was delayed and she didn’t reach her home in New Hampshire until after midnight. By that time she felt edgy and unable to sleep. For several days Zoe hadn’t cruised her on-line dating sites because her lap top was being repaired. But when she arrived home, with her newly fixed old friend, the first thing she did was log on and start sorting through dozens of backed up messages. Men sought Zoe from the mountains, to the prairies, and from sea to shining sea. God bless the internet, she had thought, and then stayed up until three a.m., talking to the select dozen men who made the cut.

Zoe smiled as she recalled some of her conversations, but then something tickled her nose and she sneezed. Sparky leapt from his pad and licked Zoe’s face, truly grateful his mistress was home. Zoe hopped up, threw open her bedroom door, and started to run through the kitchen to let Sparky out. It was still dark, so she didn’t see Sophia in the middle of the kitchen floor, seeking the open space, sitting in the correct meditation posture recommended by her Buddhist writer idol, Pema Chodron (legs crossed and hands on thighs). Zoe and Sparky both tripped and went flying over Sophia, landing several feet away. Zoe crawled to the porch door and opened it. Sparky ran out, but the damage was done. A yellow stream of urine lay in his wake.

“Fuck sake, Sophie. You scared me. What are you doing here at this hour?”
Sophia didn’t answer. She just kept breathing in and breathing out, dismissing thoughts from her mind that intruded on her peace.
“Sophie, get the fuck up and go take a shower. You’re a mess.” Just then the egg timer next to Sophia blinged, and Sophia looked up at her friend.
“Jeeze, Zo, you’re really clumsy—you just about killed me.” Then Sophia’s face brightened into a wide smile. “Ohhh, but I missed you so much.” Sophia jumped up to give Zoe a hug, and Zoe stepped quickly out of her way. Sophia wrapped her arms around her beloved open space and stumbled, falling face first, until she grabbed the countertop with her hands to break the fall. As she righted herself, she threw Zoe a smug look and dove at her again, determined to get that much needed hug.
“DON’T TOUCH ME, WOMAN!”
“Why, Zo?” cried Sophia.
“You’re covered in dog piss. Go take a shower while I make coffee.”
“Well, at least I’m not a klutz like you,” said Sophia as she stripped off her wet nightgown and walked naked to the bathroom. Zoe shook her head and sighed, wondering if she had as many blind spots about herself as Sophia did.

When Sophia returned to the kitchen after her shower, she found Zoe hard at work, cruising the dating sites.
“I guess you’ve lost that peaceful feeling, Zo. What happened to your resolve to slow down with the online dating?”
“I don’t know. After a week’s absence, the pile-up of men waiting to “talk” fell like an avalanche from my inbox. Something about being home, I guess. That edginess just invaded me.”
“You mean the loneliness?”
“I guess. How are you doing, Sophie?”
“About the same. Hey, I have the sex toys you asked me to order. They’re at my house.”
“Did you try yours yet?”
“Course not. They just looked too complicated. Anyway, I have no sex drive these days. When I think about sex, I think about Marty, that cheating bastard. Then I just start to cry, and it wrecks my whole day.”

Marty was Sophia’s husband who was half-living with his girlfriend, Fugly, as Sophia called her. Fugly was married to a famous musician, who was the son of a truly famous guy, Famous Father. Famous Father offered to put up money to finance a business deal for Marty and his daughter-in-law, Fugly. But then Marty and Fugly had an affair, and when Famous Father found out about the affair, he pulled the money. But the affair kept going, and Fugly moved out, without her three young kids. Marty wasn’t allowed to stay at Fugly’s the nights she had visitation with her kids. So, he rented a place near Fugly’s, but refused to tell Sophia where that place was. It was an odd situation, after being married to Marty for decades, and one that tore Sophia to shreds.

To avert the inevitable sobs that would follow when Marty was mentioned, Zoe switched topics.
“I need to visit my mother in Boston today. You wanna come?”
“Sure.”
“First, let me see if I can line up a couple of dates for us down there. I’d like to have appies and drinks at the Parker House.”
“Zoe, could you please try to find someone good for me this time.”
“I’m not sure that’s possible, but I’ll try.”

It wasn’t that Sophia didn’t come across well on her dating site profile. She posted a great picture, and like Zoe, she was a respected professional, until Sophia’s layoff. Sophia still worked as a freelance writer, but she left blank the question about her income on her dating site profile. And recently Sophia added that she was “insane with pain” to her profile description, and frankly, no one voiced an interest in meeting her after that.

After Zoe took a shower, the women stood in their panties and push-up bras, sharing Zoe’s bathroom mirror. They smelled delicious from the moisturizer they applied from head to toe. The women took turns blowing out their blond hair then expertly applied subtle make-up to enhance their pretty eyes.
“Don’t be hurt if Mother doesn’t know you, Sophie.”
“Why wouldn’t she know me?” asked Sophia surprised. Sophia had known and loved Zoe’s mother, Noelle, for thirty years. In fact, when Sophia’s mother died, Noelle treated Sophia as one of her own and became a surrogate grandmother to Sophia’s children, Poppy and Colin, who called her Nana Noelle.
“For starters, she’s eighty-nine, but since she broke her hip, she’s declined rapidly.”
“I’m surprised she’s still able to live at home. Who takes care of her?”

“Women are hired to be there around the clock, but it’s not easy. She “escapes” from time to time to take one of her famous walks, and they have to send out a search party. But she’s amazingly fit for her age. Mother’s also convinced she’s living back in the 1930s and 40s and treats her caretakers high-handedly. That doesn’t include the thirty-year-old guy who mows her lawn. On my last visit, she whispered she had to be very careful not to let the “gardener’s” wife know that her husband was hot to trot. Apparently, in Mother’s mind, she and the “gardener” have been romantically involved for some time.”

“It would be funny if it weren’t sad.”
“I know. It’s tough to watch. But I’m not alone. So many people our age are going through this stuff with ailing parents. Old age sucks.”
“Well, it’s a good reason to live in the present. After all, we are never going to be younger than we are today.”
“Sophie, sometimes you say deep things.”
“Zo, can I borrow a pair of skinny jeans? I like the way my thighs look in them.”
“And then there’s everything else you say.  Never mind.  Help yourself in my bedroom and bring me a pair too please.”

Zoe and Sophia pulled on skinny jeans over their long, lean legs. Next, they slipped cute tops from The Gap over their slender torsos. Then they put on heeled boots and Ibex coats, before wrapping Pashmina scarves around their necks.
Sparky watched them dress with a suspicious eye. He was going to be pissed if that damn Sophia took Zoe off for the day, after he hadn’t seen her for a whole week. Sparky moaned and butted his head against Zoe’s leg.
“Don’t worry, Sparks. You’re going with us today, old boy,” said Zoe bending down to pat him.
“Zoe, do we have to take Sparky? He poops in the back of the Landrover, and it stinks to high heaven.” As Sophia said this, she glanced sideways at Sparky and narrowed her eyes. Sparky threw her a haughty look and sniffed, thinking Sophia could be such a bitch.
“Doggy diapers,” said Zoe. Sparky smiled.
Sophia frowned. “Okay, but I’m not changing ‘em.”

A couple of hours later Zoe and Sophia drove into Nana Noelle’s circular drive way. The large house and expansive grounds still appeared somewhat elegant from the outside, but inside, the place was reduced to a state of shabby gentility. Its occupant was the product of inherited wealth dried up. In earlier days, Zoe’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother lived and flourished in this grand home. But Zoe’s father died young, and Noelle married badly a second time, to a man who frittered away much of the wealth in an alcoholic haze and then died himself, leaving Noelle twice widowed by the age of fifty-four.

During the next thirty-five years, Noelle lived off trusts set up a century before, trusts that had failed to take inflation into account and ones which were managed conservatively by old, stingy trustees. The trustees didn’t give a hoot whether Noelle dined on lead paint chips, so long as the principal in the trusts remained untapped. When she was younger, Noelle was able to supplement her trust income somewhat with the publication of a couple of novels, but the property was a suck hole of taxes and maintenance, which ate up every dime she earned, leaving Noelle land rich but cash poor.

One of Noelle’s caregivers greeted Zoe and Sophia at the door and told them that Noelle was in the kitchen assembling tea. What they found in the kitchen was a shrunken, but sprightly, Noelle dressed in a flowing silk robe and slippers.
“Hello, my darlings,” Noelle said breathlessly when she saw them. “You simply must stay for tea. I told Cook, that for this occasion, I would prepare it myself.” Zoe kissed and hugged her mother and then walked toward the living room to set up her lap top. Thirty seconds was all she could bear before memories of her childhood, a childhood filled with loss and confusion, transformed into choking tears.

“Hello, Nana,” said Sophia, smiling sweetly into the eyes of the dear old woman. “Do you know who I am?”
“NO,” cried Noelle in delight. “I’ve no idea. Who are you?”
“I’m Sophia, Poppy and Colin’s mother.”
“Yes, well it’s enchanting to have you here. You simply must stay for tea. I told Cook, that for this occasion, I would prepare it myself.”
“Thank you, Nana. Tea sounds wonderful.”
“Yes, yes,” sang out Noelle, “You simply must stay for tea. I told Cook, that for this occasion, I would prepare it myself.”

Sophia gently guided Noelle from the kitchen, while “Cook,” the certified nurses’ aid, brought up the rear, carrying a heavy silver tea service in her hands. “Cook” also had been kind enough to build a fire in one of the two splendid fireplaces in the chilly living room. When Noelle saw the flames, she clapped her hands with glee, but afterwards she turned to “Cook” and shooed her from the room, telling her to wait in the “servants quarters” until she was summonsed.

Zoe helped her mother onto the couch in front of the fire. Instead of trying to carry on a cogent discussion, Zoe thought her mother would appreciate a slide show of the recent trip Zoe and Sophia took to Florida. Noelle identified with razor sharp accuracy every single flower and shrub that appeared in the background of the pictures, but she couldn’t give names to the two women in the foreground. With each flower Noelle spotted, she started to tell a story about seeing the flower in her youth, but her stories soon became disordered and ended in jumbled nonsense.

“Now where was this picture taken, dear?” Noelle asked.
“In Naples, Florida, Mum.”
“Ah, yes. Such a lovely place. Your father and I spent a month there once, after we were first married.”
“Yes, it is a beautiful place,” said Zoe. “Were you on vacation or was Daddy working there?”
“Now, where was this picture taken, dearest pet?”
“Naples, Florida,” said Zoe.
“Is this in Florida, lovey? I went there years ago with your father.”
“Yes, Mum. Naples, Florida.”
“Why this must be Florida? How delightful for you, my darling!”

Sophia could see that her friend was near tears, so Sophia asked Noelle to walk with her around the downstairs and tell her about the paintings that hung on the walls. Noelle had no trouble remembering the names of the artists and when and where the paintings were created.

Meanwhile, Zoe clicked out of the slideshow and into an on-line dating site.

Later that afternoon, Zoe and Sophia glided into the upstairs bar of the Parker House, an old Boston hotel bordering the Commons. They weren’t entirely certain the two men, whom Zoe arranged to meet last minute, would even show up. But the visit with Noelle had been so difficult and poignant, that neither woman much cared. They just wanted to hear some soothing music, to drink a glass of wine, and to nibble on some appetizers.

“Well, that was a good time,” said Zoe, her eyes brimming with tears.
“It certainly put things into perspective.”
“What do mean?”
“Our lives could be worse,” said Sophia.
“Yes, but Mother doesn’t even know what her life is about anymore. In a way it’s a blessing her mind is gone.”
“I suppose. It must be so hard for you, Zo.”
“It is. And that house is always difficult for me to go back to. The broken eight-year-old girl mourning her father’s death greets me at the door and follows me everywhere.”
“Maybe that’s why we found each other, Zoe.”
“What do mean?”
“Well, I was only eleven when my two brothers were killed, and it’s as though I’m still eleven inside, all the time.”
“That’s remarkable. I had this discussion in L.A. over dinner. I was talking about why I left George. But then I said I would always love him because he was the only man I’d ever been with who understood and knew how to comfort that suffering little girl inside of me.”
“I can relate to that, Zoe. I loved that about Marty too. He could always reach my most vulnerable place, that eleven-year- old girl in me, who has never stopped missing her brothers, never stopped waiting for them to come back. Marty alone could comfort me in ways no one else ever has. When he left, that hole just opened up, and I’m that grief-stricken girl again, waiting for my brothers and Marty to come home, knowing they never will.”
“Maybe it’s because we share that arrested development that you and I are so alike,” said Zoe.
“Well, I know it makes us both be tender hearted.”

At this point tears fell freely down both women’s cheeks, so they didn’t make the best first impression on the two guys who walked up to the table and introduced themselves as their dates for the evening. Sophia held up one hand to the tall, sandy-haired man dressed in jeans and a sports jacket. But she was so gripped by emotion, that she hid her face by resting her head on the table. Unfortunately, her head actually rested on the plate of hot wings, and when she came up for air, blue cheese dressing and Louisiana hot sauce dripped from the ends of her hair.

Zoe wasn’t much better. In her need to escape immediately to the ladies room to fix her face, she knocked against the table, spilling both glasses of red wine onto the lap of her handsome, African American date, who wore grey wool slacks and a white shirt.

After Zoe and Sophia fled to the ladies room to clean up, the waiter witnessing the whole train wreck rushed over to clean up the two men and took their their orders of double shots of Grey Goose on the rocks with a twist.

Zoe skillfully washed the food out of Sophia’s hair and then re-applied her own make-up, which a day of tears had washed away. Just then Sophia’s phone tinkled a tune alerting her of a text message.
“If that’s from Marty, don’t read it,” said Zoe.

Sophia ignored her and sat on the toilet to read. Then she replied and another text shot through. It was lucky she hadn’t started to put on new mascara, because within a minute Sophia was once again in tears.
“Fuck sake, Sophie. Stop crying. We have dates out there. Your hair is bad enough, but you look like a freak around your eyes. You’re scarier than a Stephen King movie.”
“Fucking Marty. Why did he have to steal my life from me and smash the only sense of well-being I’ve ever known? I fucking hate him.”
“What did Marty say?”
“He and I were supposed to meet in the morning to talk about our financial situation. But he said Fugly was having a hard time over something to do with her kids, the ones she chose to leave, mind you. And he can’t meet me because he has to hang out with her for support and comfort.”
“That’s a hard pill to swallow, Soph. I’m sorry.”
“What about me, Zoe? He hasn’t devoted one minute to comforting me for all the pain he’s caused. How could anybody be so cold? I was married to him for years, gave him everything I had to give as a person, and now, he is just one big black hole when it comes to me.”
“Honey, you just have to accept that he doesn’t care about you anymore. You can’t depend on him for comfort because he doesn’t want to comfort you.”

“ZO, HOW CAN I LET GO OF THE PAIN AND BEGIN TO HEAL?”
Zoe handed Sophia the mascara wand before she spoke. Then she said, “FIRST, YOU CAN REMIND YOURSELF EVERYDAY TO LET GO OF THE PAST AND THE PAIN WILL FADE. THEN YOU CAN FIX YOUR MAKE-UP, WALK OUT TO THE TABLE WITH YOUR CHIN UP, AND TRY NOT ACT TOO WEIRD IN FRONT OF OUR CUTE DATES.”
“Okay, Zo.”

“Hey, do have any gum?”
“No, why?”
“There was a lot of garlic on those hot wings.”
“Who cares?”
“Sophie, when are you gonna learn that garlic breath and good sex don’t pair well?”

“Was that a Buddhist thing, Zo?”
“Sounds like.”

And with the grace of butterflies, the two awakened, fabulous fifty-something friends fluttered out to their table and to the dates who awaited them, off on another adventure as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being.

To be continued…Remember, if you want to read the stories from the beginning, go to the bottom of the Blog and read up.  Keep your great advice coming!

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