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WOODSTOCK STORY SLAM WINNER

I was lucky enough to participate in the Woodstock Book Festival Story Slam earlier this month and thought i'd send along my flash fiction piece.


The prompt was "I had no idea..."


But before you enjoy, I'd love it if you take a visit to my Amazon page, peruse my titles and download my latest audio book of HOW WE SAW THE MOON. Let me know how you like it!






“I had no idea,” she said. She trailed off, biting the cuticle of her right pointer finger, strangely drawn to the cucumbers at the Farmers Market. “I’ve fallen into lust. And it’s made me such a fool.” she said.

“Lust? “ I said.

“I mean, I moan when I get in and out of the bath tub,” she said. “But, when I pass the full length mirror and my towel does not cover the part of my belly that falls forward like a misplaced fanny pack, I scurry back to bed hiding in hideous sweats .And, despite self conversations about body shaming and chair yoga and even nude selfies that feature only my still flattering shoulders.. well.. I had no idea that bodies like mine could still feel the collision of hormone and hair brained romance. But here I am, dripping with desire!

I am 73 years old.” She says to me. “ My mother lived til 99. And I feel desire more deeply now than when I was fucking gay boys in bars all along 46th street just to be held. I couldn’t get enough of it, of them. How beautiful they were, how they loved me for loving them, how we tumbled with no cares! How they held me.”

Then she turned to me, her eyes hollow. Humiliation leaping out of every pore.

“So, There’s this man I know. Platonic But, I confess to obsession. I knew when it turned-- when I began to feel his belly against my back in dreams- when I would roll against the pillow in the red bed I painted three days after my husband died, like in some bad French movie. This new desire crawls into bed with me every night so I thought to tame the beast.. so why not just a hug? I thought. A hug to tame the beast.

So, I asked for a hug and he grabbed me, like a dancing bear he had to chain carefully so it wouldn’t dance too close. He held my hips locked, one hand on either side, in a steely grip so they didn’t dare move into him. No thrust or melt, only fear and caution. I couldn’t even move away he had me so tightly. Except when I laughed and said, “Well, that’ll do.” Oh my God. I didn’t want a fuck. I wanted a hello one friend to another. I wanted…

He heard my thoughts. As he always does and said quickly, “Well, you know there’s this intertwined thing.. like when…” and he extended his leg as a possible wedge between my thighs. Not to lose the moment. To be a pal.

“Yes,” I laughed, a wicked faux friend, “ when your legs sneak between the others,” I said. “And you forget the belly. The one I have and the one you haven’t.”

And we laughed. And, we looked to each other. So forlorn, and separate. Frozen fools. Grinning grimaces.

I stopped visiting. Even edging towards the phone.

“I had no idea that two bodies in embrace could feel like ice in cracked igloos. I had no idea that embrace could not settle to love in time and light in the quiet beauty of age. How wasteful.” I said to my naked self in the mirror. “I had no idea.”






















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T.L. Wagener
T.L. Wagener
12 jul 2023

LOVE it. You write about age and desire like no one else.

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