Vicki Marie’s Sexy Summer Reading Series: One Chapter A Day
THE BACHELOR CHAPTERS: A THINKING WOMAN’S ROMANCE
“We have a job to do.” It was Wednesday morning with Cisco, the last week in June.
“Speak to me, my queen.” He took a bow, drafted for the challenge.
“It’s almost July, and as you know, The Roundup is the last weekend in August.”
“The Annual Forever Forty-Four Birthday Bash and Western Roundup? I think we should make it a national holiday.”
“I love you, Cisco, but first, two things: number one—I’m going to wear chaps.”
“Assless?” The young man was so on it.
“You know it, baby—so we have seven short weeks to make sure we can bounce a dime off each cheek.”
“You got it—I can do this.”
“This is serious. Now—second thing—I think I’m going for a big change this year.” I swept my arms above my head, framing the words on a marquee. “The Annual Forever Forty-Four— FINALLY FIFTY—Birthday Bash and Western Roundup!”
“No way!” He was stunned. The man was a believer in my brand. “What about Forever Forty-Four?”
“Here’s what I’m thinking, baby. Back in the day, I started Forever Forty-Four to make a point about women and aging— about me aging. Women lie about age because of the BS that our value decreases. I chose forty-four because it was already over-the-hill,” I copped a cover girl pose with one hand behind my head, “when clearly I wasn’t.”
“Body by Cisco!” His arm lifted his index finger into the air with pride.
“I think I need to own fifty for the same reason I owned forty-four. I’m not going to lie; fifty sounds fucking scary, Cisco, you have no idea.” He was barely twenty-six. He could have been my son.
“But the truth is—I’m in the best shape of my life. Plus, I’m crazy successful in my work, I’ve got a schedule to die for, and, my sex-life is a how-to on having fun! I’m dating four men—or maybe five—who knows? I lose track! Look at me, Cisco, look at everything I have going—fifty rocks!”
The truth was suddenly more significant than my brand. I was pumping myself up. I could do this. I had to. “Fifty isn’t fifty! Fifty is the new thirty! Tell me I’m right!”
“I like it, and you’re right. Now let’s get on it. Station One: forty lunges with dumbbells. We got work to do.”
Fifty is scary because this culture got it wrong. Opportunity, adventure, and future did not expire at forty or fifty, or even sixty. Plus, that little glory list ignores the crown jewel of post-youth, the incomparable sparkle of wisdom. Wisdom is only available with age, and those of us who’ve aged, and paid attention, can’t help but reek of wisdom. Some acquire more than others and some faster than others. But it is optional; no one forces wisdom on us, and the unwise are everywhere. But not me, not now: I had arrived at this milestone with wisdom.
What did I know about my life on the south side of fifty? It was mine. I’d been self-cast as the leading lady in my lifelong script, and I’d crafted a role where I played my kind of heroine, hardwired for my style of adventure. I was born poor, and female, but still fortunate beyond measure, born in a nation with a blueprint for equality at a moment when it was uniquely possible.
As a kid, I joined millions to protest the war in Vietnam, became radical as a young feminist, came out as a lesbian, and nudged that cart along the road to civil rights. I had been married to a kind man who had held my heart, and I’d had a good run in a mature partnership. I had known deep love, more than once, and spent my fair share of time with her evil twin, heartache.
Art was my lifelong career, and it taught me how to make something from nothing. Business was my income career, and it taught me how to hear No, and not stop on my way to the next Yes; it taught me how to read people and listen closely so I could create plans and foster success.
I produced events to promote my art and donated the proceeds where it was needed. I had been given so much, and had learned the richness of giving back. With a community of caring people, I raised money and awareness for kids at risk, homeless women and families, and the health of the planet. I had joined millions of citizens to elect our country’s first black president on a platform of hope, and I had my ticket to Chicago for the historic election night results.
I hosted dinner parties for my expanding community of diverse Americans and outstanding immigrants. I sheltered friends in transition. I cared for a grandmother stricken with Alzheimer’s. I weathered an estrangement with an alcohol-dependent father, and then ached as I watched him wither and die. I buried friends during the AIDS crisis, and sat bedside with the friends who had pulled the cancer card. I celebrated a lot. There was so much, and there were so many to honor.
The view over my shoulder was nothing short of awesome. I was put on the planet to have a good time, to share my good fortune, and leave my mark. I knew what could be done in fifty years, and I was ready to own every minute of it. Looking ahead, I was not short on dreams, I was not short on fun, and I had the wisdom to know that would never end. Hell yes! Bring on the big five-o—and the leather chaps. It was time to show my fifty-year-old ass the bright light of day.
TOMORROW: Chapter 69
Copyright Vicki Marie Stolsen, 2014, Forever Forty-Four Publications, Publicity Rare Bird Lit, Tyson Cornell, Tyson@rarebirdlit.com, Distribution by Ingram, Available online and in bookstores in paperback, eBook, and audio format.