I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be comfortable with a beautiful woman who becomes even more beautiful the more you are with her. As we sat sharing sweet and sour pork, egg rolls, noodles and Zinfandel wine, Mary just eased herself right into my soul. That waitress I had known across the counter, that waitress who looked so good in her pink and gray uniform, was becoming a real-life, soft and gentle woman dressed in a sky blue floral print dress. And that real-life, soft and gentle woman was sitting next to me, telling stories about her life and listening patiently to who the man who played the part of Lieutenant MacKenzie really was.
Mary worked her same magical charm on old Boo. And occasionally she would let bit of pork fall to the floor. In a few seconds, a solitary paw would reach out from beneath the skirt of the couch sweeping that pork into Boo's hiding place. Inch by inch, Mary would toss the tidbit a little further out, until Boo had no choice but to make himself known. From there it was only a small step up onto the couch itself, and then an even smaller step to squeeze underneath Mary's arm.
On another night, when I myself was feeling, I might have voiced aloud my tease, "Boo, you're pitiful, just pitiful." Yet, I wouldn't have all that surprised that Boo might have been thinking the same of me.
Mary demanded that I do the dishes since she had done the cooking. Then she started rummaging through the kitchen cabinets. "Mac, well do you keep the good stuff."
"The good stuff? Oh, the good stuff. All I've got is a case of Southern Comfort in that box beside the refrigerator.
"MacKenzie, you buy your whiskey by the case?"
"Sad, isn't it. A guy I know gets me a wholesale price if I buy it by the case."
"And how often is that?"
"Mary, I pleased the fifth on the that."
She caught the joke, but I could tell that she were checking on what proof this potential boyfriend had in his system. She was not going to marry a drunk. She'd been down that road before and she was not going to travel it again.
She poured the whiskey, on the rocks straight up. "My God, what a woman! Sweet and sour pork and takes her whiskey straight up."
Off came the shoes and we lounged our way through half a bottle. Then came the kiss. And then came the stroll to the recently made bed upon which were the first clean sheets to grace it in two weeks. "Bless your heart, Miss Templeton."
We woke up in the morning to the purring of Boo at our feet and sunshine coming in through the windows. It had been a long, long time and I can tell you, it had been far, far too long.
Mary snuck off to Shirley's house while Boo and I slept in for about an hour or so.