The Last B&B
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Rosemary rolled over and stared at the ceiling. Beside her, her wife was snoring lightly, finally asleep. It had been a rough night.
But then, there had been a lot of rough nights lately. But what did Rosemary expect? This was how it was when you suddenly announced to your partner of 13 years that you wanted children.
And now here they were, stuck in a picture-perfect Victorian B&B with a distinct undercurrent of molten anger. Take the neatly typed three-paragraph sign in the bathroom warning guests against excessive use of shower gel and shampoo. “Please bear in mind that the replacement cost and related charge to the guest of an item(s) is typically significantly higher than it would be had the gust simply requested to purchase the item(s).”
Or the sign on the small dark gismo attached to the front of the television set. “This is not a camera,” it said.
No, instead of finding a sweet sanctuary in which they could both finally relax and reconnect,
Rosemary felt like she was trapped in a shadowy fun house where an evil clown might jump out at them at any moment. Twice already she’d overheard the owners, a married couple, arguing.
Silently, she slipped out of bed, put on the provided terry robe, and headed for the hot tub just outside. More than anything, she needed to unkink her neck and her back, and to somehow try to shed the weight of her disintegrating relationship.
Rosemary needed to somehow forgive her wife for her cascades of fury. And herself for needing children in the first place. As Jean was quick to remind her, this wasn’t their deal. But who knew 13 years ago that suddenly she’d wake up at age 40 and hear her biological clock ticking?
Rosemary stopped and surveyed the lengthy sign on the wall by the hot tub. This one was about how to manage the cover. It warned her not to even think of removing the cover without the use of the provided cover lifting bar which she needed to grasp “firmly with her right hand while levering the cover with her left.”
Rosemary sighed. She was not up for this right now. She just wanted to get in the damn tub.
Gingerly she lifted the cover and looked at the steamy, waiting water before her. Then, attempting to grasp the cover bar with her right hand, she realized her left hand was not going to be able to ‘lever’ the cover off as described.
Fuck it, she thought irritably. Reversing her hands, she neatly popped the cover off with the lifting bar and watched it slide into place beside the tub.
Okay, she thought. So far so good.
Removing her robe, Rosemary climbed the two steps up to the tub and lowered herself gratefully into the steaming water. Her whole body screamed approval as she slid beneath the surface, submerging her up to her chin. After a moment, she pulled her head under the surface, going for complete submersion. Hot water enveloped her like a cocoon, and her hair fanned out around her head in a silky halo. She felt herself immediately relax.
Rosemary came up to the surface and sank back against the edge of the tub.
She peered at the small private deck around her. The wall of a neighboring house rose beside the tub, its windows sealed shut and covered by privacy shades. She closed her eyes and felt her body surrender just a little more completely to the water.
What Jean didn’t understand was that this was her final chance. Her eggs were going fast. She had to use them or lose them.
This was it.
As if on cue, a child started to wail from the house next door. Rosemary listened as a little boy’s voice rose in fury. She listened more closely, trying to make out what he was crying about.
There was an exchange of words with an adult, then the child’s furious scream rose up another notch. This was joined now by a second screaming child, this one apparently younger than the first.
Jesus, Rosemary thought with annoyance. Was nothing sacred?
Taking a deep breath, she attempted to focus on the small artificial floral wreath fastened to the back of the privacy gate that set off her deck. She took three long deep breaths, still trying to quiet her mind.
Still the argument next door pressed on. The adult in charge now lost it, and Rosemary listened as the mother’s voice rose up in an angry, ascending spiral of its own.
“…. over here right now,” she heard the mother demand through the wall.
Rosemary stood up, dripping wet, and considered stomping down the stairs, grabbing her provided terry robe and stomping back into their room. One way or another, she was damn well going to relax, even if it killed her.
But then standing there, naked and suddenly cold in the morning breeze, she realized something. And she shook her head. This was exactly what children do and mothers do, and even partners do when we’re surprised, or sad, or disappointed.
Sometimes we get furious. Sometimes we even rant.
Bowing her head and slipping back into the water, Rosemary closed her eyes and listened as a sudden wave of acceptance descended through her body. And as it did, she began to laugh.
She opened her eyes once more. The argument next door would soon dissipate. And she and Jean would, of course, get through this just as they always had.
As if on cue, the fury next door suddenly subsided. A moment later, a child’s happy shriek sounded through the walls, followed by the sound of running feet. Life had apparently moved on.
Good, Rosemary thought to herself. Then gratefully, she slid down into the water a little more deeply.
It really was time to relax.
Wanting more poignant and true lesbian fiction? Try out Driven: An Oaktown Girls Novel.
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