Cynthia stared at the blue screen. When John had set up the study for them nearly thirty years ago, it had been green screen technology. No Facebook or Solitaire then, only word processing and spread sheets. Work had stayed at work mostly, but it had been hard to avoid bringing it home at tax time. They’d preferred sitting here together after a nice dinner and working through returns to staying at the office till all hours.
“Try RSVP” her friend Marcie had said. They’d all been telling her, for years really. First, it had been too soon after John’s death, and she’d had the kids and the practice to focus on. Then she was just too frightened to get out there again. The computer screen stared back at her. She’d be fifty next week.
Cynthia had decided to try Ezy-Harmony. Everyone in the TV ads seemed enthusiastic. The questionnaire was a bit problematic though. Name, age, occupation, relationship status—the basics were OK. And while she could have used any photo, she’d decided to upload one that showed a bit of flesh. She’d seen that on a TedX video. The rest though—sexual preferences? They hadn’t been what you’d call adventurous, but she had two children—she obviously knew the fundamentals.
Pornography? Cynthia chewed her lip. She’d gotten a third of the way through 50 Shades of Grey– did that count? Bondage or S & M? That should really be two questions, or three, shouldn’t it? She had no interest in autoerotic asphyxiation, but a bit of spanking maybe? Umm…well, maybe bondage. That might be fun? Did they mean the fun kind? She couldn’t just tick Missionary Position could she? Her hand guided the mouse across the desktop.
Click. Click. Click.
For the last three days, Cynthia had jumped every time her email pinged. The response to her profile hadn’t been overwhelming. She’d messaged someone she thought wouldn’t be too out there. Rex. He was an accountant too. Single… never married. She wondered why. She still didn’t feel quite right doing this in the study. She could buy herself an iPad, for her birthday. Her birthday. It was now or never; she was adamant. She was going to get back into the dating scene. She was going to make a date tonight and she was going to go all the way by her 50th birthday. Did she just say ‘go all the way’?
The grapefruit and lemon myrtle soy wax candle flickered on the desk. Her third glass of Shiraz Grenache tasted even fruitier than the second. The square cursor blinked. So far, so good. Rex enjoyed eating in good restaurants, long walks on the beach, and liked to try new things.
They picked a restaurant close to his house.
WILL I LOCK IT IN?
Lock it in, she typed.
BOOKING CONFIRMED. WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?
ARE YOU GETTING HOT?
Light dawned. Oh yes I’m hot. I’m Little Miss Hotpants’. She’d soon get the hang of this. ARE YOU HOT FOR SEXY REXY?
Sexy Rexy? Really?
WAIT TILL TOMORROW NIGHT, LITTLE MISS HOTPANTS. I’VE GOT SOMETHING BIG TO SHOW
She lifted her fingers from the keyboard. The computer quietly crunched and cackled. Was she really going to do this? It was one date she told herself, one date and a bit of nooky to break the drought. Nooky? She really had to get out more. She could do it.
She would do it.
See you at eight big boy.
A waiter led Cynthia towards a tall man in a lavender polo shirt. He stood. They said hello.
They kissed cheeks. Did they still make Brut 33?
Rex was halfway through a bottle of burgundy and the waiter poured her a glass. ‘I’ve ordered BBQ ribs. Do you like ribs?”
“Tell me about …”
“… a widow, two kids.. ”
“…never married. Never met the right…”
“… grew up in Strahan…inherited the cottage from my grandmother…” “…born, bred and work in Battery Point…”
“…a busy practice?”
“…had grander plans but the actuarial exams were just too…”
“… yes, but don’t you find the challenge of a good forensic examination…” “There are much more interesting things to examine, don’t you think Cynthia?” Cynthia drained her glass. Rex signalled the waiter for a second bottle. He smiled. “Don’t you think Cynthia?” he repeated, his smile widening.
It was why she was here wasn’t it? She was turning fifty tomorrow. And she was taking control of her love life again. She didn’t want to shrivel up and die alone. She watched Rex’s teeth tear at the last rib then drop it onto his plate. One by one, he licked the sticky sauce from his fingers.
“I’d like to examine a bit more of you Cynthia. Would you like to see what I have to show you?” The tips of her fingers squeezed the stem of her wine glass and turned white. She wanted a new beginning. She was going to do this. She was in control of her life.
She brought the corners of her mouth up into a smile. “Which bit would you like to examine first Rex?”
“I think it’s going to be a big night Cynthia. Are you ready for my big boy?” His lips were red and moist. “Are you ready to come to my man-cave and get wild with T-Rex?”
Cynthia felt relief sweep through her. She’d always liked Marc Bolan.
Rex ushered Cynthia down the hall and into the living room. He flicked a switch on the stereo. The black vinyl disc with the bright red label dropped onto the turntable. The room filled with the sound of Taeko drumming. They stood in the centre of a cowhide rug, Rex behind her, sliding his hands down her goose pimpled arms. He turned her towards him. Her muscles tightened, warding off the idea of a foreign invasion. “Let’s get started shall we?” He moved in close and his tongue slipped between her lips. She tasted breath-mint and saliva. What was she thinking?
No. I can do this, she told herself, as his fingers fumbled with the buttons of her blue Sportscraft blouse. His left hand brushed her breast. It quivered. She moved towards him, pulled the polo shirt over his head and let it drop behind him. He reached the last button on her blouse. Her breath quickened. They each kicked off their shoes. Cynthia felt the strange texture of cowhide beneath her feet. She undid the stiff button on Rex’s jeans and tugged at the waistband. She heard the teeth of his zip pull apart. It was all coming back to her. Cynthia took a deep breath. Her heart jumped to match the thudding drums.
“So are you ready for my big boy Cyn?” Her hands pulled at his jeans, struggling to get them past his hips. He stepped back, pulled them off and stood before her wearing green-camo underwear and black socks. “Are you ready for T-Rex hotpants?” His hand slipped up under her skirt. Her eyelids fluttered.
“Grrrrr.” Cynthia jumped. What was that?
Rex growled again, and nuzzled her neck. Cynthia pulled back.
“Are you ready for it hotpants? Just wait.” he said. Rex backed away out of the room. “Wait for it” he called.
Where was he going? What now?
She stood alone in the middle of the beastly rug. The drums were thumping in her head. The moment of passion was passing.
Rex appeared in the doorway and growled like a bear. “Here comes T-Rex.”
What was he talking about? One hand went to his tackle. At least, she thought, was that… Her eyebrows came together in a squint. Her jaw dropped. Heat flushed Cynthia’s cheeks.
Over the green-camo underpants, Rex had strapped on a giant dildo. Cynthia thought about screaming, but he now stood with his arms tucked in, fists up, under his chin, looking a lot like the Easter Bunny. She pulled the edges of her blouse together and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Don’t even think about coming near me with that thing.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“You don’t need to say it again Rex.” They sat at the kitchen table. Cynthia’s eyes were fixed on the teapot between them. Rex poured tea into her cup and the aroma of Earl Grey filled the room.
“Anyway, it was my fault; I did tick porn on the questionnaire.”
“I should have checked before…” Rex picked up his cup and looked down at the floor. Cynthia glanced at him. “I’ve never heard of Dinosaur Porn.” She sipped the hot, sweet tea.
“I’m sorry, I should have…I thought…It’s been around for a little while. Maybe we could try something…”
“No.” Cynthia’s cup clattered into its saucer. “No. I think my experimenting days are over.” “But we were really…”
“No. No, I don’t think we were really, Rex. None of this is my cup of tea. I think I’ll just stick to real people and real conversations and see what develops out there in the real world from now on.”
“Maybe we can go out for ribs sometime.” Cynthia picked up her bag. “Probably not Rexy”, she said as he walked her down the hall. Cynthia was pretty sure she’d never be eating ribs again.
By Joyce Nobel from Australia