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Sweet Treat


by Katherine Gleason


Recently turned fifty, taut and fit, a retired athlete, with breasts that fit in the palms of my hands, my new date is eight years older than me. Next to her muscle, I am soft tissue, pale, undamaged by the sun. She thinks she is too old for me, but, nonetheless, plays gangster to my moll. “Come here, my sweet treat,” she calls. I strip myself down, finally, to the femme fatale I have always been.<p>


I shave my legs, wiggle into a green silk dress, fasten the buckles on a pair of sling-back pumps. She takes me to a Chinese restaurant to meet her lesbian family—a longtime couple, ten and twelve years her senior. <p>


The eldest of the couple, a dashing former banker, her head crowned with white, toasts our arrival with ginger ale. Her blue-eyed partner, pear-shaped and sweet, grasps both of my hands as if I am a prize, a trophy, the long-lost crown jewels. We settle into our royal velvet booth and order dumplings and fizzy drinks, Shanghai noodles in spicy sauce, a whole broiled fish, shrimp in their shells, and sautéed pea tendrils. Conversation sparkles around our table, and jousting with noble humor and well-timed banter, I win them. They love my jokes.
 

The food arrives, and the kingdom of our table overflows. Our crisp bounty perfumes the air—salt and sea, green and piquant. Wielding chopsticks, we eat like lionesses and reign as queens. Sated, we sit back, drink our tea, admire one another.


The banker selects a cookie and reads her fortune: “You will meet someone young and beautiful.” We laugh, and I wait for my athlete to slide her arm around my back and cry, But you already have! I prepare my face to beam at their acknowledgment—my youth and beauty. The laughter subsides, no one looks my way, and the banker says, “That's not going to happen any time soon.” And we laugh again, more quietly this time.
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