After work Raymond again found himself at loose ends. He took in a meeting but left with little of the peace he usually found.
As he walked he ran through his mental Rolodex of eligible, young ladies but the mental image of Margie kept popping into his head.
Lacking any reason not to call her, he dialed her number and waited for her to pick up. After identifying himself and assuring her that he did not have more losses to report he said, “I know this is extremely unprofessional, but I was wondering if your were available to spend time together this evening...that is if you are not married and don’t have a boyfriend.” he said in haste as the possibility occurred to him.
Margie chuckled. “Nope. I am not married. I never even had a live-in boyfriend. And today is your lucky day. I seem to be between boyfriends at the moment. What do you have in mind?” she asked.
“I hadn’t gotten that far.” Raymond admitted. “I was thinking we could just hang-out or maybe I could just tag along if you had errands to run or chores to do.”
“As a matter of fact, I was about to go to the mall and watch street theater. Why don’t you join me?” and she gave him the address. “I will be there in about an hour, so take your time.” Margie said.
Raymond took a shower and changed into a dressier shirt, although he did not know why. It was not as if he was interested in her romantically. After all, she was scandalously old.
While that seems an odd observation, one must be mindful that Southern Cali had become a third-world country with third-world demographics. The median age was 17 and Margie was almost twice that age at 33.
Margie was loitering behind the bleachers of the athletic field that served as a theater after dark. The troupe was performing Arsenic and Old Lace that evening and the stands were nearly full. Margie was carrying a picnic basket and it was clear that she had been there a few minutes as she was talking to one of the cast members.
Margie saw Raymond and beckoned him over. “That was the casting director. He advised me that sitting on the left side of the bleachers, about 1/3 the way up was the best seat in the house. Do you mind?” she asked.
“No problem.” Raymond said. “I am hanging out with you.”
There was a moment of stress for Raymond as Margie unpacked the picnic basket. She had packed an inexpensive bottle of white wine in addition to grapes, crackers and cheese.
“I cannot drink that.” Raymond said, flatly. “I don’t have any problem with you drinking it, but I have a problem with alcohol.”
Margie did not hesitate for a second. She tapped the shoulder of the man in the seat ahead of her. “Whadda you guys have to drink?” she asked.
It turned out that the family in front of them had six bottles of inexpensive, orange soda.
“Today is your lucky day. I will trade you this bottle of wine for two of your sodas.” Margie said. And in a thrice, the trade was done.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Raymond said.
“Nope. I didn’t. But it looked like the Mr and Mrs could use a bit of romance in their lives and, with any luck, that bottle of wine won’t be the only ‘lucky’ they have tonight. ‘Sides, any actor will tell you the quality of the company is more important than any of the props.” Margie said.
Margie fluttered like a butterfly all night long. Raymond was unable to predict what she would say or do next.
She was constantly touching him. As a Latino, Raymond was used to more touch than the typical Norte Americano but Margie touched him more than he was used to.
It was not overtly sexual. It was more a quick touch to confirm that he was real and had not disappeared. It was always on his bare skin and never for more than a quick second.
When Raymond spoke, Margie stopped everything she was doing, turned toward him and listened. She LOOKED at his face and paid rapt attention to both the verbal and non-verbal of what he was communicating.
Even though she sat very close to him, she left enough room for a breeze to pass between them. Raymond never had that hot, sweaty, crowded feeling many of the young girls left him with. And yet, an occasional curling of the breeze brought him a whiff of her fragrance. She smelled of soap, sun-dried clothing and a light, floral scent.
Raymond had never been with a woman who took joy in drinking cheap orange soda from fine crystal stemware. It was a novel experience for him.
They spent little more than three hours together and parted with a relatively chaste kiss and yet Raymond had trouble falling asleep. Words kept tumbling in his mind as he sought to find a label that suited her.
Sleep found him in the wee hours of the morning shortly after the word “bewitching” surfaced in his mind.