The Friday Night Book Club, (c) Copyright, Marie Faux 2001
It was Ernest’s idea that I join the book club. He was tired of me running
around the house picking up stray socks, dusting everything I could find,
nagging him to take out the garbage or do the dishes or walk the dog. Only three
weeks after the end of the school term, Ernest made it clear to me that I was
becoming a nuisance and that I needed to “get a life.” Easy for him to say;
he had been playing this retirement game for five years longer than me. After he
sold the little sports equipment shop that his father left him, Ernest promised
himself that he would never do anything unpleasant again.
“I’ve suffered, I’ve worked all my life,” he would often say, “so now
I want to sit back and collect the pay-off.” At first, I just laughed at his
notion that massive amounts of leisure time were somehow his due for clinging to
life through respiratory episodes, suspected ulcers, and countless aching bones.
“I mean, why else would anyone bother getting old if they didn’t think they
were going to have a party at the end? I’ve got over sixty years of
mind-numbing labour behind me and I think that I deserve at least another decade
of good old-fashioned fun.”
Other than his assumption that aging actually involves choice and the suggestion
that his retail career had been gruelling work, what bothered me most about his
little tantrums was his references to “good old-fashioned fun.” I don’t
know what I thought he meant, maybe picnics in the park or home-made ice cream,
but what I did not expect was to come home from school every day to find him
playing the same palm-sized video game that I had just taken away from one of my
students. Initially, I joked to the other teachers at school that video games
had stolen my husband, but when he put an ad in the newspaper looking for a
vintage Atari, I started to take the situation more seriously.
Everyday when I came home from work, often weighted with student workbooks or
bags of groceries, I was greeted by the sight of Ernest sitting in his
green-striped recliner, jiggling some little wand while wild cursors flashed
across the television screen. On more than one occassion, I have had to put the
grocery bags down on the kitchen counter and take a
short walk before I could go back in there and unload them. Video games had
stolen my husband, all right, but I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just
take him away already.
His body was rooted in the living room. It seemed to me that his very flesh was
turning to cushion, which might have been appealing if Ernest were one of those
big, teddy-bear kind of men, but he is not. He is a big man, with a hard-earned
belly, but the structure of his face is too angular for him to seem cuddly.
Ernest once told me that his parents only hugged him once. And that was on his
wedding day. I always tried to incorporate hugging and
touching into our casual interactions, but he never responded comfortably. Over
the years, we just stopped touching all together.
We would get up to the 6:30 alarm each morning and initiate a non-wavering
routine that had him showering while I made coffee and toasted bagels for
us. He would come downstairs smelling like his drugstore aftershave, adjusting
his tie as I poured him orange juice and spread cream cheese on his bagel. Then
he would be off to the store for the day and I would get a ride with Madeline to
the school and we would live our separate lives until dinner. Dinner was much
like breakfast (meaning I cooked), except we took a little more time to talk to
each other; or try to talk to each other. Ernest was never easy to talk too. He
liked to labour over the banal details of everyday life - how many tennis balls
he had in inventory, the latest stats on cross-trainers, how many years he had
left until retirement -, but I can’t say that I think we have had a
substantial conversation in over twenty years.
For the first five years after he sold the store, I said to myself, Playstation
can have him. But when it was my turn to enter this Elysium they call
retirement, I resented not having someone with whom to share all this daunting
free time. I’ve always been the kind of person who can only maintain two or
three close relationships at a time. There was Madeline, but
she is several years younger than me and still busy with her teaching. There was
my sister Rosie, but she too is several years younger and quite preoccupied with
her career; and besides, she was teaching in Japan during those first few weeks
of my retirement. Granted, I phoned her every night during this time, but I
always stoically refrained from telling her how miserable I was.
There’s nothing I fear more than seeming like some pathetic menopausal woman
who’s too weepy to see how good her lot really is. I wasn’t about to fall
into a stereotype, so, time after time, I sucked up my tears, told my sister all
about the redecorating I was planning to do, and then went up to my bedroom and
cried until dinner.
I don’t know if I knew it then, but I was profoundly lonely. Not just lonely
in some little old lady kind of way. I wasn’t sitting in a rocking chair
knitting and asking myself why the phone never rang and why no one ever came for
tea. This was a different kind of loneliness that didn’t involve the absence
of people so much as the absence of touch.
One night, when I was indulging in my nightly ritual of extended hair brushing
and plaiting, I realized that I was the only person to have touched my head or
face in over two years. I remember spending that whole night just running my
fingers down my wrinkled, but still soft cheeks, across the delicate sin of my
eyelids and the dimple in my lower lip, trying to dissociate my reception from
the feelings in my fingers. For the first time in my life, I wanted to be
someone else. Well, I wanted part of me to be someone else: my hand. I wanted to
feel touch that was unattached and therefore uncompelled to love me but loving
me nonetheless. I tried to cup my breast inside my night gown, but it felt
awkward and heavy in my hand. I could barely remember when they were so perky I
didn’t even have to wear a bra. I touched my white belly that at one time had
been bronzed and taut, and then examined my dimpled thighs. I looked at my soft
and stale body in the mirror and felt the loneliness burrow deeper in my gut.
I was having so many stomach problems at this point that it became customary for
me to take an antacid tablet four to five times a day. Ernest kept chastening me
to relax, insisting that I was making myself sick. Finally, one Saturday
afternoon when I was scurrying around the house with a bottle of Malox in one
hand and a duster in the other, he just threw up his arms dramatically and told
me to “get a life.” I told him I didn’t know where they were sold and he
told me to open a book.
“You’ve always loved reading,” he said, “for the same reasons that I
love these video games, because it’s good old fashioned fun. You don’t need
to feel guilty about having a good time now. You’ve earned it.”
“But I want to live life, Ernest,” I said exasperatedly, “I want to be
around people. Real people. Not just characters in books or little squiggly
lines on the television set. Real people, Ernest!” And that’s when he
suggested I join a book club.
The first time I went to the local library’s weekly book club meeting, I was a
little apprehensive at how much younger everyone looked. The club comprised
almost entirely females, mostly young professionals or graduate students. I had
expected more housewives, but then I am old enough to remember when it was
common for women not to work. I myself had always shunned the option of living
off of Ernest’s earnings; firstly, because he didn’t really make that much
in the first place, and, secondly, because I wanted to have something of my own.
After I stopped working, I spent a lot of time thinking about how ambitious I
used to be, how I wanted
to revolutionize the education system, and I became ashamed of both my former naiveté and my
present disillusionment. Looking around at all these confident women, with their
sleek blazers and their angora sweaters and their no nonsense purses and smiles, I was intimidated.
I suddenly felt agoraphobic and wanted to run home and lock myself in my bedroom.
I was heading toward the exit when I felt a hand on my shoulder. The hair on the back of my
neck stood up, as if to greet these slender fingers stretched across my cardigan. I turned around
and saw a tiny young thing with a black pageboy and glasses smiling up at me with the loveliest
teeth I have ever seen in my life. Her smile was dazzling, yet surprisingly sincere.
“Hi, I’m Monique,” she extended her hand and I gratefully grasped it and introduced myself.
“We’re always thrilled to have new members,” she told me, “I’m the chair-woman of this group,
which means that I just do the organizing and all the bureaucratic stuff, but we decide
democratically what book we will read for each following week, so if you have a book in mind,
don’t hesitate to nominate it.”
Monique ushered me into one of the plastic chairs set up in a circle in the middle of the library
staff room. She kept her hand on my shoulder blade as we walked and then placed it back on my
shoulder when I was sitting down. I had never liked touchy-feely people, but Monique didn’t
strike me as cloying. I could tell that she was one of those people who seems to know everyone,
who never seems awkward, and who has never made an enemy. I used to envy girls like Monique
when I was growing up because I always felt socially awkward.
At book club meetings, however, I felt surpisingly at ease. Monique’s warmth was positively
contagious and I quickly found that all of the other members were equally amiable. I began to
depend on their company. I looked forward to Wednesday nights all week, debating whether I
should bring butter tarts or nanaimo bars. I would be so wound up after each meeting that I would
usually read next week’s book that very night and then I would have to suffer through six days of
not being able to discuss characters and plot with “the girls.”
Charlie, the one male member who attended consistently, was a gay bankteller who loved being
considered one of the girls and always became noticabley silent when another male member did
actually show up. Usually, the meeting yielded a turn-out of between 9 to 13 people, but there
were times when only five or six of us showed up. I never missed a meeting, nor did Monique. I
found myself becoming more and more attracted to the energy of this girl who worked as an
editor at a small publishing firm, while still managing to attend and make insightful comments
during every single meeting . Yes, she was peppy and tiny and firm and adorable and all those
things that used to make me jealous in other women, but I had given up my petty physical
jealousies at some point in the aging process. I still noticed attractive physiques, but now I felt that
I was admiring rather than envying or scrutinizing them. I felt like an orange to their apples and
that made it easier to appreciate the shine of their flushed skins.
Monique had the kind of body that I had always wanted, but knew I could never have. A
gymnast’s body, a dancer’s body; small, lithe limbs, sculpted delicately; small taut breasts and
slender hips that enabled her to pass for a girl of sixteen when she was already in her late
twenties. Though she was undeniably tiny, there was no air of fragility in her body; she looked
like she could bend but never break and I admired that.
I had always been a stocky girl. “Athletic,” people would say to make me feel good, but I was
really just stocky. Not fat, just big and muscular, and, quite unfortunately, inept at sports. When
Ernest first approached me at a community hall singles’ dance, he told me that he could tell I was
an athlete and then he tried to pick me up by telling me he could get me cheap equipment from his
dad’s store. Being young and unforgivably insecure, I played along and nodded my head every
time he asked me if I played a certain sport. By the end of the night, I found myself a triathlete
who dabbled in tennis, baseball, and soccer.
When it was clear that things were getting serious between us, I decided that I would have to try
to actualize what I had told him, so I tried to participate in community sports events. When I
broke my collarbone playing t-ball, Ernest told me that I might be better off just giving up on
athletics. Of course, by that time, we were already planning our wedding.
It’s not that Ernest ever made me feel bad about my body, he just never made me feel good about
it. Not one for compliments, he would usually just grunt when I asked him if a certain blouse
looked okay or if my hair was pinned properly. When I hit menopause, I became extremely self
conscious about the loose skin folding over the sides of my pants and the light hair that was
starting to cluster above my upper lip. I waxed and tried to watch what I ate and applied wrinkle
cream to my crow’s feet and laugh lines, but Ernest paid no attention to my efforts.
Sometimes, I think that the first night we met was the only night that he ever truly looked at me.
His desire was so evident that night and I was too easily taken by his lingering eyes and
slow-moving hands. For the first few years of our marriage, I often wondered if I had made a
mistake by sleeping with him almost immediately. I worried that an early surrender had set the
foot for our entire relationship, and I always despaired that I had so easily given up such a
valuable weapon in the game of love. As the years went by, my regret about having sex with him
too soon gave way to my anxiety that I might never have sex again.
What had started out hot and fast died a cold, slow death that lingered on for over two decades
without any intervals of revival. Sure, in his red-blooded twenties, Ernest would sometimes close
the store early so that he could pick me up from work and we could have a quick romp in the car,
but by the time we reached our forties, I was turning to occasional male acquaintances for relief.
While these short-lived affairs were never mind-blowing, they were more satisfying than my
trysts with Ernest, when he could perform, he never lasted long enough for me to build up any
substantional tension of my own, much less a full-throttled release.
When my doctor confirmed that I was infertile after several years of trying to conceive, Ernest
and I pretty much ended our conjugal relations. We still slept in the same bed, but we rarely
touched, and had only slipped into heaving petting once or twice over the years. Intercourse was
reserved for birthdays or Valentine’s day. I had given up on the idea of a sex life before I ever
really had one. I had grown up in a society and culture that taught girls to be discreet about their
bodily functions, to obey their husbands, and to deny the pulsing of their own flesh. Ernest had
never seen my menstrual blood and, to this day, he has never made me come.
Since many of the books the club chose to read were novels about contemporary women, many
of our discussions addressed frankly sexual issues. Though at first I was hesitant to give any
input as to whether Judith Rossner had pandered to the pornographic in Looking for Mr.
Goodbar or how Erica Jong had rendered female sexuality with such humour in Fear of Flying,
the girls soon drew me out of my silence, forcing me to express an opinion.
After reading a novel featuring a culturally-sanctioned cliterodectomy, Monique asked me if I had
been aware of the widespread practice of female circumcision. I admitted I had not, and told the
girls how horrified I had been when I read the description of procedure in the book and
pondered the implications of such a social practice. I remember feeling so impassioned, being
swept away by my own outrage, that I actually raised my voice, something I rarely ever do. My
face was flushed and I felt adrenalin rushing through me as I looked at all these other women
(and Charlie) nodding and gesturing in agreement. I had always regretted being too complacent
and cowardly to join the feminist movement when it first erupted in my youth, but I felt like
these girls were giving me a second chance.
So, when Monique suggested that we co-chair another book club dedicated exclusively to works
addressing female sexuality, I jumped at the chance to spend more time out of the arcade my
house had become. I was also very flattered that Monique would ask me to be her co-chair even
though I was still the most recent member of the club.
“The library won’t give us the space, but we can have the meetings at my place,” she told me,
“and you can bring those delicious butter tarts of yours. There’s not a lot of space in my
apartment, but I think I should be able to fit everyone in.”
“Well, who do you think will join?” I asked her.
“Oh, everyone will join, “ she grinned, “but I’m sure only a few of us
will actually make it to the meeting. Debra and Lara have already expressed interest, but I can’t
guarantee anyone else.”
“Except me,” I linked arms with her and we walked back to our plastic seats,
preparing for Lara, a sprightly blonde college student, to explain to us why she thought Anaïs
Nin’s Delta of Venus should be next week’s selection. After a few light arguments, the vote
finally went to a John Irving novel. Monique consoled Lara by promising that Nin’s book could be a
selection in the Friday night book club. I left that meeting brainstorming reading
suggestions and reminding myself to get baking ingredients.
That Thursday night, I got a phone call from Debra, one of the mouthiest members
of the book club, asking me if I needed a ride to Monique’s for the meeting
tomorrow. I decided to accept because it had been so long since I had been in a
vehicle with someone else. Ernest had always hated driving and he used to enrage
me when he would make me drive places will he tilted the passenger seat
fully back and had a nap.
That Friday night, I made a big deal to Ernest about my girl’s night out,
trying to provoke even a semblance of interest, but his eyes were glued to the
t.v. so I ended up grabbing my jacket and my tarts and waiting out on the front
steps. When Debra’s beige sedan pulled up, I noticed that someone was already
sitting in the passenger seat. It was Bonnie, the hairdresser who was part owner
of the health food store Debra managed. Both women were in their early forties
with grey streaks proudly flashing through their dark hair. Debra had brown hair
and eyes, but was very fair; whereas Bonnie was part Hispanic with bronze skin
and deep chocolate eyes. I had talked to both of them regularly at meetings for
almost six months, but this was the first time I’d seen them outside of the
When we got out of the car at Monique’s apartment, I noticed that Bonnie was
not wearing her usual uniform of jeans and a navy sweatshirt; that both Debra
and Bonnie “Oh, I look like a slob next to you girls,” I said, as I
sheepishly looked down at my thin grey sweatpants and my untucked paisley
“You always look great,” Debra smiled as the three of us got into the
elevator and headed up to the seventh floor.
“Now you’re going to qualify that with ‘for my age’, right?” I asked
her. Both she and Bonnie frowned and I blushed slightly, knowing I had said
something politically incorrect or distinctly unfeminist. By the time Monique
answered the door to her apartment, Debra was full-swing into one of her
monologues about patriarchal society circumscribing female sexuality and
rendering the the menopausal female a mere artifact.
“Men look at older women as mothers or grandmothers, useful for their baking
and their archival memories, but not for their bodies or their imaginations.”
“Uh, Debra, the meeting hasn’t even started yet,” Monique flashed that
smile of hers as she ushered us into her living room. Her apartment was a small,
one-bedroom, suite, but she had managed to make necessary restriction look like
voluntary minimalism. All her furniture was Swedish assembly stuff and she had a
wonderful CD stand made entirely of black wire. “Well, it may be smaller than
the library,” Monique said to me as she flipped through her compact discs,
“but at least here we have a sound system. Do you like jazz?”
I nodded, even though I hadn’t listened to anything other than the radio and
supermarket music in years. Monique started to sway her hips, which were wrapped
snugly in a black leather skirt, to the voice of Billie Holliday. There was a
knock on the door, and Lara came in with a tall girl whose thick brown hair
swept down almost to her tailbone.
“Hey everyone, this is my roommate, Alyson. Alyson, this is the girls.”
“Welcome Alyson,” Monique characteristically put her arm around Alyson and I
could actually see the young girl’s posture relax. Bonnie poured us each a
glass of red wine as we negotiated seating for everyone in a living room that
boasted only one chair and a glass coffee table.
“Let’s just sit on the floor,” Lara suggested, “so that we don’t fight
over the chair.” I had no problem sitting on Monique’s lush fuschia carpet,
which looked untreaded.
Debra saw me run my palm across the soft fibres and nudged me, “Monique is a
carpet junkie. She keeps all these swatches and she changes the carpet like
three or four times a year.”
“Well, I love this colour,” I said, looking up at Monique who was dancing to
the music again. She winked down at me and then swayed over to the coffee table
to pick up my plate of tarts.
“Oh good! You brought your tarts!” Lara grabbed me by my arm, “I told
Alyson how delicious they are and she’s dying to try them.” Snapping two
tarts off the plate that Monique was passing around, Lara turned to Alyson and
whispered something in her ear.
I heard the two girls giggling behind me, but I was too busy watching Monique
move silkily across the room to pay attention. When Monique disappeared into the
kitchen, I turned back and saw Lara holding Alyson’s exposed breast in one of
her hands. I did the kind of double-take you see in cartoons. I was afraid that
I might be drunk or have food poisoning and be hallucinating. But no, Alyson’s
white cotton bra really was pulled beneath her smooth white breasts, and Lara
definitely was kneading an erect red nipple between her red-nailed fingers.
Alyson’s eyes were closed and she was running her tongue along the bottom of
her front teeth, moaning slightly.
I must have turned scarlet; my face flushed and I looked to the other girls to
share my shock, but I was greeted only with the sight of Bonnie kissing
Debra’s neck slowly, with tongue and lips, as her hand moved rythmically in
between Debra’s slightly open legs. Though I was too taken aback to register
any truly coherent thoughts at the time, I remember feeling like I had just
stumbled onto the set of a blue movie and that someone was going to kick me out
at any minute.
I felt a persistant tingling between my legs and I didn’t know how to react.
“Don’t look so shocked,” Monique put a hand on my shoulder and sat down
beside me while the two couples wriggled in my peripheral vision, “there are
other ways to converse than with words, you know.” A wave of pleasure shot
through me as she ran her forefinger along the crotch seam of my cotton pants.
Before I could even formulate a sentence, Monique had pushed her hand up my
blouse and was cupping my overflowing breasts in one of her small hands. A moan
slipped out of me and I edged away from her hand ashamedly.
“Don’t you feel anything?” she leaned towards me and moistened her lips. I
whispered yes as her mouth brushed against my neck. She hovered over me and I
“Where?” She whispered as she fumbled with the wasteband of my pants and
slipped her hand right inside my underwear.
“There.” I responded breathlessly, aware of clothes being tossed on both
sides of me. I felt momentarily ashamed of the elastic imprint on my stomach and
worried about this firm girl seeing the dimples on my belly and thighs, but her
touch reassured me.
“Where?” Monique whispered into my collarbone, slipping a rigid finger
inside me. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head; it had been so
long since I had been probed like that. I let out another moan, and allowed
Monique to push my head into the carpet so that I was completely horizontal. She
was stretched out on her side, moving one, and then two, and then three fingers
in and out and I felt a horrible wonderful urgent gnawing.
“Down there,” I panted.
“Where?” Monique asked, as she removed her hand and started unbuttoning my
blouse, my heavy breasts feeling light in her hands.
“There,” I said almost pleadingly, instinctively moving my hand to replace
hers. The throbbing was unbearable and I could feel my juices running down
“Your cunt?” Monique asked, thrusting her fingers inside my eager hole. I
could only moan an affirmative.
“Say it,” She commanded me as she tugged my pants and underwear to my waste
in one movement and then poised herself about my patch of silver-blonde pubic
“My cunt,” I grunted as she stuffed her face between my legs and rubbed her
nose back and forth inside my swollen lips. My damp thighs dropped open and she
anchored herself by gripping my hamstrings while her tongue darted around the
retracted hood of my clitoris. I could feel my labia pulsing and my hips were
pumping feverishly in the air. My left hand was gripping a fistful of fuschia
carpet, while my right hand rested on the back of Monique’s head. I found
myself applying pressure every time she came up for air, until I was shoving her
mouth forcefully into my demanding pussy. I had never felt such full-body
throbbing in my entire life, and I didn’t know if I could endure it for much
longer. My pink- lacquered toe nails were stretched towards the willing mouth.
I could hear low moans and slurps and breathless sighs around me, but I had
reached such a fevered pitch that everything was just background sound to the
pulsing, pulsing, pulsing of my clit. I couldn’t even hear the loud moans that
I knew were booming out of my throat as I writhed against Monique’s tongue and four of her relentless fingers.
When the wave started, I wasn’t ready for it. I had been used to controlling
my own orgasms for pretty much my entire life so when a pulse of pleasure broke
through my clit and spread through my entire pelvis with such force that it made
my back arch, I wasn’t quite sure what had happened. My legs were shaking, but
my arm had tensed up as though struck with rigor mortis, keeping
Monique’s face firmly pressed into my soaking slit. Just as my back
began to relax and my forearm started to loosen its grip on her neck, another
pleasure pulse started throbbing in my clit and then it burst through my cunt
and ass with such intensity I lashed my body to the side, still pressing against
Monique. I felt my swollen lips open and gratefully release my musky wetness all
over her lovely white teeth. As I tried to catch my breath, she ran her tongue
along the insides of both sets of my lower lips and then she dove down for one
final flick of her tongue. My clit exploded and I felt my body shaking almost
epileptically, waves of pleasure rushing through me, forcing me to bite down on
my wrist as I writhed to endure this
Monique then sidles up my body and laid her head in between my heavy breasts. My
heart started to slow down and the evaporating sweat cooled my inner thighs, but
I still felt like I had a sauna between my legs. I held Monique’s tiny frame
against me and was pleased to find that she didn’t make me feel big or clumsy
or butchy or whatever I feared I might feel if I embraced her. Instead, I felt
real, sexual, physical, alive, exhausted, excited,
trembling, soaking through the fibres of her sweet ,soft carpet.
My drooping eyelids raised slightly when I saw a big chunk of one of my tarts
beside me on the floor. I lifted my neck, still cradling Monique, who was
stroking my soft white stomach, and I beheld Lara’s panting hole dripping
brown tart filling as Alyson’s tongue lapped eagerly. On my other side, I
caught a glimpse of Debra on all fours, her head bent down so that her
shoulder-length hair touched the floor. Bonnie, whose naked body was covered in
bits of tart, was moving a wine bottle back and forth between her legs as Debra
bucked wildly against the neck. I turned back to Monique, and stroked her cheek,
looking at here for the first time since this new intimacy had begun. Her cool
blue eyes looked even larger with her glasses off, and I found myself taken
aback by this wide-eyed beauty with her flushed cheeks and salty mouth. I loved
the fact that I could taste myself on her when I ran my tongue along her lips.
I knew that I had to taste her as she had tasted me, so I pushed her skirt up
above her hips and lowered my face to her already wet and waiting cunt. After
kissing her velvet lips gently, I tried to ripple my tongue along her clit as
she had done for me, eagerly probing the moist folds inside her with two
fingers. She let out these low, loud moans that sounded like a jazzy growl and
that made me want to thrust my fist inside her and scream with delight. When she
finally begged me to, I pull my fingers out and curled then into my palm so that
Monique could grind against my knuckles. When she finally froze in a spasm of
pleasure, she frothed over my hand, soaking me up to the fingertips and forearm.
Spent and sated, none of us bothered showering after the meeting. When I finally had the energy
to pull my sweats back on, I quickly felt a warm rush moisten my crotch.
“This is why we wear skirts to the Friday book club meetings.” Debra patted the wet spot of my
crotch and winked at me.
After kissing Monique goodnight and hugging Lara and Alyson, I left with
Debra and Bonnie. We got coffee at a drive-through donut shop, giggling like school girls who
had just skipped class.
“So what do you think of the bookclub?” Debra asked me right before she
turned into my driveway.
“I have a lot to learn” I said as the car same to a stop.
“You’re going to converse with everyone in the book club, right?” Bonnie
turned around in the passenger seat and flashed her dark eyes at me, her lips
slightly parted in a smile.
With a tingle between my legs and a twinkle in her eye, I nodded and kissed them
both goodnight. I sauntered into the house and followed the ghostly neon
flashing into the living room.
“How was the meeting?” Ernest asked without even looking up from his Alien
I momentarily considered telling him, but knew that it would neither arouse nor
enrage him because he would probably just tune me out. I shrugged and went
upstairs to brush my long grey hair, which had become unravelled and frizzy from
the heat and exertion. I ran my nose along my arm and touched my fingers to my
lips, knowing that as long as I had the Friday night book club to look forward
to, Ernest could play with his joystick until the cows came home or the aliens
destroyed the earth. I’ve been a member of the Friday night book club for
almost two years now and I have never felt the least pang of conscience when it
comes to Ernest. After all, I’m just an old retired lady taking the time to
have some good old fashioned fun; and I’ve earned it.