Before I could even respond to her apparent declaration of love Jackie clarified.
She didn’t mean in love. She just meant she was happy.
Frankly, that was what I had hoped, but since she said it, and since I’m a contrary sort, I had to go in the opposite direction.
“You mean you don’t think we should both get divorces and then marry each other?” I said.
That resulted in a long stare.
Followed by “Nope. And besides, you aren’t serious.”
“What if I am?” I said.
“Cut it out,” Jackie said.
We got ready for our last 24 hours in Chicago. I went off to my meetings and she went shopping for the day.
That evening we had room service and she packed the extra suitcase she had brought along with the clothes she had bought up and down Michigan Avenue. She had to get up at 4AM for her flight back so we spent the evening calmly. Sex, yes. Gymnastics, no.
The next morning Jackie was out the door and headed for O’Hare before 5AM. I stood in the hallway wearing a hotel robe with one foot propping the door open and watched her head to the elevator bank. The bellman had already taken a cart of luggage down to the taxi stand. When she turned at the end of the hall she looked back. We smiled. We waved. And then she was gone.
I haven't seen her since.
We’ve e-mailed. We’ve even talked on the phone, and for the first year or so after Chicago we tried to schedule another get together. But it never seemed to work out. And then, it seems, we stopped trying. We're friends.
When I started on this latest and last arc about Jackie Sampson I was writing about the Summer of Sharon from decades earlier. Since it would be silly to think you would remember that young lady, dear reader(s), allow me a quick review.
Sharon worked with me over the summer at the chemical plant as part of their summer-hire program for college kids. Her dad was the head of HR. A slender blond with a disproportionately large bosom she was coming off a bad breakup with a well-known basketball player from the local college. For most of the summer we didn’t really know each other. Then we worked on the same job and got to be friends.
She actually asked me out the first time we went out on a date. It was a German-American festival and we drank a goodly amount of beer in a short period of time and then went to Mona’s house. Mona was Sharon’s older sister’s best friend. She was a few years older than us, newly divorced, and lived in a nice little 3 BR house. That first time we went over to Mona's she was out for the evening. Sharon had her own key and we hadn’t been in the house very long when we were on the living room floor fucking. And that’s how it was with Sharon. She was into fucking. Nothing else in the area of sex interested her nearly as much as having a cock in her pussy. I didn’t have a big problem with that.
We went out the rest of the summer. I’d pick her up at her parents with the story being that we were going to the movies or something and most of the time we would go straight to Mona’s house and fuck. Mona was like a big sister to Sharon. A big sister that had no problem with her little sister having sex.
It was getting towards the end of the summer. Soon I'd be going back to good old alma mater, a public institution, and Sharon would be going back to a small private school in our state where she was a sorority girl. One Monday at work Sharon said she had talked to her sister over the weekend. It seems as though her sister wanted Sharon and Mona to come visit her in Louisville the following weekend. They wanted me to go along. The plan was to leave after work Friday and drive straight to Louisville. Figuring in stops for gas and food we should get to her sister's apartment by 10PM.
Of course my parents wondered where I was supposed to stay. The story was that I would stay at the apartment of Sharon's sister's boyfriend. Now I'm not saying they bought that-- but they also knew that most of the year I was off at college anyhow so they rolled with it. Besides, dad worked with Sharon's dad and they knew her, and... well, they weren't going to tell me I couldn't go off for a weekend.
So Friday night Sharon, Mona, and I left in Mona's Camaro. We started out with me jammed in the tiny back seat and those two babes in front smoking cigarettes, rolling down the Interstate, with the 8-Track player cranked up. Luckily Mona needed to stop for gas in the first 45 miles. I told Sharon she needed to let me sit up front or I wouldn't be able to walk when we got to Louisville.
"Oh, baby, I'm sorry. I should have thought about that. Sit up front with Mona the rest of the way!"
She always called me "baby." Except that one time she called me Jack. Jack being the basketball player she broke up with. She never spoke very highly of Jack around me. It always struck me that there was an undercurrent of Jack being kinda rough with slim little Sharon. Now being a brainiac I figured that meant I should be nicer to her than I normally would be. Gentler even. That had to be the right way to go. I was enjoying fooling around with Sharon and in no hurry for it to end so, yeah, just be a little sweeter to her. Not like mean Jack had been. That's how I'd play it.