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They were sitting in a quaint restaurant which used to be a railroad station. Past the station’s expansive windows a Chicago train zipped by with a roar. Everyone in the restaurant greeted it with applause. Leutenant Bowman, bright-eyed, clapped. “It’s so cornucopious!” she said.
“I want this Sunday morning to be very special,” he said as he picked her up, forgoing his favorite early-morning Outdoorsman TV show.
“How many days have you not shaved?”
“Four, maybe a week.”
“You look deliciously scruffy.”
“I probably look like a lumberjack ready to golf.”
“I like that look. The rugged intellectual. The men around here are pathologically smooth and youthful. Where’s the beefcake, I wonder sometimes?”
All morning the bright-eyed look never left her face.
“You look beautiful,” the Captain said.
“The beautiful lesbian look?” she teased him, for he told her of overhearing a woman at the admin call her a lipstick lesbian. “I think it’s fascinating,” he told her of the runaway imagination.
She played it up and coquetted with him, bringing on more warm moments that he would waste and not touch her. The doll-like perfect blonde, the face framed by austerely short hair, her ball ear rings fluttering at her ears whenever she shook her head, she must have dazzled child molesters with that look: “Yes, what a pretty candy, thank you. But my mommy told me not to take candy from strangers.”
She shook her head just when the Captain noticed two women staring at her. He looked them in their eyes, which he imagined to be uninhibited and voracious. Leutenant Bowman was raving about a girlfriend coming down for the Thanksgiving weekend, as if this was supposed to taunt him. The two women lost the staring game and looked at each other hunching over their drinks.
She waited in sudden silence, and, in contented frustration, said, “You’re such a tease, Vic. A cold, short-attention span tease. And I thought I was a WASP.”
The Captain looked at her through his squinting eyes that she called husband’s eyes, the eyes that caressed her while saying, “No excuses.”
They drove back to her house through the sleeping campus. The suburban churchgoers had already prayed and were flocking to discount diners. Vic stopped by The Morning Hop-In to buy the Sunday paper.
“Crosswords?” she asked.
“The Times,” the Captain answered. “What a blissful Sunday!”
Again they drove home by Glacier Parkway, the scenic way.
“Peat moss. I have been told it’s virgin,” he said, as if pointing to cattle grazing on both sides of the highway, “and petrified.”
“Let’s do this every Sunday morn,” she said.
“If I am in town.”
“I’m finished with your file,” she said, and she was a psychiatrist again.
“You are back in submarines, from the medical point of view.”
They watched cult movie classics, drank more coffee, the Captain worked the crossword, and then found her fallen asleep. He brought her a pillow, put her feet up. He looked at her making faces in her sleep. He sighed with relief: she did not drool.
She woke up and said, “Here, this couch rolls out.”
The crossword and pencil in hand, he laid down beside her, on the carpet.
“Let’s get some nap,” she said.
“You trust me?”
“I think so. This is your vacation from debauchery, isn’t it?”