Yes, Darien had a small Tiffany’s store and that was where we went.
Entering it, I could not help myself; I asked Sheila “Shall we buy or rent? ”
Two good pokes in my ribs later, a suited-clerk asked “How may I help? ”
Again I couldn’t help myself and said “Can we get a ring and keep my scalp? ”
A polite but subdued chuckle the clerk did utter, and said “why, of course”.
Two hours later we left and ate some lunch. I was hungry as a horse.
That’s how I usually feel when I see so many zeroes.
Men who get married, with NO engagement ring, are among my heroes!
A week had passed since the IOU for a ring ….had been read.
It could take two weeks perhaps, the store clerk had said.
About two weeks later, after Sheila got her ring (she got it in June) ….
I got to meet her family, which, for me, was none too soon.
I’d worn a high school ring for a short while; what a waste!
A waste of my money I mean, which I’d earned at a part time job.
While in accounting school I’d bought a sparkly party ring (just ‘paste’) .
NOW I had my-ring-from-CLIFF, which stood out from the mob.
I can’t explain the difference it made …..to my attitude.
I didn’t love Cliff any more or less with the ring; had I just been rude …..
to not take him to visit my family? Did my brother REALLY matter?
Sometimes I felt my behavior equaled that of ……..Alice’s “Mad Hatter”!
On the evening of July 3rd I drove myself to Sol and Claire’s,
with chocolate and cut flowers, but not meaning to ‘put on airs’.
I’d heard that Sheila’s family all loved chocolate ………….,
and a mom who doesn’t like cut flowers ……….I’d not met yet.
Sheila had told me where to park and to ring the bell at her parents’ door.
I wanted to make a good lasting impression; I hoped many points I’d score.
I’d not heard much about them yet, but I hoped to learn.
I assumed they knew little of me, and we’d learn about each other in turn.
So I was a bit surprised, after I’d settled into a comfy nook,
to see displayed (next to coffee table magazines) my book!
It was not mentioned until Sheila’s brother, Fred, handed me a pen.
He said to me “Clifford, sign it.” I did, and everyone smiled then.
The flowers were placed in water and set on the dining table.
There were LOTS of horse photos and figurines; I thought I was in a stable.
Well not really. I’d heard Fred had a passion for horses and blue.
Yes, blue the color. Later I got to see Fred’s room, and found it very true.
Blue walls and carpet, bedspread, lampshade. Almost all was BLUE.
Everybody had eaten before I got there, but chocolate was had.
Fred especially seemed to enjoy the candy, for which I was so glad.
A little wine was offered and accepted. Even Fred had a half a glass.
I heard about Sol’s Navy time off Korea. Quickly time did pass.
At 10 P.M. Sheila said “It’s time for Clifford and me to say Good Night”.
Claire gave me a big hug; she really squeezed me tight!
Fred shook my hand and said “I like you. You’re my friend”.
And so Sheila and I went to her in-house apartment. Day one thus did [almost]end.
Except for a brief hug and kiss when Cliff arrived, I’d been ‘good’.
Most of the time Mom and Dad (and Fred) shared the one couch,
while Cliff and I sat in stuffed chairs facing them. Sometimes Freddie stood.
The evening went well except once when Mom said “Sheila, don’t slouch! ”
Yes, Mom would always be a mom, thinking me a little kid, and though,
Clifford, I’d been “dating”, I thought Mom’s eyebrows might rise, and they DID ….
when I led Cliff to my in-their-house apartment for the night.
Fred didn’t seem bothered at all, and Dad, I think, thought it was alright.
I hope I did not blush at all when Sheila took my hand and led the way.
A bit later I used her private door to go outside for my bag for my stay.
By the time I returned, Sheila had the window blinds closed shut,
and she was standing waiting with her great big smile ….., and dressed like a slut.
Yes, she had on a torn T-shirt, raised up to show her breasts.
Her black panties said “LOVE ME NOW” in front, and, in back, ‘BE MY GUEST”.
And the placement of the messages was kinky, especially “NOW’s “O”,
for it was situated at the bottom of her crotch, over her “love hole”.
I hadn’t really expected such a welcome, but I really was impressed.
I gladly responded to her “orders”. But we did it quietly; our voices were suppressed.
[Sheila speaks, again]:
It was rare that we got “down and dirty”, but it was a celebration.
It was the first time I’d thought of Cliff (while in MY bed) ……, without needing masturbation.
I’d told Mom that Cliff and I would be downstairs by 11 A.M.
We actually made it down by 10, which was a surprise to them.
Cliff and I got up early and had our breakfast together.
I was happy when I found that July 4th was giving us nice weather.
The five of us would have a picnic/cookout in our small backyard.
Dad would have a few firecrackers, though legally they were barred.
Mom had already boiled a pot of white AND red potatoes.
I helped her make potato salad, and another with greens and tomatoes.
Dad was the grilling expert, but only did hamburgs and ‘hots’.
He let Fred help with preparations and cooking; a little, not lots.
Fred watched TV reruns of “Mr. Ed”, about a talking horse.
Dad quizzed Cliff about his “prospects” at the bank. I said little of course.
I didn’t expect Cliff to mention the inheritance he got …..when his Mom died,
but he DID. And I think it gratified Mom and Dad to know he was well-supplied …..
with money to take care of their “little girl” and any future babies.
It seemed my folks had no reasons to disapprove of Cliff, or to suggest ….some “maybes”.
I learned more about Sol’s career as a mail handler in the Post Office (USPS) .
I’d never thought about how much handling packages needed, I confess.
He’d had to work nights or evenings most of thirty years,
but his and Claire’s pensions kept them in hamburgers and beers.
They even managed twice a year to have a vacation-date,
while Fred was placed in a respite home, paid for by the state.
A little cabin in the Catskill Mountains they would rent,
a far cry from, when as newlyweds, they used to camp in a tent.
I managed to include myself a bit in the food preparation,
hoping to get a few points by helping at …..a kitchen “station’.
But mostly I talked with Sol, and “talked about horses” with Fred.
I also watched as Fred fixed both of us sandwiches: peanut butter and jelly on bread.
When we sat at the picnic table for our meal around five,
I was feeling a bit strange, as though Mom and Dad were alive.
I mean my parents (both dead) . We’d had picnics too.
Oh, we did not have a lot of picnics, but I remembered a few.
[Though I was an only child, and at times I did yearn …..
for a brother or sister ……., in time I did learn ….
(when I talked to friends who had one sibling or more) ….
that being an “only child” had benefits; with them (you) I won’t bore.]
I remembered to compliment Claire on her culinary skills.
And I noticed that Sol interrupted his meal to take two little pills.
He said he had high blood pressure and high cholesterol too;
he said he walked and did exercises ………, but maybe too few.
Claire told me that, starting in high school, she learned how to cook.
She said her mom was much better at it, and used no cook book.
Before she had kids, Claire worked in a small bakery,
and she told me if I stopped eating hots ……., her baking skills I might see.
So I took no more offered burgers OR hots to eat,
looking instead to find out what Claire had prepared for a treat.
And I was NOT disappointed with the pineapple cake (“upside-down”) .
With ice cream on top, no one at our table dared frown.
Claire said “It’s best eaten when fresh; don’t let it get old.”
So I had two pieces, while Fred had THREE. He was more bold.
It was a great July 4th day; the best I could remember.
It was like my family and Cliff bonded, and he became a new member.
That night, not too late, Cliff and I said to all “Good Night! ”
Cliff and I then had our OWN “fireworks”. No, it WASN’T a fight.
(around February 2015)