*Author’s note: I prefer writing stories that are unlikely but plausible, and this one fits the bill. Nineteen-year old men don’t marry 90-year old women—ever. But (sometimes much) younger men and (sometimes much) older women (and vice versa) hook up a lot more often than people think, and occasionally even marry. I have a cousin, who when she was 19, married a man in his mid-50s. Having had affairs with two married women much older than me when I was just 18, I know this to true from personal experience. Is it common? No. But it certainly isn’t rare.

People read erotic stories for a variety of reasons, and no story ever makes everyone happy. Then again, that’s never been my goal. My hope is that most who read this will find it enjoyable keeping in mind it’s just a story.

I lost four friends on active duty and attended my best friend’s memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. I spoke to his mother then and again last year and am using what she told me as background for the female lead character’s comments about her son. I want to make it clear this is a very sensitive subject to me. I’m not blindly or glibly using anyone’s grief just to write a story. That said, it’s just a story, and one with a very plausible but highly unlikely twist.

Oh, and you Army guys? Please don’t try and tell me an infantry platoon commander is called a platoon leader in the Marine Corps. Thanks. 🙂


“What a bastard! How can he just walk out on you like that? Doesn’t he know you’re still hurting, too?”

“It’s not just about Thomas, Carol. His death didn’t cause this. It just brought all the other problems to the surface after we got through the worst of the grieving. It’s gotten to the point where neither of wants to live with the other any more and no one’s to blame.”

“It’s been five years now, Sage. I was just wondering. Do you still cry?”

“No. Not really. I still tear up whenever I think about him and what he’d be doing and what we’re all missing, but I haven’t really cried for two years. And say what you will about Bob, he cried more that first year than he had in his entire life. Come to think of it, I’d never seen him cry before. Not even at his mother’s funeral. So don’t blame him or make him out to be the bad guy, okay? I bear as much responsibility for this as he does.”

Carol knew she could ask her older sister anything, but she thought twice before asking. “Do you think he’s cheating you?”

Sage exhaled deeply and said, “No. Well, at least I don’t think so.” She sat there for a minute then said, “Well, maybe.” She looked over at her sister and confessed, “I haven’t exactly been there for him…in that way…since Thomas was killed in Afghanistan.”

“Who can blame you? You lost your only son, for God’s sake. Who’d want to have sex after something like that?” Carol said trying to be supportive.

“For the first months or even a year, sure, I agree. But five years of being unavailable? How could I blame him if he was having an affair? He’s not a monk, you know. I just can’t bring myself to let him touch me like that any more and maybe Thomas’s death was my excuse at first. I don’t really know and I’m at the point where I don’t really care.”

“The drinking doesn’t help and while I know this is shallow, he’s gained a LOT of weight. Between that and the hair loss…”

“Wow. Talk about shallow… That’s not his fault, Carol. Guys have no control over losing their hair and you know that. Try and have some compassion, okay?”

“Okay, fine. Going bald isn’t his fault. I understand that. A lot of guys look great with a shaved head. But why doesn’t he just shave it? That combover thing is hideous. You add that to the fifty extra pounds and him putting away that much beer every night and…”

“Let’s talk about something else, okay?”

“Sure. Of course. Whatever you want. I was just trying to let you know I’m on your side.”

Sage sighed and said, “There are no sides here, Carol. We all lost. Especially Thomas. He’s the one I feel sorry for. Not for myself.”

“Do think you might be ready to try and find someone else?” her sister asked. “I know quite a few single guys your age I could set you up with.”

“Carol? Seriously? I’m 42 and my husband just walked out two days ago. I need to take some time to focus on myself, you know?” She looked back over at Carol and said, “Hey, do you still go to aerobics class?”

“Ha! Not for the last six months. I’ve put ten pounds back on and it shows.” She tilted her head and asked her big sister, “Why? You wanna go together or something? I’ll go back if you’ll go with me, but let me tell you, you don’t need it.”

Sage chuckled. “You’ve never been a good liar, Carol.”

“And you’ve never been good at false modesty.” She walked over to her sister and sat next to her. “You were so mismatched with Bob. I know, I know. Don’t be mean. But you were so far out of his league. And you’re still beautiful.”

Sage snorted, but Carol kept right on going. “I can’t tell you how many men I’ve heard over the bağdatcaddesi escort years mention how attractive my sister was and still is. I’m not looking for sympathy here, but that never happens to me and I’m 38. You’re four years older yet you look five years younger.” She pulled back and waved her hands as she said, “Look at you! Your body is still hard, your skin is still soft and smooth. I mean, you can still wear long hair and get away with it. And don’t get me started on your boobs! I’ve been jealous since high school.” Carol had been a bookworm and an ‘A’ student and several of her friends had told her that was appropriate because it matched her cup size. Maybe it was true because Sage had not only been a cheerleader but a ‘C’ student, and had the cup size to match.

“And if that’s not bad enough, you’re the one who got her act together and went to college while I married Ted and had three kids.”

“Three beautiful, wonderful kids, Carol. All three of whom are alive and healthy.”

“Oh, God. I’m so sorry, Sage. I didn’t mean it like that. I just…”

“I know you didn’t. You were just sharing. Again, I’m not openly grieving anymore. I’m just reminding you to count your blessings. I’d give anything—including my own life—to bring Thomas back. Just keep it in perspective, okay?”

“Perspective really is everything, isn’t it?”

“That and acceptance,” Sage offered. “Those two things are very powerful. It took me two years to accept Thomas’s death. I’ve already accepted Bob’s having left after just two days, and I’m committed to not wallowing around in grief or pity this time. And to answer your question, no, I’m not ready to start dating.” She paused and said, “Dating. Yuk. I can’t even imagine starting over with someone else.”

“Yeah, but as much as dating sucks, living alone sucks even more. It might be a nice change for a while, but it seems like it would be very um…lonely.” Carol put her hand on Sage’s arm and said, “Tell you what. Why don’t you give yourself six months or so to put yourself first, then maybe jump back into the dating pool or at least stick your toe in the dating waters?”

Sage raised an eyebrow at her sister and making a nasty face said again, “Yuk.”

Four months later, Sage had progressed from the beginners’ level in aerobics to intermediate and just the previous week, to the advanced level. After an initial week of hurting so badly she’d thought several times about quitting, she now loved the way she felt both during and after a workout that pushed her to her limit. She loved it so much, she’d become the driving force keeping both herself and her sister going three times a week. Sage had no intention of slowing down at the gym in spite of having had to go back to work full time at the credit union where she’d once been the branch manager before the loss of her son made it impossible for her to focus or concentrate. Having been away for the last five years, she was lucky to even get hired back, and she was grateful for the work.

She still hadn’t gone on a date, but she had received many compliments and even been asked out several times. She’d gracefully turned turned down every offer, but she was secretly pleased to have been asked out by four different men who’d seen her at the gym. One of them was younger then her…okay, a LOT younger than her…and she’d made a comment to that effect. The younger man had just smiled and told her that these days age was nothing but a number. At the same time he let her know he thought she was hotter than any other woman there—including those in their 20s. She didn’t believe him, of course, as there were quite a few very attractive younger women, but it had been very nice to hear something so flattering especially considering how good looking he was. But no matter how good looking he was, she just wasn’t going out with some guy who was 25 or even 30.

Sage really was beautiful, with shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes, and a great smile. But she was also very practical and very much a realist. What could she have in common with someone who was 30 let alone 25? What would they talk about? What could they possibly share? She laughed once when she thought, “Sex.” She laughed because it was now going on six years since she’d engaged in that once-pleasant activity. So while that hadn’t changed since her separation, what had changed was a returned interest in it. She’d even secretly ordered a tiny vibrator on line and it had recently become her best friend several nights a week. For now, at least, it was all she really needed. However, she couldn’t help but notice it was no longer all she wanted, and the next day she finally told Carol she thought might be ready to date again.

“Great! I have just the guy for you!” Carol went on and on about how great he was. A high school principal, recently divorced, great hair, nice smile, blah, blah, blah. Sage agreed to the fix up and had a reasonably good time with the man, but she had very little in common with him. He wasn’t bad looking, but there wasn’t even beykoz escort enough chemistry between them for a kiss goodnight let alone a second date.

Her second date fared a little better. She’d enjoyed his company, laughed quite a few times, and had even let him kiss her goodnight, but there still wasn’t any spark. And then came number three who was named Jeff. After the first two bombs, Sage wasn’t exactly excited about another date, but he seemed like a possible match so she’d said yes.

Jeff has 45, good looking, very fit, and seemed have everything going for him. He’d come into the credit union and started flirting with Sage almost immediately. He persisted until she gave in and said ‘yes’ to a date, a very long kiss goodnight, and to a second date. That follow-on night out was enjoyable, Sage broke her record-long dry spell with what turned out to be the best sex she’d ever had. Considering the fact that Bob had been just ‘okay’ in that category during their 23-year marriage, which happened just one year out of high school, she felt pretty unqualified to judge what was great or even good when it came to lovemaking. All she knew is it was very enjoyable, and she decided she wanted to have a lot more of it with Jeff.

That is until his wife showed up in the middle of a dinner date at a very nice restaurant just outside of Seattle. To say she’d been humiliated was the understatement of the year. Even though Sage had no idea Jeff was married, his wife had unloaded on her in front of everyone calling her a slut, a bitch, a home wrecker, and several other choice words before she could get out of the restaurant. To her pleasant surprise, she not only hadn’t beaten herself up for it, she’d actually been able to laugh about how well she was handling it. As she thought about the incident and her reaction, she remembered the old jingle to a cigarette ad that said, “You’ve come a long way baby, to get where you’ve got to today.”

Sage decided to take it slow again for a while and hadn’t been another date for three weeks when she found a letter in her mailbox on her way in from work that not only caught her off guard but threw her for quite a loop. Before she opened it, she thought she recognized the name on the return address, but she just couldn’t place it. Brad Harmon from Portland, Oregon. She knew she’d heard it before, but she couldn’t put it in context.

She grabbed her letter opener, slit the top and sat down to read it after a long day at work standing on her feet in heels. After reading just the first line, her heart was in her throat and the feelings she hadn’t felt in several years came flooding back as though Thomas had just died. The handwritten note said,

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Moore,

I’m writing to the last known address I have for you, so I can only hope that my letter will reach you. I have no excuse for not writing you before, so I will offer none. I am however, very sorry for not having done so. My name is Brad Harmon, and I was your son’s platoon commander in Afghanistan when he was killed by an IED. I was in seat right next to him when our vehicle was blown up. I don’t remember anything that happened as I was knocked unconscious and woke up in a field hospital after having been medevac’d from where the explosion took place.

I learned of Thomas’s death the next day when my company commander, Captain Wes Mitchell, visited me and let me know. I hope you learned this from him, but he assured me that Thomas had died instantly and didn’t suffer. He also told me that he and our battalion commander, LtCol Mike Norton, would be writing to both of you. I should have done the same as soon as I was released from the hospital but never managed to do so. I am deeply sorry and ashamed I did not.

I can’t expect you to forgive me. I can only offer the sincerest of apologies. I was responsible for you son and I utterly failed in that responsibility. To say that I am sorry is so trite as to render it meaningless. Nevertheless, I offer you my most heartfelt condolences five and a half years too late.

Thomas was my driver and my radio operator. He was one of the nicest, most pleasant Marines I had the pleasure of serving with. His sense of humor made many difficult situations much more bearable. Everyone—and I mean everyone, liked him. He not only had a great sense of humor, but he had real character and that is a testament to the way he was raised. Because of that, he had something every Marine aspires to have—the respect of his brother Marines, mine included.

I cannot imagine how hard it was to lose him nor how much you miss him. I only knew him for just over a year, and yet I think of him every single day. I am aware that I may be opening old wounds by sending this to you, but I could no longer live with myself until I shared these thoughts with you. Thomas was a fine young man and a superb Marine.

I spent five years on active duty and got out three years ago. I now teach math in a local high school, but I often think of my fellow Marines and especially those who, caddebostan escort like your wonderful son, didn’t come home. Again, I cannot tell you how sorry I am and I cannot put into words how amazing a young man your son was.

If you are ever in the Portland area, I would be honored to meet with you.

My best to you,

Brad Harmon”

He provided his address and cell phone number, as well. Sage finished the letter and realized she’d been crying the entire time. She clutched the letter to her chest and thought back to the day the two Marine officers in dress blues showed up at their house and the first time she saw his flag-draped coffin after the agonizing four-day wait for his body to be brought home. She set the letter down and cried like she hadn’t done in several years. She cried until she could physically cry no more and then gently laid over on the couch. She reached for the letter and held it close until she fell asleep and didn’t wake up until early the next morning.

The letter had fallen to the floor, and a part of her was hoping it had been a bad dream. But there it was, at her feet, the moment she stood up. She put it back in the envelope and left it on the coffee table as she got ready to go to the gym before work. She pushed herself hard enough during aerobics to drive the thoughts in the letter out of her mind for a few hours, but by lunchtime she found herself thinking about the words Thomas’s lieutenant had written to her.

That was how she knew the name. Thomas always told her and her husband about everyone in the platoon. Who was the clown, who was ‘squared away’, who was in trouble. Lieutenant Harmon was someone Thomas respected. He hadn’t cared too much for the hard-ass staff sergeant who assisted the lieutenant, but he said he had a really good officer in charge of the platoon. Sage didn’t know a sergeant from a general, but if Thomas liked someone, he was okay in her book. And this young man had taken the time to tell her how much he respected her son, confirming Thomas’s assessment of the young officer’s character. A part of her wanted to meet him, but another part knew it would be even more painful than reading the words in the letter. Talking to someone who not only knew him but who was sitting next to him when he died would be gut-wrenchingly difficult so she dismissed the thought and did her best to compartmentalize the letter along with the rest of the things associated with her late son.

After several days, she decided the best thing to do was reply in writing and she sat down with paper and pen to write a letter for the first time in many years.

“Dear Brad,

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write us. Thomas’s father and I separated earlier this year, but I will pass your letter on to him.

Please know that there’s no need to apologize for anything and you have nothing to feel ashamed of. Thomas spoke very highly of you and I can assure you the respect was mutual. I don’t know how seriously you were hurt in the explosion, but I hope that all is well with you.

I’m please to know you went into teaching. We need more men in our high school classrooms to serve as role models for our sons who, many times have no father figure in their lives. I’m sure you are not only good at teaching math, but in showing young people what it means to have good character, something we did our best to instill in Thomas. Thank you for saying that about him, by the way.

I’m not sure when or even if I’ll ever get down to Portland, but should I have the opportunity, I will definitely look you up. And if you are ever anywhere near the Seattle area, I trust you will let me know. I can promise you a decent home-cooked meal and should need it, a place to stay. I know Thomas’s father would also be happy to welcome you into his home, as well.

I am grateful to you for your kind words and for your service to our country. Please take care of yourself,

Sage Moore

PS. I am enclosing a photo of Thomas and me taken the last day he was home with us. I’m sure you’ll recognize his boyish smile immediately.”

She also provided her cell number—just in case.

Sage blinked away a few tears as she took a last look at the photo of her son before slipping it inside the envelope with the one-page, handwritten note to Brad. She sealed it shut and dropped it in the mailbox on her way to work.

Six weeks passed since she’d mailed the letter and Sage noted with some melancholy that her divorce papers had been finalized. She took a quick look at the documents then filed then in a desk drawer closing that chapter in her life. She’d also moved up from teller to loan officer at the credit union and was now making enough money on her own to support herself again. She had very little left over each month, but she could comfortably pay all of her bills and afford a few things she felt were essential in her new job so as money allowed, she updated her wardrobe.

Sage had gone on several more dates and even had sex with one of the men. She was a bit surprised when she learned he was only 34, but he was very intelligent and well-informed and she had to admit the age difference really hadn’t mattered. She laughed when she thought to herself, “I should have gone out with that guy at the gym. I bet he’d have been great in bed.”

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