Summer 2016 — THE POTOMAC

Movie Stars

  Jennifer Lagier

Camille muses over a National Inquirer headline: "Burt Reynolds Opens Up About Sex After Eighty." Tries to imagine an octogenarian without erectile dysfunction who knows his way around a girl's body, but all she can envision is a hunky Burt at his prime in Deliverance, Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Back then, she too was a hot little number—turned heads, men hitting on her at the disco, in bars and restaurants. Burt would have appreciated her lithe slimness, ready smile, lust for adventure. She fantasizes his hands cupping her taut ass, stroking her breasts, erect nipples. Feels herself growing moist. Even now, he still makes her thighs quiver.

Those were the days when she was involved with Leon, a movie star wannabe who had landed a few minor roles, but never quite made it. He was her placeholder love, a nice–enough guy, paid the rent, introduced her to friends, took her to parties where they hung around the fringes of fame, both hungry for a break and attention. As his TV and movie parts petered out, so did her interest. When a flashier man with a larger wallet arrived on the scene, Camille made her exit.

The thirty years that have elapsed since then have extinguished her optimism, diminished lust, damaged her body. She wonders where Leon is now, if he found happiness or success, still thinks about her. Visiting a stroke–disabled friend at Elysian Fields, an assisted care facility, she shivers, fears what aging means in terms of romance, independence, adventure.

In the cheerful lobby, she sees old women in wheel chairs staring blankly at a flat screen showing a popular soap opera. A dapper gentleman is holding court by the fireplace, regaling a bevy of blue–haired matrons with insider stories. His face, despite wattle and wrinkles, looks somewhat familiar. With a shock, she realizes it's her old lover, Leon. He winks and waves as she passes. Her stomach flips, chest aches. He hasn't a clue who she is, doesn't remember.

Now she wishes she had taken the plunge, thrown herself at Burt, several other A–list actors while she still had her pretty. With body and looks, she could have seduced the lot of them, had a mansion, maids, and chauffeur. Maybe walked away with a nice chunk of change, possibly leveraged an immense divorce payoff. Tells herself it doesn't matter, that she's always managed to find the next lover, land on her feet. At her age, who needs an old man who requires round the clock care? She is better off single.

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