when the world smelled different

He’s writing a book about his childhood in Upstate New York.
“It’s called ‘When the World Smelled Different.’ It’s about the way things used to be…when things were better.”
“Children have rose-colored lenses. Everything’s better when you’re young.”
“You know what? You’re probably right, but anyway, that’s what I’m working on.”
“Who’s going to read it?”
“My mom.”

And that’s when I decided that he was honest and true. That’s when I decided it was ok to tell him I had woken up at another’s man’s house only hours before, after going through the same process.

It’s not too often during these first meetings that the men talk openly about their children and failed relationships. He had an affair. The marriage ended. The affair stuck around, but not for long. I told him about my own (current) relationship. He was the first one interested in the details.

We laughed. I cried. I don’t where the wind was coming from indoors but it was and my eyes watered…
and I told him the waiter was snarky because he was jealous of his eyes and he told me he wasn’t phishing for compliments and I told him I only state observations and he smiled and I told him I liked him and I blushed. It’s been years since I’ve blushed…like that.

“Where to now?”
“How about The Olympic Club?”
“I’ve never been. The guy I was with last night is a member, and I don’t even know what it is.”
“It’s an athletic club. I’m a member, too, mainly for the kids…they won’t let us through the front door looking like this — we’ll go through the back.”

On the way over he asked if I had heard of Bohemian Club.

“It’s for rock stars and artists. SUPER exclusive.”
“Do you have a membership there, too?”
“God, no!”
“Then why are you bringing it up?”
“‘Cuz we’re about to walk right past it.”

And there went another five dollar sign mystery I would never know.

He got my tone and could play along. That’s not an easy thing to do sometimes.

So the back door it was. We walked through the entrance that let us hear Spanish and Filipino and see embroidered names on chests. We took an elevator ride stopping at each floor, and he gave me the grand tour. (The grand tour being more like, “I see you have eyes and a brain so I’m just going to keep quiet but lead you.”)

I saw three women in that building. One was a housekeeper, one was lifting weights, and the last one was a black and white face in a black and white crowd, hanging on the wall.

“That’s ‘cuz women aren’t allowed.”

At one point and time that was true. That was when the world smelled different.

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