A NOTE: This is the third story from an April stop along a river in eastern Pennsylvania. For the story just before this one, which explains Jerry’s behavior, see On The Road #8, Ann & Jerry part 2
I have been purposefully vague about Ann and Jerry’s identity and the location of their summer cabins in the Pocono Mountains. With this story you’ll understand why I am protecting these delightful folks, whom I cherish. If you should recognize them I’d love for you to get hold of me and tell me your experiences with them.
Jerry and I spent a second day fixing up their cabins, tightening screws and checking wires and clearing brush. But mostly I remember Jerry always eager to get out the chess set. After breakfast and after lunch. The minute a break was declared. To this day I doubt he cared that much about getting the cabins in order for their guests — he had a chess partner!
At one point we had put up the kings and rooks and pawns and I found myself in the garage. I don’t remember if I was looking for a tool or getting paint, but I do remember concentrating on something when in walked Jerry. As matter-of-factly as if we were discussing what color to paint the screen door he told me he’d always thought of having sex with a guy and he’d like to get it on with me.
That, my friends, caught me off guard. I was in my early twenties and had never been propositioned by a man in his seventies before. Much less a man who’s wife had been cooking me meals and with whom we’d all been sharing stories and the comforts of their home.
But mostly I reacted to his age. I couldn’t imagine sex with him, no matter how much I had come to like him. To be kind (I told myself it was to be kind. Actually it was from years of making it a default reaction to lie about my sexual intent. But that’s another story) I told him I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that because he was married.
“It’s because I’m too old, isn’t it?” Jerry asked.
I lied, no, it’s because he was married and I liked Ann and wouldn’t feel right about it. Some of which was true. But mostly it was a lie. I was reacting to his age.
And that, dear reader, is one of the regrets I carry from my hitch hiking days. Not being honest to Jerry. Why wouldn’t I have been? He was certainly honest and open with me.
And, of course, I’m curious what it would have been like to smile and have fun instead of defaulting to my usual excuse-finding escaping when the dicy and much desired reality of lust comes dancing about.