Old Maids
By M. Thomas

    "He's cute," Florence exclaimed to Dorothy, as they sat in lawn chairs in Florence's yard.  It was noon and the young man they were staring at was mowing a neighbor's yard. The young man saw them and waved. They both eagerly waved back.

    "If I was young again, I'd hurt that boy," Dorothy said.

    "My goodness, Dorothy," Florence said and laughed. "Is that all you think about?'

    "I'm not kiddin'. I'd eat him up. Make a man out of him."

    "Hush your mouth, girl. We're too old for that kind of talk. Lordy be!"

    "Speak for yourself. I ain't too old. You're never too old for that."

    The young man cut the motor off to bag the grass. He waved again. They waved back.

    "He knows we're watching him," Dorothy said.

    "You think he's nervous?"

    "Call him over here."

    "No!" Florence snapped. "Lord have mercy!"

    "Hey Mower-man!" Dorothy called.

    "Stop, Dorothy!"

    "Would you come over here when you're done?"

    "Yes ma'am," the young man said.

    "Dorothy! I can't believe you. Why'd you call him over here?"

    "Cause I want to take a good look at him. Plus you can see what you're missin', Florence. All these years I've known you, you've never had a man."

    "I have to!"

    "When? Not that I know of."

    "Yes I have," Florence said angrily removing her glasses and cleaning them with the hem of her dress.

    "Florence it's been your lot to not know any men. You being the only child, your momma and daddy was too strict. Kept you in church all the time. And that's where you've been all this time - in church and too stuck up."

    "I don't want to hear anymore of this talk," Florence said.

    "My husband's been dead ten years now," Dorothy said, "and it's time I get me somebody."

    "You better lose some weight first."

    "Listen to you," Dorothy said. "I might be fat, but I got skills."

    They sat not speaking for a while. After the young man finished mowing and got paid, he headed toward Florence and Dorothy.

    "Here he comes," Florence said, pulling at her dress to straighten the folds .

    "How old you think he is?" Dorothy asked .

    "Nineteen, twenty."

    He stopped the mower in front of them and wiped his brow.

    "What's your name young man?" Dorothy asked.

    "Kevin. Can I cut your grass for you?"

    "How old are you?" asked Florence.

    "Nineteen. I'll be twenty in August."

    "How much you charge?" asked Dorothy.

    "Twenty dollars."

    "What do I get for twenty dollars?" Dorothy asked.

    "I cut all of your grass. The front and the back. And I get it all up for you."

    "What do I get for thirty?"

    "All I charge is twenty."

    "It's my yard, Dorothy," Florence said and then asked, "What would you give me if I gave you forty?"

    "Go girl," said Dorothy and laughed.

    Confused, the boy said, "I only charge twenty dollars."

     "Listen here," said Dorothy as she struggled to lift her weight from the chair. "I live down the street. Why don't you come home with me and I'll fix you something to eat. You can cut my grass after you get done."

     "No. He's in my yard, and he was here first. You just go on home Dorothy. Don't you pay her no mind." She got up and shooed her hand at Dorothy. "Go on home. He's mine. I mean, he's here now. What's your name again, son?"


    "Woman, ain't you something!" Dorothy said with hands on her hips.

    "Go on home, I said. Go on."

    Dorothy stood there shaking her head and then left the yard.

    "You want something to eat, Kevin?"

    "No, ma'am. I'm not hungry."

    Florence looked him over. He was a good-looking young man.

    "You want something to drink maybe? I have some lemonade. I could make you some tea."

    "Alright. I'll have some lemonade."

    "Come up on the porch and have a seat."  She went inside and poured the young man a large cold glass of lemonade. She went to the front window and peeped through the blinds. I wonder if he's had a woman yet.  He looked around impatiently.

    Dorothy was right. Fate had been cruel to her. She was never popular in school, and she wasn't pretty like some of her friends.

    She got her purse and took it outdoors with her.

    "Here you go," she said, handing him the drink. Four big gulps and it was gone.


    "Here's the money to mow the grass," she said handing him a twenty. "Here's another twenty. I want you to come in when you're through."

    He looked puzzled.


    He lowered his head.

    "Here." She placed two more twenties in his hand. "Come to my bedroom when you get done. Okay?"




    "Everything will be alright. Okay?"


    She watched him start the motor and then turned and scrambled inside. She showered quickly and perfumed herself. Then she placed scented candles on each dresser and tabletop. She felt good listening to the hum of his mower as she got ready for him. Suddenly the mower went off. He'd now start bagging. Quickly she chose her shortest blouse, and then sat on the edge of the bed. She pulled the hem of her blouse nearly to her waist and laid back.

It would be his footsteps she would hear, or the calling of her name.  She reached over to the dresser and turned on some popular music she knew young people listened to. Then she lay back again and posed showing off her thighs. She turned and tried different other positions. Finally, she settled on her back and waited. The music made her feel young again.

    After a while Florence turned off the music. He was taking a long time. She hurried outdoors. The front and back yard was evenly cut but the young man was gone.

    "Kevin," she called. "Kevin, come back. Come back, Kevin."

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