She adjusted his serape so it covered his shoulder. He leaned into her, seated on the low stone wall, his eyes closed but seeking comfort. She remained standing and watched the singer.

She bent and murmured in his ear. “Still spinning?”

“A little, but I don’t think I’m gonna hurl,” he answered. She rubbed his shoulder.

It was Open Mic Night at one of the local outdoor bars in the Mexican resort town. The woman on stage was singing a Stevie Nicks song that matched her range perfectly. The singer looked like she was enjoying herself. She looked free. The overflow crowd warmly applauded when she finished.

“Man, I would never want my mom to see me that drunk,” she heard one man comment to another behind her. Despite the chilly air, her face burned as she weighed whether or not to correct the stranger.

The man she was soothing wasn’t her son. If her ex-husband could fuck around with girls twenty years younger, why couldn’t she do the same?

She had been surprised to discover that it wasn’t that hard to find younger men. As long as they didn’t say “cougar” out loud, she could pretend it was all just for fun. The young bucks were uncomplicated, easy to manipulate, and could screw all night. Seeing the look on her ex’s face the first time he bumped into her and her latest Adonis was richly satisfying.

She looked down at her boyfriend and his dingy serape. This definitely wasn’t going to be an “all night” type of evening. She’d be lucky if she got him back to their hotel room without him vomiting on her sandals.

The road trip to Baja had sounded exciting when he suggested it. She knew that she would be footing the bill, but she imagined authentic pollo en mole, rousing mariachi bands and romantic strolls on moonlit beaches. About six hours into the drive – the longest amount of time she’d spent with him without having sex – she realized he was deadly boring.

She wondered if he felt the same about her, and if that was why he drank himself into oblivion every night. He kept saying the tequila was stronger in Mexico, but she was smart enough to know avoidance when she saw it. Hell, she was married to it for fifteen years.

Tomorrow she would drive him to the airport and send him home. But no need for her to rush back to the snow up north. She would stay here, and at next week’s Open Mic Night, the woman singing would be her.



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