Where did all the hippies go?

The Man closes the door firmly behind him not wanting us to be disturbed, though the staff know better than to interrupt. He approaches me and we share a tender embrace. I feel his hands slowly exploring; there’s a tingle when he finds a sensitive place.

We disrobe. Years ago it would have a quick unclipping of a few hooks and the discarding of frilly lace, now it is the slow, controlled untangling of orthopaedic supports. We lie down on the bed and cuddle, waiting for the blue pill to work it’s magic.

I think of all the men I have been with over the years. The first nervous fumblings with school boys behind the sheds. Running away with the BFF to join a commune. Free love had been fun, but when the drugs had become harder than the boys, it was time to go home.

The excitement of marching in the Moratorium; we really thought we can could stop the war; even if that cop wouldn’t take the flower Julie offered him.

Meeting the Father Of My Children at the Sunbury Music Festival; doing it against a tree listening to Max Merritt; such a cliche.

The exhilaration of Whitlam’s election; the despair of The Dismissal.

Trips to Nimbin gave way to marriage, houses, jobs and mortgages; bearing the Son Who Never Visits, then not long after the Daughter Who Never Visits as well. The affairs – some his; some mine.

The BFF met the love of her life and moved away. The cards growing more infrequent, eventually stopping altogether, then returning unopened. Julie – where ever did you go?

There is a stirring below as the monster awakes; I take the condom from the bedside table and put it on him, while having a slight chuckle to myself.

“Condoms! What do you want with condoms at your age?” had said the Daughter Who Never Visits ever so shocked.

“The obvious.” I replied casually, recalling a not dissimilar conversation from when she was a teenager that she has clearly forgotten.

What the Son Who Never Visits would say I can only guess. Not really something he could bring up at his Rotary Club meetings I suppose.

Now suitably attired, we change positions and The Man takes me. I close my eyes and revel in the familiar feeling.

“But Lorraine, Bob looks nothing like your Russell?” had said that snotty Mrs Lewis.

That had taken some fast talking and even quicker thinking to get out of. I could hardly say that it wasn’t his face that I thought was similar.

That bitch! Oh how she lords it over the rest of us because her children visit regularly. “Like clock work” she says smugly. What she doesn’t know – because I overheard them one day – is that they have already spent the inheritance and are terrified that she’ll change the will.

He thrusts into me and I think back to the night the Daughter Who Never Visits had been made. The storm had raged outside, while inside our sweat had mingled. The Father Of My Children had shook; then there was an enormous thunder clap and the earth shook as well; in that moment I knew I was pregnant.

The Man shudders and gets off of me. There is no thunder clap today.

I know while he is with me he is thinking of his late wife; he sometimes starts to call me by her name, before he catches himself. I don’t mind as I understand. If he is curious about what I am thinking, he doesn’t say.

We help each other dress.

“Shall I see you at dinner?” he says as I pass him his sticks.

“I’ll be there later.” I say as he helps me up to my walker.

The Man nods in understanding.

It’s late so I hurry to get to the other wing, but the staff would have have held back his meal as they know I will want to feed it to him myself. It is all I can do now for the Father Of My Children, even though his last glimpse of recognition of who I am is long gone.


All people, places and events depicted are real, just not in this universe.

© Paul Shipley


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