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English 212
2002 First Paper
On Serendip

Thinking Sex Paper 1

Deborah Sosower

The restaurant wasn't crowded when Leslie met her two older sisters for lunch one breezy summer day. After being seated and ordering three glasses of the house chardonnay and lunch, the three women began conversing.
"How's Aaron doing?" asks Leslie to her second eldest sister, Hannah.
"Well, he needs to concentrate a little more on his school work and a little less on his girlfriend Eleanor, but he's a good kid...they grow up so fast! He'll be off to college in another year, and then little Elizabeth in three."
"Hey, do you remember Sister Mary Eleanor?" exclaimed Mary, the oldest of the clan.
"Yes!" replied Hannah. "8Th grade? With her walking stick that she used to knock into the shins of any girls with their feet in the aisle?"
"Who?" asked Leslie. " I never had her, she left the year after you went to the Upper school, Hannah."
"She used to teach history," explained Mary. "Her class was right after lunch, and I remember some of us playing a horrible trick on her. You know the elevator they had at school? The one that would only work when the grates on both floors were closed? Well, we used to run up the stairs right before lunch ended and open the elevator grate so that it wouldn't work! We would then run to class, and 15 minutes later we would hear the huffing and puffing of Sister Mary Eleanor as she finally got up the stairway!"
Leslie snorted in mirth as Mary and Hannah, remembering the look of the Sister's face as she walked in out of breath and annoyed, laughed out loud.
"Gosh, do you even remember what it was like being a good Catholic school girl? I cannot imagine how I got through it all," said Leslie.
"A 'good Catholic school girl'?!" sputtered Hannah, choking a little on her chardonnay. "Come now, Leslie, you had at least 4 boyfriends in high school! It took Mary and me years before we could catch up to you!"
"Well, at least we're all caught up now," said Leslie slyly. "It still amazes me that after next month, we'll all be in our 50s," she added more forlornly. "Where will we go from here? All of our kids are in college or high school, except my Ella, and they'll be out in the real world soon! Ella's only in 8th grade and wearing clothes way too tight for her. She wants to be so old so fast. I don't think we ever had that drive to be seen as an adult. Well, at least once the nest is empty I can look forward to a lot more significant time with Peter!"
Mary, at 56, grimaces as she realizes that she will soon be approaching her 60s. Adult indeed. "What amazes me is how much our conversations have changed since when we were children. We used to talk about pimples and body odor, and when would we get our periods, or how to attract guys. Sure the sex is easier nowadays, and better, but we have all this other stuff to deal with now, too!"
"What do you mean?" asked Leslie, perplexed.
"Well, menopause, you know, and just trying to figure out whether or not to take HRPs," said Hannah.
"You are still thinking about that?" cried Mary. "I actually went of mine about 2 months before the articles about hormone replacement came out as being negative, but that was because I didn't really have symptoms of menopause. In fact, I didn't find out that I was post-menopausal until I went to the doctor about my irregular periods and he told me that they were just spotting, not real periods at all. After my daughter went to college, that stopped completely too."
The waiter came by with the women's salads and soups, briefly interrupting the conversation. The sisters ate with gusto, and a few minutes of pleasant chewing and swallowing sounds took the place of conversation.
"I always took it for granted that I would be on hormone replacement pills during menopause," said Leslie after having curbed her hunger.
" Only women with severe symptoms should really take it," explained Mary.
"It must be a lot harder to have to deal with the symptoms with nothing to help!" cried Leslie. " I guess I'm glad not to be caught up to you!"
"It's not so bad," said Hannah, "to be postmenopausal. I mean, there's no pills to take every night, and-
"You're lucky that you even had pills!" interrupted Mary. "I couldn't go on the pill, it messed up my circulation! But not having to put in the diaphragm every time is incredibly relieving. As well as freeing!"
"I'm happy not to take something with such bad side effects. The nausea, and dryness were real...pardon the expression, but irritating!"
Leslie and Mary giggle at Hannah's inadvertent quip, until Mary spoke again.
"Honestly, I'm glad that I don't have all the worries that I had before menopause. I've found my sex life with Henry a lot more enjoyable, and well, spontaneous now that we don't have to plan around me putting my diaphragm in. And it's sex without worry, without thinking about pregnancy."
"It really takes the edge off," agreed Hannah. "Though I don't know that I'd rather worry about pregnancy then have to deal with our annuals!"
Both Hannah and Mary grimaced at the thought, as Leslie looked on, a little puzzled. "Annuals?" she asked.
"Colonoscapy" said Mary.
"Barium Enema" exclaimed Hannah at the same time.
"What?" cried Leslie.
"You know, searching for colon cancer," said Mary. "I will never complain about that, not after Dad died of colon cancer, but still, it's not my dream doctor visit!"
"Oh oh," said Leslie. "I couldn't understand you! No, I am not looking forward to those...and I have a doctors appointment about a month after my birthday!"
"I was describing what happens for them to Elizabeth the other night," said Hannah. "She was asking about what it's like during menopause, since I was listening to my neighbor complaining about hot flashes that day. I had to explain to her about stuffing a tube up your rectum or filling it with liquid barium so that the doctor can look around up there. I think that she was pretty grossed out!"
"Which is the worst?" asked Leslie.
"Well, I'd say the colonoscapy," said Hannah.
"Oh, definitely!" cried Mary. "You fell like you have to shit for half an hour, and at that all over the table in front of the doctors who're trying to look up your ass!"
There was an uncomfortable silence, until Mary looked behind her at the waiter standing there, holding the bill. As soon as she'd seen him, all three sisters broke into gales of laughter. The embarrassed waiter smiled in response, thinking that he was going to call his mother that night and just tell her he loved her. The three women paid (leaving a 20% tip) and walked out of the restaurant, talking all the way. Thoughtfully, Leslie followed her sisters to their cars, and, honking goodbye, went home to Peter.

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