"So I was lying someplace warm, face turned up, falling back beneath a dry heat.   One that heaved itself on you, the heat, welcome, now replacing all else; it allowed for maybe a vague sweat, enough to be sexy anyway.  And above me there was a ceiling, a tree canopy filled with wildlife, monkeys, vines, and things. Then below, there was a bed of sorts; one filling the room's entirety, something like a harem's ideal, filled with fabrics and pillows, stuff like that.   Oh yeah, and him too." Lauren said. 

Outside, it was hot.  But at least the sun had started to wane.   It was originally why Lauren and Tiffany had traveled down to Mexico, the sun, and cheap tequila.  Cancun, a little commercial, but at least it was an easy place to escape from Texas.  If you paid attention, sometimes you could make it from Dallas or Houston for a couple hundred, all inclusive.  And that's really what they wanted, what they'd come here for anyway.   Everything included, now an excuse not to think, at least not about anything mundane; rather it was an excuse to wander.

Lauren continued.  "And so then there was another one, though the two always ran together; I'm not sure which dream came first.   I guess this other remained equally theatrical, just this time in someplace cold.  Cold enough for a fire somewhere over in a stone hearth, across from a bed – a big bed with posts, posts big enough to dance on, spin around, rising way up high.   And since its cold, with the heat rising, this bed floats neatly beneath us, covered, warm, dark beneath, nude.  Completely naked, and then him again; his body my bed frame, his chest my pillow, same as before."  

Tiffany joined in, twisting her hair up, back into a knot.  "So the only difference is location?"  She and Lauren had analyzed dreams like these since they were kids sitting on the floor of the local bookstore, looking up the definitions on images according to Freud, the Navajo, Jung and Sylvester Stalone's mom.   More recently, however, they'd opted for their own.

"Yeah, sure."  Lauren said.  "Both are secluded, sanctioned away from the rest of the world, though it doesn't matter because you have yours there with you.  Right?  You together, you and him. So, you don't need anybody else.  Maybe that's the point.  It's not so much the setting as it is the person that eliminates life's numbing boredom, allows you to loose yourself, through, maybe, consumption. Yeah, consumption."

"Consumption?"  Tiffany said.  


"Sure, you know, consumption – the ability to consume another to the point of loosing yourself, only to be recovered through the course of becoming, the inhabitation of your own abjection.  Right?  An inversion of sorts, the type that occurs maybe when spirits touch, exchange a bit of whatever the hell it is spirits are made of, remaining forever new.   Now, if it's with the right person, both come away stronger, sort of like hybrid vigor, only crazy."  Lauren took a shot.

Tiffany nodded.  "Yeah sure. I know what you're saying, don't think I've ever really had anything like that before.   Sounds kinda like some eastern stuff I read once.  Maybe I should go find myself an eastern guy, let him teach me.

Lauren sat back.  "Sure, why not?   Sounds nice."

They watched as the sun began sinking into the ocean, now pulling the tide down along with it.   The night before they'd spent beach combing.  Collecting the bits of stone and polished glass scattered along the first sand bar, now smashed together in a plastic bucket.   Tiffany wanted to take them home, said she wanted to use them for an art project, something she'd been thinking about.

"So I thought you were a pessimist."  Tiffany said.  "What's the change?  You know, you're starting to sound like one of those puffy housewives we were watching earlier. The type who smiles way too much, out here turning red on the beach.   You can always catch them flipping through to good parts in their 'bodice rippers,' idealizing everything they know their husbands will never be."

"Maybe that's it.  After the last year, I think I must know what it's like to be one of them, pathetic, feigning headaches because sleep really is that much more appealing.  Everyone thinks what you have is perfect, ideal, everyone but you of course.  It fit the prescription anyway, you know David, my parents' dream, an older attorney, class action, running some company on the side, worth plenty, sure why not.   I don't think I've ever been more miserable.  Because in reality, it's a façade, there's nothing, nothing there, completely empty."   Lauren said.

She thought about the last time they'd traveled together, Lauren and David.   He'd spent too long examining various yachts, drooling over their polished decks, while she burned under the heat of the sun.  They'd originally gone to Marbella, because it afforded him some name recognition, something to tell the boys.  Lauren had finally complained she was hot, one too many times, because that's what had supposedly caused the explosion.   Really, she was sorry he was an asshole.

Tiffany waved over two more shots.  "I didn't know it was that bad.  How long has it been now, you're still with him though?"

"No. Not really.  Haven't seen him long enough to end it, but I left him at home, didn't I?   The thing I realized the last few months – I have my own money.  I don't need his; it's not worth it.  If I'd really wanted someone for their money, I would have married that Boeing guy anyway.  So we've seen each other maybe twice in the last three months.   I think he's got someone new in NYC anyway. You know that would be great, make it easy, what could anyone say to me about that?"

Tiffany nodded.  "Yeah, I think there's something wrong with older men.   Ten years plus is just too much.  'Hello, daddy.'"

Lauren smiled.  "So, I thought older men were supposed to be more experienced, more patient, into the whole woman thing. That's what they like to say anyway."

"Yeah right."  Tiffany said.   "Don't fool yourself, that's how they get away with it.  The older men I've found are lazy and self-centered, more interested in how they look, which is why they're dating you."

"You know, you might be right," Lauren said. "That's probably why in all those women's romance novels, the formula always involves a woman, who, bored with her much older man, trades him in for the younger stud, goes all the way back to Jacobean drama – they were obsessed with all that."

Tiffany laughed.  "Yeah, you remember that guy back in undergrad; we called him 'Numps.'   He was about twelve years older, and he used to always tell me he had to save his energy for his marathons.  Once he said that after I'd had a little too much to drink, so I told him 'Peewee disappoints me.'   Really all I wanted was a reaction, since he knew it wasn't true."

"That's pretty awesome." Lauren said. "What did he do?"

"Told me to quit being immature, then, that he was going to sleep." Tiffany said.

"What an ass.  He could have at least proved you wrong." Lauren said.

"Yeah well, we broke up shortly after that." Tiffany explained.

"Was that it?"  Lauren asked.

"More or less.  It was the sex thing again.   Exactly like what you were saying. You know, I think you can tell how much a guy really cares about you, as opposed to how much he values what you have to offer, by how much specific attention he pays you in bed.   As opposed to his simply going through the same motions he's used on every girl since high school, and then of course assuming the problem is yours when his famous football moves fail.   You know what I mean.  So, I guess this last time it was that again.  Numps asked after maybe two minutes, if he could finish and when I said 'no,' he did anyways.   I yelled at him to get out, and that was the end of it."  Tiffany said.

"Did you ever hear from him after that?" Lauren said.

"Yeah, you know his family owns the ranch next to ours.   Numps ended up marrying some other woman a couple months later.  All he wanted was a wife and kids, didn't matter who gave it to him.  But I still have to see him bouncing around the deck with his new son every Fourth of July."  Tiffany said.

"Well, just be glad it's not you." Lauren said.   "Imagine five minutes for the rest of your married life."

"If it was even that."  Tiffany said.

"Yeah, older men suck." Lauren said.

"So why do we do it then?  Because we know, we always know from the beginning it's not going to work, but we convince ourselves otherwise, listen to the hope of others, hope maybe?" Tiffany said 

"Alright, so here's my pessimistic take." Lauren said.  "Regarding all these great ideals, this supposed consumption – really, what's the likelihood of it ever happening?  If you look at statistics, from the divorce rates alone, it's not good, not good at all.   Less than fifty percent, and that's without adding in all the others that forgo the possibility of something brilliant, something shining, something reliable.  Reliable like the minivans, golden retrievers, and grey sweatpants.  I don't ever want to have to wear, sweat pants, you know?"

"Yeah, I don't know how anyone ever lets themselves get to that point."   Tiffany said. 

"I think it must be slow in coming.  I mean look at the relationships we've humored before." Lauren said. 

"They amount to nothing really, nothing that you or I wouldn't throw away if something better were to come along."

Tiffany thought about Andrew.  He was nice enough.   He treated her well, a starving artist, though, who seemed to like the fact that she wasn't.   Yet he told her he didn't want her getting an MBA, preferred her as a photographer, his level anyway.   They'd gotten in a fight over in Ireland, a trip she'd paid for.  She'd tried to run away drunk, so he'd taken her clothes.   As if that mattered, he'd forgotten how she'd chased him out to the parking lot of their complex after her bible, wearing not much more than now, earlier that summer.  But then back in Ireland, when Tiffany woke up the next morning, she'd found all the hotel furniture tied with a backpacking rope to the door.  Andrew didn't want her to get away.

As the sun gave way to the moon, the temperature fell. So for now, anyway, they'd escaped to Cancun. Cancun, a little commercial, with another two nights left in the package.