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Saddle Sore

It was one of those parties that come around very seldom. A lifetime (and I mean a long lifetime) of friends invited for a birthday party, and, as always, prolific lives create large circles of friends that don’t always know each other. But for the most part (and like a group of valley bandits), we’d all heard about each other, so conversations were easy to start ” or finish.

Anyway, I opted for the secluded back deck to enjoy my dinner and soon found myself joined by a most articulate and entertaining woman, one who knew a lot about cowboys and who could easily have been a university professor had she not chosen the Roaring Fork Valley for her home.

With a modicum of history and rapport established, she offered that, “My husband and one of your cousins had the most wonderful love affair imaginable. It was almost magical.” As I waited silently for the rest of the story, she abruptly finished with a long exhalation, “Of course, they never consummated it.” She was certain about that.



Her words resonated, as I recalled a similar situation in my own past. In the ’60s, during my college days, a graduate music student from a neighboring pod of academia had been granted the task of getting the University of Colorado symphonic orchestra into shape for a spring concert. A friend of mine was a soloist in the musical society, so I stopped in from time to time to get an inside view of the entire process.

Thus it was that this particular guest conductor, having been introduced to me earlier (and supposing I had no tangible assets with which to further his career), requested that I take his bored spouse out of the constrained conservatory and show her around campus.



The wife, a recently graduated college cheerleader, had a rather delectable look about her, and it was with some enthusiasm that I began my job as a diversionary device. She was undeniably in love with her talented husband, but felt a terrible neglect due to his tedious schedule and could expound for hours on her feelings and desires, hopes and dreams. Almost immediately, we fell into an easy alliance that moved slowly, albeit effortlessly, from meeting in the nearby coffee shop to lying in the campus grass to the eventual day we nervously opened the door to my basement apartment.

When all was said and done, we knew each other in the most intimate of ways, both physically and mentally, but, in the words of another, we never “consummated” the relationship, at least not in the strict biblical sense. For reasons that seemed indisputable, she wished to retain some allegiance to her matrimonial commitment, and that was her way of accomplishing it. The ultimate physical act between us would have created trauma in her marriage, but our otherwise sensuous wanderings, both delicate and furious, apparently did not.

I suppose you could call it an affair, and although it definitely bordered on “magic,” it wasn’t exactly “wonderful.” Still young, we learned much from each other that we might not have in any other kind of affaire d’amour.

In the end, my recent dinner companion’s marriage remained intact, as it deservedly should have. The effects of my own dalliance (tragic or otherwise) would have been impossible to calculate, since I never saw the girl again, had it not been for the continued friendship of the symphony soloist. The husband, that whiz kid with virtuoso genius flowing through his veins, eventually became relatively well-known on the dinner theater circuit, and a 1990s photo shows his still-striking wife, my illicit lover of a spring semester, smiling at his side.

Tony Vagneur writes here on Saturdays and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.


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