Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Next President Without Clothes

He took a deep breath and stretched his back to get the juices flowing. He was lying on his side, but he twisted his back to further the task of getting up in the morning, a task increasingly made difficult by age. He maneuvered in the California king bed until he was propped up on the pillow, giving him a view of the open door to the master bathroom where his wife just emerged from the shower.

She toweled herself down, standing before the mirror that stretched from wall to wall above the two "his and her" marble sinks. He examined her nakedness. She had grown heavy. Not fat, but just wider and sloppier with age. Not much different from himself, he thought, but he remained convinced he still looked better without clothes than his wife. She had no makeup on, her hair was wet, and as she moved the towel across her body, it bunched up handfuls of lose body mass that did not happen to a younger woman.

His wife placed the pink towel down on the bathroom counter and picked up her glasses, an accessory rarely seen in public today because of her daily, if not nightly, use of contact lenses. She brushed her hair, standing before the mirror, and after she finished, she pulled hair out of the brush and fingered the strands into the flowered waste bucket on the floor. Shedding, is what he thought. This happens as you get older.

He took another deep breath and felt very, very lucky. He had this 'lucky moment' feeling often in his life, when he was elected governor, when he got to speak at the Democratic National Convention, and when he was elected each time to the Presidency. But when Presidencies end, so does the power, generally. Not with him. Because with him, he was lying on a bed watching the next President of the United States of America standing in the bathroom, pulling hair out of her head in the nude. No one else will witness this moment. Historians will write about them, as husband and wife, as the only co-president couple in American history; they will attempt to surmise their relationship, and attribute weight to it, give it gravity. There will be scholarship devoted to them. Books will be written, university courses taught, movies made, plays performed.

His wife walked out of the bathroom into the bedroom, still naked.

"Good morning," she said as she walked over to her dresser to retrieve a bra, which she always put on first before anything else. She was bosomy, which he liked, but they had lost their firmness. Age. It sucks. Thank god for his wife's remarkable ability to remain in denial.

"Good morning," he said.

And that was it. No further words were spoken that morning. She was dressed, packed, and on her cell phone before he even thought about getting out of bed. Oh, the beauty of it all, to be an ex-President and to be living with the next President. Why had God so graced him with luck?

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