"Do you miss sex?" asked S-J suddenly. "Well of course I miss it!" I screamed in my head, though I said "Yes, I do" quietly enough, if feelingly.
I went for my annual echocardiogram the other day, to make sure my heart is still in working order after bypass surgery 12 years ago. Unusually, there was a dishy young cardiac registrar doing the honours, and not the woman technician I remembered. I cheeked him a bit about finishing his lunch, and he responded well. (Cheeking takes the place of flirting if you are 77, and if the young man in question is only in his 20s! But at least you can look out through the eyes of an old woman and think whatever you like, and the object is hardly likely to notice anything.)
"Now that one would have done nicely as a toyboy" I thought to myself. It’s all very well having a joke about toyboys, though - even at my age you can still yearn for the touch of flesh and the gleam in the eye of a predatory male. Imagine it : you lie on a couch, half turned onto your left side, while the operator of the echo machine perches on the edge, nudged up against you so you don’t roll back again. His right arm is round your naked chest, and you lie there leaning against him while he moves the whatsit (scanning mike?) around on your bosom. (Did I mention there was a heatwave, and his sleeves were rolled up?)
Meanwhile you fantasise about being 50 years younger. Fortunately, the body learns to be less reactive than the imagination, and you behave appropriately, while chatting about heart conditions in general, and marvelling at the training which enables him to avoid eye contact, while closely in touch with more intimate parts of you .
"Right" he says eventually, "there’s no change, your heart’s doing fine". Little does he know! Next year he’ll be gone - (I know, because I asked!) - so there’s not even that to look forward to. Ay de mi! Well at least I know I’m still alive.
[The ‘scanning mike’ is called a transducer, and it converts sound waves into images on a monitor screen. (This is not a picture of my own heart however.) Incidentally the doctor told me that there is now a surplus of cardio-thoracic surgeons (to one of whom I owe my life), as less invasive treatments have been developed and doctors need training in these new techniques.][©JudithTaylor2005]