I laughed too and with considerable effort tried to get my erection back under the leg of my shorts. I answered his question honestly, “It's a funny thing. I was thinking about last night, except both Donna and Anna were there. Not separately though. They were the same person. One moment she was Donna and the next she was Anna. It was weird. I think of Anna all the time but never in connection with anyone else.”
Eddie sat down across from me and said, “Maybe you've never thought of anyone else like you thought about Anna. Maybe you've never loved anyone else like you loved Anna. Maybe you're falling in love with Donna like you were in love with Anna.”
Eddie's words hit me like a sledgehammer to the chest. My lungs seized in my throat. Tears burst from my eyes. I was embarrassed to cry in front of Eddie. I knew he'd tease me about it. I turned away from him and resisted wiping my eyes with my hands as that would be a dead give-away.
Eddie was quiet for several moments and then he said, “It's okay Bro. Anna was beautiful and brilliant and there will never be anyone to replace her. You've spent thirteen years grieving her loss. She would never have approved of this. Maybe it's time to put all that energy into loving someone again. I think you're telling yourself that person just might be Donna.”
I knew Eddie was right. The conjoined personas of Anna and Donna in my reverie about last night's sexual encounter was probably telling me something. I knew that I was consciously evaluating my relationship with Donna but maybe I'd already subconsciously concluded that assessment. I still felt a reluctance to trust that assessment. We'd only had a few dates and my natural analytical tendencies were screaming at me. I hoped that I could reason with those tendencies. I was on a slow boat heading toward Donna and I would get there when I got there.
I gathered myself and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. Eddie felt the tension and tried to change the subject. “Good news. I think I've found a place to rent short term and then I'm going to rent a place up the lake for the winter. There's no way I'm going back to the city after meeting Sylvia. I'm gonna stick around to see if there's any chance there.”
I welcomed the chance to divert the conversation away from me. Eddie told me about how Sylvia had explained that she'd had a hysterectomy a couple years ago and she obviously couldn't have kids. He could tell that I already knew. He said, “I was about to suggest that she could adopt, but I got the sense that she either didn't want kids or she thought she was too old to start. I'm not hard over on kids so I was glad I hadn't said something to make her think I wanted kids and she didn't. I really like her Jack-O.”
I was happy for him. He was on cloud-nine, at least for the moment. By Eddie's own admission, he had flitted from romance to romance. Some just ended like many romances do and others were ended by a transfer to some other Air Force base around the world. None came close to marriage. He was always envious of my relationship with Anna.