Playing the Game of Love for Keeps

When Love Matures

THE CARD PLAYERS by Paul Cézanne

The men looked as settled as the moonlit sky as they sat in their regular spot. The corner table in the bistro at the center of town is where they’d met once a week since early in their marriages. That was almost twenty years ago, now. Spring and summer storms had blown through them, wrecking havoc, which they’d mostly repaired. What wasn’t fixed was hidden away, swept under a rug, put out of sight where it could be kept out of mind.

Fall ushered in resting plants and order. The air was crisp - cool enough to refresh them and make them smile as they leaned into it on their way here and there, but it wasn’t so cold as to nip their noses and make them drip, or sting their eyes and cloud their vision.

It was the autumn of their lives, and their loves. All but their final storms had finally passed them by. Now it was simply time for joy.
THE BLUE VASE by Paul Cézanne

“Did Hortense like the flowers you picked for her?” Paul asked as he lit his pipe and watched his friend deal five cards each.

“Said she did. Said they must have been the last blossoms on the hill. She put them on the windowsill in that hand painted vase she’s so proud of, and gave me a kiss on the lips with God and everybody looking on — the dog, both boys, her mother. Can you beat that?”

Hortense Fiquet in a Striped Skirt by Paul Cezanne

Paul’s eyebrows shot up. “Kissed you in front of family? No I can’t.”

“She never would have done it years ago, but age has made her more sure of herself. That woman knows what she wants, and it’s me.” The man chuckled. She knows what she wants and it’s me,” he repeated. “And I want her.”

“What do you have?” Paul asked.

His friend showed his hand. He had a king and a queen.

“Beats me.” Paul folded his hand. He poured them a drink from the bottle on the table. They drank in silence thinking their own thoughts, making their own plans. Then Paul dealt them another hand.

Author Carol McClain Craver

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SHADOW OF THE FINAL STORM
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