Maye Tuong was part Chinese, had three brothers and one sister, all married and moved out, and she lived with her mother and father across the Saugus River, at the upper end where a small wooden bridge spanned the water. Her mother was the Chinese parent, not the father, Henry Tuong, who was, as far as I knew, an old Lynn boy from way back who brought his wife home from one of his wars as a Marine. Shanghai rang a bell but I was never sure of where. I did know some other things about Maye, fact or fiction as you’ll have it, which had settled into my mind because she was extremely shapely for one thing; and she never had a date, at least I never saw her with a fellow. One time in the past, I heard, she’d been embarrassed at the beach when someone spotted a patch of thick, black hair on her backside, just below her waistline. A small patch it was, but a patch out of place. A few tough and pointed wisecracks were tossed off at that time and Maye was never seen at the beach again, never seen in a bathing suit again. I was one of those who never saw Maye at the beach or in a bathing suit. I never saw that thick, black out-of-place patch either, but had thought about it, I’m willing to bet, on a daily occurrence, perhaps hourly if you’re aware of the routine. Maye, on this night when the story really began, was 28 years old, or thereabouts, having unsettled some of my recent and late night thoughts, the older woman kind that haunt and capture and beset the young mind; let me teach you a thing or two, young man, you naughty boy, you.
Laura came to the door in a bathrobe, wet hair piled into a towel atop her head. Her face was pink as she gestured him inside. “Sorry babe, sorry, lost track of time. I’ll just be a minute, promise!”