“Well,” I said, “I guess I am, at least for the next, let me see, four months. After that, we’ll see.”
She didn’t respond to that in words, just waited me out. I gave in to her silence. “Carol and I have been married for almost twenty-five years,” I told her.
She waited me out some more, so I gave her the hard part: “But all she’s willing to guarantee right now is, we’ll stay married right up till New Year’s Day. Then we sit down together and decide if we want to stay married for life, or—”
She didn’t stop outwaiting me, just reached up for the hot coffeepot and refilled our cups.
“Or not,” I said. “See, this was happening on this last New Year’s Day, when we were making jokey resolutions. Only when we started making resolutions about staying married, it stopped being a joke. Shall we hit the SFWA room party now?”
We hit it, and once we got past the guardian at the gate she didn’t need any further help from me. Jack Williamson and a few other old-timers were looking at some foreign sf magazines near the door, and when she caught sight of him and started toward him, he gave her a big “Hello.” Turned out they had met at some Midwest thing a year or so before.
I spent the next half hour talking SFWA business with whoever happened by, and just when I was thinking of telling her I needed to leave, she came over to me to say she had to get up in the morning but Jack’s room was on the same floor as hers in that other hotel, and he had offered to walk her home.
“And he promised to let me in here again, so I won’t need to bother you,” she said, and thanked me and was gone.
To be continued.