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“So tell me about some of your prior . . . involvements.”
They had had a wonderful dinner—roast chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans, topped off with a (store-bought) cherry pie. After the obligatory movie, they had begun their cuddling session with some imaginative positions that could have come out of the Kama Sutra. Now, after some mutually satisfying climaxes, Gloria was in a mood for talk. She wasn’t sure that Dale—who, as is usual with men, had expended a bit more energy than she had—was up for it, but she figured it was a good way to spend some down time. And maybe it would get him inspired for more enjoyment later on.
“Which ones do you want to know about?” he said nervously. “The young ones or . . . the not-so-young ones?”
“Well, from a purely personal perspective I suppose I’d like to hear about the not-so-young ones. I assume you haven’t always been interested in us middle-aged types.”
“You’re not middle-aged!” he said indignantly.
“Of course I am,” she said tranquilly. “And there’s no shame in it. I’m proudly on the downward slope of life.”
She had said that with an utterly straight face, but Dale knew she was teasing him.
“Anyway,” she went on, “just tell whatever you want to tell.”
“Well,” he said with sudden enthusiasm, “there was this girl in college—”
“A girl of your age, you mean?”
“Of course! Her name was Anita, and she was in my comp lit class second semester of senior year. I don’t have to tell you she was pretty: almost all girls are pretty at that age. She was petite, with a kind of elfin face and quite short brown hair that framed her face in the cutest way. She had nice, gentle curves everywhere that made you just want to wrap her up in your arms and hold her forever. But her best feature was the little twinkle she had in her green eyes—not to mention the little half-smile she gave you whenever she liked something you said.
“Anyway, Anita was having a bit of trouble with some of the French books we were supposed to be reading, and so I began helping her. I mean, my French wasn’t great, but it was better than hers. One thing led to another, and we . . . you know . . .”
“Began sleeping together?” Gloria supplied. “She wasn’t your first, was she?”
“Oh, God, no!” Dale burst out. “I’d lost my virginity in high school.”
“To a classmate, I hope.” Don’t tell me it was to some scrumptious female teacher . . .
“Yes, to a classmate,” he repeated with emphasis.
“And was Anita a virgin?”
“Not hardly! She’d been around the block, let me tell you. In fact, she taught me the pleasures of, um, you know—”
“Ah, I see. I wondered how you’d picked up a taste for that.”
“Well, I’ve always liked women’s bottoms.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of that.”
“Anyway, we got on splendidly, spending almost every night either in her room—she lived in a boarding house with several other students—or my tiny little dorm room. She actually felt a little more comfortable at my place: I guess she was a little embarrassed at how, um, loud we were . . .”
“Mmm, yes, I see your point.”
Dale suddenly got serious. After a pause he said: “I even once told her I loved her.”
“You did?” Gloria said. For it was exactly this that she had prevented Dale from saying on that train platform a few days ago.
“Well, yes,” Dale said indifferently, “but I’m not really sure I meant it.”
“Not really. It’s something I felt I had to say, after all the sex we’d had. I mean, I didn’t wish to suggest that I just wanted her body. And in fact I didn’t: I did like her a lot. Whether I loved her, I’m not so sure . . .”
“What about her?”
“What do you mean?”
“What did she say when you told her?”
Dale smiled at the memory. “All she did was stroke my face gently”—he demonstrated with Gloria’s face—”and say, ‘That’s so sweet.’ And then she put me in her and rode me until I came.”
“That’s it? She never said it back to you?”
“And that didn’t bother you?”
“No, not much. I mean, I never said it to her again. I didn’t mind that she didn’t love me. Our sessions were so intense that they kind of took the place of love. Does that make any sense?”
“Maybe.” Maybe it does when you’re that age.
“So then graduation came, and her mother came to visit.”
The way Dale had said that raised immediate red flags in Gloria’s mind.
“Don’t tell me you slept with your girlfriend’s mother! Oh, Dale, how could you? What were you thinking?”
“Now wait a minute!” he said frantically. “It wasn’t like that—exactly. It’s a long story, and I need to tell it my way. Just listen before you judge.”
“All right,” she said, abashed. “Go on and tell it.”
“Well, it’s like this. Anita’s parents, Paula and Lucas, had been married for almost twenty-four years. Then all of a sudden Lucas just bolted, running off with—”
“Don’t tell me: his secretary.”
“Worse kartal escort than that.”
“What could possibly be worse than that?”
“He ran off with Paula’s best friend.”
“Oh,” Gloria said heavily. “Okay, that’s worse.”
“Anyway, this had happened just six weeks before graduation. Anita was pretty much a basket case—she barely got through final exams, and she passed by the skin of her teeth. I could only imagine what her mother was going through.
“I got an inkling of that when we went to pick up Paula at La Guardia Airport—she was flying in from Pittsburgh. You’ve never seen a woman more shellshocked: she looked as if a truck had run over her.”
“I know the feeling,” Gloria said darkly.
“I mean, she was comatose—she barely kept up with us, trudging along as if to her execution. She could have been a poster child for chronic depression, although you also got the impression that she hadn’t been at all unhappy until her marriage had blown up in her face. And my God, the clothes she wore! They couldn’t have been more shapeless and unappealing.
“And yet, I got a sense that, under different circumstances, she could have been quite attractive. She didn’t at all look her age: she was in her mid- to late forties, I figure, but could easily have passed for a decade younger. There were only a few streaks of gray in her thick brown hair, and every now and then I got a sense of what could potentially be some very nice curves around her chest and bottom.”
“Is that all you think of?” Gloria said indignantly. “What a woman’s boobs and butt are like?”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” Dale said with a flush. “I’m just saying that Paula could have been a very nice-looking woman if she weren’t so unhappy and could take the trouble to make herself look presentable.”
“For the male gaze, no doubt?”
“For anyone’s gaze—and for herself. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll want to show it. But right now, Paula’s self-esteem and self-confidence were at an all-time low. I’d hardly met her, but my heart ached to see her like that.”
“I take it she knew about you and Anita?”
“Of course. I’m not exactly sure what Anita had told her, but I’m sure she’d said—or implied—that we were ‘intimate.’ Paula accepted it as a matter of course that I’d be there with her daughter. Anyway, I had a car and Anita didn’t.”
“Well, we drove back to Ridgefield largely in silence. Anita was terrified of Paula making some kind of scene if the subject of her husband were raised: maybe she’d break down and cry in the car, or curse the man who had broken her heart.”
“What exactly did Anita feel about her father deserting her mother?”
“I’m not really sure. I think she was just stunned that something like that could have happened: she had assumed that her parents had settled into a kind of routine—maybe a rut, even—and that their marriage, even if unadventurous and a little boring, was destined to last through sheer inertia. In all honesty, I don’t think Anita was very close to her mother, and in her heart of hearts she may not have been all that surprised at what her father had done.”
“You mean she approved of her father’s actions?” Gloria said, outraged.
“No, no, I didn’t say that. You know how it is: you’re shocked but not surprised. Maybe she thought her mother wasn’t a very interesting person, and that her father had decided to look for greener pastures.”
“Did Anita know the woman he ran off with?”
“Oh, yes. Her name, as I recall it, was Fran, and she and Paula had been friends for years if not decades. Fran had been over to the house any number of times, and I’m sure Anita had seen her since she was a little girl.”
“Was Fran married at the time?”
“Omigod. So she dumped her husband in the process?”
“Yup. I don’t know anything about him, and Anita didn’t have much to say about him either. He seemed kind of a bump on a log.”
“Hah! Maybe he and Paula should have gotten together!”
“Hey, don’t make fun of the situation! You of all people . . .”
“Anyway, we got Paula settled into her hotel room near campus. She had arrived several days before graduation, and Anita and I were desperately thinking of how we could entertain her while we ourselves were running around doing all the last-minute things you need to do before the ceremony.
“There was a party scheduled for that evening at Anita’s boarding house. Lots of people, both students and parents, would be there, and we held out some hope that Paula might at least be diverted by meeting all these people. It might at least take her out of herself. Of course, there was always the prospect that Paula would have to answer a question about her marital status from someone just making conversation, but we still thought that it would be better if Paula were there than not. And to our surprise, Paula herself agreed.
“So we left her to her own devices while we rushed back to the house to finalize maltepe escort bayan preparations for the party. There were at least five other people living in the house—three guys and two girls—and they had already gotten a lot of food and drinks and other stuff. But as people filtered in, both Anita and I began feeling a little better: the weight of Paula’s troubles was slowly being sloughed off our backs. Of course, alcohol helped.
“And then, around 8 p.m., Paula showed up.
“I have to hand it to her: she had really transformed herself. Not only had she put on a fair amount of makeup, but her outfit was—well, let’s just say it was pretty bold.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I’m not sure I know the exact term for what she wore, but as a top she was wearing this silken thing that wrapped itself around her breasts and was tied in a knot behind her neck, exposing her midriff—and, in fact, exposing a fair proportion of her chest. As I’d predicted, she was built: her breasts were larger than Anita’s, and that sheer fabric not only emphasized their succulent contours but caused her nipples to protrude in such a way that you couldn’t take your eyes off of them—if, that is, you could pry your eyes away from her extensive cleavage.
“My God!” Gloria exploded. “Why are you men so fixated on a woman’s breasts? They’re just lumps of fat and nerves, designed for the very mundane purpose of feeding the young.”
Dale looked at her with a kind of objective pity. “Gloria, you know very well that they’re more than that. Women have breasts, men don’t; therefore, breasts symbolize—even more, in my humble estimation, than that place between your legs—the essence of femininity. And there’s a kind of symbolism in a woman’s breasts that women themselves don’t fully realize: it goes way beyond merely a mother’s life-giving nurturing; it’s that breasts have a capacity to be both soothing and arousing, both a shelter against all the troubles of the human condition and—”
“You can’t possibly be serious,” Gloria said flatly.
“Oh, but I am!” Dale said with intense earnestness. “I’ve derived more comfort from a woman’s breasts than from anything else I can think of. In fact . . .”
At this point, Dale rolled Gloria onto her back and placed his head on her chest, his nose buried between her two splendid mounds of flesh as if soaking up all the heavenly scents that were there. Meanwhile his hands encircled those mounds and pressed them together around his face, as if he were deliberately trying to smother himself. What a way to go . . .
Gloria, getting aroused in spite of herself, tried to pry his head away but soon gave up in the face of Dale’s vigorous resistance.
“Okay, you’ve made your point. Go on with your story—I want to hear more.”
Dale had difficulty giving up his worship of Gloria’s breasts, but finally came up for air. While remaining ensconced on her chest, he said:
“That blouse or top or whatever you call it wasn’t the only thing. The only other thing she had on, aside from some very cute sandals, was a super-short pair of shorts that exposed most of her thighs—in fact, I could swear that I saw a few strands of her pubic hair poking out from under the hem. This too emphasized what I’d suspected before: that she had an incredibly luscious posterior that just made you want to . . . well, you get the idea. I’m a connoisseur of women’s bottoms, as you know.”
“I certainly do.”
“Anyway, you can imagine the response that outfit got. I couldn’t count the number of people—men and women, students and parents—whose jaws dropped when they saw her. Okay, the weather was pretty warm: it was late May, but it already felt like the height of summer. Still, no one else was wearing anything even remotely as provocative as that: even the college girls felt a little inhibited showing off their assets with so many older people in the house who might scowl their disapproval.
“Anita, of course, was appalled—and aside from a quick whisper in her mother’s ear (something like ‘What the fuck are you wearing?’) she hardly said a word to her the rest of the evening, and did her best to be as far away from her as possible. But I knew exactly what was going on.
“It was plain to me that Paula was seeking reassurance: reassurance from the men in the room, but perhaps even the women, that she was still a sexy, desirable creature who could turn people’s heads. She needed a bolstering of her self-esteem, and displaying her physique was the quickest and simplest way to do that. She—”
“You mean,” Gloria interrupted ferociously, “women have to tart themselves up to make men notice them.”
“No, no, you don’t get what was happening. In her fragile emotional condition, she needed a quick fix—a way of showing others (and, really, herself) that she was more than just a wife whom a thoughtless man had casually discarded. It probably wasn’t even quite like that—I’m sure that Lucas had thought long and hard over what he had done, however cruel escort pendik and selfish it may have been—but Paula had to have some way of demonstrating that she wasn’t destined to spend the rest of her life alone and without love. The method she chose at that moment was admittedly crude and obvious—but it was the best she could come up with. It’s hard for anyone, man or woman, to show that they are smart, caring, sensitive, kind, and so on—that takes a lot of time and effort. But if a woman has a body to show off, it takes no effort. And I don’t blame her at all, and don’t think less of her, for doing what she did. I, for one, never assumed that she was just a pretty face and a nice figure.”
“But a lot of other men would.”
“Maybe—but that’s their loss and their foolishness.”
“You know,” Dale said contemplatively to no one in particular, “women have to get over the idea that there’s something wrong in being beautiful. I’m well aware that men are largely, maybe wholly, responsible for thinking of women in very superficial ways—but Nature designed certain females to be lovely for the express purpose of attracting men and ensuring the propagation of our species. It’s like—”
“Look, Dale,” Gloria said flatly, “let’s have less philosophy and more story, okay?”
“Oh, all right,” Dale said resentfully. Just when I was getting comfortable on my hobby horse.
“What happened,” he went on, “was that, aside from all the gawks she got from people, almost no one talked to her. I think the men were scared of talking to her: to them she was kind of a femme fatale who might lure them away from their drab spouses, with disastrous results. For the very same reason, the women were hostile to her because they immediately saw her as a threat to themselves. So the upshot was that Paula went around, drink in hand, like some kind of bored queen, with people making way for her to pass by while making sure that not one cell of skin or molecule of that tight-fitting outfit would brush them along the way.
“I felt intensely sorry for her. Since she knew no one but myself and her own daughter—and since Anita obviously was doing everything she could not to get within twenty feet of her—I thought it my duty to make sure she wasn’t lonely. So we talked—and talked. It was really most illuminating. She was a smart, sensitive, capable woman whose oaf of a husband didn’t deserve her—and I let her know that with some emphasis.”
“I’m sure you did,” Gloria said dryly.
“No, I mean it! The more I talked with her the more I admired her. I won’t say that I didn’t take any number of peaks at her luscious cleavage—and she was too experienced a woman not to notice, and too well-bred to do anything but smile out of the corner of her mouth when I did so—but we really spent most of the time in an intense tête-à-tête. I don’t know that I’d ever talked with a woman that way: you know my view of the girls of my own age—”
“Yes. ‘Silly,’ I believe you called them.”
“Okay, maybe that’s unkind . . . but it was just so refreshing to spend time with a woman who was just so—so ‘with it,’ as they used to say. I take some pride in the fact that I managed, for a little while anyway, to wipe away that look of perpetual gloom-and-doom that had disfigured her face from the moment I saw her at the airport. Now, as I got her to talk about things that really mattered to her, she came across as lively, engaged, and—beautiful. Even more beautiful than before.
“I like to think that she found what I had to say interesting too. I really think we established a bond with all that talk. I refilled her drink a number of times, and also brought over some snacks that proved pretty tasty. I think we spent nearly the whole time sitting on a couch in a back room, bare knees touching (I was wearing shorts too, even if not quite as short as hers), and fixated on each other.
“Then, without a word, she got up. Looking down over me, she reached out a hand and silently urged me to stand also.
“She looked around as if not quite sure where to go. Then she spotted a staircase going upstairs. Now there were plenty of people up there too: the house, as I say, was filled to bursting with all manner of people. We weaved our way through the crowd upstairs and entered the bathroom—”
“Omigod!” Gloria burst out. “Don’t tell me you had her in the bathroom!”
“Just let me tell the story, okay? . . . She closed the door but didn’t lock it—I was never sure why. She spotted a shower stall—not a tub, just a place to stand up in, with a frosted door. It was arranged in such a way that, even if someone was at the toilet or the sink, they wouldn’t be able to see if the shower was occupied unless they craned their necks around a corner.
“She led me into the shower stall, closed that frosted door, and looked me straight in the face. She was just about an inch or so shorter than me. Without a word she reached behind her neck and unknotted that silk wrap that covered her breasts, letting it fall to the floor.
“Her breasts were magnificent. They weren’t quite as big as yours, but they were perfectly shaped and proportioned.” Dale’s eyes had a faraway look of pleasant remembrance. Then he added abruptly: “Not that yours aren’t! I mean, you have perfect breasts too—”
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