--YOU WERE SO SURE YOU WERE IMMORTAL
Sex in the Time of Now
There was too much sex.
As a young man just coming into his own, this wouldn’t have mattered, not at all, but now he knew better.
All this sex hanging off everything like bar smoke, burning the eyes, filling up the nostrils and contaminating the chest.
He could no longer tell the difference between lust and love, sex or sweetness.
His wife was seven months pregnant and she’d become savagely insatiable. “I thought the baby thing would make you less interested,” he said, after one bout that had left him swimming in sweat.
“I know, right? But isn’t this fantastic?”
On the way to their friends for dinner, he had to keep changing the radio stations because the lurid lyrics wound her up. “Ooo, but I liked that one,” his wife said, tugging his elbow and trying to lift his hand off the steering wheel and inside her blouse.
At their friend’s house, Carrie hugged him too long and too firmly. Her breasts mashed up against his clavicle so much so that her nipples stabbed his chest through the fabric, and then he felt her fingers rifling the hair on the back of his head, scratching the scalp on his neck. He pulled away just as Mark, Carrie’s husband, stuck out his hand, but Carrie turned to the pregnant wife and Mark’s hand had roving fingers, too, each unnaturally soft, drying from some lilac lotion. Mark’s eyes moved over his guest’s torso, lingering long on the waist, the crotch, the thighs, the … and so he turned away from Mark but then there was the daughter, Angie, grown up now, developed, her t-shirt far too tight and reading HARD CANDY. WANNA BITE?
She took his hand, his fingers, holding them by the tips, too familiar, leading him into another room, saying, “Remember the last time you were here and you said I should try writing my own songs?”
He vaguely remembered her attempting a Billy Joel song, “Piano Man” or “Just the Way You Are.”
“Well, I started one. Let me play it for you.”
Her song was soft-noted, sweet, with lyrics about yearning. It was not too bad and when he told her so, Angie sprang off the bench and hugged him much the same as her mother had, cupped his buttocks and squeezed, until he pulled away, saying, “Fresh!” trying to make light of it, to give her an out, though she just bit her lip and squinted.
During dinner it was difficult to eat. Their dog, Ichabod, kept mounting his leg beneath the table, frantically humping, until he finally launched it so hard that the beast banged its head on the underside of the table and dropped to the floor with a canine concussion.
At the door, leaving, he kept a careful distance, almost tipping over backward off the steps.
“Someone’s had too much to drink,” Carrie said, salaciously nibbling a strand of fresh water pearls.
“It makes him cuter,” Angie said.
“Well, he is a looker,” Mark said, winking.
“Look, Honey,” he said to Carrie, “I’m fine.” He turned, took a few awkward steps backward and held up his hands—“See?”
Driving was now a necessity. He desperately needed a distraction.
On the way home, however, his wife put her head in his lap and worked his pants open, tugging and pulling no different than a clumsy pickpocket.
He could hear her struggling for success. It sounded like slaughter.
Then the baby kicked against his thighs, or maybe it was something more—a fondle or caress.
He swallowed, squirmed.
He looked out the window.
He drove past homes with drawn curtains. He was careful not to speed.