By Rob Hartzell
When their voices go silent, their bodies take over. Skin on skin on skin; the age-old song of desire. The song of age-old desire; mouth grazing breast grazing hip, hungry for what was imagined, but never expected. A way to say that the three of them are innocent as babes in their want for each other? Something more than lust can embrace.
He sits on the edge of the bed as his wife dresses for dinner; tonight, they’re meeting an old friend. He watches her slide her stockings up her legs, the fishnets she never wears for him when he asks her to; should he be jealous? He doesn’t know, not even when she vamps for him while looking herself over in the mirror, his desire unfocused and speculating. The possibilities she’s opened for tonight, if only as fantasy, and how he wants to take her now, greedily, even before tonight has a chance to unfold.
Sharyn has desired either of them at times; has even once thought of proposing an evening like this with both, but…complications, always complications. Desire is always complicated, she thinks, always already compromised when acted upon. But now? It seems as simple as a kiss: lingering, heady with the taste of alcohol in another’s mouth, the earthy tastes to be found in skin.
She knows that this is what he wants, but she is not watching his reaction when she kisses Sharyn. This is not for him. This is for her, for what she’s written off for the sake of…what? Normalcy? Simplicity? Here with her lips against Sharyn’s thigh, neither seems to have been worth it. Here with her body against another woman’s, she is acting from uncompromised desire, heady with it, as if for the first time.
They meet at a restaurant, innocuously enough, though the banter and how’ve you been gives way to how long has it been and whatever happened to and a general consensus that the old times are gone, written off, no matter how good they were; all the time the conversation circling around what happens next and what have we become? fueled by drink and, when they get back to the house, a joint from Sharyn’s purse that only fuels their freshly-ignited desire.
He lays at the edge of the bed, his hands roaming those parts of Sharyn’s body that aren’t already being kissed, teetering between excitement and jealousy. He kisses Sharyn, tasting alcohol and pot on her tongue, a taste he will remember afterwards as what passion tastes like, even though he’s aware that what takes place between the two women is what’s actually happening, and he is merely a witness, a voyeur to the passion being enacted before him, at least until Sharyn kisses him again…
Sharyn has desired him before tonight, but tonight there is something about him, the way he carries himself, like it hasn’t been twenty years that they’ve all known each other. Like the passion of yesterday is still within reach, sometimes, if you’re willing to breathe it in, touch it, taste it, let it envelop you as it all comes rolling back.
She doesn’t expect much to happen tonight; none of them are as young as the last time they all saw each other, never getting beyond flirting. Her curiosity is tempered with realism; Sharyn would be insulted if she broached the subject. Nobody wants to be treated like a ride, a safe ride at that. Too much time, too much age has gone by, anyway; the passions of yesterday are too remote to bring back.
What happens next begins awkwardly, like teenagers playing “7 Minutes of Heaven” or other flirty games designed to get them past the speed bump of their inhibitions. When the joint is gone, they go interior and silent for a minute, each of them full of circular snake-eating-its-tail thoughts. It’s Sharyn who re-grounds first and leads them wordlessly to the bedroom and begins kissing them both.
He sits at the edge of the bed, where Sharyn has led them; her kisses are tentative at first, then stronger. The moment he has wanted, yet when it plays out before him, he is afraid he may kill it with a wrong word, a wrong gesture. He follows the women’s lead: in disrobing, in kissing, in silently reaching out toward each other’s bodies.
Sharyn has desired her before, when they were younger (were they ever so young?) and in school and anything could be irresponsible or possible. Through the window of the restaurant, she can see them both waiting for her at a table, and it’s heartbreaking, how little they’ve changed since then; as if she could reach through the years and touch that time again, take it back for herself, but she is also afraid she might kill it if she tried to. She approaches them hoping they’ll be the ones to break the silence.
She thinks she knows what she wants from tonight, but when it happens, it takes her by surprise. Sharyn’s kiss, her mouth almost rich with pot and alcohol; her husband’s knowing hands on both of them. She could feel almost jealous watching him kiss Sharyn, knowing that his tongue is dancing against hers, that this is something he’s wanted at least as much as she has, but when Sharyn kisses her again, thought itself dissipates entirely, silently, nothing remaining but now….