I staggered home in a dream, hugging my new found experiences to myself as if to prolong them.
Over the following year I was a regular visitor to Delia’s house. It was odd, I thought, but Adrian was either out when I arrived, or if not he suddenly seemed to discover that he had urgent business to attend to elsewhere.
I was serving an apprenticeship as a plumber at that time and about twelve months after we had begun our love making, I had to go away on a job up north.
When I was confronted with this need to go away I declared to Delia I would give up my apprenticeship, I was in love with her and wouldn’t leave her.
“You may imagine you’re in love with me, Tony, but you’re not really. You feel gratitude for the good times we’ve had,” she said in a gentle voice. “And you’re not giving up your apprenticeship. You’ll come back and I’ll still be here if you want me. You go and perhaps you’ll find some other woman to give you what you need.”
Miserable I went to the job, and somehow never got back to her. I was moved from place to place, and I wrote long languishing love letters to her and got formal letters in reply. When I managed to get back home occasionally I called at her house, but got no answer.
So I never got back to her and memories of Delia began to fade but never quite disappeared. I met and married a girl with whom I have had three children. It was only now, sitting in the pub with Adrian that those memories flooded back in full spate.
Adrian was still prattling on and I cut right across his flow; “How’s your mother these days?
He stopped talking, looked and me and grinned, and said, “I was wondering if you’d ask. You had a good time with her, didn’t you?”
“You knew?” I said, somewhat startled.
“Of course I knew,” he laughed. “After all, it was me who brought you to her. I got well rewarded for that.”
“What do you mean, rewarded?”
“Oh, a bit of extra spending money and anything I wanted in bed.”
“You mean…you and your mother…”
“Of course, you didn’t imagine you were the only one, did you?”
I was stunned and barely able to go on speaking.
“Look, Tony, mum was a very passionate lady, still is for that matter. She also likes to be generous with her body. She loved having young blokes to teach. They never lasted long so she never had time to get tired of them. They went on their way rejoicing and she was left happy to have been of service and having got her own pleasure.”
“You mean there were other men?”
“Of course there was. I got most of them for her just like I got you. I’d bring a potential guy home, and if mum fancied him we would try and get him visiting regularly. I got most of the guys from the church club we used to belong to. Just as well the vicar didn’t know; he’d have had a fit.”
“Mind you I got a bit worried about you and her. You lasted the longest except for me and I got the feeling she’d really fallen for you. It was lucky when that away from home job came up when it did.”
I was dumbfounded. I had been one of many including her own son.
Finally I managed to get on to an even keel and asked, “Well how is she?”
“Fine,” he said, “In fact I’m flying back home tonight, so I expect to get a great welcome.”
“You mean you still live at home with her?”
“You didn’t listen to a word I said, did you? I told you that.”
I pretended to recall and said, “Ah, yes. So you’ve stayed with her all these years, then?”
“Of course, wouldn’t you have done if she hadn’t sent you on your way? You’ve been with her…you know what she’s like…in bed I mean. Where could I get anything better than that?”
“You mean she’s still sexually…er…active?”
“And will be till the day she dies I reckon,” he replied. He gave a brief laugh and looked at me in a mischievous manner that reminded me of Delia.
“I once heard story,” he went on, “about a guy who asked his eighty year old mother in law when a woman stopped feeling sexual passion. She said, ‘You’ll have to ask a woman older than me’.”
I managed to laugh with him that time, and then asked a question that had puzzled me. “How come she never got pregnant I mean with me and you and the other guys. You hardly had to look at a girl in those days and she was in the family way.”
He looked at me quizzically for a moment, then said, “To tell you truth she’s never told me properly. I only know that after I was born the doctor reckoned she couldn’t have any more kids. Lucky for us, wasn’t it?”
I had one more question to ask him; “You know, I wrote to your mother after I left, and all I got back was very formal letters. Then when I got home occasionally I called round to your place, but never got any answer at the door.
“Yes, like I said,” he replied, “I reckon mum really fell for you, but she knew it was better not to get permanently entangled with a young guy like you. She knew she had to let you go. I know it hurt her badly, but she knew she had to do it.”
So that was it! She had given me my first sexual experience and had not only lusted for me, but had loved me enough to let me go. I wondered about Adrian, how he had felt about sexually sharing his mother, not only with me, but with heaven knows how many others. I didn’t ask him, but thought he might have the same generosity of spirit as Delia.
We parted shortly after. I went back to the river path to complete my walk. As I went along I smiled to myself and thought, “Adrian is right, where could you get better than that. Thanks dear generous Delia, thanks for everything. Perhaps I shall be able to look you up some time and you’ll answer the door.”