It was a Friday night--Saturday morning, actually--around 1:30 A.M. I couldn't sleep.
Everyone else in the house was sleeping like logs, I figured, and here I was, on my back in bed, hands behind my head, counting the little pips of plaster protruding from the ceiling. The count had reached 29,788.
"This is bullshit," I growled.
I sat up and looked across the room. "I don't want to do this," I whispered, eying the bottom drawer of my dresser. Inside it, beneath a layer of flannel shirts and other wintertime stuff, was a thin fan of DVD's belonging to my younger brother Dave, away at his freshman year at Penn State.
I was a freshman at Maryland U. myself, having dawdled away a year between graduation and the commitment to a higher education, and so, un-blessed by the dormitory life. He'd left the disks in my care, although, unlike Dave, I had never developed a liking for porno. Until tonight they had remained un-watched. I got up and got them out of the drawer.
The disk that got my attention was titled All the Right Holes. Clever title, I thought, unable not to grin. The disk pictured a young blonde with a distracted look on her face, lower lip caught between her teeth, scrutinizing what could only be called a monstrous dildo affixed to the end of a steel shaft. The monster hovered a foot and a half above the edge of a mattress, leaving no doubt what the blonde was contemplating. This movie, I thought, I just had to watch.
Fifteen minutes later, I was extremely aroused and extremely frustrated. Beating off is no less a pleasure for myself than it is for other guys, but at times like this it seemed more a torture than pleasure. I didn't want to be watching the blonde girl with the undisguised expression of alarm on her face (seen also in her clenched fists, curled toes, rigid posture, and tendons popping out like steel cables all over her body) being ass-fucked by the goddamned machine; I wanted to be doing that myself.
"Michael," my mother said softly.
I started and whirled around. "Mom?" I said stupidly.
She was leaning against the door jamb, arms folded across her chest, wearing an undisguised look of disgust.
"Shit," I said, fumbling with the remote control. The action jumped to double-time, then extreme fast-forward, then slow-mo for an unfortunate close-up of the girl's stuffed anus. I finally got the machine turned off.
"Sorry," I mumbled, clutching the remote hard enough to shatter it. "I didn't know you were standing there."
"Obviously," she said in a very dry voice.
Both of us understood that my cock, straight up out of my undershorts like a flagpole, had to be put away, which I did, shamefaced and awkwardly. It still was plainly evident within my shorts, however, and I found myself, for once, wishing to be of a more normal size.
"I thought my door was locked," I said, apologetically.
"I'm sure you did." She gestured toward the entertainment center with a fingertip. "That, I assume, is your brothers property?"
I nodded slowly, feeling shameful for transferring blame. "He just asked me to hold onto them for him," I said, taking back the responsibility. "Watching it was my idea."
A smile crept across her lips. She said, "Rather explicit, I must say. Better quality than the last tape I watched, which must have been . . . ten years ago, I guess. More . . ." She searched for the right term. " . . . adventurous too, from what I just witnessed."
Right. Argue the merit of porno from her heyday to the predilections of today's bumper crop of stars. What was she doing up, anyway? It was five after two and the volume was down to one bar, barely audible from where I sat. To my knowledge, stroking eight inches of cock was pretty much a silent operation. Had I been panting too loud?
Neither of us knew what to say next, and after a moment she straightened up, took the doorknob in her hand, and said, "I'm going back to bed. Please make sure the door is locked next time." The smile came back. "Your sister would die of a heart attack."
I wondered which sister she meant: Sixteen year old Christine, mentally-stunted (if not physically), or bright little Kesta, only nine.
I nodded and she closed the door and left me in peace.
Left me in peace. I was so embarrassed I wanted to die. How long had she stood there and watched me beat my meat? What does a mother think, seeing the boy she raised, grown into a cock-stroking degenerate. My face crunched miserably at the thought, but then I reminded myself that I was the same age as her own first boyfriend, later her husband, when she let him knock her up with yours truly at the age of fifteen.
I sighed, and gave up on it for the night.
Saturday in the daylight was better. Mom acted un-remembering of our little incident, in fact, bantered with me over dinner in a a most uncharacteristic manner.
"I wish you wouldn't call your sister Brain-dead, Michael. It's very demeaning."
Kesta giggled convulsively, then stifled it at Mom's withering glance. I poured Coca-Cola into my glass, let the foam settle, topped it off, then did the same to hers. Brain-dead was out somewhere with her friends.
"I realize there's a less disporting description of the girl out there someplace," I admitted. "But Googling "Christine Whittle" keeps coming back "Brain-dead Individual." Help me out here, will ya?"
"Very funny," she said, stabbing Kesta with another glare. "But it's not conducive to her self-respect. You should learn to be more tolerant of her."
"Tolerant? May I remind you who abandoned your bright little ES 3000 in the middle of the road just because she ran out of gas on the way to the concert?"
"That was not entirely her fault," she said, reddening slightly. "I forgot to fill it up. I forgot to warn her about it."
"She has eyes, doesn't she? Maybe not a brain, but eyes."
"Stop it, Kesta," she said. Then to me: "It turned out all right."
I pulled a slice of pizza free of the pie and stuck the point in my mouth. "Yeah," I said, between chews. "Calling you at the intermission. That was real thoughtful of her."
"Michael," I mimicked. Then, "She always was your favorite."
A grin fought its way onto her lips. "No. She was always my most needful. There is a difference, you know."
Kesta laughed again, though not quite sure of the reason.
I sighed dramatically. "How about--"
"How about Christine?" she said sweetly, "Or I cut off your Coca-Cola allowance?"
"I was just going to suggest Christine," I said.
This might not sound like the height of levity to you, but Mom's idea of light banter is the Sunday morning sermon. Dave and I had long ago named her "Solemn Sister" and then later, "Sister Agnes."
We cleaned up the mess and I headed out to see Rachel, my girlfriend. It was one a.m. when I got back home and the house was nicely quiet. Even Brain-dead was asleep. I like the quiet. Quiet is good.
Before heading upstairs, I detoured to the kitchen, considered the two remaining slices in the Domino's box, then decided on a sardine and tomato sandwich instead. I sat down with a glass of milk and some Doritos to eat with it.
"You could just drink chlordane," Mom said, running her hand across the my shoulders before sitting down opposite me at the kitchen table. "And save yourself years of unnecessary eating, Michael."
"Oh, there's an interesting rebuke," I said. "Coming from the woman caught eating pickle and asparagus sandwiches at three o'clock in the morning."
She wrinkled her nose. "I was pregnant," she said. "I had a defense."
"And you were cute pregnant, too," I said out of nowhere.
That ironic smile from the night before appeared on her lips again. She tilted her head, questioningly, an amusement in her eyes. I had never before, in all our years together, spoken to her with a sexual undertone in my voice. Let's clarify that: A sexual undertone directed at her.
I am writing this account on my Apple iBook. The story so far has been told First-Person, past-tense, but let's switch over to present-tense for a moment. Mom is thirty-five years old. She is a brunette with hair just touching her shoulders. She is lightly freckled from the summer sun, the freckles fading stubbornly now that it's September. Her driver's license states that her height is 5'6", and that her weight is a comfortable 135 lbs. I don't believe she is that heavy anymore, having gone on a diet and taken to the gym in the last six months. Driven to it, I'm sure, by her job as a systems analyst. But she looked good at 135.
Her eyes are brown and she has a perfect oval face. Her nose is cutely pointed and she has a strong chin and high cheekbones. When she puts her hair back she looks twenty-five, thirty at the oldest. Her breasts are not large but they are very well formed (a recent discovery), and she is trim-waisted and slender-hipped. You should see her legs. In short, she is beautiful.
Try being nineteen years old with a mother everyone wants to fuck, including, not to put too fine a point upon it, every one of your friends.
She and my father married in 1987, Mom being almost four months pregnant and starting to show a little potbelly, as evidenced in their wedding photographs. The marriage lasted two years, not quite to the day of my brother David's birth. Dad continued child support for the two of us until Mom's third marriage, which I will get to in a moment.
Her second marriage was to Harry Whittle, Brain-dead's father. He was my dad's best friend during his junior high and high school years, and who (evidently) never made it a secret how much he desired my mother. Harry and Mom married two days after the divorce decree in 1990, freeing her from Dad. Ten months later, Brain-dead was born.
Here's where things grow complicated. Mom was such a stick in the mud sexually (her own confessed flaw), that Dad abandoned her in 1989 and so did Harry Whittle in 1994. Following that second divorce, Mom swore off men completely. She saw no one for two years (becoming "Sister Agnes" in the bargain), and then suddenly, in the summer of 1996, she and Dad sat the three of us down in the living room and told us they were getting remarried. Talk about your bombshells. I hadn't even seen Dad in two months and where had this come from, we didn't know. But true to their word, the loving couple retied the knot on June 6th, 1996, their original anniversary date.
And that's how Kesta came to have the same father as David and I.
"Are you ever going to date again?" I asked.
This was not the question she had anticipated. She blinked, said "Uh--," a monumental lapse for her, before recovering. "Where did that question come from?" she asked.
"You're thirty-five years old, Mom. You haven't seen anyone since Dad passed away. That's four years now, going on five, and your biological clock is slowly ticking down."
She shook her head, as though to clear it. The smile had drifted away but there was still interest in her eyes. She wanted to know where this was going. So did I. So I just told the truth.
"I had the worst crush on you when you were pregnant with Kesta. Don't take that the wrong way."
Her eyes grew big. "How am I supposed to take it?" she said, almost hoarsely. "Did you--"
"I did not mean it sexually," I said, very firmly. "I meant that you are adorable with a baby inside you. It makes me covetous of you, protective. I want to protect you. That's all I meant."
It looked like she couldn't breath. I had that problem myself. The problem was, I was lying through my teeth. Her being pregnant with Kesta, and to a lesser degree, Brain-dead, had fired up a need in me that blew any feelings of protectiveness out into orbit. I was in love with her, and had been for years.
She pushed back from the table, shaking her head. Her extraordinary brain, up for any challenge on a day to day basis was, for once, failing her.
"I--I don't know what to say," she. "I have to go to my room."
Embarrassment had already reddened her face, right to the roots of her hair; this only embarrassed her more. She walked away stiff-legged and I sat there with my sardine and tomato sandwich before me, wondering what the hell I'd just done.
It was the next evening and I was diligently completing my homework assignments. Two texts and three notebooks were spread out on the desk before me, along with my trusty iBook. My iPod lay somewhere beneath the mess, unused but not forgotten. Math and music don't co-habitate well in my brain, and calculus, the worst possible of all math's, was the subject I was laboring with. I looked up and Mom was standing in my doorway.
"Hello," I said.
"Hello," she said back.
She wore her customary late night lounge wear: sturdy cotton pajama's beneath a terry-clothe robe; "bundled up" as David and I liked to call it. She was a cautious person by nature, the caution extending even to family members. I don't remember ever seeing her braless beneath her clothing, and with the exception of just one time, had never glimpsed her in her underwear, The exception occurred when I was thirteen years old and I couldn't even remember the circumstances, only that she wore a long black skirt--leading me to believe it was Sunday after church--and a low-cut black brassiere. The image of her small breasts snugged tightly into the bra cups--captured by them, really--still comes to me at night.
So far, we hadn't talked about last night.
"I was thinking about last night," she said, getting to the point.
I said, cautiously, "You were?"
"Yes, and I think you were right. I should begin dating again."
My heart sunk and I put down the pencil I was holding, before it fell from my grasp. Okay, asshole, I thought. Reap what you sow.
"I think that's a good idea," I lied. "Anyone in particular?"
She shook her head. "It's been so long, that I don't have any prospects."
Right, I thought. Men probably ask you out two or three times a week. Or maybe not. Her Victorian facade was pretty formidable.
"Do you . . . like anybody?" I asked, hoping she missed the hesitation.
She shook her head. Then she laughed, pretty mirthlessly, I thought, and said: "I know my looks are nothing to be ashamed of, but I don't exactly exude sexuality, Michael."
No, you don't exactly, I thought. More like you erupt with it. I said, "Put out your thumb and see who picks you up."
"Michael," she said, mock-horrified. "Is that anything to say to your mother? I'm not a tramp, you know. I don't buy drinks for men at the local roadhouse. Have some respect, will you."
She was smiling, evidently enjoying the repartee.
"But you'd look devilishly good as a cowgirl," I said.
Her smile broadened. "Should I take up line-dancing?" She began a dance in the doorway, doing a very passable imitation of a roadhouse-girl, needing only boots, a Western shirt and too-tight jeans to complete the impression.
My heart reacted to a sudden jolt of adrenaline, beating anxiously. Or maybe it was testosterone I was reacting to, because I felt it between my legs also. She was giving me an erection, or the stirrings of one.
She leaned back against the doorjamb, hands in her pockets. The pressure drew the top of her robe apart, enough to expose the left side of her pajama top. The pose was unconscious, I'm sure, but very provocative for Mom. The equivalent of baring her cleavage, in another woman.
"Listen," I said. "No one says you have to jump in head first. But you must know a man, maybe a couple men, who spark an interest in you?" She nodded in not-complete agreement. "So, the next time one of them begins to . . ." I didn't want to say flirt. ". . . shows an interest in you, show an interest back. Just be yourself," I added.
She snorted. "I'm asking for your help, not a way to polarize myself. Being myself freezes the air enough to show your breath." She smiled sadly. "I'm not very good with men, Michael."
And then she said something that shocked hell out of me.
"Do you know how many men I've slept with, Michael?" She held up two fingers, which shocked me even more. For another woman, the equivalent of admitting she had fucked the entire football team, including the coaches and the other cheerleaders, on the way home on the bus.
"Uh, gee, Mom," I said, "that's, uh, great."
"I'm sorry," she said. "I've embarrassed you." She stood up straight, a prelude to leaving me in peace.
"No, no!" I said hurriedly, closing the text books, the two notebooks and stacking them off to the side. "Come over here and sit down with me."
She hesitated, then moved over to the chair opposite me and sat down. Her hands clasped together before her on the tabletop and began tugging at one another immediately. She was agitated, I thought, even more than normal.
"Do you want to know something funny?" she said in a low voice. She looked back at the open bedroom door, then lowered her voice again. "The reason you were conceived, was because of a porno tape."
I just sat there and stared. We both grew red-faced. She swallowed uncomfortably, ground her hands together, and then pressed on.
"It was a Saturday night in July. I was at your dad's house and I shouldn't have been. because your grandparents were out." She recollected a moment. "Maybe they were at the movies, I don't remember exactly. Your Aunt Betty was there until eight o'clock or so, and then she went to the movies with her friends.
"That left just him and I," she said, still wearing away her at her palms. "I was fifteen, he was seventeen . . ." She shrugged. ". . . the next thing I knew we were doing it."
Time for caution, Michael, and some tact. So I asked: "Was it your first time . . being with a man?"
She nodded slowly, gazed fixedly on her hands. "It wasn't a very good experience for me. He was all worked up from the tape--" An embarrassed grin played across her lips. "--and I was absolutely turned off."
"Doesn't do it for you," I said.
"No it doesn't," she replied, with a very definite shake of her head. "In fact, it made me want to go take a bath."
"But not dad."
"No," she said, with a sigh. "Not your father. He was like a rutting dog. Ready to mount me as soon as the movie started. Which he did, eventually," she said, sighing again. "Like it or not."
We were both quiet a moment. Then, knowing this was perhaps not the right thing to say to her, only knowing that it was the truth, I said, "I'm glad you did do it. I really am. If you hadn't, I wouldn't be sitting here right now, trying to comfort you." I reached out and put my hands over hers. "I'll tell you something else. You don't like porn for the same reason I don't like porn: It's impersonal, degrading, especially to the women. It's a good part of why men see women as possessions, not their partners. Dad wasn't making love to you, he was fucking his imagination."
"Michael!" She recoiled a bit, but didn't pull out her hands. "That's a bit crude, Michael. And unjust. Your father was not a bad man. Only . . ."
"A man?" I said, and she laughed.
"Yes. A man."
We sat there and I held her hands. They were momentarily still and I liked the warm feel of them. I guessed she suspected this, but she allowed me to keep on holding them. After a moment, she said, "I like sex, Michael. I just don't like having it."
Not knowing what else to say, I ventured, "With a man," to which she nodded, not quite positively. "Well, have you ever considered . . .?"
She looked up, the smile creeping back onto her lips. "I have considered that, and I think making love to another woman might be very satisfying for me, and very pleasurable, something tells me I'd be no more adept at bedding a women than I am a man."
Shock upon shock: a bisexual mother.
I cleared my throat, again asking the obvious. "Anyone in particular?"