Sad Neighbour: A Storybytarkatony©
I didn't know her first name. She had been Mrs. Zimmer to me for all of my 19 years, well, for most of them. I probably wasn't even conscious of her until I was maybe 9, when I started my paper route. She lived with her husband three doors down. They had a daughter who was 2 or 3 years older then me. I didn't really know her, she was just there a few times when I went around to collect.
Funny how you form impressions of people from just brief encounters. I always thought of Mrs. Zimmer as a particularly sad woman. I also thought of her as smart and aloof. To me, she seemed like someone who knew a lot, didn't care to share what she knew and was somehow disappointed with her life and with those who entered it, me included. As a kid, I was always glad to collect my money and get out of there; she wasn't someone I enjoyed being around.
Perhaps that's why I was feeling a little awkward. Even though I hadn't thrown a paper on her lawn in five years, she recognized me and said ‘hello'. After I responded with the same word we seemed to have exhausted all potential for conversation and we both turned away. Maybe our cheerlessness was understandable: we were both waiting to get our teeth drilled.
It surprised me. Surprised me a lot. You don't expect to be thinking of a 45 year old woman when a guy in a mask is boring into your tooth. But I was thinking of her, her look of sadness more then anything. She seemed to be almost consumed by melancholy, lost in it, now, just like I remembered her during my paper route days. I don't know why but as I sat there gagging on a rubber dike I wanted nothing more then to cheer her up, to make her laugh, to bring a little joy to her eyes, a smile to her lips.
I got my chance about an hour later. She saw me walking along the street, stopped her car and asked if I'd like a ride home. Actually, it came out more like "Would you wike a wide home," and when I responded, with deliberate exaggeration, "I would wove a wide home," she burst out laughing so when I settle into the seat next to her I felt our shared laugh and dental experience had somehow brought us together.
It wasn't a long ride home but it was time enough for me to learn that her daughter was in 3rd year and thinking about going into law, following Mr. Zimmer's profession, and that Mrs. Zimmer owned a florist shop, or maybe even a number of them, I didn't quite get that straight. I wanted to get more out of her but she soon turned the turret on me and had me babbling about my future, as if I had any plans, as if I had the slightest idea how my future would unfold. When we turned onto our street I thanked her politely for the ride and, I don't know why, perhaps because I meant it, but I added that I really enjoyed talking to her. I told her she made me feel really at ease. That's when I heard her mutter, "That's a first."
It happens, doesn't it? You haven't seen someone in years and then you run into them twice in a matter of days. My second time with Mrs. Zimmer was in a coffee shop in the mall just three days later. I was sitting on a stool at one of those narrow, sweeping counters, looking at the wall when the person to my right got up and there she was, one stool away. "Hello again," she said and I said, because I had been thinking of it for two days now, "May I ask you a question?"
She turned a little on her stool to face me, "Of course." I could tell she was curious.
"Why did you say to me the other day, ‘That's a first." I could see that she didn't understand so I clarified. "I thanked you for the ride home and said that you really put me at ease in the car. That's when you said, ‘That's a first.' What did you mean?"
She laughed mirthlessly, "I've never been accused of making anyone feel comfortable."
I fell silent with this, I didn't really know what to say. And she was silent, too, she even turned away, but in a minute she turned back. "It was sweet of you to ask me about that. Thank you."
"Do you know why I did?"
She held her coffee cup as if warming both hands and shook her head.
"Because it surprised me." And I told her, I really don't know why — it just came out, about my thoughts about her while I was in the dentist's chair; how she always appeared to me to look so sad and how I wanted to cheer her up.
She smiled, wanly I thought. "You have cheered me up. Thank you."
"Are you as sad as you look?"
She gave the same mirthless laugh, "Do I look that bad?"
"Not bad, but sad, as if you haven't a friend in the world."
We talked for two hours that afternoon, through three cups of coffee, most of the time across an empty stool but when a lady was about to sit in it I scooted over so we could continue our conversation. We talked about nothing really, and there was never a laugh or even a smile. But my hunch from three days before was right: I was comfortable talking to this woman and I told her so and asked her if we could get together again. She smiled at me. Sure, she said, I like to go for walks in the forest behind my house, maybe you could join me sometime. I surprised myself when I leapt at the chance and pinned down a time to meet her the very next day.
That night in my bed I took her in my arms and tried to imagine her holding on to me, I tried to image the weight of the world falling from her shoulders, I tried to image a smile coming to her lips — and I tried to feel her heat, breathe in her smell. It shocked me, really shocked me because as I lay there with her, well, with the pillow in my arms, I got a hard-on, a hard-on thinking about a woman who was my mother's age, maybe older. This may sound stupid but what attracted me to her, what I found sexy about her, wasn't her body, it was her vulnerability, her sadness. I held the pillow tighter and tried to squeeze the sorrow right out of her.
It was half way through our walk the next day when I told her about my image of holding her, trying to squeeze away her misery. I didn't plan to, it just came out. She looked up at me with eyes that were as sad as I'd ever seen, then she stepped towards me and hugged me, not a little, but a lot and she didn't let go, she didn't let go for the longest time, time enough for me to wrap my arms around her, to feel the heat beneath her thin sweater, to feel the slight tremble of her body.
She held on to me and cried for perhaps two minutes and when she stepped away her eyes were red and her cheeks were wet with tears; she smiled as she brushed them away, "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened." We walked back in silence.
When I held her again that night I had a little more to go on. I could feel her breasts pressing against me, I could feel her back and the outline of her bra strap and I could feel her heat — I could almost smell her heat. I held her for a few minutes then I carefully lay her down side me, spread my legs a little and gave my stiff prick three yanks and shot a load into my pajamas but even before my still-stiff dink rested on my belly I felt a jolt of guilt. I was getting sexual joy out of Mrs. Zimmer's misery, how sick was that? And how sick was it for a kid not yet 20 to get off on a woman older then his mother?
I didn't see her again for four days. Each night I was on the trail at 7, but she wasn't, not until the forth day and when she spotted me her lips formed into the same joyless smile. "Hello again. Out for a stroll?"
"I'm waiting for you."
We walked in silence and we didn't stop when we passed the place where we had hugged but a little further on she sat down on a bench and I sat down beside her. She was leaning forward on her knees and she looked up at me curiously, "I don't understand why you want to spend this time with me."
"I don't either, but I do."
"Why are you so sad?"
When she sat back on the bench I knew she was wrestling with whether to answer or not. She was quiet for a moment then her cheerless eyes narrowed in resignation, or was it desperation, I wasn't sure. "Because after the better part of a lifetime, I have nothing."
You have a husband, a daughter, a house, a car, a business and … she could see I was about to state the obvious so she headed me off. "You're too young to know this but if you don't engage in life, if you don't commit yourself to life, if you don't grab for all you can get from life, you can do the opposite. You can stand back and coolly watch life pass you by, pass you by like it was a movie directed by somebody else. That's what I've done. The last half of my life has become a spectator sport to me. I'm never on the field, I'm always in the stands. Let me give you a tip, Bradley, do what the beer commercial said, ‘grab for all the gusto you can get.'"
I wasn't listening to her advice, I was too surprised that she knew my name. She must have spent part of her miserable last few days trying to remember it. I don't know why, but that excited me. But I didn't really understand her, either. "Is it too late? I mean, if you know what your problem is, can't you deal with it? Can't you start grabbing at life now?"
"Can a middle age fan walk onto the field and play quarterback?"
"She can if she's got a great blocking guard." When I smiled at what I thought was a great and encouraging line, she laughed and took my hand and squeezed it and when she did, I squeezed her back and didn't let her take her hand away but that got me nervous, I've never been so bold in my life, so I quickly asked, "Give me an example of … ah, your lack of engagement."
Her eyes were somehow kinder now and she smiled at me a little and squeezed my fingers before pulling her hand from mine. "I love my daughter with all my heart. She doesn't know that, she couldn't know that because I've never been able to show her, to tell her. As a result, I've always played a bit part in her life and now, when I need her, she doesn't need me."
"But it isn't too late …"
"I've had 25 years to show Susan how desperately I love her. But I haven't been able to. I don't think I knew how." She looked down at her feet and wrung her hands together. "I can't very well pick up the phone now and tell her how much I care." She got up, but instead of walking back, as I thought she would, she continued along the trail. This told me she wanted to talk some more so I asked another question. "What about your husband?"
"Don't go there." Her voice was cold and abrupt and I regretted the question immediately but then she surprised me, after a long hesitation she answered me. "We were in love once, really in love and I love to remember those days. It isn't his fault things turned sour. It was me. I just pulled away, slowly at first, so slowly I didn't even know what I was doing. I think we both became conscious of it at about the same time. That was a few years ago." I could see she was thinking about this and then she laughed, that same empty laugh, "If a few years can be a decade or more." She was quiet for a bit. "He's a good guy, my husband, he always has been. Good husband, good father, good provider — if he had been a little less good, maybe I would have been a little more …." She didn't finish the statement, it just hung there. Then she summed up her feelings. "He diminished me. He didn't mean to, but he did. He was just so damn good at everything, so together, he never really needed me. He's an island, a rich, blossoming island but an island entirely unto himself. I'm a lot more of a mainlander. I'm a lot more needy. Susan is too."
I could see the tears on her cheeks but I didn't know what to do so I took her hand and stopped and when she stopped she turned and she seemed to collapse in my arms, as she had before, and she was trembling like before and I was holding on to her, but this time I wasn't feeling her breasts and her heat, like the first time. This time I was pulling a Clinton, I was feeling her pain.
After a minute or so she tried to pull away but I held her and I put my hand lightly on her head and gently pushed her face into my neck. She was crying louder now and she was shaking so I held her tighter, encouraging her to cry and we stood like that for so long that her tears collected on my neck and trickled onto my collarbone.
She kissed me on the cheek when she let me go and then she used a sleeve to wipe away her tears. That's when I said it. I have no idea why I did. Maybe I thought it was central to her problem. I was curious, too. "You don't have sex with your husband, do you?"
When she started walking away it was back towards the house and her pace was quicker, a lot quicker. I had gone too far and I knew it. I had overstepped the boundary. I was deciding whether to slink away in shame when she stopped and turned around. "Not for ten years."
"Why?" I was just a step in front of her now and it was easy to see the tears on her cheeks and the snot in her left nostril.
"It's complicated," she said, as she wiped her sleeve across her nose, but then she gave her empty laugh again, "No it's not, it isn't complicated at all. You don't want to sleep with someone when you can't sleep with yourself."
When I took her in my arms she went willingly, and when I rubbed her back she pressed her face into my neck, but when I said the words — honest, I was just trying to be encouraging, I was just trying to get her to feel a little better about her self, but it was a stupid thing to say, a monumentally dumb thing to say and I knew it the very moment the words left my lips, "I'd love to sleep with you, Mrs. Zimmer."
She seemed to slump in my arms as if defeated and when she let me go she turned and walked away and I knew enough to leave her alone.
She was waiting for me the next night, I knew this because I was a little late and she was on the trail, walking at a snail's pace. We walked in silence to the bench but she didn't sit down, she just stopped and turned to me. "I need you Bradley. You're my last straw."
I took a pace forward to hug her, to show her I cared, but she took a step backward. "Do you masturbate?"
"Of course," I said, surprised at my honesty.
She wasn't really looking at me when she said, "I don't or I haven't for years, but I did last night, I did it because for the first time for as long as I can remember I felt a little bit alive, I felt … well, I was going to say I felt wanted but …"
"You should." I took her hands and she let me and I squeezed them. "I do want you, I want you to be happy, I said that the first day I saw you and I meant it, that's all I've thought about, how can I make you happy."
She turned and walked back towards the house but she kept her hand in mine, all the way to the beginning of the trail when she let it go. She didn't stop and her words were barely audible, "Can you come with me?"
I followed her through her back yard, through the back door and up the four steps to her kitchen where she smiled at me and we continued up the stairs to her bedroom. "My husband is away," she said, more to the room then to me, then she turned. "You've been good for me, Bradley, more then you could possibly believe. No one has held me in years. No one has talked to me like you have. I haven't let them. I needed you, Bradley," she smiled sadly, "I need you."
The room seemed to be whirling. The woman in front of me seemed now to be all tits and hips, she seemed soft and warm. I wanted to burrow into her, I've never wanted anything more in my life, never even dreamed of feeling this way.
"Do you understand?"
"I need you, Bradley, but I don't want to use you. Do you understand?"
"You aren't using me, Mrs. Zimmer. Honest. I want to be here."
She closed the few paces between us slowly and she took my hand and when she kneeled on the bed, so did I and when she lay down, I did to, and then she pulled me into her with my head on her chest, just above her tits. "Can I hold you for awhile, just like this?"
I shifted my legs trying to ease my hard-on which was sticking into my pants like a poker and I pulled her body to me allowing one hand to rest on her upper back and the other on the lower. We lay like that for maybe ten minutes, maybe longer but time enough for me to collect my thoughts. Well, in truth I needed only a few seconds for that: for the first time in my life I was going to get laid, and I was going to get laid by a really sexy older woman. It was during the second or third minute, well, if truth be told, more like the seventh or eight minute when I started thinking, not about what I was just about to get, but about her, remembering her sadness, her vulnerability, her words, and it was at about the ninth minute when I had to admit to myself that this wasn't about me at all, it was all about her, and then I knew that I would let her use me for whatever therapy she needed and I would do so willingly. I really liked this woman, I really wanted to help her, I really wanted to help lift her sadness, to put a smile on her face. It sounds stupid, I know, but that's what I wanted. I've always been a pretty thoughtful guy.
"Have you gone to sleep?"
I laughed, "God, no."
She stroked my hair. "I was thinking about guilt. About being here with a boy …"
"I'm almost 20, Mrs. Zimmer. A man."
"… about being here with a young man, in my husband's house, three doors from my daughter's bedroom." She paused and I had the sense to shut up. "I should feel guilt about this but I don't, I don't because I need you, Bradley, I desperately need you, I need you to coax some life out of these miserable bones. I think you're the only one who can."
I could feel her fingers in my hair and my hard-on against her leg but it was her helpless sorrow that really got to me. She seemed all but dead so I brought my hand, which had almost gone to sleep, from behind her back and I brought it up and lightly caressed her forehead and her cheek and I brushed at the side of her nose, then I brought two finger lightly along her lips, trying to detect a hint of a smile. But I got more. I got a soft moan and soft kisses on my finger tips and she shifted her legs, opening them a little and I could feel my hard-on pressing harder into the side of her leg. She could, too, because she moaned again and when she did I rolled on top of her and wrapped my arms around her and squeezed her like I had squeezed my pillow and then I rolled onto my back pulling her on top of me. My hard-on was poking into her now, about where I though her sex to be, then she rode up on me and squeezed my neck. "Don't move," she order, as she rolled off me and quickly pulled her dress over her head and then she was back on me, squeezing my neck again, but this time my face was on the bare skin of her upper chest and my lips were forced against the soft cloth of her bra.
When I pushed her away I did so gently and I was almost as quick as she was in taking off my clothes, but I took them all off and when I crawled back on top of her I could feel the erotic heat of her nylon slip against my throbbing prick, now soaked with pre-cum, and I could feel her face press into my neck and then I pushed her away again, this time more roughly and just in time to find my discarded underwear and I caught the cum from my squirting cock.
"Was it a good one?" she asked, as she pulled me to her.
"Oh, God, yes," and I snuggled up to her and brought my right hand to her breast which I gently caressed, marveling at both its magnificence and my good fortune. But my fortune was about to get better. She extracted herself from me, sat up, pulled her slip off her shoulders, undid her bra and pulled her slip back up. Or, at least, I gathered that's what she did for when she lay down again, I again snuggled in and as I felt for her breast there was a nipple there now, a large hard nipple and one that made her moan when I touched it.
"Are you smiling?" I was now wetly kissing through the slick fabric at her left nipple while I gently caressed her right. She kissed my hair and took my hand and moved it down towards her stomach and when my hand wandered onto her slightly rounded belly she began to purr, that's the only word for it, she purred like a cat and her hand landed on top of mine and gently encouraged me to go lower.