“You know, I think I prefer sex in the afternoon.”
She’s sitting next to me on the couch, my wife, the woman who has been with me for the past 21 years. She’s doing the Times Sunday crossword, an endeavor that usually takes up to three days to complete. OK, so, she’s prone to fits and starts. But what she lacks in organization skills, she fully makes up in conviction.
She’s bouncing the rubber eraser end of a No. 2 pencil between her teeth as she scans the squares of the crossword and contemplates the right word for the spaces. The pencil makes a nagging, click-click-click sound against her exquisitely white teeth.
“Sex. In the afternoon. I think it’s my most favorite time.”
She looks up from the quarter-folded newspaper and meets my perplexed face.
I look at my watch. It’s 3:12 p.m.
Her face goes flush, the pink of her cheeks turn ruddy.
These are the most favorite times to be with her. In bed, a tangle of sheets, warm and wet in places, a sheen of sweat in our hair and on our brows. Entwined, idle, a time in-between the frenetic pace of our lovemaking and the flow of ordinary life.
She’s still breathing hard and her chest is a flushed ‘V’ from the neck down. I think it looks like a sunburn, and I open my mouth to say so, but keep the comment to myself. She’s self-conscious about her body and how it reacts to sex - still - and I don’t want her to retreat from my arms for a wet towel to clean herself up. Not just yet.
Our lives can wait. The ordinary parts, anyway.
I rub my hand over her hip and across the curve of her butt. I let my finger trace the exposed flesh and she moves as to complain, so I retreat the hand to her hip and wait for her to let her guard down. Again. So I can slip my hands south again, between her thighs. Touching her, well, let’s just leave that one to the imagination, shall we?
Dusk is in full blossom as she nestles into the crook of my neck. Her hair is a snarl of curls and it tickles, but I don’t move. Nor complain. She smells of cinnamon, sweat, sex and a hint of the expense perfume I get her each Christmas. I part the wave of curls, take a taste of her neck, then a nibble and finally, I take a taste of her wonderful earlobe. She moans ever so slightly. And an elbow comes out of sheets, all angled and bony, and hits me just below the armpit. She’s wearing a smile when I look at her.
“You’re impossible,” she says.
“Don’t start what you can’t finish.”
What age has stripped me in sexual frequency has more than made up in a certain patience and durability. She has no complaints; none that I am aware of, anyway. This is just our shtick, our banter.
The dog barks, meaning one of the kids is home, and life comes flooding back into the hushed darkness of our bedroom. She sighs, lifts her legs off mine and stands, retrieving her panties from the spot on the floor where I removed them somewhat violently.
“Since when do you like sex in the afternoon?”
“Since that time when we brought Elsa home from the hospital after her tonsillectomy and she was so looped on pain meds and you fairly attacked me in the bathroom. I had a half-moon bruise on my ass from the sink for a week.”
I put a hand to my lips and ponder. A moment 13 years into our past.
“And you never said anything to me until today?”
“Well, no. Today was when I got the clue.”
“Twenty down, ‘Highly sought of.’ ”