Charlie’s gone, with a hand to my cheek and a peck on my
forehead, the sort I once found endearing, gone to play computer
games and be paid for them, leaving me with five minutes. Five
minutes in which to toss the egg-stained dishes in the dishwasher
and shut the door, in which to grab a sponge from the sink and
quickly unbutton my blouse, sponging off the summer sweat from
underarms and under heavy breasts, five minutes until the knock
on the back door. And I put down the sponge and open it, blouse
seductively unbuttoned, knowing that Peter will have an excuse
ready in case Charlie’s running late today, “Hey, pal. I had to go
downtown to pick up some paints — wondered if you wanted a ride
in to work.” And had the car pool been late, Charlie would have
taken Pete up on it with a smile and a cheerful, unsuspecting
“Thanks!” and a precious forty-two minutes would have been lost,
one minute down the brownstone stairs, twenty minutes there,
twenty minutes back, one minute up again.

But Charlie is gone, as he usually is, and so I am the one
opening the door to Peter’s cheerful smile, and with a quick fluttery
glance at Kate and Alison’s down the hall door, he slips inside and
the door is shut and I am caught up in his arms, in his eyes, in him.
Today he is hungry and the remaining buttons pop off the silk
blouse, one two three and I note that I must find them later and sew
them on and then his hands are pushing down the bra so my breasts
spill out and his devouring mouth is on them. I must lean against
the wall, hands braced flat, fingers down or I will fall. The fire
sweeps through me fast, so fast and I have barely seen or touched
or smelled him yet and yet the dampness is sliding from bare cunt
to bare thighs. His hands, big, rough, incongruously broad for an
artist’s hands are around my waist now and lifting me up and onto
him. The loose skirt is no impediment and I wrap legs around him,
not bothering to wonder when he undid zippers and moved
inconvenient clothing, just glad glad glad that it is gone and there
is no obstruction between us.

Oh, dangerous we are being, as I ride him, tender breasts
rubbing up and down against a heavy flannel shirt and muscled
chest beneath, my mouth on his neck and my arms wrapped around
him now, fingers digging red welts even through the shirt no
doubt. No matter — he has no spouse to wonder at strange
markings. Peter’s kisses are gentle, always, no matter what the
force of passion — he is too wise to leave visible marks. Not that
Charlie could or would stand up to him, but this arrangement is
convenient; it suits us all, even Charlie though he does not know it.
I am hungry too, hungry for love and passion, and if Peter’s
whispered words are only a gentle illusion, no matter — it is
enough. Let Charlie have his games and Peter his safe downstairs
daily fuck and I my taste of danger and delight. Peter’s hands pull
me to him roughly, and his muttered groans pull me over my own
edge as I feel his come spilling into me and I dissolve.

Peter thinks that I am on the pill. But I would rejoice in a
child if it came, and sometimes I think that if it did I would leave
them both, my dear husband and my daring love, and even my
ladder-climbing back-stabbing corporation. I would take her up
into the mountains, and we would sit together by a lake and sing
with the birds and I would never never never speak of love to her.
Then the timer from the microwave beeps madly, and we are quick
kissing and he is out the door, and I rush through my ten minutes
to shower and dress all over again before heading downtown, not
forgetting to pick up the buttons and the blouse and needle and
thread to take with me, so I can change before returning home,
though Charlie will likely work late again tonight.


M.A. Mohanraj