by David Cain
Mary poured herself a cup of coffee. Carefully daring the first hot sip, she let the rich brew invigorate her spirits. The morning sun shone brilliantly through the pale lilacs of her frail kitchen curtains, sparkling on the chrome faucet, warming the yellows in the patterned tiles. Mary peeked out the window at the yard, stirring with the first impulses of life, and decisively went to open the back door.
The air retained a definite chill, yet after so much time spent locked in the staleness of the house, Mary stepped boldly onto the deck. She curled her pale hands around the steaming cup of coffee as she moved through the shade and into the streaming sunlight. Mary felt her shoulders fall slightly as the radiant heat at once soothed her jangled nerves. She took a deep breath of the sweet morning air, the chilled aroma of fresh beginnings.
“Oh,” she said, leaning against the deck railing and taking another sip of her coffee, “I wish he would have stayed home today with me.” Mary closed her eyes and indulged herself in feeling the sunshine on her face. “What good is all this work if we can’t enjoy a day like today?” Mary sat down on a stiff deck chair and put her bare feet up on another.
She remembered a spring day, although it seemed so long ago. Mary smiled to imagine that day in the meadows, when they had gone to Gran’s for the weekend and the whole field seemed to have awakened from a slumber with the silvery green of new sprouts, tiny blossoms of white and purple. He had held her tight as she laughed and tried to struggle free and when she had broken loose from his grasp and run, he had chased her down in a flash. Mary felt her face grow flush as a chilly breeze poured down from the North. She drank a sip of warm coffee.
The children next door came running between the houses and into their backyard, laughing and falling over themselves as they ran to the swings at the back by the sun tickled hedges. Mary felt a longing in her breast as they called out a rhyme in the tempo of their lift and fall. The older child, a boy of eight, called out insistent commands to his younger sister. Mary laughed when little Sarah refused to obey Tommy’s orders. He raised his tiny fist, threatening his sister and she squealed, “Mommy!” and ran back toward the house.
Mary glanced over at the flower bed at the end of her yard. The tulips were already pushing up their scarlet and yellow blossoms. “I should get over to the Home Center this morning,” she said. “I could spend the afternoon planting.”
Leaning back and closing her eyes, Mary submitted to the bright sunlight, feeling the heat tickle her rosy cheeks. She pushed her tussled hair back, away from her face. Rich blues and greys mingled under her eyelids as she smiled at the scent of a rich spring breath. “Hello,” a deep voice spoke. Mary opened her eyes, startled and sat up. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.” Mary turned to look at the man, leaning over her short white fence.
“James!” she exclaimed. He looked older, but still the same, strong and firm and with a laughing smile.
“Hello, Mary. I’d almost given up finding you.” James pushed down on the thick end post.
“How did you?” Mary asked, pulling at her unkempt hair anxiously.
“Wasn’t easy,” said James. “I ran into Bob Jenkins up at the conference. He pointed me in the right direction.”
“Bob?” said Mary, absently. “It’s been a long time, James.”
“That’s what I was thinking. Can we talk for a while?” James asked.
“Sure,” said Mary, “I guess that would be all right. Just come around.” James vaulted the short fence and walked over the damp lawn and onto the deck. Mary sat up, suddenly aware that she was still wearing her nightgown.
“Nice place,” said James politely as he pulled out a chair and sat down. “I brought you these,” he said, holding up a bouquet of white carnations. Mary took the flowers and breathed their sweet scent.
“Beautiful,” she said, laying the flowers down on the table. “You’re in town for a conference?” Mary asked, blushing self-consciously.
“Yup,” said James, looking boldly into Mary’s blue eyes. “I was, anyway. I fly out this afternoon. I was going to go and visit some of the old haunts, but when I talked to Bob, I had to try to see you. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Oh, James,” said Mary, “I don’t mind at all.” She lifted the coffee cup to her lips, nervously. “Can I get you a cup?” she asked.
“Thanks, anyway, Mare,” James said. “I’ve already had my dose this morning.”
“So how are you?” she asked.
“Good, really good. Always moving forward. You know me.”
“Yes,” Mary said, “that sounds right. Married?” James held up his left hand letting the gold band sparkle in the sunlight. “Kids?” she asked shyly.
“Four,” said James with a grin. “You?”
“No,” said Mary, frowning. “He doesn’t, well, I’m just not sure.”
“Sorry,” said James.
“No, it’s all right,” said Mary. “Brad’s a big kid himself. I have my hands full with him.”
“Yeah. Still, it’s a shame. I always pictured you as a mother.”
“I guess that was why you left me,” she said.
“Oh, Mary, I still don’t know why I did that. We had something.”
“I thought so,” Mary replied. “It hurt.”
“I know,” said James, putting his hand on hers. “That’s why I wanted to come back and ask you to forgive me.”
“James,” she said. “You didn’t need to do that. We were just kids. I don’t even remember the way it ended. I just remember how much fun we had.”
“I tell you what,” he said. “So do I.”
“C’mon,” said Mary, standing up. “Let me show you around.”
“I’d like that,” said James following her lead.
Mary led James into the cream carpeted family room, with tall oak shelves and polished brass fixtures.
“This is really nice,” he said. “A lot nicer than the place we had on Flannery Street.” Mary laughed.
“Yes, I suppose it is,” she said. “Although our place had plenty of character. Sometimes I think my life lacks character.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said James. “I think you’ve still got a little character.”
“Well, thank you,” said Mary, surprised at the familiar glow she felt, hearing him tease. “I’m glad I haven’t completely gone sterile.”
“No,” said James, “I don’t think so.” He took Mary’s hand and felt her sigh. Mary missed him more than she’d let herself remember. James drew her around and gave her the kiss she had been waiting for. Mary fell limp in his strong embrace.
“I tried to forget,” she said, as his lips familiarly tickled her neck. “I’ve made myself accept.”
“Show me the bedroom,” James said, lifting her slightly.
“Yes,” Mary said. “Upstairs.”
Strong and fierce, James lifted her into his arms and carried Mary easily up the grey carpeted stairs and into the deep green bedroom.
“Nice,” said James, tossing Mary on the leaf printed bedspread.
“Nice,” mocked Mary, pulling him on top of her. His hand roamed over her gown, the soft cotton barely shrouding the full softness of her breast, the gentle swelling of her tummy. James lifted the hem as he caressed her lean thigh, kissing her moist mouth with feverish passion. Mary pulled at his shirt, fumbled with his buttons.
James drew her shift up to her waist. “Still don’t wear panties?” he asked, tickling her muff and squeezing her bottom.
“Never,” said Mary, smiling as she kissed her lover.
“I’ve missed you,” James said, teasing her nether lips with a finger. Mary struck him with a closed fist on his broad back. James laughed and unzipped his trousers. Mary squirmed under him and hit him again. James leaned back and pulled down his pants, releasing a dark stick based in a tangle of black hair. Mary struck him forcefully on the chest. James put his hands on her pale shoulders and deftly sank his cock into her wet cunt.
“Oh, God,” said Mary, her hands taking hold of his muscular waist. James thrust mightily into Mary, and she threw back her head with the blow. “Why did you go? Oh, please. I’ve always dreamed,” she said softly.
“Once more,” he said. “We deserve this together, just once more.”