The sex was just awful.
Ronald performed it like a mechanical animal. Thumping the bones of his hips into her thighs and hiding his face in her breasts. His fingers knifed her soft parts, tearing and ripping. The heavy body crushed her at the end, bashing her into the sweaty mattress. Ronald mauled and jerked as fast as he could possibly go until he let out that final groan and it was over.
Susan liked looking at the clock for something to do. Nine minutes was his record, and that included tugging clothes and underwear off. Mercifully, the actual sex had never gone beyond two hundred and five seconds.
They lived in a house on a hill overlooking the ocean. Just north of the Boston metropolis by a few winding miles of black highway. Gaunt birds lived there on the cliffs and there must have been pelicans once, for it was called Pelican Peak. He took his sex in the master bedroom and left her sprawled on the queen mattress, where she could watch out the French doors. She watched the gulls and wondered where the pelicans had gone.
On an October day, inexplicably windless and warm, a squat silver car marred with dusty streaks wended a hesitant route up the broad concrete driveway. Susan saw it from the sitting room upstairs. The driver had made a mistake and she knew the car would spin around in a broad curve and whiz irritably back down to the road. But it didn’t.
Susan’s eyes opened wider as she peered out the window. The sun illuminated the inside of the car and she could see a figure dressed in dark clothing was driving. A woman with long blonde hair. Susan could see the soft curve of her face and her bright blue eyes. The woman looked very pretty. Susan felt a hot flutter in her breast.
The car skidded to a slow stop just in front of the house. The blonde woman was tall and lithe and beautiful, and her body swayed enticingly as she walked up the steps. Tepid breath sang through Susan’s lips. Fingers, nervous then nimble, slipped under her skirt and hastened the awakening lust. In only moments she stiffened and gasped. Panting wildly, she leaned her face against the window and pushed her cheek onto its hard surface.
The blonde woman looked skinnier now. Gaunt, and her eyes were tired blue smudges. She moved with an ungainly gait as she hurried back into the car, shaking her head at the mistaken address. Susan stared in shock, wondering what had happened. She dumbly watched the car circle away and back down the drive.
Susan thought about that woman all day, confused. One moment the young woman had appeared sumptuous, and the next moment a thin unappetizing thing. How could Susan have possibly had such a rapid change in viewpoint? It left her shaken.
When Ronald got home that evening she avoided conversation. Her mind was still immersed in self-doubt. She sulked pensively on the couch until eight o’clock and then she pleaded fatigue and went to bed.
An hour later she was staring at the gulls spinning over the darkening sky, still wondering. She’d gone from wondering about the blonde woman to wondering about her husband, because she was lying in their bed. Did Ronald also become so dispassionate immediately after sex? Was Susan a tempting nymph for those few minutes, and then did she become a sack of used flesh? She thought she remembered enjoying his desire years ago, but she wasn’t sure. Could it be that she was really the one who had changed? This revelation, if it were true, absolutely excited Susan. She lay there waiting.
His voice heralded his arrival from out in the hall. Sweet and teasing. He rushed in and stripped her terribly fast and eagerly. Then it started, and he consumed her with his hard hands and bludgeoned her beneath his muscular body. He pushed so far inside her she was certain it would break. Then it stopped suddenly with a groan.
He rolled away and limped to the bathroom. The door closed. The door opened and he found his clothes and left the bedroom.
Susan barely noticed him leave. Her body was trembling and she was staring dumbly at the clock. It had been the longest two minutes of her life. She teased her happy nipples with playful fingers and giggled. Arching her back over the moist warm sheets, she closed her eyes and sighed. The gull’s voices slapped at the windows, like squawking, squeaking children.
But the pelicans were gone.
Chris Dean is a retired laborer residing in Iowa. An outdoor lover, Chris enjoys camping and hiking.