It seemed to him that the woman he had found at the animal shelter long ago, the high minded, high rumped girl, pacing like a frustrated saint caring tenderly for the doomed, was not the woman he was married to now. The one washing dishes with her back to him.
He sipped his coffee and gazed at her bare feet pressed into the tiled floor, her buttocks outlined assertively against the cloth of the thin, old blue nightie that she wore from habit and that was impregnated with her scent.
What was it, how was it, this body familiar as his own, standing, gabbing as her soapy hands moved dishes from the sink to the dishwasher tray, weight shifting from thigh to thigh, that yet this morning he had discovered her magnificent ass.
Her ass had changed over the years, like herself, a mature, pragmatic ass. The meat, haunch and heft of it had settled, maybe resigned itself defeated, into practical shapes. A pair of blockish, squares, side by side. Hips not quite as bouncy a saddle for carrying a toddler but rallying into a final shape beneath the tiny thin line of her matronly panties pressing the fabric of the clingy old night gown. A solid friendly ass that treadmills could not redeem; a connoisseur of asses might eagerly press his face with a sigh into this ass of asses like great aged cheese and find humanity and comfort there. An ass for the ages. A Rodin ass. A mighty ass. A truly noble ass. His wife's ass.
I could believe, he thought as he took a hot sip of black coffee, that a woman with that ass, that particular ass, made the world. I could pray to a woman. Yes. Would rather pray to a woman’s ass; a penitent before a truly sacred icon. There the true face of God - a woman’s ass.
He had, at the end of hard days, pressed his cheeks into the animal warmth there in the crevice of those solid butt cheeks, inhaled the scent of her butt skin like a lost child, counted the birthmarks at the base of her thighs and kissed each one without ambition of seduction. Only because, like great mountains, they were there.
In the animal shelter, back in the day, as an awkward young man dizzy with lust, he had said things to impress her; quoted Krishnamurti, expressing admiration for the mystical iconoclasts of the world and so on and all that. She had dismissed him as a turd. Then, Boots, the sweetest homeless cat on death row was gassed. He had sat on the concrete and bawled his eyes out. She gathered him in. They began there with the best of each other.
She shook her hands in the sink and turned to him, gabbing, wiping her hands on a towel.
Her breasts wobbled as she wiped and talked.
Would one of her nipples peak for him?
Would he have that to keep with him all day at work?
Look as he did, although he could see the shadowed moons of them, they were not erect. Would she see him looking and come to him, lift up her night gown and expose herself? She would have to rediscover herself first, as he was in this moment over coffee, her youth, her lust, to even conceive such an act
It was not the same as watching a woman get ready to take a shower, or fumble with her bra as she dresses. The act of exposure was an act of dominance. He longed to be dominated and subdued by her breasts. To see the nightie in her fists lifted up in his face.
In the beginning of their sex life she had posed at being moderate in her desires. He wanted so badly to crack through this facade of crusted snow. The fineness of his politeness, his outbursts of vulnerability had drawn her to him at first. But he knew they would not sustain them. Like the cats and dogs they were doomed.
Finally his neediness made her tired. In the motel room in Savannah she’d screamed in his face "I'm not here to make you happy!"
But oh – oh – oh if only her nipple, either of them would stick out for him just now, witnessed discretely like watching a braless woman stand in frosted air of the frozen food section, erect, please God just a little. The way they do.
"I think your guy Obama is weak," he said. "He doesn't have any strategy in Syria. He doesn’t know what the fuck he's doing."
That should do it.
Her indignant liberal nipples rose into toughened peaks of righteousness.
There - oh there.
The right nipple. A definite stiffy there. Oh glory. Oh sweet divine. Do I know this woman or not?
Now both. Both nips - high and outraged! If God were a woman – that goddess would answer prayers like a woman does. Oh yes.
The nipples, fully alert, were looking in different directions on different latitudes, like the eyes of a chameleon.
" . . .bla blah blah . . . And blah blah blah - and what the fuck - ? Are you sitting there staring at my tits? Are you even listening to me?"
"Yes," he waved his coffee. "To both."
"Jesus Christ. You."
The Goddess of Liberte's ferocious nipples, fearless and sacred.
Do I love her? Could I even love anybody? What is love anyway? She could be anybody. Could she be anybody, or does she have to be this woman only?
She had grown up with horses. Her parents had had a farm with horses to ride. He had never ridden a horse until she brought him there. She had ridden horses as soon as she learned to walk. She missed them even now.
His mare had sensed his lack of confidence, knew instantly that she was being ridden by an idiot. Her horse trusted and knew her, his childhood friend. It seemed to read her mind. Her desires. The touch of the leather, the tap of a heel, a gentle lean, the horse's body was joined to her in a way that was genuinely erotic, enough to make him jealous. The horse understood her body in a way he had not mastered. Moved when she moved, danced when she danced, faster, harder, slower, rough and gentle, what she desired, how she desired, it was all known. It was all unspoken. And how she loved the animal for it.
How is it to be a riding woman, he wondered. To hold a powerful, muscled force of nature captured and heaving in rhythm between your thighs, intimately understanding you, responding to your touch, sweeping you along. Do women secretly orgasm when they feel that power bouncing them down there? Should I ask?
To live physically, to alter surface, tone and mood. Love roughly. Innocent in passion. Thickened with lust. In a moment I will stand and give her a hug, because someone must. Because we are older and not wiser.
Life is neither safe or kind.