“You cannot call it love. For at your age
the heyday in the blood is tame and waits
upon the judgement. And what judgement would
step from this to this?”
I don’t want to say lust is only a cherished memory. But it has certainly changed its nature. The flame still burns but not as tall, or fueled by visions of glistening crevices, or stiffened giblets.
Its more a question of how someone shimmers the air as she passes by, that Japanese concept called Wabi Sabi, which finds beauty in imperfection. A woman who is close to my age, whose blood is tame, but looks like she might be a generous lover. Or a vulnerable lover. Or a surprising lover. Or an assertive lover. Or maybe a woman who still dreams. And god forbid, does she notice me here in the coffee shop looking up furtively over the rim of my cheap glasses with my nose down at the writing pad?
Women are exciting for me to watch, though the criterion has changed. It’s still the women my age that are exciting to the view, to watch at a distance, to sense their scent on the air as they pass, guess at their secret kinks, their embarrassing neediness like my own, and if faithful and long married, unless they are especially lucky, their erotic boredom with their mate. Maybe their temptation. Their openness to danger, to the fearfulness of trying to seduce at any age. I think especially what we all want is to be seen and still known as sexual beings until our last breath. My brain chemistry which greased the way of lust as a teenager has changed so much that the fantasy of lust itself has changed from those first childhood fumblings with medical dictionaries that illustrated hairy vulvas and the mechanical mysteries of the uterus, to my own growing sensitivity in my penis that responded to the urgent and ineffable desire I felt for my school teachers. A desire I didn’t even know how to release if not yet consummate.
In the bookstore, in the Kroger produce aisle, the women are endlessly fascinating in their Wabi Sabiness. Their variety of form, shaped by time, not youthful symmetry but their delicate and honest lumpiness, like that of a supernatural, dangerous woman in an old Frank Frazetta painting. It is a vulnerable beauty that invites connection.
I watch a woman, maybe in her 40s passes by and she sees me stealing a look and we look away, embarrassed, but casting her spell on my loins anyway, a brief residual zing. Her fantasy image in my thoughts follows after her like a comet trail.
What does she look like? Not in mom jeans and a loose T shirt covering her breasts which sway underneath, but in curlers? In a bathrobe? Reclining on a sofa with a book in front of the TV in the basement rec room, on a Sunday afternoon? Lonely and little bored? On her second glass of wine? Her robe loosely opens as she remembers her first time exposing her breasts to a boyfriend on a sofa in her parents home? And as her fingertips touch her rising nipple does she remember the man in the bookstore who was watching her and does she feel his warm breath on her inner thigh as she opens wider and sees his lips move down to touch? There is always hope.