Mornings were automatic with her. We slept naked, leaving nothing but a bed sheet to get out of the way. Her mind was primed, already singing from whatever adventures swirled through her sleeping head. From the entrance of my mind into consciousness I felt only one path, one direction. That was to feel the glorious wrath of this woman’s desire. Those mornings echo in my mind to this day, almost 30 years on. The tightness, countered by the ease of access, makes the memories of being inside her flood my head when masturbating, and when fucking others whose bony textures resemble hers. There were no questions, little in the way of foreplay. Just rise up, make the day amazing.

But night came before the morning, and nights were different. She had worked 10 hours, “Wiping the asses of the rich,” as she put it. She talked little of her daily work but when she did it was boring as hell. When she spoke of ambitions and what she had in mind when she made the money she needed to go back to school I felt a kinship, enthusiasm, something even approaching love.

But with the hairy details of the motions she went through sorting socks and underpants, then monotonously organizing kitchen utensils somehow wrenched askew in unexplainable ways, then arranging toilet paper in patterns specified by her employer…

On one level I did want to hear this, the minutiæ of daily evisceration, the chomping of endless cud that paid her well and, on Monday and Thursday nights, fed us both.

But the mental congestion of my youth wanted something else, and the nights with her made it seem impossible.

I don’t know if it was just the long hours she had put in those days. It felt like she had spent that day of blinding monotony letting her thoughts drift. I don’t know where those thoughts went but they had far to roam in that sprawling landscape of her mind. She came home from work not defeated, or emptied by what some would regard as the diminishing nature of her work. She came home with a certain eloquence.

I don’t know what she thought about during the day. Did she expect to temper whatever expectations she thought I had? Did she anticipate with some distrust my assumption that she would be hot and hungry for me after a long day’s work? Did she label me as selfish on account of this?

Or was it something else? I don’t know what went on in that head but those nighttime conversations were constipated, often failing to develop at all. This differed completely from those afternoons that followed the mornings, when talk covered everything from the Sacred Harp to Lacanian linguistic theory to dirty jokes about hamsters and duct tape.

Those nights there was, no doubt, something packing away at her, at the reality of our relationship. She had the day, and the days prior, to think about it, and that is what she did. She thought about us a lot. She did not think about the mornings. After the lust and bottomless hunger her mind moved on.

I thought about us, too, but not with the seeming sense of portent or consequence as she. Age and the horizon of time might have played a part at first. She was, 16 years my senior, no longer my Mrs. Robinson. We had  moments of genuine connection, genuine sympathy for each other, with some basis on which to contemplate a future. But by my possibly selfish estimate we were, after 5 months, no longer a novelty, no longer just fucking around.

Or were we?

These conversations sputtered, and labored. Like a boxer making a pit stop at the corner of the ring she would impatiently interrupt herself with a suddenly urgent call she had to make to her sister, Daisy, in The Bronx. Daisy lived with an abusive boyfriend.

I watched her have these conversations convinced there was no Daisy, this phone call just a charade. I waited for the sound of The Howler, that hacking busy signal noise that ripped through a landline connection when the phone had been off the hook too long, to invade this farce. But her calls to Daisy, real or not, never lasted long enough for The Howler to erupt. I suspect she timed these calls with keeping The Howler at bay in mind.

“Just checking in,” she would say after hanging up the phone.

Despite my suspicions about the reality of Daisy and those seemingly scripted phone calls I would comment that it was a beautiful foundation to have family in New York, and beautiful that she cared about them. I never had family here.

Slowly, even ominously at times, one of us would make a move. If I didn’t take her hand into mine she might trace her fingers on the back of my neck. Kissing felt like our tongues strangled each other. Her hair, so fluxed and buoyant when we fucked in the morning, felt like broom bristles at night. Her lips felt tight. That meant the rest of her would be, too.

I would lay her down, rubbing my crotch against hers, waiting for some feeling of welcome, or assurance. Those assurances were there but felt perfunctory. My cock hardened anyway, at the sight of her breasts after I unpeeled her tight-fitting shirt and she snapped off her bra. This seemed to loosen her lips some, and her face turned from skeptical to permissive.

She started removing my shirt, a gesture I completed. The air in the room felt sweet swirling across my body, and I imagined the same was true for her as I came down to circle my tongue around each of those perfectly textured nipples. The kisses started to feel less strangulated, her tongue reaching deep into my throat, with even a little bit of a smile when our tongues withdrew. We held each other’s bodies tight, my cock wanting out of the pants that held them.

I kissed my way down to her pants, successfully negotiating her very tight belt and navigating the button and zipper, her sequined panties appearing, when suddenly it all exploded. She busted out laughing. I said “What?” Giggling, her face turning red, she said “I’m just laughing at the idea that you are trying to take off my pants.”

I instantly moved away from her, away from her body, and sat up on the side of the mattress. I was probably trembling. Being laughed at felt humiliating, even if, in retrospect, there may have been some humor in the difficulty I had getting her pants off.

I didn’t think of it like that. I heard her laughter as a rebuke, a rejection, an order for me to go away and masturbate, like all men do. “I won’t watch,” I imagined her saying. I sat on the mattress, staying away. After some minutes she stood up and went into the bathroom, emerging moments later wearing only a bathrobe. She stood in front of me as I sat, feeling this tower of woman before me.

She stroked the top of my head and made me stand up. Our kisses returned to their earlier depth. She swiftly undid my belt and dropped all my my pants. I kicked them away, her bathrobe fell away, and my re-hardened cock tickled itself against the hairs of her cunt. I looked down at that incredible body, felt the miracle of her hands holding my cock as she dropped to her knees. No deliberation, no small, tepid kisses, not even a moment spent looking at it, as she sometimes did. She took the half of it that she could into her mouth. I thrust it as deep as she allowed.

However long and difficult the path sometimes seemed we always got there eventually. Was this mandatory? I don’t know now. I never will.