Michael was late.
"Hurry!" I yelled at him. "Get your coat on!" He was holding his school bag in his teeth while he tried to pull his coat on. I reached over and helped him with the sleeves and then zipped the zipper. I pulled the hood around his face and tied it tightly.
"Now, hurry!" I repeated. "The school bus won't wait all morning!"
A short blare from the bus horn confirmed my threat.
"One minute!" I yelled out the kitchen window.
I bent down and kissed my son on the cheek and then ushered him to the door. The chill morning air curled into the warmth of the kitchen as I opened the door. I could feel its icy breath billowing up between the loose folds of my pajamas, touching my hidden nakedness. I clutched my robe more tightly against my breast.
"Don't forget your milk money!" I shouted to Michael as he stepped onto the school bus.
He nodded, and the bus was gone.
I closed the kitchen door, but the chill was already in the room. I shuddered and rubbed my hands together.
"Coffee," I said to myself.
I walked over to the stove and lifted the blue and white Corningware coffee pot. It was empty.
The idea of instant coffee sounded nauseating, and I felt too lazy to make another pot for just one cup. I'm not much of a coffee drinker. Just this one cup in the morning to get me started. But I've got to have that cup or the day is ruined.
Lynda, I thought. I'll call her now.
I decided to use the bedroom extension rather than the kitchen phone. At least this way I can do a little straightening out while I'm talking to her.
I sat on the edge of the bed and dialed the telephone.
"Hi, Lynn!" I said.
Lynda made some growling noises into the receiver. "Don't tell me you're still sleeping?" I said. "It's nearly eight o'clock!"
"Is that you, Wendy?" she managed to say. "Who else, dummy."
"Oohhh!" she said. It sounded as though she was stretching. "I'm so sleepy this morning."
"Bill gone off to work yet?" I asked. "He must have if it's almost eight."
"Good. Feel like having some company?"
"Yeah. Sure. Come on over."
"You don't mind?"
"No, no. Come on over."
"See you in a minute."
I hung up the phone and yawned. The softness of the bed seemed so inviting. I stretched back and lay on the top of the bed. The warmth of the night's sleep still clung to the sheets and blankets. I pulled Mark's pillow over and rolled it under my head. It felt so soft and relaxing and pleasant, I was almost lured by its seductive enticement. I could feel myself actually closing my eyes.
No, I told myself. I shook off the easiness of sleep and sat up.
Across from where I sat was a mirror, and I saw my reflection for the first time that morning. My hair was pushed up, away from my face with a head band. The soft, blonde waves hung down my back in a jumbled mass.
I removed the head band and brushed at my hair with my open hand, attempting to untangle the knotted, sleep-matted mass.
Better brush it, I thought.
I stood up in front of the mirror and removed my hair brush from the dresser top. I reached back behind myself and pulled the rest of my hair free from the back of my robe. The brush pulled through the hair in short, staccato strokes, loosening the tangle of knots, and allowing the hair to hang in long, flowing strands.
That looks a little better, I thought to myself.
I bent close to the mirror and looked at my face. There was a black fleck of makeup in the corner of my right eye. With the tip of my fingernail, I carefully removed, it.
Even without makeup my skin seemed fresh and alive. My cheeks seemed to glow softly, and my eyes were deep blue and full. I ran my tongue over my lips, then pressed them together to give them some color. The wet redness of the lips contrasted against the white of my teeth, giving my face a rich, sensual quality. I parted my lips and exposed more of my teeth. There was a small space between the top and bottom row, and I could see my moving tongue just behind.
There is something very erotic about a woman with her mouth slightly open, I thought. Ask any woman to look sexy, and she will probably smile something like this: with her lips wet and curled slightly, her teeth exposed, and just the barest hint of her tongue lurking behind. There is something animal-like about the smile. Something primitive and erotic.
It makes you feel sexy, I thought.
I stepped back away from the mirror and looked at my full reflection. I was wearing a blue print bathrobe that was buttoned to my neck, and under that, a pair of yellow flannel pajamas. The robe was three-quarter sleeves so that the yellow of the pajamas stood out from under the ends of the sleeves. Both the robe and the pajamas looked rumpled and slept in.
Nothing sexy about that, I told my reflection.
I flattened the front of the robe against my body and tried to judge the bulge of my breasts as they pushed upward through the folds of material. But the pajamas and the robe made my breasts seem flat and lumpy and even less sexy than they had seemed before.
I unbuttoned the robe to my stomach, then reached in and lifted my pajama tops. One breast plopped out freely, and rested against the pulled back robe.
There, I told myself, that's better.
It was better. The breast was round and full and perfectly shaped. The roll of material from the robe seemed to support it, running under its bulge, making it appear taut and firm against my chest. The nipple was soft, yet perfectly chiseled. It stood dormant within the round circle of pink-brown flesh that covered the tip of the breast. The skin just beyond the areola was clear and soft milk-white.
Not too bad, I thought, considering they were twice filled with milk at the birth of my two children. They're not as firm as they once were, and they sag somewhat. But considering my age and the kids, they're not bad at all.
I touched the breast with my hand, cupping it lightly with my fingers. There was a softness to the touch, a light, almost airy quality. No, they weren't as firm and hard and heavy as they had been when I was a young girl. Time seems to have mellowed them; they no longer seem to take themselves so seriously. The flesh seemed warm and alive under my fingers, and the nipple seemed to grow into a sleepy attention.
It was the breast of a woman, I realized. Not the hard, cold tit of a young girl, but the matured, sensitive breast of a thirty-five-year-old woman. A woman who has finally learned to accept her own sexual nature without any of the emotional crutches of her youth. A woman who has learned to respect and love her own body, and enjoy the full, erotic sensuality that her body could provide, without any of youth's guilt or justifications. It was like a fruit, ripened and filled with its own sweet juices, awaiting to be appreciated.
I flicked the nipple with my fingernail, and could feel the pleasant tingle stir within my body. I watched the nipple grow hard and firm.
I lifted the breast with my cupped hand and pressed it up toward my face. My tongue lashed out and licked the nipple, sucking it upward momentarily into the wetness of my mouth. A wave of sensation washed across the tip of my breast.
No, I cautioned myself. Not now. Not just yet.
Reluctantly, I allowed my hand to drop. The soft flesh of my breast jiggled slightly, reminding me of slow moving, rippling waves.
Besides, I thought, Lynn is waiting for me.
I pulled at the roll of material on which my breast had been resting, and the flesh flopped back inside my pajamas. I pulled the yellow flannel top firmly down and re-buttoned the robe.
I turned from the mirror and threw the coverlet up over the unmade bed. Somehow that made the room seem more presentable. Even though the bed wasn't made, now at least I didn't have to look at it.