Thanks to Rhiannon for the beta.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I never have and never will.
*"I am overrun, jungled in my bed, I am infested with a menagerie of desires: my heart is eaten by a dove, a cat scrambles in the cave of my sex, hounds in my head obey a whipmaster who cries nothing but havoc as the hours test my endurance with an accumulation of tortures."* -- Elizabeth Smart
Lex walks very quietly. As he did when he walked in on me last week as I was telling Martha Kent how much she reminded me of Lillian.
The cheap answer to the question my son left unspoken is that since I lost my sight, I haven't gotten laid. My nurses were far more professional than my wife's nurses ever were. Or perhaps I should acknowledge that I'm nearly sixty and no longer a prime player in the game of sexual attraction.
This late in my life, I'm back to my teens -- waking up to the friction of my own hand more mornings than not. I think of a woman whose face I barely remember, but who touches me without pity or reserve, without the flinch that greets every gesture I make toward my son, or the false familiarity of those who are paid for their favors.
Martha Kent lacks Lillian's flair for the dramatic. Her entrances are nearly as quiet as Lex's. The rich alto tones that caress the figures of the Wall Street Journal lack Lillian's huskiness.
Every night before bed Lillian and I would read to each other. We'd pick out a book and read a chapter or two per night. Usually we read non-fiction, mostly in my study or in the living room, but some books we read slowly in the privacy of our bed. I find myself wanting to take the next chapter when Martha reads to me. To hear our voices overlap on the same sentence as I pick up where she left off.
Their spirits are the same, these two gentle women; both seem to want me to be a good man. And for each of them I find myself trying to be the man she wants.
I long to know Martha as I knew my wife -- with her nails digging into my back drawing blood, her heels leaving bruises on my thighs, her teeth marking my chest. Would a kiss leave her liquid? Or would I have to tease her with soft breath across her ear, the tickle of my beard against the back of her neck?
I ask these questions knowing I'll never have an answer. I imagine the feel of her, and the wonder of learning her responses through touch alone as I feel myself spill into my own hand.
The moments after satisfying a lover and being sated with her -- they're what I miss most: a small groan, the bed trembling with an aftershock, the whispered endearments. Unlike the physical release, these things can't be bought and paid for. It's then that I wake to the emptiness in my bed, my life, my soul.
So I savor the little moments of intimacy. I've learned how a smile warms her voice, discovered that her touch gentles when she's pleased with me. Working for me makes her happy. And in that, for now, I am content.
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