The Mirror

The Mirror

Melissa Bach


            I scribble notes to Michelle all day, slide them across my desk, just a reflex.

            She gathers up scraps of notecards and scrawled over billing envelopes as she passes, shuffling in her shuffley way, all silk and Ann Taylor too-goddamned-expensive-for-a-size-14-but-I-don’t-give-a-shit saunter to the copier, the coffee machine, Dr. Harrow’s office for a quick peek at his sculpted ass. Michelle is the last truth-telling medicine woman of the Go Fuck Yourself tribe of Edison, New Jersey. These days she’s an office opiate.

            My lawyer’s gonna cost almost $18,000. It’s $17,871, not to put too fine a point on it. I don’t have that kind of cash.

            After lunch, on a lime green sticky note:

            I want a time machine, just for one day, one trip back. I’d go to campus, Sunday afternoon, October 7, and I’d say, “No, and hell no, and shit no. Jesus fucking Christ no!”

            Then I’d wait to see what happened.

            Or what didn’t happen over the next nineteen years.

            Nineteen. That’s enough. Enough for any number of things that manage to feel equal parts exhilarating and devastating. I make a mental note to search the web later. Michelle’s out tomorrow. Maybe I can find a witty blog on the exhilaratingly devastating.

            Most days, she cares just enough to lend me a sympathetic ear for twenty-eight minutes. Lunch. She rises at 12:58, begging two minutes to rinse out greasy Tupperware in the office sink. But I don’t mind. I can cram a healthy portion of dismal despair, discontentment, and downright maudlin, self-absorbed whimpering into twenty-eight minutes of re-heated leftovers.

            Daycare costs, weekend visits, holidays on an every-other-year schedule unless I’m provided (or I provide) prior written notice through my attorney, health insurance, auto loans – when the kids get old enough to drive, doctor visits, pickup and drop off spots, times, work schedules, vacations planned and communicated antiseptically six months in advance, and a partridge in a blighted pear tree.

            Not bad for twenty-eight minutes.

            Morning arrives with all the delicacy of a crashing airplane.

            I roll onto my side, my blankets a rumpled landscape of I just don’t wanna go today, and check the bedside clock, those red eyes of Satan: 5:06 a.m.

            I don’t wanna go today. Michelle’s not gonna be there. I don’t wanna go, but no one’s here to grant me absolution. The kids are at Martin’s. I’m alone at 5:06 a.m.

With no lunch date.

            Get up.

            My bathroom mirror lies, the untrustworthy bit of smudgy useless scrap. I’d shatter it with an empty wine bottle if I had more wiggle room in my checking account, but the $62.81 languishing there quiets any predilection for pre-dawn violence.

            Instead, I stand. And look. A good, long, forty-three-year-old, divorced, lonely, uncertain, uninspired look.

            I went on a date last night.

            Really? With whom?

            Josh, the nurse from Costanza’s office upstairs.

            Josh? He’s a child.

            He’s thirty-three.

            He’s not a day over twenty-seven, but don’t let that stop you, sweetie. How’d it go? Did you get a taste of youthful innocence? Taste good? You show him what an older woman can do?

            By candlelight, I lean in, demonstrate a level of faux engagement I haven’t tapped in seventeen years. “I’ll show you –”

            “What an older woman can do?” Josh interrupts, grins. I half want to suck his cock and half beat him to death with my umbrella.

            “I’ll show you . . . how to complete the billing forms when Maria is out with sick kids. Her daughter is only eighteen months, and her son . . . what? Is he three yet? She’s gonna be out from time to time with sick kiddos. Trust me. I know.” I sip wine, toy with my napkin, anything to sidestep his crack about older women.

            Undaunted, he steers us around for another pass. Leaning in as well, “Hey . . . do you know why a piece of pussy so closely resembles a piece of pizza?”

            And we’re done, folks.

            Josh’s grin falters, detects the first cracks in the evening’s foundation. “You . . . you know?”

            The wine’s good. I want to finish my glass before I walk out, storm out, whatever. So I guzzle. There’s a move that’ll get his dick hard: a forty-something date who can chug Cabernet like a fraternity pledge. Swallowing, I wipe my mouth, echo, “Do I know why a piece of pussy so closely resembles a piece of pizza?”

            Emboldened, Josh leans back, ample chest pressing against the wool sweater holding his libido prisoner. “Heh. Yeah. Do you know why?”

            “Yes, I do.” I give a cursory glance around the table, wanting to scoop up anything tasty before making my escape. “A piece of pussy closely resembles a piece of pizza because dumbass kids need an alliterative excuse to alienate their dates.” I rise, find my bag, my jacket without looking clumsy or too irritated to function gracefully.

            He considers me, chewing my response over in his torpid, albeit sexy, imagination. “Wait. What?”

            Wait. What? Yeah, exactly how far we’ve evolved from our days living in caves and eating mastodon testicles spitted on a stick.

            “Good night, Josh.” And I leave, horny, a little tipsy, frustrated at the stark reality that I’ve managed to date another human male who’s never actually seen a vagina up close, in daylight. But I’m somehow impressed that my sexless streak is going to reach eight months unbroken. Not bad, sister.

            The blankets fight back, don’t want to let go. I imagine what thumbnails of extemporaneous desperation I might pass along to Michelle today – if she were coming in. She’s not.

            I wanted that cock. Jesus. I wanted to ride it, feel it rub sensually over all four tragically neglected walls of my pussy. I wanted it, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. The wine was good. The pasta was amusing, the bread fresh, but no. Why couldn’t I? Because of one dumbass, knuckledragger comment about pussy? Shit, I was married to Martin for nineteen years. I heard every dumbass, knuckledragger comment known to modern literature. Martin is the Ernest Hemingway of horny Neanderthal platitudes about pussy.

            I wanted that cock.

            My mirror looks back at me, our morning personification ritual. I think again about shattering it, then give up, pee, and brush my teeth, catching a glimpse of my tits as I lean in. Did Josh get that view last night? When I leaned in? Not bad, sister. They’ve gone from being a pair of pert greeting cards I employed for minimum wage in college bars, to being a milk truck on a four-hour delivery schedule, to this . . .

            These. Not bad.

            I dig deep, scrubbing molars with enthusiasm, not because I’m worried about tooth decay, but because vigorous action makes my tits move unapologetically beneath Martin’s old Kelly’s Tavern T-shirt.

            I spit, smile, and reach back as if pulling my hair into a ponytail. The twins rise slightly with the effort, look . . . what . . . twenty-seven again? Twenty-seven. Where’s that time machine when I need it? My arms at my sides, the girls slump; I let my hair fall over my shoulders, hoping it might descend all at once as something brilliant, Jennifer Aniston or Halle Berry.


            But still, I consider, rinse, spit, and watch as vestiges of last night swirl down the drain.

            Michelle shows up, sniffs pretentious, scallop-shaped soaps with a frown. Yeah, go ahead. No one’s here.

            In a smooth motion, something I might have practiced while listening to Pearl Jam on FM radio a hundred years ago, I pull Kelly’s Tavern over my head and cast it to the tiles, still sexy, still . . . sexy, if forty-three with decent tits, decent not-so-twenty-seven-but-still-willing tits can be sexy.

            She whispers. They can. They are.

            And I cup one, my right, the better of the two. Yeah, they don’t tell Victoria’s Secret models that tidbit of disheartening news. But bilateral symmetry is bullshit, especially after playing Mom’s Milk Truck with three kids for nearly six years.

            My right tit stands a tiptoe, just a bit straighter, a quarter inch or so higher than my left, which isn’t slouching by any means. Two gourds, pear-shaped gourds, gourd-shaped gourds – fine, Jesus – that used to be tangerine-shaped, then melon-shaped, then thirty-one to thirty-nine passed in a smeary blur of dirty diapers, nursing bras, T-ball games, and clumsy, crooked, talentless preschool works of art decorating the fridge, until forty arrived without warning and left both breasts wrinkled, sunken, still at attention, but worn and weary.

            My nipple’s hard, like a copper coin. Feels good. Yeah, squeeze it. No one cares. Christ, that’s depressing. No one cares.

            So I squeeze my nipple, massage my tit, my right tit, favorite tit and watch myself in my lying, dishonest mirror. It hurts, just enough.

            There is was, sister. Don’t pretend that didn’t happen.

            It happened. I felt it; the first aching tingle rouses itself inside my abdomen, just a couple inches below my belly button and a smidge north of my cunt.

            Ignore it. It’s just a tingle.

            But it’s not. It’s a scout, a harbinger of aching tingles yet to come. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s got a nice package for you this morning.

            I laugh at that, like my teeth. I’ve taken care of my teeth.

            My tits are good. They’re . . . sexy. They’re good tits. I want them in my mouth, wanna know what the hype is all about, want to suck them, let them get me wet, all frothy and swollen, ready for a cock to rub sensually along all four walls of my tragically neglected pussy.

            Yeah. Why not?

            My underwear is an outrage, ten, maybe twelve years old. Target, $4.99 for four, Labor Day sale. They’re a bit tattered, a bit threadbare, a bit stretched out, a bit lifeless, a bit droopy, except around my hips which fill them gratuitously. They are as comfortable as clothing adorning a pussy should be, all day, all night. No thong, dental floss, ass cracking, rubber band slingshot silliness for me. I’m old . . . older, not old, not too old for T-back slutty panties, but too old for bullshitting myself and pretending that sleeping with a rubber band up my ass is comfortable. Thanks, but no. The good news is that this morning’s aching tingle, direct from Santa’s workshop, doesn’t appear to give a shit what underpants I slept in. These, faded blue with nearly invisible script Jockey circling the stretched out waistband like actual jockeys, are up to the task. I’m horny. My cunt is whispering for a little attention despite my old lady panties, and my tits, teeth, and hair all look pretty good in my lying bathroom mirror.

            Yeah, now.

            What would Michelle suggest over a paper plate of microwaved pork chops and mashed potatoes? She’d chew slowly through a mouthful, point at me with her fork, and say, “Honey, that pussy isn’t gonna tickle itself.”

            And Josh is with me again.

            We’re twenty-seven, fit, energetic, stupidly passionate and passionately stupid about all of it. Everything and nothing. We have seen exactly two miles of what the world has in store for us, and we already know we’ve got it licked.

            Licked. Yeah, that. Stupid fucking kids. But at least we’d be stupid fucking kids together. His cock in my mouth. My pussy in his. Before breakfast, for breakfast, with breakfast, the prepositional possibilities are inspiring.

            I slide deft fingers over my ass, haven’t quite been able to let go of my tit yet. With both hands occupied, I feel it happen. Something snaps, comes uncoiled, some spring that got itself wound too tightly over Josh’s moronic pizza-and-pussy joke. It’s okay. Now. I sense it letting go, granting me this moment’s grace, a few minutes of tawdry escape in my bathroom.

            The resilient shape of my ass makes me unaccountably happy. It’s grown; I know it has. Year to year, I’ve felt it creeping ever closer to the edge of my office chair. Two inches on either side, an inch and a half, then last July after my beach vacation, all that BBQ and beer, about an inch. I ran a half marathon this fall, nearly gave up at mile 9 to await a Med-Evac, but those training miles gave me back a half inch, damned near the first thing life has given back to me in over a decade. A half inch, I’ll take it.

            My cunt’s wet. Touch it. Just a soft stroke. You’re already down there.

            Not yet.

            Josh slips his cock free from his jeans. I have it in my hand. It’s not huge, but it’ll do. It’s got a springy consistency, as if I might suck on it, ride it, ram it into my pussy, my ass, my mouth, my life all morning, and it would just keep coming for me, the Energizer Bunny of bone-hard, recently divorced erections. I lick and suck, taking as much of him into my mouth as I can without gagging, slowly, making him wait to feel the back of my throat, then squeezing, allowing my fingers to slide over my saliva. My fist and mouth can outdistance any old cunt. He offers a quiet moan of thanksgiving, the morning’s penance paid, and I hear, feel, smell, and absorb that moan as the promise of something . . . what was it? Exhilaratingly devastating. Yeah, that. Something exhilaratingly devastating, devastatingly exhilarating is coming for both of us. He’s a boy, just a kid with wash-and-wear hair, wash-and-wear career, wash-and-wear attitude, wash-and-wear me on your face, young man. I need it this morning.

            One finger. Two now.

            Let go of your clit for a second, just long enough to slide them inside.

            Do it hard. Yeah. Harder. That’s okay. A few times, in and out.

            Hard. Your body will remember. You will.

            Back to your clitoris, sweetie. Press, rub, pinch it, whatever, as hard as you like.

            Leaning on my bathroom counter, I let go of my tits, brace myself against the sink, spread my legs, tug, yank, tear viciously at the crotch of my twelve-year-old, wash-and-wear panties. They finally give way. Now in a makeshift loincloth, I have unfettered access to my own wash-and-wear cunt.

            Eyes closed. I bend over the porcelain counter. Josh, behind me, finds my pussy with the tip of his cock, still hard, still wanting me, still convinced that the twenty-seven-year-old-fantasy me can make him come like no one else. He fucks me, first in my pussy, thrusting as I press back and down onto him as reliably and predictably as a lunar tide. Hard. Pressing with my lower back and thighs, swallowing up every inch of him. Then feeling him withdraw, his fingers wet with cunt juice, he inserts one, then two, into my asshole, lubricating me, greasing the works with my own juices, something Michelle might rinse down the sink at 12:58. Josh works methodically, not plagued by creative ideas, just preps me for his dick, the one I wanted to suck over wine and pasta last night.

            But you didn’t. That’s why he’s visiting now.

            And he’s inside me. Jesus Christ. Jesus, save me. Save me. Jesus, it’s brilliant. White flecks of iridescent light flash and burst behind my eyelids, a poor woman’s fireworks. My muscles fail, shoulders; my arms no longer prop me up. My thighs twitch; it isn’t pretty. I’m a rag doll, acquiescing to his needs, giving in. All of my posturing, all of my silly feminist speeches, my indignant horseshit is effaced after only a few thrusts of his dick into my asshole. I’m limp, hanging suspended, a marionette dangling from the intimidating, swollen end of his cock. It’s iron. Folded steel. Wrought in a foundry. Jesus, help me.

            You’re not, sweetie. Michelle interrupts. You’re masturbating in your bathroom. But it’s okay. Let it go. Let all of it go, just another minute. There’s no shame.

            When he comes, I reach back, try to jerk him off, push his thrusting prick against the forgiving flesh of my left butt cheek. He paints warm come up my lower back, across the acreage of my ass, and over my stretch marks – Baby #3. He cries out, twitches through a mostly catatonic spasm, then collapses down, away, and gone.

            My clitoris is rubbed nearly raw. I’ve pressed, pinched, and massaged it, thrust two then three fingers ardently into my cunt, rubbing madly at those walls of my tragically neglected pussy. I taste myself, suck my fingers. I’m delighted at my flavor and simultaneously horrified and thrilled that I am so turned on by the improbable fantastical prospect of having a divorced pediatric nurse fuck me in the ass and then ejaculate all over my back.

            Michelle again, a sticky note she places crookedly on my computer screen: Get focused, sweetie, you’re about to come.

            I don’t ponder the ass-fucking question long. Rather, what began as an ache, a tingle in my lower belly, has burgeoned nicely into a roiling occlusion of need, desire, and summary fucking contentment, bliss, ecstasy. Call it whatever I might, the roller coaster, Santa’s sleigh, is on an upswing. I abandon the counter, fall to my knees on my stained Wal-Mart bathmat, and continue thrusting, pressing, yanking back the hood of my clitoris with one hand and hammering away at myself with the other.

            I am fucking Josh, fucking Martin, fucking Dr. Harrow. Being fucked by all of them, violated. I hate it. Hate it. Hate being a reward, their prize, but I’m letting them take me. Fuck me. Fuck me.

            It’s okay, sweetie. You’re just tickling that pussy, doing a nice job of it. Keep going. Almost done.

            I want to fuck all of them at once and none of them ever again. I want Josh’s cock in my mouth, Martin’s cock in my cunt, and Dr. Harrow’s cock in my ass, and I want them all to satisfy themselves, thrust and bang and fuck and drive me as hard as they can possibly drive me. Take me. Fuck me until they orgasm in massive, jagged, broken spurts of blisteringly hot come that scalds my mouth, my skin, my labia, burning me with unquestionable evidence that I’m the one. I did it. I seduced them in my forty-three-year-old body with my still good tits, my still good teeth, my half marathon ass, and my Target underwear, torn to shreds but still the most sensual article of clothing ever sold. Afterward, they’ll take turns letting me suck the last driblets of come from their failing cocks, and they’ll appreciate what I did and realize that no sex – none of it – can ever be as good as sex with a woman who tells the truth and fucks with abandon, even one a touchdown or two past her prime.

            Nineteen years. Who waits nineteen years to get hold of herself? And who does it while dreaming of getting fucked by a stranger? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just –

            Ignore all that, dumbass. Here it comes. Brace yourself.

            When I come, I hold my breath as if that might prolong the moment. A fourth quarter clock ticks down in my mind’s eye as Peyton Manning or John Elway leads the Broncos in an unlikely, gravity-defying drive downfield. It’s another metaphor that visits my bathroom, but I let it pass unaccosted. My IQ is in the fifties and happy to build a summer home there. 30, 29, 28, 27 . . . seconds tick off as my body twitches and jerks involuntarily. I hold on like a rodeo rider, end up on my side, my back, my bathroom tiles cold against my bare skin, my tits falling to either side as if they want to keep warm in my armpits.

            Let go. It’s okay.

            I shout. “Jesus fuck! Yes, Christ, yes!” I find more religion in those few fourth quarter seconds than I’ve known since I silently prayed – at my own wedding – that happily ever after might come true just this once.

            My legs kick out, toppling my toilet paper rack and dumping an entire roll into the bowl.

            Fuck it. Fish it out later.

            And it ends.

            For a moment.

            With three fingers buried in my pussy, the ball of my palm pressing flat against my clit, the tip of my pinkie caressing my asshole, and both tits clenched in my other hand, I wait for the aftershock, the tsunami that might drown tens of thousands of innocent souls from the Philippines to San Francisco.

            5:18 a.m.

            Shit, it might not happen.

            Help it a little, just a gentle press, a little massage, up and down, the soft pad of your thumb – that’ll work. No hurry.

            And I swear to God and the Universe that I will buy Michelle lunch every Friday for the rest of her career.

            It works.

            I fall again, not as far, not as fast this time, but the best roller coasters have one unexpected drop before the end. My morning, 5:18 a.m. has one, too. I give a weak whimper, then a barking sound that would be embarrassing with anyone home. But this morning I’ll bark if I want to.

            My bathroom lights illuminate all of me in stark, unabridged clarity as I roll to my knees, then struggle numbly to my feet. My hair a tangle, my tits bruised but deliciously sore, and my cunt hanging like a limp window shade in a fraternity house, I wriggle out of my underpants, kick them into a corner near the trash can, and turn on the shower. A brief wellspring of disgust tries to get a talon around my heart, but I shrug it off. I’ll worry about self-respect and feminism later. For now, I’ve come hard, am craving coffee, and have to get to work. Over my shoulder, I catch my mirror watching my middle-aged ass as it climbs with me into the shower.

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