I recently began taking medication for a hormone imbalance I had suffered for many years.


The most obvious effect of the imbalance was a decreased sex drive. In the past I attributed this to other causes, mostly psychological.


Anyway, it was no big trick to remain celibate for nearly five years.


At one time during this celibacy, four years ago, I shared an accommodation with a very beautiful woman. Late one evening, I found a note on my desk, that she was waiting upstairs in her bed … if I wished.


The evening passed … vacant.


So it was that my sleeping libido had recently awakened to thoughts of her.


I tried, but could not easily reach her; if indeed, she still lived in Vancouver. Passing from one name to another in an old abandoned address book, itself not easy to find, I eventually got hold of a number where she might be reached.


And, after a thousand erotic thoughts of her … at last, I heard her voice.


We brought each other up to date: I had finally graduated art school, and the kids were fine; she had married and divorced in the last year and that very week-end was leaving her job, and her houseboat in the slough, for Tofino, and her new man. “You know me,” she said. “I don’t waste any time.”


I asked her if I could take her to dinner before we left. “Yes,” she said, “I could.” We agreed to meet at a little Middle-Eastern restaurant that served Israeli food.


Friday arrived … She was more beautiful than I had remembered.


We sipped a Moselle that smelled like pear drops. The conversation sparkled. I loved looking at her.


I spoke about my ordeal and related it to our empty evening of years before. She blushed at the memory.


I wasn’t sure what direction the evening would take, how well I could express my self due to my shyness, though I was certain of my intention. I wondered if that other evening had permanently determined the nature of our relationship.


“When was the last time you made love to a man?”


I don’t know if that’s an appropriate question for you to ask me.”


“Why isn’t it?”


“A week ago!”


“Well, the last time I made love to a woman was … 1,700 …”


“Hours ago! You count the hours?”




“Oh, my.”


A mischievous smile flushed her face.


“About Tofino … have you committed yourself to a monogamous relationship?”


“… Well, almost.”


“That’s the most beautiful word I’ve ever heard.”


A smile of relief flushed my face.


“ Do we have time to eat?” I asked.


“No!” she said.






“Oh, but wait,” I said. Just think!


“Yes … if we do.’


“Go slowly …”


“ Yes, yes … very slowly”


“Everything, slowly.”


“Are you nervous?” she said.


“No, though I think I feel a bit like a virgin … like I wasn’t one before … but, am know.”


Then: the difficulty overcome, what struck us was the magical nature of the time at hand. We finished our wine. We had not yet touched our food. We left for dinner. Tom Jones.


We drove downtown in her car. We cut against of the grain of Granville St. where thousands stood on line for the latest summer movies, to have their senses assaulted with two hours of state-of-the-art Hollywood technology. We would lag a century and embrace D.H. Lawrence.


I related a comic scenario I had fantasized to end my celibacy: Unable to engage a woman in a sexual relationship, I would avail myself of a prostitute. The Vancouver vice squad, in an effort to sweep clean the streets, would arrest me and never believe that I had not had sex in 1700 days. My name would appear in news reports, and I would appear to be a sexual deviate in the eyes of my horrified children, whose young girlfriends would be forbidden to visit them in our home, and the clam shell of celibacy would close tight upon my recently awakened libido … forever.


At dinner, facing one another, the excitement grew slowly. The food was sensual as was the suggestive way it was eaten.


I asked her if she thought the excitement we were experiencing could ever be sustained in a relationship.


“No!” she said. “Still Life with Woodpecker. How do you make love stay?”


Our hands joined across the table. She said that when I called her, she thought it might turn out like this, and that she wanted it to. She wanted me to know that her relationship with her new man was important to her, but that her relationship with me was as well.


And, she wanted me to know that tonight … when we were though … she would go home.






We took the last sips from the carafe of the heady red wine and decided against dessert … even coffee.


But we were to extend the euphoria, walk by the sea a while.


We stopped to listen to the scruffy man who finger picked Ode to Joy on a tattered old Gibson. A crowd had gathered round him and boat lights danced in the twilight sea Pacific sky.


We walked further, past a soot-covered old man lying, dressed all in black, in the fading summery light. He had pitched a lean-to, was cooking beans and counting the wheels and hubcaps he had collected.


I turned her and finally kissed her.


“Let’s go home,” I said.


She nodded yes.


We collected her car, which needed gas, and she comically scurried to give it some at a station along the way. She became impatient in the traffic and once, when I kissed her neck, said I would cause an accident. She cursed a slow driver and pulled hurriedly from a left turn lane to avoid waiting. We were bursting with longing.


We arrived at my place flushed, aroused. I took her to my room, kissed her. I touched her softly the length of her torso. She slipped out of the top of her jump suit allowing it to hang from the waist, her full breasts rising and falling in the soft light of the Japanese lantern glowing red. I pressed her to me and kissed her again, hard. There would be no more waiting.


We slipped down to the foam on the floor and swam there in an embrace … slowly … still slowly. Our hands found one another’s sex, tentatively, as first lovers do … slowly … searching.


When, after all, I entered her, I lay motionless for a while, rising and softly thrusting on the waves of our breathing, sweet love sounds escaping, surprised, from both of us. Neither orgasm came quickly. The sweat of our exertion melded, making a one of us … on and on …slowly … slowly … tasting slowly … touching slowly … smelling. Our eyes, locking, dreamily did their own dance. The rhythm quickening, building, she came, I think, and later, I did, too.


Afterward, we lay moist in the red glow, not speaking for the longest time, tenderly, with the softest of touching, caressing one another. I traced the features of her face with my forefinger, touched the upturned corners of a mouth that seems always to smile, and traveled the path a tear traverses in her sadness. A sigh escaped me and she asked what was wrong. “Nothing,” I said. “Nothing and everything,”


The musk scent in the room was intoxicating, denying the need for the Chateau Mouton purchase in anticipation of that moment. We lay embracing for an hour or more then went to an espresso bar to freshen her for her long drive home. We said a simple goodbye. When she would return to Vancouver she’s give me a call and maybe we could get together.


She called on the next day, Saturday, to make certain she had my address correct. I called her on Sunday to find out how I could reach her by mail.


We were never to see one another again. Though she could not have transported her piano on the open truck in bad weather, on Monday morning I lost her to a sunny sky and a blind turn on a mountain road.


No survivors



(C) 2013 arne torneck all rights reserved

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