“Good evening, Miss Matthews.”
“Good evening, Christopher.”
She was 14 years his senior and every time he greeted her – usually on the stairs on the way to his apartment above hers – his blood thickened with want. She owned the confidence of beauty without the foolishness of youth.
“Any plans this afternoon?”
“Just unpacking these groceries.”
Inside his bags were barely groceries. Tinned food, apples and a roast chicken. Ease over nutrition.
“Smells good. Whats happening in there today?”
“Why don’t you find out for yourself. Go unpack like a good boy and knock at my door in an hour. Don’t be late.”
Christopher would have put away his purchases regardless, but behaving his orders made the task almost pleasurable. While placing tins in the cupboard his mind paced through memories of the times Miss Matthews would greet him at her door with an open dressing gown and her long brunette hair, smelling of a money-can’t-buy perfume, in front of her orange lit lounge room. “Take off your shirt” she said in a calm demand. He did. And as her manicured hands caressed his back he wondered why one of those fingers didn’t wear a ring. Or when Miss Matthews told him to call her a bitch as he fucked her bent over the dining table.
At 5.30, on-time, Christopher knocked with a half-smile and a warm crotch. She was Lucy in private and she was Lucy when she answered the door. Not how Christopher planned it in his mind, she was fully clothed wearing an apron over a tight white t-shirt. Lucy approached him and kissed his cheek. The type of kiss that allowed the corner of her mouth to touch his lips. He held her thin waist as she lingered in a more than friendly way. Christopher followed her into the kitchen and watched her from behind as she stood on tip-toes to reach two wine glasses from the second-highest shelf. They drank a whole bottle before dinner as Lucy floated around the kitchen. There was never a rush with her – she cooked with the same ease of movement as when she rode him.
The plate was of rich tomatoes and cheese and fresh bread and butter. A recipe she said was from her childhood. It tasted modern to Christopher, not the way Lucy described her Italian-born grandmother making it. He ate at a slower pace than he would alone upstairs. A mask of sophistication he wore easily.
“Christopher, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Sure. What is it?” sipping at his third glass.
“You’re growing up” she said. And he smiled back feeling both comforted and uneasy. Lucy continued “and that’s a problem for me. For us.”
“What problem? Whats wrong?”
“You know me well enough, Christopher. I like tension. I crave it. Comfort ruins people. And we are comfortable now. In a way, I’m helping you.”
“I don’t need help.” said Christopher. “I… like this.”
“Me too. And that’s my point. But this will be the last time we see each other.”
“Right.” said Christopher, not in love but knowing he’d ache for more of the most satisfying sex he’d ever had.
A week or two passed. And after exactly 4 silent stairwell encounters with Miss Matthews, Christopher saw Pablo leave Lucy’s apartment with his hair out of place and the same half-smile he used to wear. Pablo had moved into the building only a month earlier. He belonged on a stage with his tight jeans and long wavy brown hair. As Pablo reached for his keys and found them in his back pocket, Christopher realised why Lucy had never married. Husbands only grow old.
Written today, 25th June 2017.