Esther’s Flagging Libido
Esther’s libido had vanished into the sweaty depths of peri-menopause. The only fantasies she had nowadays involved packing a suitcase and getting on a long-haul flight without her family. Her only self-pleasure was a butter croissant and full cream milk latte at Melissa’s once a week. Somehow, that was even more satisfying than masturbation had ever been. Although she still felt the same guilt. She couldn’t escape her convent upbringing and the demands of a fashion conscious mother.
Esther’s marriage was comfortable, like a pair of old leather shoes that had molded themselves over time to fit perfectly. The most bondage in them was a stretchy pair of laces that held everything together. Esther could walk miles in her marriage; she just couldn’t orgasm much. It all seemed too much of a bother even to try anymore.
Then one day her libido came back. Like a light being switched on, her nipples rose to the occasion, straining against her t-shirt and her flesh between her thighs, non-descript for so many years, flooded with an unexpected warmth. An arm brushed against her at the breakfast buffet on a Tuesday morning at Melissa’s. Denying herself the sinful pleasure of the butter croissant with jam because of her sagging waistline, Esther was spooning natural muesli, all oaty and healthy looking, into a bowl. Then a man’s arm rubbed against her right breast as he stretched forward past her for a side plate. Esther’s libido awakened like a giant from a ten-year slumber, it roared back to life. She gasped and almost dropped the bowl. Muesli flew everywhere. She looked at the man next to her. He looked back and blushed slightly.
Oh God, no, he’s young, she thought.
Give me some! shouted her libido.
He had the smooth face of a thirty-something year old, just experienced enough to have developed interesting cragginess around the eyes. Sandy hair, brushing the collar of his white collared shirt, dark brown eyes shaded by stupidly long eyelashes. Freckles on his nose.
Sorry, he said with a grin, I didn’t mean to do that.
Esther’s fanny glowed with pleasure and smiled. I didn’t know it could smile, she thought to herself as she spoke, No, don’t worry, I was in the way. Let me pass you a plate.
As she leaned over the counter, her bowl of muesli hit the side of the table and broke, shattering onto the floor, scattering oats and little brown seeds onto their feet.
Oh God, sorry, what a mess!
She could feel linseeds between her toes. When she looked down, she saw his beautiful black polished lace ups were now covered with oat powder and bits of dried fruit. He laughed and bent down. Esther also bent down, trying to wipe the bits off his shoes. Their hands touched over his left shoe and his flesh burned through her hand. She pulled away quickly and felt herself blush again.
Pull yourself together, she thought, what’s wrong with you? But her libido laughed back at her, a careless, reckless laugh.
I hope you don’t have an important meeting now, Esther said to him as she wrenched seeds out from between her toes and the soles of her shoes.
He smiled at her, his eyes crinkling slightly at the edges, making his lashes conglomerate into dark caterpillars. His front right tooth had a tiny chip in the bottom. Only just now, don’t worry. I’ll go and wipe it off with loo paper.
Esther stared at his hands. He had a broad gold ring on his wedding finger and pale white nails. You have such white nails, she said as they crouched on the floor.
He looked at them briefly and then back at her. I’ve always had. It’s probably some dreadful deficiency in me.
Zinc, Esther replied. Usually white spots on nails are zinc. You must have one huge zinc deficiency. She had to physically restrain her right hand with her left to stop it from touching his wrist.
Maybe we should get up now, he said, I don’t think there’s much else we can do here. Someone will have to come and sweep the rest up.
Sweep me up! Esther’s libido shouted at him and her nipples winked.
Esther gave a slight groan as her knees cricked when she straightened up. She pulled her jeans down. They were squashing into her fanny in a way that was making her even more aware of it.
Are you okay? He said, putting his hand on her left elbow. Her elbow screamed with delight.
Funny, I didn’t know that was erotic spot, she thought.
She smiled at him. I’m fine. Don’t you know the definition of being middle-aged? It’s when you give an involuntary groan every time you sit down or stand up.
He looked at her, his left eyebrow slightly raised with a smile hovering on his lips.
Nice lips, she thought.
Well, no, of course not, Esther added, you’re just not middle-aged, are you?
No, I’m not.
They stood looking at each other, Esther still clutching bits of broken ceramic bowl in her left hand. A waitress came over with a broom and took the pieces out of Esther’s hand. She startled – she hadn’t noticed the waitress.
She looked at the man still standing in front of her. You had better clean your shoes, she said.
He looked down at his watch. She looked too. Golden hairs lay across his tanned wrist. She restrained her hands again, clutching them tightly.
I had, he said, or I’ll run out of time.
Here, I’ll help, Esther said, suddenly decisive. I’ll get a cloth from the kitchen for you. She turned around and walked away from him, noticing that her hips were swaying slightly with each step. Her body glowed as though it were on fire. She could feel him watching her.
I want more, her libido shouted like a petulant child.
Clean cloth in hand, she came out of the kitchen swing door and bumped right into him.
Come, she said, into the bathroom. We can clean them in here.
She led him into the bathroom and walked over the basin on the right hand side of the room. She heard the door close. She opened the taps to dampen the cloth and looked up in the mirror above the basin. His dark brown eyes were staring right at her. He smiled. Esther looked down, her body flushing with an energy she hadn’t felt in years. She turned off the taps, squeezed the yellow cloth and turned around. She walked back to him, as he stood waiting. Every step seemed to take an eternity.
Here, she said, holding out the damp cloth.
Thanks, he said as he took it and dropped it on the floor. He stepped forward, right in front of her. Esther’s body tingled; she could feel the heat from his body.
I have to kiss you, he said.
You shouldn’t, she replied as she leaned her body forwards.
It seems Esther’s libido hadn’t forgotten anything, even the old orgasm trick. The white tiled floor was cold and hard but her body didn’t notice. She hadn’t wanted anything quite so badly in a long time. It felt like she was on fire and the fire had to be extinguished. When they sat leaning against the cold wall afterwards, catching their breath with their legs stretched in front of them, she reached for his hand and stroked his pale white nails. They were smooth, like perlemoen shells. His hands were unblemished, the skin smooth.
What’s your name, she asked.
Sebastian. And yours?
She leaned over and kissed him lightly on his smooth cheek.
Thanks, she said, standing up, that was the best breakfast I’ve ever had here.
She walked back to her table, where her handbag still stood and the open magazine she had been reading. The waitress came over and said, Could I get you your muesli now, ma’am?
No thanks, she said, I’ll have a croissant and jam and a creamy latte, please.
Her libido sighed in contentment.