They met at Sarah Culler’s party and spent the entire evening talking about Charlie Chaplin movies and what inspired Michelangelo. By the third date they were making movies of their own, and smiles the envy of Mona Lisa. Three months later they agreed to stop seeing other people.
“It’s like I know everything about you, like I’ve known you all your life,” Marda said one night against his chest. “How is that possible?”
“Anything is possible if you love deeply enough,” he said and proved his sincerity until the alarm signaled it was time to get up for work.
After that, they were in agreement.
For their six-month anniversary they shared a plate of sushi, a bottle of sake, and walked along the beach until the sun extinguished itself in the black glass water. Later that night, Marda massaged her labia with grape seed oil until the fleshy folds were supple and giving enough for Carl to climb inside. He began by sliding his left hand and then his right into her vagina, tenderly stretching and easing the coral pink flesh until his left elbow fit inside. Carl glanced up as he positioned himself between his lover’s meaty thighs. Marda smiled at him. There were tears in her eyes.
Carl took his time and great care as he pushed his head inside. Her depths were warm, dark and safe. She spasmed as his right elbow and then shoulder eased in. He thought he heard her whimper, or perhaps her heart skipped a beat. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed against her moist musk, and wondered if she felt the intent.
His shoulders were the most difficult part, but not impassible. Gripping her from within, Carl squirmed and stretched until she accepted his chest and hips, and finally his legs, drawing the left knee up and then the right. His feet flush against the inside of her vagina, Carl curled fetal and tight within Marda and rested, savoring her gurgle and rush.
Heartbeats marked the only time that mattered, and when the time was right Carl pushed a finger into the fleshy knob of Marda’s cervix. And another. And another, until her flesh fit snug around his left wrist. Carl carefully made a fist and rotated his forearm. Marda convulsed, a seismic embrace. Liquid warmth pooled in the crooks of his elbows and knees, in the creases between shoulders and neck.
Carl worked his right hand into the cervix a finger at a time to join the left, a miraculously tight fit. Slowly and with devotion, he dilated the iris of muscle and opened the door of her womb. The reception was earthy and toothsome, rich with iron. Marda shivered around him as she cried out, the sound waking sympathy in his bones. “I love you,” Carl said against the threshold of flesh and crowned into her depths.
It was slow going. He panicked when he thought he might not make it through, his heart thrusting a staccato counterattack as Marda bore down. And then his chin was free and he tasted tears of joy. When had he begun to cry? Carl wasn’t certain.
He reached up with his left hand until elbow and shoulder were clear, and then with his right, pausing long enough to turn on his side to bring his elbow past his chest. Taking hold of the fleshy walls with both hands, Carl pulled himself into Marda’s uterus. He brought his knees to his chest and tucked his fists under his chin.
Relaxed, he shrank, becoming less a grown man and more a young man. Virile, thrusting, she would make her man of him.
Less a young man and more a boy. Mommy’s honey cunny, the bestest place to play and touch her in the dark.
Hair, features, ridges retreated. Lines unlaughed and wrinkles unworried. The boy ebbed, diminished, form losing definition until only the most basic of functions remained. Carl bobbed in a dark sea thick with the scent and being of his life with Marda. His feet tangled in the cord until they surrendered function, the cord becoming a thread and then a bare memory as the sea receded into his dwindling self.
Carl drifted, scent faded, sight a memory, needing nothing more than Marda and Marda being all he would ever need. She would take care of him, understand him.
There was a moment’s respite; his single cell metabolism held its breath as forty-six dancers paired off, and then he was beside himself and the intricate dance began anew.
“…like I’ve known you all your life,” she had said, and Carl loved Marda very much. What a good boy was he.
Sandra M. Odell is a 42 year old happily married mother of two children with special needs, an avid reader, and a rabid chocoholic. She is a Clarion West 2010 graduate. She says:
I wrote “Afterglow” as a love story, albeit a love of a different sort. The expressions of love throughout history are many and varied, subject to cultural whim and fancy. So, with a dash of Oedipus, a hint of Kafka, and a smidge of that dark place people don’t care to admit they sometimes linger, my love story was complete. Thank you for sharing this intimate moment with me.