The Memory Star
This story contains sexually explicit scenes.
I was twenty-eight when my Grandma Pearl passed away. I still remember every moment of that call. I knew immediately it was bad news. My great Aunt Mary didn’t make many phone calls.
“Emily, are you sitting down?” Aunt Mary said. “I don’t know how to tell you this. It’s your Grandma Pearl. She died today.”
I didn’t cry then, or at the funeral, or even in the several months since. Grief waited, skulking in the corners of my mind before finally sneaking up on me, like a house cat – lazy and cautious – but still demanding my attention.
I was looking outside through a bay window in the new home I shared with my husband, Paul. My eyes were drawn to the old maple tree on our back lawn. Its thick, chunky branches, intertwined to the sky like fingers reaching toward heaven. It suddenly reminded me of a tree in Grandma Pearl’s yard.
“It’s been here since I was a little girl,” Grandma said.
“That’s like forever, isn’t it Grandma Pearl?”
She laughed and pushed me higher in the tire swing, so high my belly tickled, and my toes touched the leaves.
Remembering that moment started my tears flowing. I missed her. I missed her powdery, lavender smell and her costume jewelry. I missed playing Scrabble and being quizzed with “Word Power” from Reader’s Digest. I missed licking S&H green stamps and sticking them in the booklet for her. I missed counting fabric squares that she would painstakingly sew into one of her quilts.
And I missed visiting old relatives. They never failed to reminisce about their past, weaving stories like tapestries. Later, on the way home, Grandma Pearl and I would discuss the day’s events.
“Your Great Aunt Mary – she’s going to die an old maid because she’s too stubborn to say yes to the right man.”
“Did she ever say yes to the wrong man, Grandma Pearl?”
“Only once or twice. When you grow up, don’t you forget there are a lot of toads in the world. You find yourself a prince, and you hang on to him.”
Trinkets of family history weren’t so easy to come by nowadays. Grandma was right about Aunt Mary. She never married.
When Paul came home that afternoon, he found me – red-faced, with puffy eyes — sitting on the windowsill.
“Geez, Em. You look like hell.”
“I-I can’t help it. I miss my Grandma Pearl.”
Paul tossed his briefcase and sport coat to the chair and rushed over to me. Wrapping his arms around me, he pulled me tight against him, and let me whimper against his neck.
“Shh! Em. It’s going to be okay.”
“It’s the tree in the backyard.”
“Our tree? The maple?” he asked. “We’ll cut it down.”
“No,” I said, choking back a sniffle. “Grandma had one just like it with a tire swing hanging from one of its branches.”
“And she used to push me in it for hours, or sit with her back against the trunk and tell me stories while I did whirly-gigs – spinning around and around.”
“Once there was a princess who lived in a tree…” Grandma started.
“Princesses don’t live in trees, Grandma,” I said.
“She might have been a robin, but she was still a princess.”
“Can a bird really be a princess, Grandma?”
Grandma put her hand over her heart. “Being a princess is all in here, sweetie.”
“Ahh,” Paul said, as if my words held wisdom from the ages. He hugged me tighter.
“Why now, after all this time? I mean, I think about Grandma a lot. Why did it take so long for me to cry?”
“I don’t know, Em.” He kissed my nose and traced his finger along the side of my cheek. “But I do know that chiseled in the ancient, stone tablets of Rome, it says a hot bath can cure anything. Why don’t you try it while I fix us something to eat?”
“The stone tablets of Rome?”
“Okay, so maybe it was one of your Cosmopolitan magazines where I read that.”
Paul was forever finding ways to make me laugh, by his wit, or by creating imaginative explanations for things. On our second date, he weaved an elaborate story of how grass was green because of a fight between the sky and the sun. I think that’s when I knew I loved him.
“You read my Cosmo?”
“Nah, I just look at the pictures,” he said.
Tucked away on the upper shelf of our bathroom closet, I kept bath beads. Mostly the kind people give as gifts when they don’t know what else to give. Someone, on some occasion, had given me lavender scented beads. I scoured the shelf until I found them and poured them into the steaming water. Submerged beneath the hot water, pruning my skin and paring my thoughts, the watery cocoon comforted me. After some minutes, Paul slipped into the room and sat on the tub’s edge. His eyes were bright.
“Just about done?” he asked.
“I’ve barely started. Is dinner ready?”
“It’ll keep.” Paul sat angled with his arms crossed over his lap. He did his best to focus on my face, but eventually his gaze drifted down over my body. It affected me as deeply as a caress, and I shivered.
“I haven’t washed yet,” I whispered.
He rolled his shirt sleeves up, one slow roll at a time, until both arms were bare from the elbow down. He flipped open the lid on the liquid soap, and we both watched as thick, pearly soap dripped onto the bath sponge.
“Arms first,” he said.
I raised one arm and then the other as Paul dragged the lathered sponge over my hands, forearms, upper arms, and finally, intimately, across my underarms. He swirled over my breasts, in sudsy circles, and brushed against my full, flushed nipples. They hardened in response.
“You give a good bath, Paul.”
“A master bather?”
I smirked. “I’m nearly sure of it.”
Paul continued, sliding the sponge over my belly and around my navel. “Right leg,” he said.
I lifted my right leg above the water. Paul started with my toes, worked around my calf, and pushed onward toward my thigh, paying close attention to the inner side. Twice the sponge’s edge grazed my pubic hair. I raised my hips upward encouraging his progress, but he carefully ignored my impatience.
“Left leg,” he said.
I did as he asked, and he repeated the same taunting pattern with my left leg. When he’d finished, he dipped the sponge into the water and sluiced it over my belly once again, only this time he moved in long strokes, from side-to-side, and with each swipe the sponge inched lower down my belly, dipping to the water and below, until the sponge was between my legs. He pressed its softness against my center, rubbing gently.
“Oh, Paul. Oh, that feels good.”
“Go with it, Em.”
I rocked against the sponge as Paul pressed harder. My skin was on fire. Cooling water and inner furnace. Steam. I wanted release. I was desperate for it. I rocked harder, spreading the fibers of the sponge wide. Bath water sloshed against the sides of the tub.
“Come for me, baby,” Paul said.
I worked at it, grinding against Paul’s hand and humping against the sponge. He held it firm.
“That’s it, Em. You want to come. I know you do. Do it.”
“Oh, god. Oh, god. Oh, god.” My body immediately responded to his command. Orgasm washed over me in waves, lapping through me until every ripple of its strength was expended.
Paul dragged the sponge once more over my belly and up to my breasts, teasing my nipples as my body slowly returned from its ride.
He was grinning, so proud of himself. “Ready to eat now?” he asked.
I smiled. “Eat what?”
“You’re feeling better.”
He was right. I’d nearly forgotten how melancholy I’d been all day.
“Rinse,” he said. “We still have dinner waiting.”
Paul helped me towel off, dabbing at my flushed, wet skin long after it had dried.
“I think I’m dry now, Paul.”
“Hmm. Well, we’ll have to do something about that,” he cocked an eyebrow. “But after dinner.” He tossed me my robe and then grabbed my hand. “Right now, follow me.”
He led me outside to the backyard where the maple tree stood over Paul’s surprise. Spread in its shade was one of Grandma Pearl’s quilts. It was topped with the makings of a feast. A pitcher of lemonade and two Dixie cups were perched in the middle of an old TV tray, while plates and napkins for two sat neatly on either side.
“Oh, Paul. I can’t believe what you’ve done!”
“It was easy,” he said. “Leftovers.”
We sat down on the hand-made quilt. Paul poured us both a drink, and we took our time munching on cold chicken and apple pie and sharing childhood memories. Paul told me about fishing with his father. I shared one of my favorite Grandma Pearl memories.
“Will I like boys when I grow up, Grandma?”
“I reckon you’ll like them well enough.”
“I hope they’re not all like Bobby Dodge. He eats worms.
“Emmie, darling, when you grow older, you’ll get used to the things boys like to eat. In fact, you may even love it.”
“Do you think she meant what I think she meant?” Paul asked.
“I’ll never know for sure, but I think so.”
“She was a unique lady.”
“The absolute best,” I said.
The sun set, disappearing behind the greenbelt of burning bushes and honeysuckle. A clear night sky took its place. With Dixie cups and lemonade, we toasted to Grandma Pearl, and then we offered another toast to ourselves. We lay back shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip, and gazed at stars peeking through the maple leaves.
Paul pointed to a particularly bright star winking above the tree line. “Recognize that star?”
“Remember when we first saw it?”
It was Fourth of July. Long after the pyrotechnic display had ended, Paul and I were walking home. The smell of spent sulfur hung in the air, and the occasional whir and pop of a firework echoed in the distance. Paul drew my attention to what we both thought was another firework about to discharge.
“Oh, wait. That’s not a firework,” Paul said. “It’s the memory star.”
“The memory star?”
“Legend says if you share a memory with someone you love when the memory star is shining, you’ll make memories together forever. Some people just see the fireworks. Lucky people also see the memory star.”
Paul and I had rushed home that night, hungry to make love and eager to share a memory.
Lying under the maple tree, with the picnic remnants all around us, Paul reached for my hand and squeezed. “We’re lucky people, Em.”
“Should we share another memory?” I asked. “Or would that be greedy?”
Paul closed his eyes, pretending to concentrate. He opened them again and turned his face toward mine, holding my gaze with his shiny eyes. When he spoke, his voice was a deep, seductive whisper. “Let’s be greedy,” he said.
He took his time, undoing the belt of my robe and laying open its flaps. I shivered, but not because of the night air. He kissed my neck, my shoulders, my arms, down one leg, up the other, and finally he kissed my nipples.
He suckled one firm bud, then the other, and then tried to do both at the same time by holding my breasts in his hands and forcing them together. I grabbed on to his shoulders, digging into his skin as sensation overwhelmed me.
“I want you, Em.” His words were part plea, part demand, but fully hungry with lust.
“I want you, too.”
Paul stood, unsnapped his pants and let them fall to the ground. His boxers quickly followed. He stretched up like a Zeus, all sinewy muscle and power, his penis jutting out, hard and erect.
I opened my legs in anticipation. But instead of lying on top of me as I expected, Paul kneeled between my legs and stared at my mound.
“Such a pretty pussy,” he said. “So pink and wet.”
With his fingertips, he grazed along my outer lips, teasing, twirling my pubic hair, and tracing the length and breadth of my slit. I opened my legs further and felt a rush of cool air kiss the warmth inside me. Paul slipped his fingers into the gap.
“Damn, Em. You’re so hot. And so wet. I have to eat you.”
I closed my eyes. “Mmm, yes.”
Lusciously, gently he drew my labia apart. He breathed in an exaggerated breath and held it as if my scent was filtering through his body. Then he stuck out his tongue and licked me. Little jabs at first, and then long, lapping strokes from front to back, always returning to the hood of my clitoris and sucking, pulling my clit into his mouth like a cherry, trying to separate pit from pulp.
He kissed every part his lips could reach. It tingled, and then it burned, a slow, rising flame that flicked at my nipples. He pressed his nose between my folds, stretching his tongue deep inside of me. It was heaven. No, it was torture. Sweet, loving torture.
My orgasm crept over me like little fingers reaching for a treat – slow, secret, searching until the treasure is in hand, and joy overtakes caution. I was alive with sensation.
“Fuck me, Paul. Hurry. Fuck me now!”
Paul rose up. His face glistened in the moonlight. Gripping his penis, he guided it into my quivering harbor. He slipped in easily. He was hard, and I was wet.
Like an oar in a lock, he rowed us, one slow stroke at a time. Paul. Me. In unison. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. His semen streamed into me, announcing his climax – warm, succulent, and surfeited.
“I love you, Emily,” he whispered minutes later, lying at my side.
I nudged his hip with mine. “This will be a pretty good memory.”
“One of my favorites,” he said.
“Do you think the neighbors saw us?”
“Luckily, the legend of the memory star protects us. If they did see us, they’ll forget it by tomorrow.”
I glanced up at Paul’s memory star. It twinkled like electric. “Maybe that isn’t a memory star at all, Paul. Maybe it’s Grandma Pearl winking her approval.”
“She liked the way we made love?”
I poked him in the arm. “I meant she would have approved of you.”
“Maybe. But, if it isn’t a memory star, then it’s very likely the neighbors did see us. And they will remember every detail.”
I thought about walking out to the mailbox tomorrow, greeting the couple that lived to our side, and seeing their knowing looks. “Maybe we better make the rest of our memories inside.”
Paul winked. “Whatever you say, princess.”
I looked at Paul, at his loving grin. I thought about Grandma and her stories. “Did you just call me princess?”
“I guess I did.”
Suddenly, with clear eyes, I watched Paul scoop up the picnic remnants, along with his pants, and stroll toward the house, whistling. I glanced up one last time at the night sky and remembered.
“One day, Emily, you’re going to grow up and fall in love,” Grandma said.
“Will he be a prince?” I asked.
Grandma pushed the stray hair off my face and snuggled me close. “Yes, my little princess,” she said. “He’ll be a prince.”
Copyright © 2004 by Desdmona.