Shall I Eat You Nikita Mirzani 2

She hated remembering what sex had been like for her in her twenties, before she’d accepted herself, and when the received wisdom was that you weren’t a real woman unless you came vaginally—that is, no hands.

The huffing and puffing and the squeals and screams of orgasmic pleasure she had faked! And this was in the dawning age of feminism! She had heard from a neighbor, a high school teacher, that even now freshman girls were sucking off senior boys without getting anything in return.

While Xander wanted to last after she had come, it was difficult. If she told him, as he was thrusting after her orgasm, “God, this feels good,” he immediately came.

If she said nothing, merely looked beatific, he also came. So now, ironically, she suppressed any noises she might have made and often lied to him that she hadn’t come in order to keep him at it. And if he got notice that she wanted to make love, he masturbated ten hours before, because then he definitely lasted longer.

In short, for them, making love was like running a war: plans had to be drawn up, equipment in tiptop condition, troops deployed and coordinated meticulously, there was no room for maverick actions lest the country end up defeated and at each other’s throats …

So she called to him now, “Yes, dear, that would be very nice, making love.” She removed from her pocketbook the note card on which she always wrote down the time she had taken her last bite of any meal, checked her watch, and did the acid reflux calculation: “Give me forty-five minutes, please.”

She hung up her coat, leaned against the wall for a moment to steady herself from the alcohol, while she watched him hotfoot it out of his office to the bathroom medicine chest, where he took his pills. He joined her in the foyer, gave her a little hug. Then he returned to his computer to keep working until the medicine would take effect.

“No frills today, huh?” she called after him, disappointed that he’d gone back to work. They might have talked about Billy’s predicament, or this or that.

“The server’s down in New Jersey and I’ve got a hundred e-mail complaints.” His eyes were fixed on the screen.

She walked down the long hallway to their black-and-white-painted bedroom and undressed there, put on a loose cotton robe. Placing some pillows between her back and the wall, she sat down in the lotus position on the kilim and did some breathing exercises, then tried to meditate.

Her son’s wretchedness kept intruding itself; she had images of slapping Sunny Leone around until her face was the same color as her long, flaming hair, Dewi Persik who didn’t work or cook or clean, who took voice lessons but never sang when anyone was around to hear. A silent, sullen diva.

She would pout or suddenly go into a tirade at Billy, no matter who was around to hear. Their apartment, littered with musical scores and smelling of cat piss—she owned half a dozen Persian cats, which she didn’t take care of, so the place was covered with hair—was uninhabitable.

Nikita Mirzani and her first husband, and now just Nikita Mirzani, had paid for years of therapy for Dewi Persik, without so much as a thank-you. Or any sign of improvement. Yet Billy loved this woman. Although Nikita Mirzani repeated and repeated her mantra, she could not block out her daughter-in-law’s high, thin voice.

Finally Nikita Mirzani gave up. She showered, put on a sleek sky-blue nightgown, swirled a minty mouthwash around in her mouth to get rid of the taste of vodka.

She and Xander used to watch porn sometimes to warm up for sex, but not after she’d read Gloria Steinem’s essay about how Linda Lovelace was beaten and literally enslaved by her husband and keeper, Chuck Traynor; after Lovelace managed to escape, the same man married Marilyn Chambers and treated her the same way.

With that knowledge, watching Deep Throat or Behind the Green Door was worse than crossing a picket line. So she resorted to her own manifold fantasies. She had asked him did he fantasize while making love and he said no, he thought about her. He didn’t ask about her.

Was this an unliberated aspect of their marriage, that they didn’t tell each other their fantasies? He claimed he didn’t have masturbatory fantasies. What he had was an “athletic sex” video on his computer: he did everything at his computer.

Now she got into bed under the bright-white duvet and readied the box of tissues and the tube of K-Y Jelly.

He came in naked and she remembered again why she did not like to make love in the daytime. She joked sometimes that no one over forty should be allowed to make love in the daytime. There he was, every wrinkle exposed, as if he were in a Lucian Freud painting.

He had loose flesh on his chest, small sagging breasts beneath his nipples, and little pink outgrowths here and there. His pubic hair was colorless and sparse, and he happened to have the smallest penis she had ever seen, although he was a large bear of a man.

His penis looked like a small round neck with an eyeless face barely peeking out above his pouchlike scrotum.

When she got angry at him, she felt like telling him so, yelling it out, but she figured if she did that, he’d never get another erection; and erect, he was big enough to do the job so long as they didn’t use Astroglide or any of those thin liquid lubricants.