I spent my second teenage year, student-exchanged in Berkeley, California in a foster family of one member, a forty-eight-year old single woman of mixed Jewish and Italian ethnicity. Her name was Esther, a long-standing divorcee, a super-left radical, a professor of social science in UC Berkeley.
She resided in the gated enclave of the upper-middle-class lily-white couples. They, Esther promulgated with spite effervescing on her lips, as if acidic substance had run in her veins, had led a selfish, promiscuous existence, all until lately, when a certain phenomenon known as “midlife crises” overtook and tamed their egocentric hankerings.
We took many a walk over the snaking paths up and down the ridge, over which ocean-view side the wealthier part of town splayed with high disregard for the grid layout convention. Esther, besides likening to dab into pontifications over the designs and prices of the houses, hidden behind the impeccably-trimmed foliage, would, when occasion present itself, point out at the toddlers and children of color playing joyfully in the backyards, unaware of their social roles in this brave new world.
“Seeing these adopted children from the third world, Stas, corroborates with my viewing of the present decadence of this greatest country of ours. The tragedy is on the par with that of the ancient Greek plays, where audience is deliberately set to relish the pathetic tribulations its characters are driven into by a blind ambition, which certainly is a human folly is disguise.”
Esther’s own kids had grown up and conspicuously fled to New York, daughter to pursue her mock dream of becoming a stand-up comedian (with very modest success), son with even more amorphous disposition of mind, but with credentials from MIT, to surf over the cutting high-tech edge (quite successfully, if to commensurate exposure with a paycheck). And thus I was a surrogate transplant to Esther’s emptied nest.
Let me digress and switch the narrative for duration of a few paragraphs to Moscow, Russia, where I hail from. In my first teenage year, which coincided with the farce coupe that wiped out last vestiges of the post-glasnost communism, I was still naively unaware of my virginity. The communists proclaimed at the genesis of their system seventy years before, that sex was non-existent in the Union of Soviet Republics. I was raised and bred in the asexual atmosphere, where the immoral behavior was never brought up to public attention, and was practiced discreetly, behind the closed and latched doors.
My libido, of whose existence I had absolutely no knowledge in the first place, lay dormant somewhere under the dull clockwork routine of school days and evenings, spent solitarily, reading smut-censored fiction books. My single mother, with her two jobs (that of an engineer and dress seamstress for private clients) had barely enough time to be monogamous, albeit had had managed to sustain a steady relationship with a boyfriend. I believed throughout the years that he was my mother’s friend, without prefix “boy.”
As to the question of where the children come from, I had no curiosity of seeking the answer to. For all I cared, it must have belonged to the same dubious group of questions: where the wind blows from, or where the river Moskva originates, or where do we go after we die. In other words, I let the adults worry about the matter.
At the time I was transported via air to the country of the free, my latent libido manifested its initial signs of awakening. The full erections transfigured the organ, whose function I attributed solely to urination, into an inflated, steeled rod, on seemingly random occasions. Ubiquitous dreams I wouldn’t remember next morning left sticky stains on the nether side of the crotch pouch of my white underwear. Telltale signs of some foreboding energy building up in me electroshocked my imagination, and I was coerced to conduct a thorough investigation of its origins in order to learn about its repercussions.
Overcoming innate timidity, with already some accumulated data from secondary sources, my friends and etc, I requested my mother to present a detailed report upon the origins of procreation and its relation to the horrifying transfigurations of my “Little Petr.” Her clinical, and indeed detailed explanation left me utterly dismayed, indeed repulsed with realization of the scumminess of the act of love. Yes, they dared to refer to this despicable exchange of fluids in a comatose state of excitation derived from observing and touching the naked body of the opposite gender as to *love-making. Which functionality – the secret revealed – was to conceive babies.
I immediately had to admit the facetiousness of the pompous high-society costumed ball dancers, the glittering people of 19th century, portrayed so vividly in Russian novels: they too did this beastly thing in their bedrooms. And from the more modern fiction, Central Committee commissars wearing leather jackets and speaking in cardboard mottoes with distinguished airs of natural superiority, they did it too. As for the more real and modern people, my self-righteous, automaton teachers too engaged in fluid-exchange activities with their husbands. And my mother and her boyfriend, a nondescript nightshift bank guard who wore those ugly bi-focal glasses, he must have been *doing my mother during her lunch breaks. All people did it. And in fact animals did it too, which I could accept -- they were animals after all. But aren’t we *human, and by that token are *evolved?
I still presided in the same state of mental agitation, when I found myself in the sultry month of August, far removed from homes, in a company of a gray stucco mansion owner, guided by her hand up to the peak of the hill to survey the spectacular panoramic view of Bay area. The view was indeed spectacular, and so was Esther’s whitewashed smile, her glistening with unhindered excitement hazelnut eyes. Esther said, “Do you enjoy yourself, Stas? This is, what, your sixth day in America?”
I nodded. I was culture shocked, but my English was decent, which saved me from totally fluking out in this strange environment, where I was on my own to battle alienation. “Yes. A lot.” Then I remembered the exchange student program coordinator, who lectured me on America, and tipped me that Americans like to be shown your appreciation perennially. “Thank you so much, Esther. I really, *really appreciate what you doing for me, driving me around the area, feeding me tasty food.”
We had started disembarking from the hillcrest, and strode slowly, with Esther setting the pace. Again, when we passed the children of color playing outside in the lily-white neighborhood, Esther didn’t hesitate to comment. This time it was in reference to me. “I do not want you to think that my perception of you, as living in my house, like a member of a family, is in any way similar to the destiny of these poor children.”
I didn’t follow her line of thinking, whether because of my insufficient command of English, or its intellectual sophistry. I nodded, nonetheless, as a token of acknowledgement for being better, being different, being like a member of her family.
Esther sought out my eyes and locked them up in a gaze of intensity, whose depth I couldn’t fathom. “We’ll talk about it at length later today, OK.” She said neutrally.
Back at the air-conditioned house, I took a quick shower, while Esther retreated to her Jacuzzi-bath. After finishing with my shower, I heard the bubbling sound of water, and then, breaking the ominous silence that permeated the house, soaking in its very texture, the silence, which, I believe I was singularly there to shatter with my cracking, accented teenage voice, Esther yelled, “Would you mind stepping in for a second?”
I didn’t harbor any precocious suspicions regarding the unusual request of my American hostess. I was, as mentioned above, under the spell of culture shock, and my common sense was at its record low. The cynic in you would insist that I followed my instincts. But to this day, I’m convinced that at the time of transgression I had been innocently absent, transported to a plateau removed from reality, jet-lagged into a foreign time-zone, zonked out to an automaton regime of behavior.
I opened the unlatched door and stepped into the steamed interior of Esther’s bathroom. Esther lay submerged in the lavish Jacuzzi-bath, water churning and stirring, bubbles popping up to the surface relentlessly. Amidst liquid commotion, Esther was solidly still. She rewarded me with another look of rootless intensity I had been subjected to earlier that day, and said, “Would you possibly mind washing my back?”
I walked through the steam, my bare feet stepping on moistened tiles. Once I slipped, luckily I was on time to switch the center of gravitation to the other side of my body, regained balance and approached the rupturing Jacuzzi.
I caught Esther in the process of revolving backwards to me. She accommodated her crossed hands on the side of the Jacuzzi at work, propping her chin against them. She said casually, “the sponge and soap to the right of you.”
My mind began its, what I would learn with experience, an invariable fixation on the nakedness of the naked woman body in front of me. I held the pink heart-shaped sponge, dipped it in the stormy water and soaped it thoroughly, until white foam trickled down my fingers.
Esther waggled impatiently, but didn’t turn around or repeat her request. I sat on the edge of the tub and brought my hand with the sponge in proximity to her curved back. Esther reached out and turned the knob submerged in the water about an inch. The surface of the water calmed, the bubbling din subsided, silence, again, reclaimed the house into its foreboding quandary.
Transfixed I fixed my eyes on the arching back broadening into ample thighs and splitting in two at the thickset buttocks. Esther twiddled the axle of her lower back, bringing two voluminous orbits closer to the surface. That dark energy that had been latent overdue rose simultaneously from within me, engulfing my mind with intimidating stirrings, whose course sprawled lushly beneath the calmed waters of the tub a foot away from me and half-globe away from my home.
I touched Esther’s back and like a painter, rubbed it gently, zestfully covering its moist canvas with dribbling foam. I slid my hand lower and yet lower, my knees bent, pressing to the slick curvature of the tub, while my body careened, leaning over the rigidly still naked body, naked woman body. I was kneading gently, *tenderly, now my hand squeezing into the dividing line between two soft globular extensions of the back. Esther brought her buttocks all the way up, half a foot from my burning face, until her own face rippled the placid water, her hands clutching the edge of the tub.
My knuckles, inadvertently, grazed the solar crater of her anus. Esther responded by parting her legs and uttering a barely audible sigh that immediately red-lighted in the sector of my brain, which heredity must have predated dinosaurs, triggering me on a path of more bold action.
I relinquished the pretext for an engagement; the sponge plopped down and foam drew a heart-shaped aureole over the translucent water. I slid my fingers deftly under the water, towards the capital orifice, as my informative research yielded the answer: beneath the bristles and outer lips there lay the tunnel of love in the making.
Esther groaned and pivoted, away from my exquisite fingers. Her face was flushed, as she thrust her hands to the sides of the tub, raised her legs and rested them, knees up, next to her elbows, upon which she reclined, her buttocks suspended again, but obscured from me. My eyes were piercing the triangle of matted, black hair between her shaved legs.
I carried on with my voyeuristic examination of the particularities of my hostess’s body. A bellybutton, filleted with ribbons of fat, topped the sagged tummy. Her breasts compensated any turn-off affect her midriff might have had (but did not) on my overheated mind. Their curvature uplift originated at her collarbones and they rose up to the CC height, tapering at the opposite symmetrical edges, two majestic spheres adorned with perky scarlet nipples. I desired, promptly, impromptu-ly to encompass them with my mouth and lactate them, like I had done fourteen years ago nourishing my tiny body with my mother’s milk.
“Why don’t you take off your clothes and jump into the tub.” Esther had crossed a fine line between request and demand. I was supplying to the latter and my own unbearable urge to come in contact with her naked body.
The undressing was relatively swift. Briefly, I got entangled trying to shed my tight T-shirt. For a panicky moment, my eyes were blindfolded from my voyeuristic view. I tugged and pulled at the sleeves, the seams squeaked and tore. I pulled harder and stood undone save for my underwear, the crotch area dangerously alive, with a bi-functional member, imploring to be freed to roam. He seemed to me to be well versed in the rules of engagement, in the rules of action, as if for him it wouldn’t be a novel experience.
My nakedness didn’t feel awkward under the close-up monitoring of another person. Our mutual nakedness or perhaps convoluted desire canceled out any bewilderment that might have arisen under circumstances.
I stepped into the water. It was welcomingly warm. I slinked down, water whelmed me in cozy, translucent clothes. Timidly, I spread my legs out. Esther lowered herself down and her own legs touched mine. Her skin was suave. The imminent future was mercilessly preordained.
There was something reptilian in our cautiously ministered hug. For Esther it was, doubtlessly, an age gap that fed her with restraining orders, for me, it was the stark novelty of the sexual touch. Yet neither of us had possessed sufficient capacity to thwart the kiss, a bolder enterprise by far, with Esther’s tongue perforating my eager mouth, tingling the palate, rippling my skin with waves of sensuality. My left hand snaked over Esther’s shoulder, while the right resumed its exploratory exhibition into the hidden world behind the black triangle.
Esther moaned again when I forced my finger into the lubricated crevice. The insides were tight and sleazy, and they beckoned with insane necessity. “I want you to fuck me.” Esther said breathlessly. “Have you done it before?”
Hearing the word “fuck,” recently commiserated into Russian colloquial vocabulary, tapped into yet another dry region of my awakening sexuality, the one, which is being exploited by phone sex businesses. My “little Piotr” twitched and bobbled, instilled with fresh power. Its uprightness was becoming precipitously at risk to be abated by a discharge, but since I wasn’t a prior conscious witness to such event, I believed in the omnipotence of its longitudinal stand.
“No. But you show me,” I answered in my deteriorating from excitement English.
“Silly boy,” Esther said playfully, the stern professor gone from her voice, “of course I will.”
Now it was her turn to charter the terrain of my teenage body. Her hands were adept at recognizing and indulging the contours of male body. I’m ticklish, but the film of water buttresses the uncomfortable sensation of physical nervousness, whereas I could fully enjoy Esther’s caresses. Esther imitated my descent to the lower part of the body, where she paused to examine and familiarize herself with my pulsating penis, admiring its uncircumcised head. She then took it in her hand and drew the foreskin down the shaft, impassively as if she unwrapped a bar of milk chocolate. “I never liked the American circumcised ones,” Esther chided the virtual American male audience.
She drew my body to hers in a more confident embrace, her hand scaling my back, rubbing my buttocks in circular, hypnotizing motions. She took me by surprise by jabbing a full length of a phalange of her forefinger into my ass cleft. The stars plodded and obscured my eyes with sensation of sheer blissfulness. Esther stroked my skinned penis, simultaneously gyrating her forefinger, prodding deeper into my nether hole, as I exhaled and uttered a prolong groan of pleasure run amok.
“Let’s go to my bedroom, silly boy.” Esther said directly into my ear, proceeding to lick its labyrinthine canals, winding down in its epicenter.
Water trailed off Esther’s body, as she snatched a towel from the rack and held it in her outstretched hands, offering it to me like some sort of fetish sacrifice to the altar of sensual delights. “Wipe me, please.”
In my enthusiasm to obey the command, I tripped on the slick tiles and had to grab for the toilet tank to hinder the fall. Esther didn’t comment on an incident, and eased towards me. She twined her hands comfortably around my shuddering body, pressing her tummy to my skin that had regained its ticklishness. In a chaster manner I placed my hands on Esther’s wet hair, black with wisps of gray, and patted it affectionately. I took the offered towel and bent down to wipe her feet, her legs, undersides of her parted thighs, the matted pubic hair. I threw the towel around her back and pulled it from side to side, grating her spine dry.
Esther brusquely repossessed her towel and tossed it on the floor. “I want you badly,” she said, her voice firm. Then she continued speaking with slightly irate intonation. “From the first day I had you here, I fantasized about having sex with you. It wasn’t what I had in mind when I invited you to live in my house. To be honest with you, I thought only of surrogating my migrated sibling.”
Hand in hand we walked to her bedroom, as if in slow motion, as if we were actors in a pornographic flick, being watched in a cadre-by-cadre regime of play by a pervert, who was relishing every small detail. The totality of my out of body experience was stunning. This intrepid march towards the eradication of my virginity was and was not happening to me.
Penumbra of the bedroom shaped into panic that sluiced through my defenseless mind, giving out vague, malodorous odors of immorality and indecisiveness, suggesting to run away, perhaps in the precise manner of Esther’s wayward children: the faster and the farther, the better. But that was a late call -- the inner protests had flagged under the rebounded assaults of lust, the instrumental force for cohesiveness of life on this planet.
As I lay sandwiched between silky sheets, groping insatiably at Esther’s body who meanwhile prepared to straddle me in a decisive, grotesquely unilateral fashion, I felt overwhelmed with peculiar fuzziness. Rays of languor shot through my nerve ends and mollified their edginess. Instantaneously I became infinitely torpid in my light-headedness. In the state of this utter docility I desired, with the remnants of my will, to be overpowered and fucked, but not crudely, lest I would be snatched out from my dopey litany.
My penis slackened, but didn’t lose its momentum as Esther’s bent her head and encircled its baldhead with her lips and resolutely sucked on it. After a few model strokes, the slacker was on high alert again.
For a moment, she withdrew from my touch, and I could see the silhouette of her slim body projected against the curtained window, dimly aglow with the streetlight. She planted her knees firmly apart, arched her buttocks and lowered her black triangle, her cunt, to my thoroughly demented “little Piotr,” my Petya, my glorious and soon to be experienced organ in recreation, and some day procreation, a carrier of my DNA, a holder of ineffable carnal pleasures, an uncircumcised, white Russian phallus.
Gently holding my penis at its base, Esther eased it into her wetted cunt, until it entered her to the hilt. She squeezed and squeegeed the engorged shaft, as if she were a grounded airplane being fueled for those extra miles. Contrary to my insipient assumption, logically based on the joy of the foreplay, the initial thrust caused me an aching sensation at the foreskinned globular diaphragm, ultra sensitive from under-exposure. It grated against the vaginal walls, and ruptured with sharp, but bearable pain. The lubricated velvety insides of Esther’s cunt blunted the inflammatory sensation with inculcated gyrating motion: there is definitely something transcendently mollifying about the in-and-out propulsion of morphed male and female bodies.
A friend of mine, who had served a year-sentence of self-exile as an exchange student in Seattle, referred to a life-long restlessness of “Little Piotr” as to a car seeking a parking lot. If to seek parking lot was the singular goal of mine too, then that night it precariously double-parked.
Meanwhile I had migrated within my internal migration, sacked down the manhole to an unmapped terrain, suavely tripping down with an impending collision quivering at the dissected crust. Esther seasoned her sonorous groans with dirty English words; her head shoved backwards, the inwards of her hips -- succulent pistons, accelerating its revolutions per second. For a brief moment it appeared to me she had devoured me in my entirety, seeping me out into her womb, like a cup of coke through a plastic straw, and then spewing me out upon the silky sheets, where my deconstructed self kneaded a genetic pool, from which my identity had to reconstruct itself molecule by molecule.
I must have faded, dazed by the intensified propulsions, administered by thrashing in passionate frenzy Esther, very briefly, I believe, for I had been injected to consciousness by Esther’s emphatic words. “Now you fuck me, silly boy.” She pulled out and exhausted, sprawled on the sheets, panting like a greyhound that had just delivered a shot rabbit to the feet of its hunting master.
With my sweaty hand I took my penis that trembled perceptibly, as if an earthquake transpired under its fundament. Its shaft was densely covered with sticky tarpaulin of Esther’s vaginal emanations. They reeked with malodorous, *mal de mer odor disorienting my vertebrate. I fumbled in the precarious penumbra of the queen-size bed, seeking out the target, flaunting my penis as if it were an unsheathed sword, or perhaps a semi-automatic assault rifle.
“Right behind ya, silly boy.”
Esther’s hands snaked down my shoulders, her fingers twiddled with my nipples, while she diligently licked my neck. I recoiled, swept by a violent impulse, as if the axons of my nipples were directly wired into the macho side of my brain, and grabbed Esther by the flunks. With my left hand wedged under her buttocks, and right directing my penis, I rammed into Esther, simultaneously prostrating her against the duck-felt pillows with the weight of my body.
Meeting no resistance, I lunged, in now familiar, *practiced in-and-out motion. I administered three thrusts, when enormous lightness overwhelmed me, depriving me of control power. Ridiculous thought flashed in my mind: I can fly.
And immediately a fall commenced. A confident finger burrowed into my anus, crescent of a nail scraped against the tender wall, an electric charge pierced through the center of the agonizingly thrashing penis, detonating it. The explosion was accompanied by an implosion. The database of information: memories, emotions, experience, languages, understanding unloaded with a zillion megabytes per split moment through the miniscule slit at the apex of my penis.
My groans were unrecognizable to me, they sounded altogether feminine. It was like I had been at great pains to wane my build-up, relinquish my desire, utterly unwilling to come.
I slackened, my ardor ebbing away, and resolved to disengage, but Esther pulled me back. She said, “I want to suck up all of you. Lie still.” Then she said sorrowfully, “It’s always such a pity to feel it shrink, die.” Then a second or two later, “I haven’t been with a man for so long, I almost forgot how good it feels.”
Finally I pulled myself out and rolled out to the side. I was spent, emptied, wasted. I let time and space conundrum return to its normalcy. I lay still, staring at the ceiling, gazing into the darkness -- the streetlight behind the window was ominously off.
Esther said from her side of the bed. “Don’t you fall in love on me, Stas. I didn’t bring you from Russia for this. I promise you right now, this will not happen again. I’ll be on guard from now on. Don’t worry I won’t go after you or anything. And also.” She paused, carefully choosing her words. “I want you to promise me that you won’t tell about this . . . incident to anyone, not even to your mother.”
I was smiling, couldn’t help it: serotonin had secreted in indecent dosages in my brain. I said. “I won’t say. Promise.”
Next day Esther and I took our habitual walk up the ridge. She pointed out at the houses that had been rebuilt after being consumed by Great Oakland Fire back in ’81. When we were passing by a kindergarten, Esther stopped, wedged her fingers into the mesh surrounding the perimeter of the backyard and said, not really addressing me, but rather her own brooding, post-coital self. “I wonder if these adopted children are being sexually abused by their foster parents. I wonder why those parents never bothered to have children of their own when they could. I wonder if it’s the way of modern desire, to be perennially stimulated, but spent out on nothing. I wonder if these children, when they grow up, will hate their foster parents for their selfishness. I wonder, time and again about it.”
Esther then turned to me. There were tears in her eyes. In the light of day, I couldn’t help noticing that her body was aged, in fact unattractive. She opened her mouth, words already formed in her mind, but she wouldn’t blueprint them into speech. She just stood still, her body heaving with sobs.