I haven’t had sex in two years. This unfortunate situation could be ignored except men have started glowing. The doorman outside my apartment glows dark blue, like his nicely tailored suits. I shudder beneath his smile and barely acknowledge his mannerly door holding.
The cop on the corner near the elementary school, he glows green. I don’t know if he’s supposed to, but he always holds up his orange “Don’t Walk” sign when I pass his crosswalk. He winks at me every day, which makes my forehead sweat.
The guy who makes my morning coffee glows pink. I hate the color pink, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s always nice to me. He tells me I smell good. I’m probably old enough to be his mother.
Paul and I never had kids, but he’s about to have one with his mistress, which is why I’m getting divorced. According to my lawyer, Paul has been sleeping with his nameless paramour for three years. I suppose after the first year, she commanded him to stop fucking his own wife—which would explain my current predicament: men glowing.
It’s getting serious. Not only are men of all shapes and sizes shining in a variation of colorful hues, but also I can’t be touched. Male coworkers hand me file folders, and I moan. This morning, my barista’s finger touched mine, and my knees almost buckled. I need to get laid, but first, I need to get divorced.
In the law firm, no one glows, especially Paul. From where I sit, he’s in the dark, as if he’s sucked the glow from the room. I once thought he was so handsome. Now, I see the receding blond hairline he tries to hide. I see the puffiness under his eyes. I see how he’s starting to go soft in the middle. Already forty-five, he’ll age even faster once the kid arrives.
“It looks like we’re all set here,” Paul’s lawyer says. Paul’s lawyer used to be our lawyer. Now, he’s the enemy. He slides a final stack of papers across the lacquered, redwood desk between us. I can’t sign my name fast enough.
I get up to leave the room, and Paul follows me into the hall. He takes hold of my wrist, and my skin feels like it’s rotting. I pull my hand away and walk.
“It was never personal,” he says behind me. “I didn’t mean to fall in love.”
I turn to face him, and I can see places on his head where his hair is thinning. The fluorescent light from above hides his pudgy face in shadow.
“I have to go to work,” I say.
When I say “work,” I don’t mean my actual job. I already took the day off. No, when I say “work,” I mean I’m gonna get laid.
It’s two PM on a Tuesday—not prime time for a random fuck. I’m standing outside a booth that sells newspapers and magazines of pretty people. Even the men on the magazine covers glow in shades of purple, yellow, and puce. I just purchased my first pack of cigarettes in eight years. Paul hated when I smoked.
It’s been so long, I don’t remember how to get laid. I don’t only mean the two years of stagnancy at the end of my marriage; I mean Paul and I were married for ten years. I haven’t hit on a guy in over a decade, and I’ve never in my whole life asked a man for an afternoon boink. I’m setting myself up for failure. What was I thinking? I’m thirty-nine years old, horny, and alone.
I snuff out my cigarette and sigh a cloud of smoke. Then, I think: coffee. Coffee makes everything better.
My usual place is only two blocks from the newspaper stand, so I walk slowly and think of all the movies I’ve seen. Women can order men, right? Massage therapists who come to your house and get naked? I’ve seen that in a movie before, I think.
My shoulders slump. I don’t have the guts to do that. Might as well close up shop. Drag a gate over the door and let the cobwebs grow.
I pass the black Harley on the sidewalk. It’s always parked outside my coffee shop. Then, as he’s leaving, a guy in a gray suit holds the door for me and smiles. He glows red. I scurry inside.
My usual coffee boy is behind the counter. His name is Crosby, and as usual, he glows pink. He’s reading the newspaper and doesn’t look up when I walk in. His shaggy, dark brown hair covers his forehead and eyes. He yawns as I approach.
“Hey,” he says. He’s reading the entertainment section. Maybe he’s gay, what with the whole glowing pink thing.
I put my fingertips on the edge of the counter and study the menu on the chalkboard above his head, as if I don’t know what I’m getting. I always get the same thing: the Vienna Latte, with cinnamon and honey—which makes me realize … I just got divorced. Maybe I should try something new.
“The usual?” Crosby turns the page.
He looks up at me. “Are you okay?”
“Yes.” I don’t look at him, because the pink aura around Crosby is throbbing today, and I think if he touches me, I will fall across the counter in the thralls of orgasm. “Café Mocha, please, double.” I dig in my wallet for cash and toss a five-dollar bill near the register.
I turn away from the counter and take a seat at a tall table near the front window. I used to sit at this table with Paul, and I realize it doesn’t matter if I just ordered not my “usual” drink; I’m still just usual me, despite the divorce. I’ll probably never get laid again. I’ll grow old in the apartment I used to share with my husband—the one I got in the settlement—and die with a vibrator in my gnarly, old woman fingers.
Crosby sits down across from me and hands me my mocha. He’s poured the foam in the shape of a heart. “What’s with you today?”
I don’t touch my drink. “I just got divorced.”
He’s silent for a moment—this man who I’m guessing is in his early twenties. Before he started glowing, I used to enjoy watching him work. I know he has a little scar on the bottom right edge of his lip, and he smiles a lot. He’s got bright colored eyes that change color depending on what he wears. Crosby is what women consider “cute.” I used to enjoy talking to him, before all men started glowing with sexual energy and before a simple touch equated to an ocean between my legs.
I actually jump when I feel his fingers on my left hand. I look down, and his thumb and forefinger hold on to my wedding band. Slowly, he wiggles the ring off and drops it in the center of the foamy heart of my mocha.
“Hey,” I say. The heart is now empty in the middle.
I look up at Crosby, and he’s smiling. He doesn’t have a line on his face, not like Paul. His skin looks baby ass smooth. His dark brown hair falls like ocean waves up and over his head. His arms are crossed on the table, and I follow the line of forearm muscle up to the edge of t-shirt fabric that strains against his biceps.
The pink has been replaced by dark magenta, and he’s glowing like some blinking stoplight at midnight.
“Will you have sex with me?” I ask.
He blinks his eyes, slowly. “I don’t even know your name.”
I reach my hand across the table. “Jill.”
He takes my hand, and I make an inappropriate noise that makes him blush.
I’m a rabid animal when I get Crosby back to my apartment. There’s a two second pause where I think, “Who is this woman?” I’ve never righteously attacked a man before, but here I am in the apartment I used to share with my husband, and I have this twenty-something, six-foot-something (God, he’s tall!) man shoved against the wall in my foyer with my knee between his legs and my hands in his hair. I am sucking his face.
“Jill. Jill!” His hands wrap around my wrists and push me back a couple inches. I watch his chest rise and fall, which reminds me: when was the last time I took a breath? I suck air into my lungs and realize I’m dizzy. “Slow down.”
I nod, my wrists still held in his fingers. “I haven’t had sex in two years.”
“What?” He looks horrified.
“My husband was having an affair for three years. I guess he didn’t want to touch me anymore.” I lean forward and nip at Crosby’s jawline. His skin tastes like espresso.
“Just slow down, okay?” He leans his forehead against mine. “I’m afraid you’re going to break me.”
I chuckle, our noses touching. He’s right. I literally feel like a beast—like I want to lick him and bite every inch of his body. Between huffs of air, I vaguely notice his glowing magenta has gone back to pleasing pink. His color surrounds us both.
Against the palm of his hand, I feel my pulse beat—fast and steady.
“I’m gonna let go of your hands now, okay?”
I nod against his face. “Okay.”
As soon as I’m free, my fingers bury themselves again in his hair and pull his mouth against mine. He tastes like coffee, too, almost like caffeine oozes from his pores. I’m gentler this time so he hopefully doesn’t feel like I’m trying to eat through the back of his throat.
God, Crosby’s a good kisser. Paul was never the best with his mouth, but I dealt with it because I loved him. I decide I’m never “dealing with” anything again, not when kissing can feel like this.
Crosby’s hands reach down and grab my ass through my businesswoman slacks. He presses himself against me, and I can feel he’s hard through his torn jeans. My hands move from his hair to his upper back, pulling him closer, closer, until he hisses at the scrape of my nails through his thin t-shirt.
I giggle when he picks me up.
I’m still giggling as I point down the hallway, past the kitchen.
He takes in the expensive appliances and high ceilings. “Jesus, you live here?”
I turn his face toward mine and bite his lower lip. “Bed.”
He looks at me, and I wonder what he sees. Am I just some desperate, old broad, or does he see me the way I’m starting to feel: like someone who’s about to fuck his pretty pink brains out?
He kicks the bedroom door open and tosses me on the bed. He takes off his white t-shirt, and I’m surprised by ink. The entire left side of his rib cage is covered in a multi-colored phoenix. I lean forward and touch the marked skin.
“That motorcycle outside the coffee shop is yours, isn’t it?” I smile and rub my hands over his ribs.
I reach for the button on his jeans. “If I’d known you were a bad boy, I would have let you just screw me in the shop.”
“If I’d known you hadn’t been fucked in two years, this would have happened months ago,” he says.
I unzip his jeans and push them off his hips. He has the muscular hipbone V like men do in movies. I haven’t seen that V in ages, so I lean forward and lick. He pulls my tongue away with a hand in my hair and makes me look up at him.
“This isn’t about me.” He kneels on the floor between my legs.
The room is filled with colors, shooting streams of light and dark that make me close my eyes and focus on the feel of his fingers unbuckling my slacks, pulling the fabric down over my hips. Even behind my eyelids, I see flashing light.
I buck under the pressure of his tongue, and he literally has to push down on my thighs to keep me from kneeing him in the face. I squeeze my fists into my bed sheets and then into his hair until he laughs and says, “Ow.”
“Sorry,” I pant. “Sorry.” I go back to kneading the sheets.
Paul’s tongue never did this. No one’s tongue has ever done this. I’m no longer seeing colors; I’m blind.
All I can do is feel, and my stomach is on fire.
“I’m going to come,” I whimper.
His tongue immediately stops moving. “Already?”
I let out a high-pitched squeak.
He laughs out through his nose, which makes me laugh. I lean up on my elbows and sit up straight. I wrap my hands around the base of his skull and pull him up from kneeling until he’s sprawled across me. It is so good to feel the weight of a man’s body. I kiss him and can’t remember the last time I tasted myself.
Crosby is wrestling me out of the remainder of my clothes, and I use my toe to get rid of his boxers. He’s huge—way bigger than Paul. He’s huge in a way that makes me wonder if he’ll even fit. That’s when I realize …
“Shit, do you have a condom?”
He groans and buries his face against my neck.
Paul and I had no use for them since we never had sex, and I dragged Crosby here with nothing but his clothes.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Crosby says against my skin. The way his bottom lip tickles my earlobe makes me wrap my legs around his hips until he tells me I’m close to popping his ribs.
“I just want to get laid!” I yell so loud, the neighbors can probably hear—hopefully my ex-husband, too.
“Wait.” Crosby does a push up above me. “Your husband was having an affair, right?”
I wrinkle my brow. “Yeah.”
“There’s gotta be condoms hidden in this house somewhere.” He rolls away from me and stands.
“Where would your ex hide things from you?”
“In the cold, empty place where his heart should be.”
Crosby laughs, and the sight of this six-foot-something, young—too young—guy, totally naked, is almost enough to make me come.
I shrug. “His office?”
“Come on.” He extends his hand, and like proud nudists, we wander through my apartment toward the one room Paul always considered off limits to me. He used to say he needed his “creative space.” What kind of creativity an accountant requires, I’ll never know. Then again, now, I do know: he probably called her from his office, thought about her in here, and had phone sex in here.
Crosby goes right for the desk drawers, and I scour the bookcase. My fingers are on the edge of Dickens. Paul hated Dickens, must be a fake. I’m touching the book when Crosby lets out a shout of victory. I turn around, and he holds a yellow condom in his long fingers. He’s wearing ink, an erection, and nothing else. God, he’s somethin’ to see.
But I’m tired of him running the show.
I look around and hate this office and hate these books and hate Paul’s desk and the stupid antique lamp he spent three hundred bucks on. Decision made: I’m fucking Crosby on my ex-husband’s desk. Now.
I grab the condom from his hand and shove him backwards. He awkwardly tumbles onto the desk, using his right hand to save himself from a face plant over the edge. I climb him like a tree so my weight takes him backwards until he’s sprawled in the middle of Paul’s old paperwork. I throw the expensive lamp on the floor for good measure.
Then, I work an old trick of mine. I put the condom in my mouth and roll it down over his penis.
In response, Crosby cusses hard enough to make a saint go deaf.
His legs are hanging off the edge of the desk, and I straddle his hips. I hold his dick in my hands. “I think this is going to hurt.”
“Huh?” He looks up at me, pupils blown, eyes practically black.
“I haven’t had sex in two years, and you’re built like a … skyscraper.”
I watch his abs shake as he laughs. The phoenix on his side quivers as if in flight. “Just go slow,” he says.
I nod and take a deep breath. I am smiling so hard, I probably look like the Cheshire Cat—just a stretch of white teeth. Crosby’s eyes are shut. He seems restful as I slowly push myself down onto him.
“Oh, my God, you’re huge.” I plant my hands against his pecs for support.
He opens his eyes and stares at me. “You’re tighter than a safe. Thank God for WASPs who don’t procreate.”
I lean down and kiss his smiling face.
He does take some getting used to, but once I stretch out some, it’s like our bodies were made for each other. I come embarrassingly fast. I scream his name and end up a trembling mass of flesh curled across his chest. I barely register him moving us to the floor where we continue to make love until I come again.
Once Crosby finishes, our sweat soaks the carpet. The room has a golden shimmer. His auburn hair is plastered to his forehead, and there’s a drop of sweat on the end of his nose. I slurp it up with my tongue.
Crosby leaves long enough to bring a blanket and pillows from the living room. He also grabs the new pack of cigarettes from my purse. He lights one and lies on his back next to me.
Even though he got the pillows and blankets to make me comfortable, I can’t sit still. Instead, I lick his bellybutton. I kiss his lower abdomen. I run my tongue up the center of his stomach until I reach his sternum, where I lick some more. He tastes like salt and coffee. I wonder if I’m getting extra caffeine just from sucking his skin.
White smoke moves in ambling clouds through the golden afternoon light coming through the office window. Between Crosby’s puffs, I reach up and take the cigarette from him. I blow smoke rings—haven’t done that in years.
“I don’t love you,” I say. “But I think I love your body.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
I hold the cigarette to his mouth and watch his lips suck the filter. I pull the cigarette away and watch him exhale.
“Are you going to get fired from the coffee shop for closing up early?”
“I own it.”
He leans up on one elbow and pushes my hair behind my ear. “Did you think I was just some coffee errand boy of yours?”
“I wouldn’t have cared if you were.” I take a drag from my cigarette.
Crosby’s glow is coming back—pink but more than that. The sunlight makes the drying sweat on his skin shine. I feel high. My head is floating. I forgot what a good fuck could do to a person.
Then, from down the hall, I hear a key in the front door. Only one other person still has a key to this place, so I don’t cover myself. Crosby, who apparently has no shame, doesn’t even seem intrigued. He just stretches out on the floor again and sighs.
When Paul steps around the corner and sees us—naked, sweaty, shagged out—he freezes with a foot in the air. A dark cloud surrounds him. Then, the color around him dims and shakes like a TV with bad reception. “I thought you were going back to work.”
I exhale a huge cloud of smoke into his office. “When I said work, I meant …” I nod at the naked guy at my side. “This is Crosby.”
“Hey.” His penis is still at half-mast, ready for another go. It’s a metaphorical middle finger: fuck you for not fucking your wife.
“You—you can’t smoke in there.” Paul is looking everywhere but at us—at our beautiful, sinful pile of debauchery on his clean floor.
“It’s my apartment now, sweetie. I can do whatever I want.” I ash over my shoulder. “Did you need something?”
“No, I …” He shakes his head. “I’ll have my lawyer … just some papers …” He runs into the wall as he turns around, and the dark cloud is back. He’s surrounded by a storm, and he leaves just as thunder rumbles the air above his balding head.
When I look back at Crosby, he smirks. He’s surrounded by pink. His fingertips feel electric against the outside of my hip.
“You’re glowing,” he says. He takes my face in his hand and kisses me with an open, hungry mouth. His long fingers are already between my legs, and I drop the cigarette into a nearby potted plant. He uses his fingers to get me off and then throws on his discarded clothes. There’s a pharmacy a block down, he says, and we need condoms.
As I watch him walk down the hall, combing his messed up hair with his hands, I realize I could get used to pink.
Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She is an official book nerd for SheKnows.com. Her short story, "Don't Ball the Boss," was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. She lives with her husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. World Weaver Press will publish her novel, BITE SOMEBODY, summer 2016. Read more of her work at SaraDobieBauer.com.