As for the other house in the back yard, tenants kept coming and going. As far as I could remember, it was inhabited by an old couple, then by a sailor and finally by this beautiful young woman.
Yes, she was beautiful with her hazel eyes and long auburn hair and though I was but a child I still remember how my heart missed a beat when I first saw her. She came to live with her daughter, Leila, and quite soon the little girl became my bosom friend.
Leila was cute but she did not have the stunning good looks of her mother and every afternoon, after school, I used to go to her place to watch TV along with her.
Her mother was always in the living room, reclining on the divan her long legs outstretched, and every time she greeted me with a smile. I had never seen her go to work and yet she appeared wealthy enough. Her TV was much bigger than ours, large paintings adorned the walls and lace curtains hung over the windows. But what captivated me most was that thick white rug in the middle of the living room. I never grew tired stroking its long fur and Leila told me that it the was the fur of a polar bear.
As I have said, I went to Leila’s place to watch TV but more often than not I found myself looking at her mother. Reclining like she did on that couch, she was like a tigress and her long blood red nails always sent a shudder through me. They could easily rip me apart, I guess, if she sprang from that couch and jumped on me. But the only movement that she did was to reach, now and then, for that bunch of dark grapes in the white porcelain bowl on the floor. She would pluck a fruit with care and her two luscious lips would move lazily as she munched the fruit, her eyes half closed, a look of ecstasy over her face.
It was only when I grew older that I heard the term ‘gentleman of leisure’ and came to understand what it meant. And now after all these years, I think that she might have been called a ‘lady of leisure’. For, as I have said, I have never seen her gone to work. She never cooked nor cleaned the house nor did any household chores. She didn’t even go to the shop round the corner, for she had a maid that did everything for her. The only “work” she ever did – if I may dare use that word – was to sit endlessly in front of her oval mirror combing her long hair and putting powder on her face.
Leila was about my age and during the weekend I often helped her with her homework. But she was not very good at studies and what pleased her most, it seemed, was to sit next to her mum and like her comb her hair and adorn her face for hours on end.
“You little brat,” her mother would say giggling, “so young, and trying to compete with mum! What will you be when you are sixteen?”
And I stayed in that boudoir watching them. But more truthfully, it was the mother that I watched. She was rather flimsily dressed in her transparent negligee and I could not help staring at her black underclothing.
One Saturday afternoon, when I was in the boudoir with them, she turned round to look at me.
“My sweet little boy,” she said, “don’t just stand there looking at us. I am having some trouble putting this cream on my shoulders. Will you be good enough to do it for me?”
And giggling, she handed me a little container over which I could read “body cream”.
She let her negligee drop and I started to smear the cream over her neck and shoulders. How smooth her skin felt! It was much softer than mum’s. Once I had tried to hug mum as she was watching TV in the living room. But I had barely started stroking her when she pushed me away and I fell on the floor.
“Stop it,” she had shouted. “Can’t you see I am tired. Be off with you!”
But this young woman, it seemed, was taking delight in what I was doing. She had dropped her negligee to the floor, she had loosened her bra and my hand was gliding back and forth on her back.
“Aaah!” she sighed. “You are a gem. How gentle you are! I wish my masseur was gentle like you. But he hurts me with his rough hands. Thank you, my sweet little boy. You must be tired.”
But I felt that I could have gone on for ever.
That night I could barely sleep. I could not understand what was coming over me and as I kept thinking about that episode in the boudoir, I felt a tingling in my loins. I felt very attracted to her and when I finally dozed off, I dreamt I had become a man and that I had married her!
I had sometimes heard of “dayinns” who tried to seduce young boys. But this woman could not possibly be a dayinn. She had done nothing wrong. She had not tried to hug me. She had not even kissed me. When she saw me she would just say “Hello, my sweet little boy.” Surely, this was only a greeting and there was nothing wrong in that.
To be frank it was I who yearned to hug her. Did I long for that hug because it was something that mother denied me? I was not too sure. But how could I possibly hug her when Leila was around. No, I could not reconcile myself with this thought. That would be most unbecoming! – and inwardly I began to pray that Leila would go away.
But Leila was always at her side and so I came up with a stratagem. One morning, I feigned sickness and was excused from going to school. I watched from my window and as soon as I saw her maid depart I went to her place.
The door was open. I knocked several times but there was no answer. Then I heard her singing in the bathroom. She was having a shower. And so I went to sit on a chair and waited.
After a few minutes, the door of the bathroom opened and she stepped out. I nearly fell off my chair. She did not have a stitch on. Her back was turned as she walked along the corridor and she did not see me. But I supposed I must have made some noise as I fretted in the chair.
She turned round.
“Oh,” she said, as she caught sight of me and quickly covered her breasts with her hands. Then she ran towards her bedroom, her wet feet sloshing on the floor.
She soon called out from her bedroom: “You naughty little boy, why are you not at school? Stay right where you are. I’ll be with you right away!”
I tried to get up and flee. But I could not. Her voice commanded authority and I remained glued to my chair.
She was back in a jiffy and she had a big towel wrapped round her. To avoid her gaze, I lowered my eyes to the floor
“So, you will now tell me why you played truant today,” she said.
I raised my head slowly to look at her. But she did not look angry. There was a kind of mischievous look on her face.
“I… I am not feeling very well”, I managed to blurt out.
“Really!” she said. And she placed her hand on my forehead.
“Poor little darling, you do feel hot,” she said. “Stay right here. I’ll get a herbal tea for you. There’s nothing like it to set you up.”
The drink she brought tasted somewhat bitter but since it was she who had made it, I smacked my lips pretending it was like nectar.
“You’ll feel better soon,” she said. “Now I’ll go and comb my hair.”
She went to her bedroom and after a while she called out:
“How are you feeling my sweetie?”
I said I was ok.
“Good! Could you come here this minute? I need your precious little help.”
I entered the bedroom and saw her sitting on the edge of the bed. She was now wearing a negligee and there was a box of talcum powder in her hand.
“I am not finding it easy to pass this talc over my back. Would you mind doing it for me please?”
Mind? Ever since I had passed cream on her back, I had been praying when I would have that chance to feel her skin again.
She raised up the negligee and threw herself face down on the bed.
Her back was completely bared and I started to pass the talc over her. I started with her nape, then her shoulders and my hands travelled all down her spine. Just a few minutes ago, I had seen her naked backside as she was walking along the corridor and the vision of what lay beneath her panty was all too vivid in my mind. If only I could rub talc over that part of her body too, and feel all its fullness and roundness…
“Already tired my sweetie?” she asked, turning her face to look at me.
“No, no,” I hurriedly said as my hands hung over her panty. And I quickly proceeded to pass the talc over her calves and her ankles. I lifted the little golden chain she wore round her left ankle and started to finger with it. Then I started to stroke her Achilles tendon, letting my fingers run up and down. I was surprised by its softness. There was not the faintest callus.
On mum’s feet and that of aunt Rita I had seen quite a few. I looked at the closet, beside the bed, where she had arranged all her footwear. All slippers (and very high-heeled at that!), and not a single shoe that might imprison and squeeze her feet. No wonder, her tendons were so smooth!
I began to pass talc over her heel. I must have bit somewhat absent minded for my hands started to feel the soles of her feet.
“Aaaah! Not over there,” she giggled. “You don’t have to put talc over there. You are tickling me, sweetie.”
With her back still turned away from me, she got up. She was now squatting on the bed and she was covering her breasts with her hands.
“That’s about it,” she said. “It was a real treat and now I’ll put on my dress if you don’t mind.”
I proceeded to leave the room.
“Don’t go yet, please wait for me in the living room,” she said.
When she came to join me in the living room, she had slipped into a red bathrobe and just then the phone rang.
She picked the handset.
“Hello,” she said into the mouthpiece and immediately, her face split into a broad smile.
“You’ll be here in half an hour darling,” she went on. “But I am not ready yet. I have not even put my nail varnish.”
She listened for a few seconds.
“Talc? Oh yes, I’ve put the talc already …. Oh, yes, I know that you like to do it darling, but your hands are so rough and you hurt me at times…Who did it for me? An adorable little sweetie did it for me… Who is the adorable little sweetie? Come here quick and I’ll tell you…”
She put the phone down and looked at me.
“You have to go now sweetie,” she said, “Denis will be here soon.”
I looked at her. I suppose there must have been a quizzical look on my face.
“Who is Denis?” she said. “Oh, just a man! He comes to see me at times.” She let fly her hand. “You’ll understand when you grow older.” She was silent for a few seconds. “He is my masseur… err… sort of.” And she burst out laughing.
I went home and a few minutes later, I saw a green car stopping in front of the main gate. A tall man stepped out. But I could not see his face clearly. He was wearing a cap and there were very dark glasses over his eyes.
Two hours later the car was still in front of the main gate. I had started doing the French essay which I would have to submit at school the next day. Usually I was good at writing essays but this afternoon the words did not come out easily. My mind was far away and I was not even too sure as to the spelling of some words.
All of a sudden I remembered that Leila had borrowed my Larousse. I would have to go and get it.
I walked across the yard. The door of her house was open but the blinds were drawn over the windows. It was deathly quiet but suddenly I heard her cry. It was a strange cry. In fact it resembled more of a shriek than a cry. For a few seconds I stood rooted in the doorway wondering whether I should go in or not. Then I heard her cry again. This time it was much louder.
I hesitated no longer and stepped inside the house. As I passed the living room, I saw them. They had shed off all their clothes and they were struggling with each other on that white rug.
They did not see me and for some time I just watched them.
“What is this man doing?” I thought. “He is supposed to be her masseur, isn’t he? But he is not doing any massage. He is just trying to crush her under his huge body. That’s why she is crying.”
“Wait, you big ruffian,” I muttered. “I’ll teach you a lesson.”
There was a broom against the wall. I seized it and advanced towards them.
Whack, whack, whack! I hit him hard on his backside.
He yelped in pain and turned round. His eyes opened wide as he saw me. It was as if he had seen a ghost. Then he grabbed his clothes and was out of the room in a flash.
A few seconds later, I heard his car rumble away.
And she just lay on the white rug, her eyes lost in space, her naked body all glistening with sweat.
Then she saw me. She got up and advanced towards me.
“Why did you do that, you naughty boy?” she screamed.
“He was hurting you,” I said. “So, I hit him.”
“Oh, no he wasn’t, he wasn’t, he wasn’t,” she went on screaming at the top of her voice, flaying her arms wildly about.
Terrified, I fled away from her house. That night I could not sleep for whenever I closed my eyes, I kept seeing a naked woman, her long hair dishevelled, pawing the air wildly as if demented.
Years later, while flipping through a book of poetry, I came across a poem of Coleridge – Kubla Khan – and my attention was caught by the following verse:
“A savage place! as holy as enchanted… haunted by woman wailing for her demon-lover!”
I closed my eyes and once more I saw her flaying her arms wildly about, screaming her lungs out. And I could not help wondering: was she really screaming at me or was she, in fact, wailing for that lover? – that lover I had plucked from her embrace and who was loving her like a real demon!