“Good evening. Is tap water alright?”
Those were the first words she said. My parents and I were at a restaurant in Lenox, Massachusetts. Our family has had a house outside of town for years, and I was up as usual for a week in August. We were on the early side, and had a table on the porch, overlooking Church Street.
Lenox has long been a spot for New Yorkers and Bostonians to vacation or own second homes. In the past, the families of New York bankers would summer there and the husbands—always the husband—would take a train to nearby Stockbridge on Fridays and return to Manhattan on Sunday night.
Lenox is known for two things. It is where Edith Wharton’s house, the Mount, is, now fully restored with spectacular gardens and artifacts from her writing life and salon afternoons with the likes of Henry James. Second, it is where Tanglewood is. It is the summer venue for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
As it happens, my parents and I attended Tanglewood the night before. It was the annual concert by Yo Yo Ma, and it was packed. We scoped out space for a blanket and a picnic dinner as we listened to his Bach and his Marricone.
The town itself is small but it has more than its share of fine restaurants and we were sitting in one we went to several times while I was there. The person who said, “Good evening. Is tap water alright” was striking. She said it with an accent, Eastern European. I was to find it was Romanian. She seemed tall—I was sitting down so was in no position to be certain—and had the body of an athlete.
We were fine with the tap water, and she poured it before telling us the specials. Some summer soup and shrimp dish as I recall. When she returned for our drinks orders my father asked whether she’d attended the Yo Yo Ma concert. That’s why she looked familiar. My father had remembered her as among four women sharing a blanket and picnic and wine to our left.
After she—I didn’t know her name at the time but learned it was Sofia—said she had, my father mentioned that we were on the blanket next to her.
“I thought I recognized you. It is nice to see you again.”
And matters proceeded as they normally do. We had a bottle of wine and appetizers. I don’t recall what my parents had, but I ordered a nice chicken-dish.
Throughout the meal, Sofia was fully professional. She paid me no more and no less attention than she did my parents or anyone else in the dining room. Yet every time she came to our table I found myself studying the lines of her face. It was a hard face in many respects, with a square chin and sharp eyes. Her eyes were non-descript. But with each of my glances the face’s harshness eased. My thoughts, though, did not linger on her when she was gone. Only when she was at our table and then they were all-consuming.
When I went to the bathroom between dinner and dessert, I ran into her as I started back to the table. She had something in her hand. A small piece of paper.
“If you are interested, and I think you are, you can contact me here.” Then she walked to the kitchen, giving no sign of our brief interaction.
Although the light in the short hallway was dim, I could make out a phone number and an email address. I shoved it into my purse. If she thought I was going to be another of her pick-ups—I’ve no idea how she knew I was gay, or whether she knew and didn’t care—she was mistaken. After dessert and coffee and my parents paying the check I gave her a civil, “thank you,” and nothing more and she gave me a civil, “you are welcome,” and nothing more.
For the final days while I was in Lenox I thought of her. I was not tempted to contact her.
As always, I headed from the City to Lenox with my folks for Rosh Hashanah. After the holiday I drove into Lenox and strolled around town. As I passed her restaurant, I decided to go in. A spur-of-the-moment thing. It was lunchtime and just as the owner came to help me I saw Sofia taking orders in the dining room.
“I’m here to see Sofia.”
He left me to wait at the bar and a minute or so later she came by.
“I thought you’d forgotten me.”
“So why are you here?”
Her English was very good though not perfect and her accent was strong.
“I don’t know.”
“I’ll be right back,” and she went into the kitchen to place the order.
Upon returning she said, “I think I know. I am finished with lunch at around two. Why do you not come here then and we can talk about it?”
She said “Ciao” as I left.
I called my mother to tell her I was going to be in town for a few more hours. Fortunately, she didn’t ask why but I don’t think she’d have a problem. My parents were more than happy about me being gay since they knew that was what I am.
Sofia was sitting in a chair on the porch when I arrived at about 2:10. Fall had begun to set in, and she wore a sweater over her white blouse and black work-pants. I had a pair of jeans on and a t-shirt and a blazer. Before I sat, she said, “Let us walk.”
“I do not know your name.”
“It is a nice name.”
“Thank you. What’s your name and where are you from?”
“I am Sofia. I go to school in Bucharest. Romania.”
“So you are Romanian.”
She told me she was and that she was soon to enter her final year of her university. She was studying electrical engineering.
“The world always needs more electrical-engineers. I can work anywhere in Europe. We all learn English. It makes life easier when we get a degree.”
I told her that I was a lawyer in New York City. “Just starting out. I graduated law school two years ago.”
“That makes you how old?”
I explained that I was unmarried and lived with my parents on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She said she’d heard of it, from movies and TVs. I explained that, no, we did not have a huge apartment.”
Suddenly as we walked through a green she stopped.
“You do not want an electrical engineer. What do you want?”
I didn’t know and I told her.
“I think you do”—again—and she bent down and kissed my lips and quickly pulled back. “Am I right?”
“I don’t even know you.”
“And you don’t sleep with women on the first date? You think that I screw everyone I can, especially here in America when I will be leaving and never have to see them again? You do, do you not?”
“Isn’t that why you gave me your info?”
“I give you my information because I thought you were interested in me. Of course, I am interested in you. You cannot blame me.”
A note on this. There is no way this was not seduction talk. I am average height and a little heavy with nice boobs. My face is round and framed in dark hair. My nose is not small. I’ve never managed to have a steady girlfriend and rarely have gotten a second look from someone, male or female. Of course working long hours and living with my parents hasn’t helped my prospects. But I’m not blind and know that few would consider me a catch.
“You do not believe me. You think I’m trying to talk you into my bed. I would love to have you there. But it is a small room in a small house in a poor neighborhood of Pittsfield”—the once-but-no-longer thriving city just north of Lenox—”so I am embarrassed about taking you there. I promise you I have been a good girl in America. I am not a saint. I have slept with three or four women since I arrive. I will sleep with you. But only if you tell me you want to sleep with me.”
So I need to circle back on this. I need mention that while I’m not a virgin, at least as far as women are concerned, I can count the number of my sexual partners on the fingers of one hand. And the number of times I’ve had sex with another person on the fingers of two fingers and one foot.
I didn’t know how to reply to this offer, and we resumed walking.
“I said that wrong. I want to sleep with you. Very much. But I will only do so if you tell me that it is what you want to do.”
“Why do you want to sleep with me?”
Again we stopped and her arms went around my waist. She leaned in again and her lips touched mine but this time her tongue entered my mouth and I’m afraid to admit that I moaned when it hit my own tongue.
“Now you understand?”
Frankly, I didn’t but I did not care. I did not care that in all likelihood she was using a line to get me. I only cared that I wanted to be in this woman’s bed in that too-small apartment in Pittsfield.
“When do you have to be back?”
She laughed. “Not now. There is not time to do what I want to do with you and to you and for you.”
“And for you?”
“Yes, and for me too. I have off tomorrow. You?”
We arranged for me to pick her up and go shopping. My mother laughed when I asked to use the car. Sofia did live in a difficult-to-find neighborhood, but she was sitting on the steps to the house as I pulled up. After she complimented me on the car—”it’s not mine”—we drove to an Outlet Mall in nearby Lee. Holding hands somehow, we wandered from store to store.
Entering one with lingerie she took me to a display of lace.
“Your babies are wonderful. They deserve something nice to caress them as you move.” I was silent as she pulled out various styles.
She pulled out several and told me to try them on.
They did look nice. Both my boobs and the bras. I came out of the fitting room.
“You will let me see how they look?”
“Later.” And I hoped she was referring to both the bras and my boobs. After I bought some matching panties and she bought some things for herself—she was smaller upstairs than I am—we continued our spree before heading to Great Barrington for lunch. I offered to treat, but she insisted she do so. But I split it with her.
As we walked along Main Street I stopped her. It was a bit after one.
“I’d like to see your apartment.”
She smiled. “Then I will show it to you.”
As we headed north, she put her feet on the dashboard as she gave me a short history-of-her-life. Her voice was now musical in my ears as she told me of growing up in a worker’s family and being the first to make it to university. How proud her parents were of her although they knew she would likely leave Romania when she got her degree. Most graduates did. But they would be happy for her.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love. Have you been in love?”
I paused as we drove through Stockbridge, using traffic turns as an excuse for my silence.
“I thought I was once. But I think it was infatuation that someone would be interested in me.”
“In you? Why would you not think someone would be interested in you?”
“Look at me. I never had those blossoming years. I’m prematurely old and frumpy.”
She scoffed. “You are a fool. These, what do you call them, bleach-blondes with the fake tits and flat tummies?” She turned to look at me. “I am a smart girl. First in my family to go to university. You are a beautiful girl.” She looked ahead again as I blushed.
“I will prove it to you.”
My throat had dried but she’d moved on to ask about me. I’m sure what I said was reasonably accurate but my mind was elsewhere. What I do remember is parking near the house where she had her apartment and following her into the house and into the apartment. I recall vividly every moment of what happened after we crossed that threshold, that Rubicon.
I hadn’t noticed that she carried my bag of lingerie in. She reached in and took out the maroon bra and panties and handed them to me. She nodded to the bathroom and I went in to change. I somehow put them on. I thought of putting my clothes back on over them, but they were dowdy and I didn’t want to delay things. Until that moment, though, in a million years I never would have thought to display myself so lewdly to another woman. Now I wanted to do so and I knew that this is what she wanted me to do.
When I opened the door, I saw that she’d pulled the shades. A small light lit the room slightly. The bed was full-sized and she’d removed the blanket and top sheet. She was sitting on the bed when I returned. She was naked and I gasped as she got up. Wasting no time, her arms were around me and her lips were upon me.
“Iubirea mea.” I did not know what she meant until she whispered “my love” in my ear. Her hands turned me and then guided me to the bed. She rose above me so she straddled my legs, a goddess looking down on me.
“Is this how you seduce young, innocent Americans?”
“Am I seducing you? I think you are seducing me.”
She was glorious. Broad yet delicate shoulders with tits that were neither too small nor too large. A perfect size for her body and build. Her stomach was flat and her bush was neatly trimmed. I could make out a glistening on her outer folds. Her thighs looked like steel and I had an urge to grind myself to oblivion on one of them.
I reached up and she complied by bending down, placing her weight on my chest and her full, damp lips on mine. Her tongue initially explored my mouth until she opened hers to allow me free rein there between my sucking on her lower lip and her sucking on mine. It was the longest kiss of my life yet it was still too brief. It ended when she leaned up and bade me lift my chest so she could reach around and unclasp my bra. She had trouble trying with one hand and needed to use both to do it. I lay back as she removed it and it was her turn to gasp. Her hands and fingers explored each of my tits as her eyes stared at them.
After I think I heard her moan, she scooted a bit down on the bed so she could bring her mouth to my nipples. She began to suckle on my left tit and a lightning bolt shot through me. My hands held her head close to me. Her ministrations to my left tit, though, were short-lived as she turned to my right one, again jolting me. By this point my breath was short and my pussy was wet and she was like a desperate kitten until I pushed her head and said, “Eat me.” She looked up with an evil smile and an exaggerated licking of her lips and, after kissing each of my nipples, she stood at the side of the bed and hooked her hands in the waistband of my maroon panties. After I lifted my ass, she pulled them off and tossed them who-knows-where and reentered the bed from its foot.
My legs were spread and she devoured me. It was a long and slow meal. She kissed my left thigh and licked a path to my pussy before repeating the process with my right. Her tongue languidly licked up one side and down the other of my outer folds and she placed me almost into a trance as the circles got smaller until my uncovered clit was the center of both of our attentions. She ran her teeth over it and when I began to shake she pulled away and gave it a kiss.
With her tongue no longer in contact, I felt her right middle-finger enter me and after two or three pumps it was joined by two more of her fingers, curved upwards so I could feel them slowly leaving after each push. I felt her blow on me and I think I heard “you are so beautiful” but in my state, words were not registering. Only physical and emotional joining. When she found a rhythm and a comfortable position, her lips again touched my clit and I could not hold back as I began to spasm, rocking off and on the bed. All of me, my heart, my soul, my being, were in my pussy as she slowed down, giving a final, slight kiss as she pulled away.
Without giving me time to catch my breath she was straddling my face and I could see her pussy, almost dripping with her own passion from what she had done to me. She looked down at me as I struggled to refocus my eyes, waiting. When I nodded she lowered herself to my mouth and my tongue attempted to do what hers had done to me. I had never had a woman do this to me and I was awkward at first. She positioned herself and moved herself to direct me to the spots that craved my attention. I felt her hands lightly caress the sides and back of my head as she lifted it.
A minute later, she lost control. It was remarkable. This solid woman became a rabid animal, pulling my head up and forcing my tongue to go in her and over her folds and around her clit. My hands gripped her ass more for my benefit than for hers, which was thrashing around. Then those steel thighs started to crash into my ears and I could barely make out a muffled “oh, dracul meu zeu,” which she somewhat embarrassingly told me later meant “oh my fucking god.”
There wasn’t much room on the bed, but she quickly turned so that she was lying next to me, staring at the ceiling. She took one of my hands and held it between her tits and I could feel how fast her heart was beating.
“Now do you understand why I needed to seduce you?”
We lay like that for a few minutes but it began to get chilly and I had to pee so I got up to take care and she soon followed. I took my clothing out of the bathroom and had begun to dress when she walked up to me and asked me not to.
“Can you not stay?”
“I want to but—”
“I am sorry. I thought it would be nice to, how you say, cuddle.”
Much as I wanted to make love to her, I wanted to cuddle with her more. I stepped into the bathroom and called my mother who said they didn’t need the car and just come home whenever. “We have plenty of food in the house so tomorrow’s fine.” My mother can be evil. She added for the umpteenth time, “Don’t forget to practice safe sex.”
I sheepishly went back and sat next to Sofia on the bed.
“Let’s cuddle” and after I lay down and she placed the blanket over us we cuddled and after we cuddled we fell asleep. It was still light out when I awoke, though the shade was still down. I felt her finger rotating inside me and heard her whisper, “relax and let me enjoy you” and I closed my eyes and let the waves quickly wash over me in a slow, smooth orgasm.
When I was done and said, “thank you, your turn,” she kissed my head and said, “we’ll have time for that later. I’m hungry for food now.”
After getting dressed and heading into Pittsfield, we ate at a Chinese place off Route 7 before returning just as the sun began to drop. Inside her apartment, I knelt in front of her and undid her jeans and pulled them and her panties down. She stepped out of them and at first spread her legs and stood as I attempted to please her with my tongue. Soon she backed up and sat on the bed with her legs spread far apart and my fingers joined my tongue adoring her pussy and her folds and her clit until I again felt her hands grab my head and pull me closer as she came.
She then plopped down with her legs over the side and her pussy exposed. I stood and joined her on the bed, bending over to kiss her. She surprised me by licking around my lips to taste herself and I pouted that she was taking what belonged to me.
“I thought you belonged to me,” she said in her accent.
I pulled away and sat up and turned. She moved up and put her arm around me.
“I should not have said that. I sometimes speak before I think.”
I think she misunderstood. “It’s not about belonging to you. It’s about us. There can’t be an ‘us.’”
My head was against her shoulder.
“I know. Let’s enjoy as long as we are an ‘us.’ OK?”
I kissed her as I’d never kissed anyone before and then moved so I could lie on my back.
“Do you have something you can fuck me with?”
“Have you ever been fucked?”
I hadn’t. She rose and opened the bottom drawer of her dresser. She moved things around so she could take out a strapon. It had a small dildo attached and she pulled out a bottle of lube. She turned and put a lot of lube on it. I was already drenched, but she was being careful.
“I will be gentle.”
I nodded. I was nervous. Twenty-seven and never been fucked. In a moment as the head entered me my nervousness evaporated and it was the most intimate thing I’d ever done. I exhorted her to speed up but that evil smile of hers showed she would ignore me. Slowly in and slowly out. Slowly in and slowly out.
“I fucking love you fucking me.”
My eyes were bulging and my hands were grasping her hips to pull her in faster and faster but she was too strong and controlled the pace. Until it picked up slowly and inextricably. Before I realized it she was pounding into me. I wrapped my legs around her to tighten our bond, her ass rising and falling like an irate piston. When she knew I was close she plowed in as deep as she could and held it.
“Come for me iubirea mea” and I shook, my legs and arms holding on to her with what strength I could summon. When I released her, she kissed me as she pulled out of and lay next to me. When I started to rise to return the favor she put her hand on my stomach.
“This is enough for now. We need sleep.”
Notwithstanding our long nap that afternoon, I was exhausted and after we took care of ourselves in the bathroom, we got in bed and fell asleep, with her again spooning me.
When I woke I was startled when I heard breathing. It took a moment to remember. I’d never awakened with someone, let alone in that someone’s bed. When it came back to me, I looked over at Sofia. She was lying with her face smashed into the pillow and had her eyes been open she’d be looking back at me. She was like a sculpture. A talented sculptor’s understanding of a woman. Her head moved slightly in time with her breaths. It had a balance to it. It was a balance that I did not recognize until then, but it had drawn me to her.
I ran my left index-finger across her cheek, whispering “you are so beautiful” as I did. I could only wait so long until I had to pee, so I got up to do that. She did not move while I was gone and I crawled back into her bed. I must have fallen asleep pretty quickly since the next thing I recall is her kissing my “lazybones” neck. I quickly turned 180 degrees to face her and we kissed, oblivious to our respective morning breaths.
That’s how our last day together began. After we brushed our teeth she lay on her back and I atop her as I used those steel thighs of hers to rub my pussy to joy while my fingers danced around her pussy until she grabbed my hand and held it inside her as we came nearly together and our breaths were short and sharp. I collapsed on her chest and I almost said something I felt but knew I could not. She understood and pulled my lips to hers before the words could form.
We showered separately—the shower was too small for two and we were too exhausted to do anything if it weren’t—and she made eggs with toast while I made coffee. We took our breakfasts downstairs and sat on the porch watching people heading out to work, most of whom waved and smiled at Sofia as they did.
“They seem like nice people.”
“They are very kind to me. I was lucky in finding this place. They are good people.”
As our coffees got cold, we sat and our fingers touched. Finally, she said she had to get ready for work and I said I had to get home. We walked upstairs where I got my things, putting the broken-in lingerie back in its bag and wearing my old-fashioned bra and panties. As she got dressed I called my mom and told her that I’d be home soon and she said, “we can talk then.”
A little before ten-thirty, we walked down and out of the house. She gave me a last kiss.
“I will be leaving on next Friday.”
“I wish I had dinner at the restaurant sooner.”
“You had dinner when you had dinner and we met when we met. But I am sorry too.”
With a final kiss, she went to the right to get her car and I went to the left to get my parents’. The three of us drove back to the City that afternoon. They asked if I wanted to stop by at the restaurant before we did, but I wanted to leave Sofia be. While I hoped to make it up for her final weekend, work meant I could only get there on Sunday and had to be back early on Monday. I last saw her between lunch and dinner. We walked around Lenox before she had to return. We didn’t say much but didn’t have to. She’d be gone in five days and I could only be happy for having had the time we did have together.
“There is no ‘if.’ You know that.”
I hated that I did. I’d never felt the electricity before. She gave me a peck, said a final thing to me, and went in to work. It was the last time I saw her.
I sent her an how-are-things? email but her response was perfunctory and I knew that her ship had sailed to Europe while mine was anchored in the US.
* * *
I told this story to my wife, then my fiancée, a few weeks before our wedding two years later. We were doing a final check of venues and we walked past the restaurant and sat on a public bench nearby.
“Do you ever think of her?”
“Yes, I do. She made me understand more about myself than anyone else.”
“Did you love her?”
“I think I did. She was the first person with whom I felt that spark. But it was not to be and we both knew it.”
“Do you think about her when you . . . you know?”
I thought. I had to admit that I did. “But not nearly as much since I met you.”
She smiled at that. “And?”
“And you’re the second and I hope last person with whom I’ll feel that spark.”
She leaned her head to my shoulder.
“I’m glad you met her. That you made love to her. She sounds like a fairy tale.”
“Perhaps. But you, my love, are real.”
As we walked away, she said, “you said what her first words to you were. What were her last?”
We stopped and moved to the side.
“‘Iubirea mea. You will always be special to me. You must believe that.’ Which was after I shook my head. ‘I have sex with many women. I make love to a few. I made love to you. Someday you will find someone who knows how beautiful you are.’” I reached over. “And she was right.”