Fiction by John Richmond
He knew that it was getting late without even having to check his watch. The other tables- which earlier were all taken- were now empty. It was a first date that had not necessarily gone bad, just awry. She was attractive, fashionable, charming, witty- and especially conversant- to a degree that had become a ‘night destroying’ fault.
They- and the evening- had begun, pleasantly enough, with a movie and then dinner at his favorite Italian restaurant. At first, they spoke easily and superficially, scouting and exploring the edges of their lives. Then- almost at and in some devolving time and way- they stopped conversing and she began to spout.
From that point on, she spent the rest of the evening rambling- almost in a filibuster manner- about her life experiences. Everything, ranging from her childhood to high school, to college- parents, siblings, dating, sex- and to the breakup of her marriage- and the perils of post-marital heterosexual encounters- was open to being presented.
Eventually, after nearly two hours, he started shifting in his seat, readying himself to go, to drop her off- get rid of her- and put some distance between her incessant talking and him. Yes, the evening had been a waste, but he was reconciled to file it in the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” drawer.
He finally grew impatient, and had even formed- and then voiced- the first word of his exit gambit- which was- “Well,” when she asked him if he wanted to hear about her “theory of the mouth.”
“What was that?” he asked incredulously, not sure that he had heard her correctly.
“My theory of the mouth,” she repeated.
He settled back into his seat with a budding, newfound interest in what she was saying.
“You have a theory of the mouth?”
“I do- do you want to hear it?”
He worked mightily to suppress a grin and then looked from side to side.
“Sure,” he said and checked his watch. “You know, it’s still early, so, before you start- how would you like to split another bottle of wine?”
“That would be nice,” she replied with a smile.
They had a waiter who was exclusively attentive, so it didn’t take long between the time that he flagged the waiter and the time that their glasses were filled and a fresh bottle of wine was standing on the table between them.
“You ready?” she asked.
He looked across the table at her and what he saw rekindled his sense of hope for the time spent. “So, she’s going to talk about mouths- how interestingly appropriate,” he told himself as his eyes passed over her beautiful lips.
“Okay,” she began almost joyfully, “now I want you to know, that these are only some preliminary thoughts that came to me the other day. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not a completely structured theory- like, say, one you might find in physics.”
“Sure, sure,” he said, waving her off with a reassuring shake of his hand, “I understand.”
“All right,” she sighed with just a touch of uncertainty, “I believe that the mouth, my mouth, your mouth- any mouth- is the most important, significant, sensuous and revelatory part of our body. Yet, the mouth does not get anywhere near the amount of attention that it deserves. Would you accept that?”
He put down the glass of wine that he had been sipping and sputtered out an hesitant, “Ah”-
She nodded as if she knew exactly what he was going to say. “You’re not sure- you don’t know what to say, do you?” she asked.
“I guess not.”
“Well,” she continued, “that’s because we haven’t been socialized- conceptually trained, if you will- to understand the mouth in that way. Look, how have we been told that we should see the mouth? It’s something that we put food into when we’re hungry? Right- you agree?”
“Yeah,” he admitted.
“It’s something that we put drink into when we’re thirsty or want to feel the effects of a nice wine, like this one. It’s even something that some people use to give each other sexual pleasure- but that’s kind of a taboo topic- or so we’ve been taught- you know, dirty with food, spit and bacteria- and who knows what else!”
He laughed and she paused for a moment to look across the table to see if she could glean any hint of how he was taking what she had said up to this point. What she saw was him sitting there with his eyes down, drawing an imaginary circle around a spot of tomato sauce on the table cloth with his left index finger.
“You still with me?” she asked guardedly.
Slowly, he brought his eyes up to meet hers. “I am,” he told her, “I was just thinking about what you said. That’s all.”
Okay,” she said and smiled. “Should I go on?”
“By all means,” he said positively and encouragingly, happy now that she had finally gotten to something that he had been thinking about all evening.
“It’s different, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Different than what?” he asked cautiously.
“Come on,” she chided him, “you know, different than straight, missionary position sex.”
He now started to wonder whether this was going to be true exposition on the subject of the mouth or some carefully crafted tease that she had come up with, but, he decided, one way or the other, he had nothing to lose by playing along.
“Of course they’re different,” he said in a stating the obvious kind of way.
“That’s right,” she affirmed, then stopped to take a sip of her wine before resuming. “You see, for all intents and purposes, the mechanics of the two acts are pretty much the same; the right depth, the right rhythm and the right amount of pressure. Am I right?”
“Sounds good to me?” he said with a sheepish laugh.
“Of course it does,” she agreed, “to me, too. But here’s the difference. The mouth, unlike the vagina, can talk.”
He laughed one of those semi-gagging sort of laughs, catching the end of it with his napkin, concerned that the wine that he had been savoring in his mouth, might just find its way onto the table.
“No kidding,” he eventually managed and then laughed, again.
“I’m serious,” she said with an obvious touch of defensiveness. “Why are you laughing like that?”
“I know, I know,” he told her in both agreement and appreciation, “it’s just that I’ve never thought about it like that.”
She paused as she scrutinized him, and after a “benefit-of the doubt” evaluation, she decided to continue.
“But, unlike the vagina which can only give pleasure, the mouth can, well- it can do and be everything- almost god-like.”
“Almost god-like?” he echoed and then took a sip of his wine, “that’s pretty powerful.”
“But true,” she added quickly.
“Of course it is,” she said in as certain of a way as he had heard all night.
“And, that’s your theory of the mouth?” he then asked.
This caused her to sit a bit more upright. “Yes,” she answered self-assuredly, “do you really understand what I’m saying?”
“I do, I do,” he replied.
She looked over at him, assessing him, evaluating him- sizing him up- and then took a thoughtful sip of her wine.
“Tell me,” she told him.
“Yeah, tell me.”
“Tell me what you understand in your own words.”
He took a deep breath and then exhaled in a measured way before he began.
“Well,” he embarked, deliberately and thoughtfully, “what you’re saying is that the mouth can be more pleasurable than the vagina.”
She shook her head in disbelief.
“Is that it?”
“What?” he shrugged and thought about what else he could add. “The mouth,” he went on, “mouths- they say a lot.”
She picked up her glass, took a long sip of wine and then returned the glass to its place on the table.
“Incredible,” was all that she said and then looked off into the distance.
He watched her throughout and knew that his “understanding” had obviously come up short. Yet, at the same time, he also had the very distinct feeling that she was not about- or ready- to dismiss him outright. No, it was apparent that she was thinking about how to deal with what she had in front of her.
Finally, she turned back toward him.
“The wonder of the mouth is that it can bring almost everything- pleasure, pain, happiness, sadness, jealousy, envy, covetousness- anger, hate, compassion, love-everything- like I said, akin to the omnipotence of a god.”
He reflected on what she had just said and then took more than a passing glance at her mouth
“Hmm,” he muttered softly and then fell silent.
She watched him from across the table, still trying to get a more comprehensive bead- a bearing- on the level and degree of his sincerity. For all too often and all too many times in her life, people- especially and particularly men- acted like they agreed and understood what she was saying. Yet, equally, all too often- almost always- they were doing nothing more than humoring her- indulging her, if you will- so as to make some sort of romantic headway. But, what she was seeing and sensing- together- from him was something very and quite different. It was worth giving it a little more time.
“So, what do you think?” she asked.
He took a sip of wine and shook his head. “I never thought of it- the mouth- in that sort of all-encompassing way. That’s what I think.”
She watched him for a few seconds, after which she nodded. She liked him and didn’t want the evening to end just yet.
“That’s good,” she said through a warm smile. “If you want,” she continued with a touch of a wink in her right eye, “you can pour me another glass of wine and I can tell you some more- I can elaborate.”
Now, for the first time since they sat down together and she started to talk- nonstop- now, he was more than ready to sit there and really listen to what she had to say.
“Sure,” he said, picked up the bottle and filled her glass, “that would be great- I’d love to hear it.”