The following post contains adult themes, sexually-oriented stupidity, and full-frontal nudity. Readers who share DNA with JEDA, or even those who just share a bed with someone who shares DNA with JEDA, might want to click elsewhere and find something else to read this afternoon.When I was very young, my bedroom was directly across the hall from my mother and my step-father’s bedroom. In those days my step-father was generally the last one to lock the doors, turn out the lights, and head upstairs for the night. Sometimes he closed the bedroom door, sometimes he didn’t.
I have fairly vivid memories of lying awake, waiting for the moment when I’d hear his heavy step start up the stairs. Would he close the door tonight? Or would he leave it open? I, of course, preferred it open. I was convinced that the ghosts who haunted our hallway were obliged to shove off to Jennifer Murray’s house for the night when my mother’s bedroom door was left open. I didn’t understand why it had to be closed some nights, but could be left open others. Why couldn’t my meddling step-father just leave the damn door well enough alone? Didn’t he know there was a colony of belligerent bogeymen living on our landing? Didn’t he care that they frightened me so?
I’m older now—older, and somewhat wiser. I’m onto you, Dale. I totally know now what was on your mind those nights when you closed that door. And, for the record: ew.
This half-buried memory has been rather a lot on my mind lately. I’m trying to remember, did I ever knock on that closed door? Did I ever cry out or shout for it to be left open? Did I ever ask awkward questions about it over pancakes at The Village Inn?
A couple of Sundays ago, first thing in the morning, Boy climbed into bed with me and said, “I heard you and Daddy talking when you went to bed last night. Where you sick? Cuz’ I heard you making scared noises like you were sick.”
Through cowardly deflection and artful evasion, I went ahead and let him think I was sick. Boy let it go after 20 minutes of relentless interrogation, then never mentioned it again. Mister, however, was clearly spooked.
A week or so later I had to solemnly swear nothing more than a few chaste, virginal sighs and a single church mouse peep at the end would escape my lily-lips before he’d agree to get--you know--frisky with me. It was a hard fought seduction on my part. He wouldn’t shut up about, “But they just went to bed blah blah, and Boy must still be awake looking at his Pokeman cards blah blah, and Elder Miss is almost certainly still reading, and Missy has a bit of a cold, and…..”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. But look! Boobs!”
“Wanna’ touch ‘em?”
“……….Oh, hell. Alright………But BE! QUIET!”
At some point mid-frisk, someone somewhere in the house closed a door. We heard the unmistakable clickthud of spring-loaded latch falling into brass catch, and not two nano seconds later, Mister had his pants in hand and was flying towards the kitchen pantry in a way that made me think he’d had rather too much practice at being rudely interrupted mid-frisk.
Wait. Did I just say ‘kitchen pantry’? I should probably censor that. It should read something slightly more vanilla-like: ‘bedroom closet’ perhaps, or ‘under the bed’. But a stark naked Mister tripping into his rumpled pants in the middle of the kitchen lends itself to far funnier imagery. So, we'll stick with the truth here. We were doing it on the living room sofa. Deal with it.
I looked at him coolly from my perch on the couch, “Oh for heaven’s sake, it might have just been the cat.”
To which he pointed an accusing finger in the general direction of the kids’ bedrooms and snapped, “That! Was a door! The cat! Cannot! Open! A door!”
At that precise instant an inkling of the farcical fool he was acting must have hit him full monty-like in the face, because he suddenly, still ¾ naked, doubled up into a fit of giggles and sputtered, “I’m sorry. I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
The mystery of who or what opened and closed that door was never solved. The behavior of our blessed children in recent days would suggest that no lasting trauma was sustained. Personally, I think they saw nothing, heard nothing--know nothing. Mister is not so sure.
So maybe we should have waited a bit. Maybe we should have carried our frisky selves discreetly up to our bedroom. Probably my step-father's policy of closing the bedroom door every now and then was a sound one. But, you know, bedroom doors are not sound barriers. Even the peep of a modest church mouse will carry through thin walls. How exactly did my mother stay so quiet through the years that it took me into adulthood to suss out what they must have been doing behind that closed bedroom door? And how, pray tell, does any healthily amorous couple ever have any sort of sex whatsoever with living, breathing, pre-teens in the house? They’re only going to get smart-assier and less willing to go to sleep at a decent hour from here on out. And now Mister’s all shy and shit.
I sense a dry spell coming on. A very, very dry spell indeed.