Lonely Hearts

She enters the examination room like a ray of light, bearing inward a rustle of fresh linen and a breath of departing adolescence. Sustained easily on the breeze of her passage, her silken blonde hair stirs with each movement, a soundless bell caressing her shoulders, its effulgence framing the exquisite, doe-like curves and planes of her face. It could be a face from a portrait by one of the Pre-Raffaelites: passive, inward-looking, androgynous. The luminous gray-green eyes reflect only an awareness of their own beauty; the full lips part slightly as if framing an answer to an unspoken question.

On the request to remove her blouse and brassiere, her head inclines gracefully as her slender fingers flutter nervously at the pearl buttons. The shirt, a delicate shell pink with short sleeves and a suggestion of lace at the collar, slips from her shoulders to reveal a skin of milky whiteness, the collarbones birdlike, the chest without blemish, the lacy finish of the small brassiere cups pressing slightly and exquisitely into the flesh of her upper bosom. The upper arms reveal their delicate flue, a faint tracery of blue veins perceptible when she turns a wrist first to drape the shirt over a nearby chair and then to undo the center hook of the brassiere.

She parts and lifts the cups from her breasts with an averted glance, slowly lowering the straps over her shoulders and dropping the brassiere onto the shirt. Straightening, turning, she lifts her eyes to meet those of her examiner, a woman, as if to read there the evidence of secrets unlocked, trusts violated, innocence defiled, but meets only a glance of frank admiration. Hers is a torso of classic beauty, the musculature of the abdomen suggested, the breasts small, hemispherical, their undersides curving gently into the ribs, the pale pink nipples tumescent in the cool air, a ring of tiny goosebumps defining the edges of the areolas. Above the left breast, in betrayal of inner tumult, the skin over the aorta pulses.

In response to a gesture from the doctor, she sits on the edge of the table, eliciting a dry crackle from the strip of shiny paper laid out along its length. Pulse and blood pressure are noted and recorded. Instructed to place her hands behind her head and thrust out her chest, she tries not to shrink from the doctor’s touch as the woman places the palm of her right hand beneath her left breast, the well-practiced hand sensing and cradling the lower tip of the girl’s heart as it kicks against her chest wall with each heave of the ventricles. The heart rate is high, the heartbeats forceful. No vibration is detected, no stenotic thrill, but every few seconds there is a weak premature ventricular contraction followed by a pause and a thump as the heart regains its rhythm.

With her left hand still on the center of the girl’s back, gently urging her body forward, the doctor presses the bell of her stethoscope against the silken skin beneath the breast, beginning at the apex of the heart, absorbing its repeated message with the ardor of a lover hearing a villanelle below her window. This time, however, a dissonant element intrudes itself into the serenade: a faint rushing murmur accompanied by two distinct clicks with every systole.

This is momentous news to be absorbed at a sports physical; the denials and entreaties of the girl, informed of her mitral valve prolapse, elicit a calming explanation of the condition’s benignity from the older woman. In an attempt at illustration she offers the earpieces of the stethoscope to the girl, guiding the instrument once more along the same valvular pathways, the hard rubber rim leaving faint red tracings on the luminous skin. The doctor then undoes the buttons of her own businesslike blue oxford-cloth shirt, lifting the girl’s hand to her chest, you see, this is the sound of the normal heart, nestling it between her generous breasts, the stately, measured rhythms of her heart seeming to arise from the frank femaleness of their contours. The girl cannot shake the hypnotic trance into which the drumming seduces her, not even when the doctor moves the hand and stethoscope past the border of her black brassiere to plunge them both into the fullness of the breast flesh within, the heartsounds accelerating and becoming ever more forceful.

The cumbersome instrument falls away as the girl, in thrall but moving as if in the viscous medium of a dream, pushes the blue shirt over the shoulders of the other woman, the garment falling to the floor in a shocking rush of fabric. The brassiere is pushed upward in a tempest of awakening desire, the breasts tumbling out and down to hang before her lips, pendulous, the nipples red and engorged and shaking to the rhythm of the woman’s now laboring heart. The girl, the back of her head caressed by the woman, briefly supports each rosy pap with her tongue, daintily moistening their undersides before drawing them into her mouth with long, powerful kisses. The white flesh of the woman’s breasts trembles and shudders as first one, then the other is stroked, fondled, touched ever and again with gestures of barely harnessed ardor.

The woman disengages herself from the embraces of the girl long enough gently to push her down to the table on which she had remained sitting, pinning the girl’s wrists over her head with one hand and, bending over her in an attitude of ministration, running the other hand lightly over the girl’s abdomen, the middle finger lingering in the tiny cup of the navel before skimming the milky skin to brush the lower ribs. Her head, framed by an aureole of medium- length dark hair, sinks to the girl’s chest, her barely opened mouth alighting in the valley between the breasts, the sensation of cool skin against her lips giving her delicious reminders of fresh fruit on a hot day. The puckered pink buttons of the girl’s nipples briefly resist a gentle sideways pressure from the woman’s lips as they brush over them, lighting fires in the girl’s womb.

The woman eases herself onto the table, her body half eclipsing that of the girl as their open lips meet, tongues probing, throats vibrating as those of purring kittens with the music of their moans. Pants are hastily pushed down and kicked heedlessly away, lacy panties tugged off with urgent fingers, elastic snapping in protest. At last warm hands meet secret dark moistness amid the tangle of smooth, muscled thighs, flesh flutters and heaves as furred mounds are pressed ardently against each other. The women, achieving the primitive rhythm of shared sexual ecstasy, abandon themselves to the groundswell of sensation that starts in their innermost loins and spreads to their extremities like static electricity, charging the hands locked together now in mutual passion, forcing their mouths ever closer until their teeth grind together, their bodies now almost motionless with the intensity of effort, touching off the endless series of overmastering uterine contractions that herald the arrival of orgasm, a great swelling deep blue ocean of heavy waves, rolling them, cradling them, boats tossed and drifting on the bosom of the eternal sea.

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