Mengxia puts her boss in chastity.
They took her uterus and ovaries, but it was too late. The cancer spread anyway. It took a long time."
"I've had loved ones die from cancer, too. It's never easy. You're sad when it's over, but you're relieved, too, in a way."
"So you understand. You know, she told me to seek out sexual companionship elsewhere if I wished to, but I never did. I wanted to be faithful to her to the end, as I promised her when we married. I never strayed."
"What happened after she passed away? Did you start dating again?"
He grimaced. "Well, that. About a year ago, I went to bed with a woman. But it did not end well. When we began to make love, I found out that I could not perform as I used to."
"What do you mean? You couldn't achieve an erection?"
"Oh, I could do that, but I couldn't maintain it. Inside her for five seconds, and I came and went soft, and couldn't get hard again. I felt so humiliated! She was polite about it, but I could tell that she lost interest in me. And I said to myself, 'Well, Max, your lovemaking days are over. You might as well get used to it.'"
"Couldn't you get her off in other ways? Fingers? Tongue?"
"I don't know how to do that, really. My wife never cared for such things. She was very old-fashioned in that respect."
"But there are pills, I hear, that can help you ... stay up."
"I thought about that, but it seemed an unnecessary expense, when I had no partner to enjoy it with. You know, I can't believe I am telling you all this, and we don't know each other, really."
"Well, you've just seen me climax. That's more than any man has done. At least recently."
"Yes. You are so much in touch with your body. I admire that. It is beautiful to see you touching yourself. Were you always such?"
"Goodness, no! A year ago, I thought that my libido was gone for good. I've spent the last year getting it back."
"How did that come about?"
So I told him about my marriage, and how my sex drive waned after childbearing and mothering, and how my husband left me for a younger, more nubile woman. And without giving him details, I related how a visit to my old sorority house in college re-introduced me to the sexually active young lady I used to be back then. "The girls there taught me that that young lady was still there inside me, buried under years of neglect and shame, and they helped me bring her back out of the darkness. I am so grateful to them for that."
"I'm glad the story had a happy ending for you. But now I must go. Listen, if you ever get up to Cambridge, please call me or text me at this number." He fished a business card from a "man bag" he wore. I promised to do so, and he wandered off. I wondered what sort of man he really was, and whether he would ever find that happiness again for himself.
I switched the egg back on, and fantasized making love to all the nude young men I was watching on the beach, imagining what their cocks would look like when they were hard, and how they might feel inside me. So I was in a high degree of arousal by the time Dottie and I left the beach, and so was she. We spent the night at her place making love, trading orgasms, and cuddling (which, I suspected, had been her motive all along). But I kept thinking about Max.
The next morning, I called Tina at the sorority house, where she was staying during the summer. "I have a favor to ask," I said. "Here's the contact information on a man I met at the beach last weekend. See what you can find out about him." There wasn't much you can do with a computer that Tina couldn't do, whether it was programming or using the various search tools. When I got her report a few days later, I wondered how many private databases she'd hacked into.
Max, she said, was born in 1948 in Czechoslovakia.