There weren’t many men in my bible belt town who practiced Greek love. One of the few was my father, Simon. Another was Gabriel, who was posing as our live-in handyman. My father believed that Gabriel, with his charmed hands and cock, could fix anything from a sinking roof to a rusted libido. I didn’t believe anything about Gabriel except for one promise he made to me. And that was only because I had wrestled my lust into something resembling faith.
Simon and I both had Greek fever that summer. We staggered around with Greece on the brain, the light of Athens burning our bodies from inside. But while Simon retreated into his fever like a trance, I was planning to act on my affliction.
My father didn’t know that I was going to Greece with his lover.
Gabriel told me what to pack: only enough clothes for sunbathing, drinking, and fucking. We could have done all those things in Oklahoma, but in Greece, Gabriel said, you could turn a life of lazy horniness into a personal philosophy. In the town of Pawsupsnatch (pop. 3,007) that kind of slutty behavior was just another reason for people to gossip about you.
The gossip would have turned into mass hysteria if the citizens of Pawsupsnatch had known what went on in our house. On my days off, Gabriel fucked me. Nights, he made love with my father. In the darkness, soft groans would drift from Simon’s locked bedroom. During the day Gabriel and I would tear the house apart as we banged our way from room to room, knocking over furniture and denting the walls. Terrified of the Baptists who ran our local drugstore, I made secret trips to Tulsa to buy condoms by the trunkload. Considering Simon’s social status as a widowed high school teacher, I assumed he was doing some smuggling himself. After twelve years of exile, the specter of sex had swooped back into our home, and that specter was pissed off and ravenous.
“It’s your turn, Aggie,” Gabriel would murmur, starting things off with moth-wing kisses on the nape of my neck. His lips would buzz my ears while his arms roped my waist from behind. I’d burrow back into the muscular cradle of his torso until I felt his cock rise against my ass cheeks. I started wearing short, flimsy skirts so that he could get to my pussy with his fingers, cock, or tongue whenever the urge seized us. Betraying my father felt like stepping barefoot on a rusty tin can—agonizing and thrilling and toxic—but I couldn’t help myself. When I came with Gabriel, mighty spasms cored my body, leaving me raving and senseless. I didn’t have orgasms; I had seizures.
“I could fall in love with you in Greece,” Gabriel once told me. Now that summer’s long gone, I know he must have told my father the same thing.
At first I couldn’t stand to hear Gabriel and Simon making love. My father’s celibacy was a given, part of the deal we made when I put my life in deep freeze so that I could look after him and his feeble heart. I knew he fell in love now and then, and that since my mother died he’d given up the struggle to love women. I must have known that his abstract love for men could translate into sex. I just never thought it would happen in my mother’s bed.
My mother and father had always been discreet in their passion. As a child I never wondered how they made love, but whether they “did it” at all. At the age of twenty-eight, I wasn’t prepared for this variation on the primal scene: my father having sex—intense, audible sex—with another man. My mind reeled. I wrote down a list of words to describe what two naked men might get up to, then I repeated those words until they lost their mystery. Fellatio, sodomy, corn holing, cock sucking. The throaty male voices taunted me, their moans melting and swirling like butter and bittersweet chocolate. Rituals went on behind that door that I couldn’t visualize. Did they kiss with open lips and tongues? Did they rub their erections together, like two scouts trying to start a fire with a pair of sticks? Did they suck each other’s cock with juicy abandon as they lay coiled in bed, each lover’s heart thumping against the other’s belly? Did they mount each other, penetrate and thrust?
From the shouts and pleas that rang through the house at night, I imagined they did all that and then some.
After Gabriel had been with us for a week, my fascination took on a harder edge. In my sexual starvation, I hallucinated that Gabriel was moving on top of me, and that the moans echoing through the walls came from my own lips, not my father’s. My body ignored all taboos and began responding to the urgent sounds. My fingers stabbed my cunt in time to the squeaking bedsprings. I imagined Gabriel’s mouth on my pussy, my mouth on his prick, our hands roving over each other’s sweat-slick skin. In the daylight, I was mortified by the idea of being aroused by my father’s lovemaking. But as I witnessed Simon’s growing joy, I realized that the man sharing a bed with Gabriel was no longer just my father. With Gabriel, Simon was transformed into the man he was meant to be.
That’s when I let myself start wanting Gabriel. I not only wanted him, I deserved him.
He came to us in June. Tornado weather—the sky was swollen with its own miserable promise. The air in the house felt as dead as dough that won’t rise. Simon and I were reading on the front porch.
As soon as Gabriel stopped his battered Dodge and stepped out, my father and I were lost. We gaped as he strolled around the car, his hips rolling in frayed blue jeans. The tips of his savannah-blond hair were painted with sweat. His white cotton T-shirt sucked lovingly at his damp chest. A halo of black gnats circled his face and throat. Suddenly I wanted more than anything to be one of those miniscule insects, sipping at that man’s juice, stinging, biting, living a flash of a life in the warmth of his body.
“Morning,” he said. “Need any odd jobs done around here?” His voice was like his looks: bronzed, sun-creased, lubed with honey. In the bilious daylight his eyes were snake green.
Odd jobs? In a household consisting of a lonely, horny librarian; her lonelier, hornier father; and about three thousand books (half of them written in dead languages), I’d say there were a few odd jobs to be done. Yes, sir.
My father rose and walked down the front steps. Gabriel extended his hand (God, to think where that hand would end up that summer), and my father clutched it for what seemed like forever.
“I think we could find you some work,” Simon said.
Gabriel stayed for lunch. I prepared the food while my father and Gabriel got to know each other. As I carried the plates to the table, my father announced, “Gabriel just got back from Athens. Agatha, he lived there for a year. He speaks a bit of the language.”
Around here, that just about made him Plato reincarnate.
Simon’s face was a searchlight, casting its beam back and forth between me and Gabriel, but resting mostly on Gabriel. Barring death or disaster, there was no way this stranger was going to leave our house.
And he didn’t. The first night, Gabriel made a nest for himself on our sofa. Early the next morning, while he was taking a shower, I went through his belongings. I found a few dirty socks and T-shirts and a wallet with nothing but seven dollars inside: no credit cards, no driver’s license. I held a shirt up to my nose and inhaled his smell, as dizzying as a stag’s musk.
The water stopped running. I flung Gabriel’s things back into a heap. I thought he would appear any second, padding barefoot into the living room. His brown body would be sparkling with moisture, his hair slicked back, water clinging to his nipples and welling out of his navel and trickling down through the dark-gold tendrils that fanned his pubis.