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Panty Lines

Panty Lines, 1740 words

by Catherine Jordan

Upstairs in the bedroom, I whipped off my t-shirt and jeans and hopped into bed. Moonlight lit up the bedroom with a soft glow. My husband had been grading student papers only moments ago. He crawled under the covers with nothing except his sex face—a half-smile through parted lips and a glaze in his eyes. The familiar look told me he wasn’t quite ready for sleep. I noted the glare from the clock on the bedside table. 12:43 A.M.

He crawled on top of me. He slid a finger under the waistband of my underwear, his hands still quite adept and his passion just as urgent after all these years. “Where’s the lace?”

“Lace?” I asked.

“Yeah, lace. That frilly stuff. The pair you have on . . .” He peeked under the covers. “They’re stretched out and huge.” He tugged on the waistband and I heard a rip. “There’s a hole in them, too. They look like they’re about to disintegrate.”

“Well, buddy, so am I. Off ya go.” I pushed him aside and rolled out from underneath him.

“Oh, come on, babe,” he said as he sat up. “Don’t be that way.”

“How is it that you are noticing them right now?” I asked, sliding out of bed. I picked up my flannel pajamas and began to dress.

He shrugged. “I’ve noticed them before but never said anything. I don’t know. I thought maybe you could wear pretty panties, like the kind you used to wear when we got married. Not those granny panties.”

“I am a granny panty lover,” I said. “They’re comfortable and hold all my bits and pieces in place. Besides, no one else sees them.”

He looked up over his eyebrows at me. “I see them.”

“Sorry to disappoint. I don’t have any lacy underwear.”

“Well, can’t you go buy some? You like to shop, don’t you?”

“Ohhh, yes,” I said, my voice thick with sarcasm. “We women love to shop. But, Mr. History Professor, I figured you’d appreciate the story behind each rip and thread of elastic in this well-aged pair of underwear.”

He replied with a grunt.

“What about your underwear?” I asked. “Hmm? Maybe I’d like to see you in a pair of boxers, with less gut hanging over the waistband.”

“I wasn’t trying to pick a fight,” he said. “I was only hoping for a little change.” He rolled away, turning his back to me. “I didn’t know a pair of underwear could be so capable.”

“Yeah, it can,” came his muffled voice.

As I lay in bed listening to my husband toss and turn, I tried to remember how things were years ago when we first married, but it was difficult. We had fallen into the rut that married couples often do as they get comfortable with each other. We had always enjoyed each other’s company and had fun, but spontaneity had taken a back seat. Sex was something we now planned. When I asked for a backrub, that’s really all I wanted. We hopped into bed because we were tired. If my husband rolled over on top of me, it was because his large, six-foot frame took up half the bed, and then I’d nudge him away. We had been married for over twenty years. I didn’t think I needed frilly underwear anymore. I never had matching bras and panties. It seemed like such a waste of time and money. Admittedly, my underwear did nothing to get the juices flowing. Even my bras were boring, barely functional.

I released a deep sigh and decided to go shopping in the morning.

***

The perfumed boutique had racks and open dresser drawers filled with panties. Pretty? Yeah they were, with racy names like Darling Pink, Licorice Black, and Hot-Tamale. They were soft, too, I noted while fingering the delicate satin and lace-trim. Dozens of colors and styles were on display, and I was overwhelmed by the choices. I needed to have an open mind. I had to be willing to surprise not only my husband but myself. Don’t automatically go for the plain black, said the voice in my head. Yes, it’s flattering, but pick a shade that says something about you.

What about me? Middle age, petite, copper skin, dark hair with a few strands of stubborn gray at the crown. I liked the gray. I liked the fine lines around my eyes. Those first signs of aging were well earned, in my opinion, and they spoke to my confidence.

Red, I decided as I snatched three pairs of panties: a thong, a satin bikini, and a French cut mid-rise. I checked out the tags, the practical me wanting to know how to wash them, then exchanged all three extra-small sizes into the drawer as my size-medium self laughed. They weren’t cheap. But it wasn’t the money that made me hesitate. It was the idea, or rather the visual of me, an older woman, squirming into something so ridiculously extravagant. Within the past few years, I’d put on a few pounds. My ass sagged. Would the panties stay in place or migrate south? Would the thong’s friction aggravate a hemorrhoid? And as I looked over the thong dangling from my forefinger, I couldn’t help wonder how something so flimsy might support a panty liner? I am an older woman, not old, and I still get my damn period. Couldn’t help feeling sorry for the pathetic crotch-line.

Then, I was hot. Not sexy-wow is-she-HOT, but, if-I-don’t-find-a-freezer-to-walk-into-I-will-melt-like wax-HOT. Sweat gathered at the nape of my neck and began dripping down my back. Time to make a decision and get out of there.

A cute young blonde approached, dressed in black, measuring tape around her neck. She told me about the panty sale and asked if I wanted to be fitted for a matching bra, also on sale.

“Sure,” I said, perspiration pooling between my breasts. I had tissues in my purse—perfect opportunity to mop up.

I followed her into a well-lit dressing room. She drew the yellow tape around my chest, and as I inhaled her strong flowery perfume, something about her seemed familiar. Oh, jeez, I thought, hoping she wasn’t one of my daughter’s friends. She leaned in to read the measuring tape and I looked at the name on the tag pinned to her low-cut blouse. Mentally, I went through all my daughter’s friend’s names. “Clare” didn’t ring a bell.

One hundred twenty-three dollars later, I hopped in the SUV and drove home. I had to admit, I felt sexier already. Spontaneous. Surely, my husband would notice the change even with my clothes on.

I waited until about a half-hour before he would be home, knowing the kids would still be at various after-school programs. I’d have the time to try on my new purchase. I pranced around the bathroom, staring at my figure outfitted in what looked like a sultry red bikini. I decided to wear one of his white dress shirts as a cover-up. Sexy, right? Me in my man’s shirt, the Hot Tamale bra and panties popping through the white.

Laundry day (ha ha) had come and gone, so I pulled his shirt out of the hamper. As I slid into the sleeves and cinched the oversized collar around my neck, I smelled a distinct flowery scent. Perfume. Women’s perfume. Wait. That smell. I buried my nose deep in the collar and inhaled, closing my eyes, focusing on what took shape in my mind—a delicate young face with blonde hair, dressed in black, with a measuring tape around her neck.

“Shit,” I said, as a memory formed from one of my husband’s conferences. I had met her about six months ago. She had been dressed in tight jeans and a small sweater, her hair in a sleek ponytail. His eyes had lit up when she walked into the room; they had stood a little too close when they greeted each other. When he introduced her to me, their cheeks turned a bit too pink. Clare, one of my husband’s students.

I dropped onto the bed like dead weight, heavy and worthless. Foolish. He had wanted a change. Did he want our marriage to change so that he didn’t need Clare? Or did he want me to change to be more like Clare? My face flushed as red as my stupid underwear.

The front door opened. My heart began beating faster. A whoosh of blood rushed through my veins. My skin tingled; all the hairs on my body stood on end. Heavy footsteps up the stairs, down the hall, and into the bedroom.

My husband stood in the doorway. “Hey, babe,” he said. He looked down at me with concern. “You okay?”

“You know that change you said you wanted last night?” I asked. I felt like I was outside my body, watching the scene from above.

“Yeah,” he said, walking toward where I sat on the bed.

“I have one for you,” I said, standing. I stepped out of the thong, toying with it absentmindedly, holding it like I was ready to sling-shot it across the room. Like it was a weapon. If only I had a rock. “Come closer,” I said, still stunned, not really thinking, just doing. Just reaching up and stretching out the leg opening as I pulled it over his head, him with that half-smile on his face and a glaze in his eyes.

I stood behind my husband, who probably thought this was some sort of new sex game. I cinched the thong around his neck. It didn’t seem so flimsy and pathetic now. Suddenly, my knees were against his shoulder blades, my hands twisting the garment tighter and tighter. I’ve heard of women, who, under duress, were able to lift a car off a trapped child, or were able to beat their much bigger and stronger assailant to a pulp. Adrenaline can make one capable of almost anything. My hands, still intertwined in the thong, had turned blue. When I realized I no longer felt my fingers, I released the panties.

My husband pitched forward slowly, like a falling tree, onto the bed. He lay, belly down, his face also blue, eyes bulging, half-smile drawn into a grimace.

“What have I done?” I asked myself, my chest heaving, fingers throbbing.

The voice in my head responded: He had hoped for a little change. You gave him a big one.

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