Looking at my mother and her younger sister, it was hard to imagine that they were separated in age by ten years. My aunt, recently divorced from her very successful and work-addicted attorney husband, was an exceptionally youthful-appearing 34-years-old woman. My mother, soon to be 44, had the same tawny hair and blue eyes, the same slim feminine figure, toned by tennis and aerobics. The family resemblance was striking. That they were sisters was not questioned, but that they were ten-years apart was remarkable.
We'd picked up Aunt Peg at the United Terminal at SFO this morning. While my aunt and my mother were emotionally close, they'd not had the chance to spend much time together in recent years, each pursuing separate careers on opposite sides of the country. In some abstract way, mostly from snapshots, I knew Aunt Peg as a good-looking woman but I wasn't prepared for the vivacious lady who walked with us to the Baggage Claim area. After the crashing greeting Mom and Aunt Peg gave each other in the Arrivals Area, she'd turned to me and, grabbing both my hands, held them out and looked me up and down frankly for a moment before saying, "Bobby! God, you're a grown-up man!"
I heard my mother comment, almost as an aside, "They rarely ever grow *smaller*."
Draping one arm over my shoulder and sliding the other under my arm, she gave me a full-body hug... a long one. I was acutely aware of her body. I could feel her breasts against my chest and her pelvis against mine. I looked over her shoulder and saw my mother watching us with a broad, approving smile on her face. If Mom only knew! She'd probably not be so approving if she could read my mind. My thoughts were anything but innocent. Quite the contrary, my thoughts were mostly lewd and lascivious. Looking into my mom's eyes - as I felt the slim body of her younger sister, a near-carbon copy - I was remembering that I had been secretly turned on by my mother for several years and this was the closest I'd come to feeling her body.
Embarrassed at the sudden lurch in my groin at feeling my aunt's body, I pulled back. Aunt Peg held to me a moment longer and almost stumbled forward when I stepped away. I could feel the heat in my face and hoped that neither of them would notice my blush or my tumescence. Jezz... this was my deep, dark secret and my body was betraying me.
Mom and Aunt Peg were beaming at each other and appeared not to notice my discomfort. Yet, I knew my mom. She missed little, but in her kindness and sensitivity, often chose to ignore it for the moment. Later, however, she'd let me know that she'd noted whatever it was I was wishing she hadn't noticed. She always shared with me her thoughts and insights, both of herself and me, and always in a gentle, loving manner and never with moral judgement. She was a particularly accepting woman who loved me without qualification. Still, I was capable of being embarrassed at my own thoughts. They'd turned to a strong sexual interest in Mom in the past few years, ever since I was fifteen or so. And now, with the added closeness of these weeks of vacation before my last year of college, I was even more aware of her.
In the five or six years since their divorce, I'd spent time with both my parents without need to choose between them. Because my dad traveled so much, there was never any debate where I'd stay finishing high school or, more recently, college. Mom's house was the natural choice. We became good friends... even buddies. Our relationship changed. It matured. She had gradually shared much of the emotional feelings about my dad. It was clear that she still loved him on some levels, but had come to accept their diverging paths. She dated infrequently... obviously, her choice.
I was aware that Mom accepted my sexuality as well as her own in a forthright manner that I didn't think my buddies had experienced with their mothers. For instance, when I first started having wet-dreams, I was mortified that she'd find out, but it was inevitable. She didn't ignore the soiled sheets and pretend nothing was going on. Rather, she found ways to let me know that she knew and that it was normal. I can't recall how she did it, but in oblique ways she let me know that it was a desirable masculine trait. Once, holding up a cum-stained sheet, she smiled at me and said, "Aren't you lucky?" I didn't really know what she meant, but I got the message that it was okay to have sexy dreams. And another time, picking up the Jockeys that I'd forgotten, she fingered the stiff crotch and observed, "I understand, Billy. I used to have the same problem." That gave me a jolt! What problem had she had?
I'd been aware of her sexy body since I was a young teenager. The years we'd spent alone together had allowed a growing intimacy. My interest and her increasing casualness provided many opportunities for me to "check her out." While I'd never seen her completely naked, I had seen almost all of her body at one time or another. It never ceased to thrill me, but I could never talk about it with my friends, and I'd die of shame if I thought she knew. Despite her openness and nonjudgmental stance, I remained guilty about my licentious desires. I hadn't, and couldn't, talk about my thoughts with Mom. But when Aunt Peg arrived, several years of suppressed imagery came boiling to my foreconscious. I was simultaneously thrilled at the vague possibilities and horrified at my "dirty mind."
"Aunt Peg ... ," I started to say at the same time my mom said, "Peg... " We both stopped, waited and then laughed. I nodded to my mom to go ahead, but Aunt Peg spoke first:
"Billy... may I call you Billy?... I'd be much more comfortable if you called me Peg or even Peggy. Right now I don't want to be an aunt... I don't want to be all grown up. I just want to hang out with you guys and let you take care of me. Okay?"
"Sure, Aunt P... uh... Peggy," I replied as Mom took her arm and added, "My sweet sister, Peggy... we'd be delighted to take care of you. You've no idea how Billy and I have been looking forward to your staying with us. Our house is bigger than we need and with Billy home for the summer and me at work each day, you can keep each other company. Can't she, Billy?"
Not waiting for a reply, Peg grabbed my arm and off we walked, three abreast, to the Baggage Claim. "Abreast" is an apt description. Hugging my right arm against her, I was keenly aware of the swell of Peg's breast against me. Her summer dress outlined her breasts and nipples, plainly visible as they moved to her stride. As she turned her head to talk to Mom, I dropped my glance into the loose top of her dress and saw flashes of the upper swell of her right breast and the lacy, scanty cup of her bra. The strap must have inserted on the side of the cup, for I could see a flash of areola when she burst into laughter at some comment of Mom's.
"Well... do you *want* to, Billy?" Peg's voice brought me back to the moment and I looked up to see both of them looking expectantly at me. Peg and Mom both smiled at my discomfort, for my staring down the front of Peg's dress had been blatant. I was caught, red faced. This was going to be a long summer.
"I said," Peg continued, "would you like to baby sit me this afternoon? Mary - that was my mother's name, Mary - Mary says the hot tub's been fixed and I'd just like to kick back. But I don't want to be alone. Will you stay with me my first day?"
I'd already broken a tennis date with a friend when I had heard we were going to pick up Aunt Peg. "You bet," I replied, "I'd been expecting that we'd visit this afternoon and... " looking up at the sunny California sky, "with weather like this, the sun deck calls out to us!"
"That's my son," Mom said. "You can count on his enthusiasm when it comes to soaking up radiation."
Looking across Peg at Mom, I was again struck by the resemblance of these two women. They both looked younger than their ages and so good looking my chest swelled with pride. I imagined every guy in the place was envious of me.
After we'd loaded Peg's numerous bags in the car, both in the trunk and the front seat, I asked her, "What do you carry for a weekend... a single steamer trunk?"
"Quit whining, big boy! I thought I was invited out for the whole summer? Bikinis take up a lot of room!"
"I can sure tell that you and Mom are sisters! Remind me not to travel with both of you at once, won't you?"
The ride back from SFO, down I-280, was fast and pleasant. Glancing over my right shoulder from time to time, I watched Mom and Peg in animated conversation that was punctuated with frequent laughs and squealing outbursts. Catching my eye in the rear-view mirror, Peg smiled and gave me a broad wink when Mom said, "I hope you two don't argue the way we used to."
"C'mon, Mary... you just remember me as a little kid. I'm *much* easier than I used to be," Peg protested.
I thought I heard Mom murmur something like, "If you're any *easier*, Billy's in for it."
"What's that?" I asked.
"Oh, nothin', you nosey kid," Mom spoke up.
"Your Mom's referring to my... uh, several relationships since the divorce," and turning to my mother, she said, "Isn't that right?"
Mom appeared flustered for a moment, a rare phenomenon and then apologized in a rush, "Oh, Peg! I'm sorry. I didn't mean... I mean, that was cruel of me and I'm truly sorry."
Then to me, "Billy, I'm ashamed of myself. Your aunt's a grown woman... not my kid sister anymore... and she has a right to live her life any way she chooses. Whatever it sounded like, I didn't mean it that way. I love her and whatever she does is okay with me."
That last, I think, was directed more toward Peg than me, but I chimed in anyway: "I'm really glad you're so young. It'll be like having a big sister." What "relationships" I wondered.
The moment of tension had passed and the last leg of the 45-minute trip from the airport was made in a relaxed silence. As we drove up the driveway to our home in the hills behind Stanford University, I spoke for the first time in the last little while: "You'll really like our home, Peg. I know you've seen pictures, but they can't capture the beauty and peace of the place... huh, Mom?"
Before she could answer, we entered the circular drive in front of our long, ranch-style redwood house framed by a couple of huge redwood trees. Tami, the half-lab, adolescent hound came bounding out to greet us. "The biggest danger of Tami is that she'll slobber you to death," I cautioned as we all piled out.
Peg, screening her eyes, looked at the surrounding hills. While we're located on less than ten acres, the adjacent open-space lands to the south gave the illusion that our place went on forever. "Nice digs," she observed.
Mom gave Peg a hug and a peck on the cheek and explained again, "I'm sorry to hug and run, but I've got a hot deal cookin' and I need to be at the office, especially today and probably tomorrow. Forgive me, won't you? Billy, you take care of your new sister, hear?"
We both waved her off and then I turned to Peg and said, "Well, it's just you and me, kid!"
"All right! Let's get the luggage in and where's that hot tub?"
We both made several trips and piled Peg's bags in one of the guest rooms closest to our rooms. Mom has the big master bed room and I have a smaller room, down the hall, separated from her's by a walk-in closet and, next to that, the master bath. Actually, I shared the master bath with Mom, even though there was a second bath on this floor and a third upstairs in the guest wing of the house.
"You can use any of the bathrooms, Peg. Just make yourself at home."
Looking right, then left, with a quizzical expression, Peg said, "Just point me, Billy! I've gotta take a leak."
How blunt, I thought. Nothing shy about this girl. My mother might have asked to use the restroom, but I'd never heard a woman profess a desire to take a leak'. There was something honest, unpretentious, earthy and even sexy about Peg wanting to take a leak.' Raising both hands and pointing in opposite directions, I said, "Your choice."
"Be right with you," she said as she ran off to the master bath. Then louder, "Tell me again. How long have you and Mary been in this house?"
"More than ten years," I shouted, expecting to hear the bathroom door slam. But it didn't and after the rustle of her clothes, I could hear a soft sigh.
Over the sound of her peeing, she said, "Would you give me a tour of the place? In a minute that is," she added, laughing.
In my mind's eye, I could see her next door, just on the other side of that wall. She flushed and then washed her hands, adding, "Let me change first, okay? I showered this morning, but it seems like yesterday."
She rounded the corner and walked into my bedroom where I'd been looking, unseeing, out the window, listening to the bathroom sounds she had made. Bending, she looked between the blinds into the sunny, south-facing canyon and said, "Golly, every direction has a nice view!" Again, I was aware of the touch of her breast on the back of my arm and glancing at her, my heart stopped. Bent slightly at the waist, her dress had fallen away and I had an unobstructed view of her bra-clad breasts. Zap! My mind disengaged and for the second time, Peg caught me looking down her dress.
Laying a hand on my arm she said, "I'm pleased that you like me, Billy!"
"I'm sorry," I said. "That was impolite of me."
"Billy, Billy, Billy! I may be your aunt, but I feel more like your big sister, and we're going to be living together for months, right?"
I nodded, dumbly and she went on, "Well, you're probably going to see more than this, so let's just agree not to get embarrassed with each other. Okay?"
"Gee, Peg ... ," I faltered and then didn't know what to say.
"Can we be frank with each other? She asked, turning to look at me.
Motioning her to the seat by the window, I sat on the end of the bed and said, "Sounds serious."
Throwing her head back and shaking her tawny hair, exactly like Mom does when she's dismissing the importance of something, Peg replied, laughing, "Well, only a little serious, guy. Actually, it's more about me. When I came out here I knew I'd talk with you about it... just came up sooner than I planned is all."
I hated "serious" conversations. I always felt as if the other shoe was going to drop. One of the scariest things is when someone says, "I want to talk with you later." More often, it's nothing of consequence, or they want to thank me for something, or ask some trivial question... . but my mind makes it into a big deal. With more calm than I felt, I replied, "Shoot."
Peg slipped off her shoes and pulled one foot under her other knee, then leaned back in the chair, looking at me. She started, "Mary tells me that you're a very mature, levelheaded guy and that she trusts you with everything. That right?"
I detected no direction to this conversation, but it seemed safe to reply, "I think I'm level headed. How mature I am is arguable. Whether Mom trusts me with *everything*... why, I don't know."
She leaned forward and wrapped her hands around her bent knee, balanced for a moment, and then slowly allowed herself to rock back in the chair, still holding her knee; this pulled her leg up and suddenly I could see high up on one thigh. The late-afternoon son, which had me in shadow, illuminated her legs and lower body. Shit! How could I listen to her and not stare under her dress?
"No matter. I *do* know my sister and I trust her judgement. She told me I could trust you, so I do. That's it. Okay?"
"Okay with me, but what's that got to do with anything? I'm not certain where this is headed."
Peg hit her thigh with her fist and said, "Rats! I'm beating around the bush and making this into something it isn't... in any event, it's no big deal. I'll get on with it."
Pulling her leg up again and rocking back allowed her summer dress, already short, to fall back into her lap, showing off even more of her thighs. Another inch or two, I thought, and I'd see her panties.
"Did you know that our parents - your grandparents - were occasional nudists?"
"Yeah. Mom mentioned to me that when she was a kid she got to go to some camp with them but I thought they didn't do it very much later on."
"Yes, that's right... but when I asked - years later - if I could try it out, they said, "Sure, go ahead. We think you'll like it.' And I did," she added in a rush.
"Did? Try the camp, you mean?"
"No. I didn't go to the camp, but I did start sunbathing in the nude in our backyard by the pool. It was a very private place."
Still not getting it, I said, "So?"
"So, I never stopped. I still like to sunbathe in the nude. In fact, I like to spend a lot of my time around the house with no clothes. Mary knows about it... she always has... and when I asked her about you ... whether it would upset you... that's when she told me you were mature. Are you?"
Cripes no, I thought to myself. "Uh, yeah... I'm okay with it... with anything... but," and here I trailed off, leaving unsaid the vision I had of myself, crouched over, hiding an erection that I knew would jump out if I saw any naked girls... particularly her.
"Billy, what's the but' you left hanging out there? But what?"
She unhooked her legs and then rehooked them the other way, momentarily lifting and parting her legs... giving me a clear but brief flash of bikini panties. Printed on my visual cortex was the flower print of the panties as they disappeared under her butt.
Using her ploy, I countered, "Can I be frank with *you*?" I wasn't at all sure what I'd be frank about, but it served to turn off the heat for a moment. Or so I thought.
With an impish grin, she challenged me: "It's about sex, isn't it? That's okay. I'm cool with it. You can talk with me," she answered in four separate bursts and then smiled at me as if to say, "Gotcha!"
"No! I mean, yes... well... kinda. I mean, I wanna be open, but I've never talked about this stuff before." I looked at her for a clue. She just nodded and smiled again.