June 26
by Jack Fay

I saw it for the first time on a Sunday morning. Sarah and I were sitting in our regular pew at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church on Old Jeff Davis Road in Hepzibah. It was Baptismal Sunday, and a long-time friend of ours, Nellie Gordon, was about to be born again. The porcelain tub had been carried in from the storage shed out back and placed in front of the altar. The tip of the garden hose that had been used to fill the tub was peeking out from behind the pulpit. I was maybe the only one there who took notice.

Reverend Naismith was next to the tub, sleeves rolled up and a red-striped polyester tie tucked under a long rubber apron. Nellie was in the tub, water up to her neck, shaking like an October leaf in a windstorm. She was holding her nose as tight as could be while the Reverend had one hand on the top of her head, and the other hand gripping the King James Version of the Bible. After too many words, in my judgment, the Reverend pushed old Nellie’s head down into the tub. Her backside slid to the bottom of the tub at one end at the same time her feet and bony legs broke water at the other end. The Reverend held Nellie’s head under the water for too long, in my judgment. Sarah clapped and called out loud and clear, “Praise the Lord.”

I don’t know why I feel like I have to tell Sarah that I love her. She knows it, and I know that she loves me too. We’ve been together close on forty years. Married in this same church, matter of fact. We gave our vows while standing in the same spot where Nellie was now coughing up water.

I reached around Sarah and pulled her close to me. I leaned down to peck her on the cheek and that’s when I saw it—right there on her left cheek—a tiny, tiny speck peeking through her face powder. Others would have thought it was a grain of red sand kicked up from the dirt in the church parking lot, but I could tell from looking up close that it was something else. It was the tip of a baby pimple. When my lips came in contact with her cheek, I could feel the tiny pimple on the tip of my tongue. It was delicious and the touch of it sent a tingling through my body. I had to bend forward a bit and place my left hand in the front of my pants because I could feel something at work—work that hadn’t been done for God knows how long.

“We have to get on home now,” I said to Sarah. She told me she wanted to be the first to welcome Nellie into the Kingdom of God. I told Sarah it was an emergency; that we had to leave right away. I almost had to drag her out the church door and into the car. “Land’s sake, Virgil. What’s so important we have to rush on home?” I told her she was about to find out.

Before the kitchen door had closed behind us, I spun Sarah around and gave her a kiss, smack on the mouth. When I touched her breasts she pulled back, but not so far as to break contact. “Virgil, what’s got into you?” she said. I told her she was about to find out. I took her by the hand and led her to the bedroom. She started to say something about it being Sunday and all, but stopped protesting when I kissed her again and began unbuttoning the back of her dress.

I had to make sure it was still there, and it was. A clear spot had formed in the face powder around it. Was it my imagination that the pimple had grown? Was it my imagination that my erection had grown? Marvelous, I thought. Even as we made love I kissed it again and again, exploring it with my tongue every which way. When we finished I rolled over and whispered to Sarah, “Can you believe it? Here I am, an old fogey in his seventies, going at it like a teenager in heat. How long’s it been, Sarah?”

“It’s been nine years, four months, and six days.” Sarah was smiling like I had never seen her smile before.

I said, “I wonder what the folks back at church would think? About us doing it.”

“The ladies would hate me.” She rose up on one elbow and with her off hand stroking my chest, she added, “I love you, Virgil. More now than ever before.” We lay there, the sun streaming through the bedroom window, a dog barking in the distance, and the sweet smell of vegetables ripening in the garden. Life was good. Sarah rolled from the bed. “Let me get us some towels.”

“Wait,” I said. “I want to do it again.”

“We’ve never, ever done it more than once, Virgil.”

“I don’t mean that, Sarah. I mean I want to kiss it again. The pimple, I mean.”

She leaned over me and turned her head to the side. I took her by the back of the neck and brushed my lips across it. Pure ambrosia. I looked at the little devil. It had grown. Not much, but enough to notice.

“Do you like it, Virgil?”

Her question made me think that all along she knew about the pimple and its strange power. Was the pimple a gift from her to me? It didn’t matter. It only mattered that we loved each other. “Yes, Sarah, very much.”

“That’s good,” she said. “I hope it never goes away, no matter how big it gets.”

To say that I loved Sarah and that pimple would have been the understatement of my life.

Note: This story was orignally published as Sex at Seventy