The Search

Restaurant   I couldn’t take my eyes off her breasts. They wobbled under her shirt like porpoises and, despite the soup I was eating and the woman who sat across from me, the only thought in my head was the heft of those breasts at the next table.


“Stephen, what are you looking at?,” said Sarah. “Stephen?” She knew, but wanted to shame me into stopping. I looked back at her, pretending not to have an answer. But with each comma in the conversation, each semicolon in thought, my eyes sprung back to the table where those breasts were singing to me.


They were not large, and for their size were slung rather low. But they had such a roundness and they were velvety black. I couldn’t help imagining the dark nipples that poked into the cloth of her shirt and embossed such a clear impression. Black breasts, purple nipples.


Sarah was the kind of woman anyone’s parents would approve of, especially if they were members of the country club. Her chest was trussed solid with underwire and stitching. Those breasts wouldn’t sway in a hurricane; you can’t wiggle plaster.


The woman with the black breasts didn’t notice me. She was deeply involved in her dinner, eating as if she hadn’t in a while. Her clothes were elegant enough — not rich, but not poor, either. She couldn’t have been as hungry as she seemed. She gorged on lasagne and French bread. Oh, they wobbled. They wobbled each time she reached over her plate for another pat of butter.


As I lifted a fork of sirloin to my mouth, I flicked my tongue back and forth over the sharp tines of the fork. I did it with closed mouth, so Sarah wouldn’t notice.


The woman with the black breasts finished before we did and as she got up to leave, I stared at how long her torso was, how narrow her hips, how gentle her shoulders and how smooth her black skin was. My eyes followed her past the maitre d’ and I watched the swing of her behind and the syncopation of her long legs.


“You’re drooling,” Sarah said.


After we left the restaurant, we took in a double bill at the rep house. All I saw on the screen were those sooty breasts. A harmless fantasy.


Or so I thought. I never saw Sarah again. I never saw the woman with those breasts, either, though I have been searching now for two years. Any restaurant I enter, I survey from the highest vantage point I can find. On streets, I look, not into the oncoming faces, but at the tide of chests that washes toward me. In movie theaters, I walk to the front row just before the feature starts and search over the crowd. On busses, I walk from front to back; in office buildings, I ride the elevators from bottom to top and back.


My search continues. On bad days, I curse my idealism.

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