As I was driving my son and myself across the Brooklyn Bridge into New York City, I couldn’t help recalling the saddest time in my life. Almost two years ago, I stood vigil with my husband as the cancer he’d battled for several years took him from us. We spent the last few days discussing his triumphs and the things he’d failed to do in his lifetime.
Charles was a good man. We’d met in college and married my senior year, me already six months pregnant with our son, Chad. I had a difficult delivery and we wound up having only the one son, although we tried for more children over the years. Charles was a good looking man, light brown hair and brown eyes, a stocky wrestler’s build (he went to college on a wrestling scholarship), a winning smile and the confidence of a man who knew what he wanted and was able to get it. Mostly, it turned out, he wanted me. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. We quickly became passionate lovers and then married with Chad on the way.
We had several wonderful years together. Chad was twelve when the cancer first appeared. Over the next four years, my Charles fought it valiantly before finally succumbing to the disease. Chad, now sixteen, stood by my side at the funeral, the spitting image of his father who would have been proud of the man his son had been forced to suddenly become. Over the two years since we buried Charles, my son and I have become very close. I doubt I could have gotten through my mourning period without my son to lean on.
I’ve become very attached to my son. One could almost call me a jealous woman. I haven’t liked any of his girl friends and am almost ashamed to admit I am happy he is currently unattached and even more pleased that he has kept a promise to his father to remain chaste until he turned eighteen.. For his part, he’s been urging me to return to the dating scene…to find a friend and possibly a husband. When I’ve scolded him about it, telling him I’m too old for such nonsense, he just laughs and tells me what a beautiful woman I am.
“Christ, Mom, you’re only forty years old. And you’re a great looking woman. I bet there are lots of guys who would give an arm and a leg to marry you!” he would tell me. I don’t know, maybe he’s right. I’d like to think I’m still kind of pretty. I’ve always been blessed with good skin and I’ve kept my figure. My boobs aren’t sagging much, despite the weight of having 36 DD breasts. At one hundred-eighteen pounds and five foot-two inches, I’ve kept my 36-24-34 figure. My legs still draw a whistle when I get brave enough to wear a short skirt or go to town in my jean shorts. And I am very vain and proud of my hair, long black tresses that fall to the middle of my back.
I love it when Chad tells me how pretty I am, even though it makes me feel kind of naughty to hear my own son talk that way. My friends have teased me about how I need to cut the apron strings and quit being possessive and jealous over Chad.
Which make today’s visit to the city even more difficult. Today, I am fulfilling one of my husband’s last wishes. Today, I’m taking my son to visit the city’s most luxurious bordello. My heart fluttered as I thought of the ornate business card in my purse that carried the words, “Fulfillment, a Tradition Since 1850,” followed by a phone number.
I had long known about the tradition in Charles’s family about the father taking his son to Fulfillment, New York City’s oldest and finest whorehouse, for his first sexual adventure. Charles had been taken there by his father who had been taken there by his father and so on. Charles said the legend was that his father’s male ancestors had been among the first patrons of Fulfillment way back before the Civil War.
I was also aware that occasionally Charles visited Fulfillment during our marriage. We both had grown up in promiscuous times and in our younger days had done some swinging with friends in the neighborhood, trading partners for an evening or even a weekend. Otherwise, I had never had an affair or even a one night stand, I knew Charles wouldn’t have minded but I was never really tempted. It never bothered me that Charles went to Fulfillment on occasion, it even excited me when he’d describe some exotic beauty he had fucked and we always had great sex afterwards.
As Charles lay dying, he asked me to follow through on the tradition with Chad when he turned eighteen. I was both horrified and amused, a mother taking her son to a brothel for his first fuck? Charles pressed me on it though, making me promise that the tradition would continue. I couldn’t refuse my husband and I finally agreed. Charles explained how things worked at this exclusive whorehouse. For a specific fee, one had lifetime privileges at Fulfillment. When my husband told me the fee, I had gasped, but Charles just laughed and said his own father had set aside money just so Chad could continue the family tradition. He gave me their business card and I tucked it away until a few days before Chad turned eighteen. I thought about it often, struggling with my own jealousy and the sheer weirdness of it. I was sure that Charles would have found my thoughts amusing.
I took the card from my jewelry box and while Chad was out with friends, called the number. A young sounding, very feminine voice answered. “Fulfillment, this is Alexis. How may we please you?”
“Um, my name is Diana, Diana Martin. Charles Martin was my husband.”
“Oh yes, Mrs. Martin. Please accept our condolences on the loss of your Charles. He was a good man.”
“Thank you,” I almost whispered.
“I guess you are calling to make an appointment for Chad, yes, Mrs. Martin or might I call you Diana?”
“Please. Um, yes, my son turns eighteen next week.” I was astonished that without a pause, this woman was talking as if she’d known us all our lives.
“Wonderful,” the sexy voice chuckled. “Have you asked Chad for his preferences?”
“Oh yes, Diana. Fulfillment will grant his wish as to the type of women Chad prefers. His family legacy is to be with one of our finest ladies on his eighteenth birthday. We will provide the lady of his dreams, be she an eighteen year old cheerleader or the sexiest grandmother in New York City, Caucasian, African American, Hispanic or Asian.”
I was almost speechless. Charles hadn’t informed me of this. “I…um, I honestly don’t know, Alexis. This is all so new to me.”
Alexis giggled over the phone. “I understand, dear. You should talk to Chad. Get him to tell you what his fantasy woman is like. Just make sure you call us back over a day or two before his visit so we can make the appropriate plans.”