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Call Me Pandora

Category: Group Sex
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Shortly after I turned thirty-nine my mother died suddenly of a coronary thrombosis. Dad had died seven years earlier. So since my brother Kenny, a journalist and my only sibling, was living in London at the time, and my daughter was in her second year of college, I was left alone with the task of going through my mother’s things and deciding what should be kept and what should be thrown away.

It took a couple of weeks to get out of my rented apartment and move back into the family home but once I was reasonably settled I began what was going to be, no doubt, a time consuming process.

Most of the work was straightforward. Clothes went to thrift stores. The books were keepers. Most of the furniture and kitchen equipment stayed. The things with sentimental value were either left where they were or packed and stored away. I tried to spend time every day after work or on the weekends getting a little more done.

But one piece of furniture, a large chest that squatted in the bedroom next to what had been my parent’s bed, was a mystery. It had been there for as long as I could remember. What made it mysterious was the fact that it was securely locked. Very securely. I kept hoping that I’d run across the key.

Now that I was sleeping in my parent’s bed I would sometimes wake up and see it crouching there in the dim morning glow. Or I would be reading and glance over to see the dark wood gleaming in the lamplight. As a child I used to play around it. Sometimes it was a table on which I put my dolls. At other times my stuffed toys would congregate on its surface. Later, when I was an adolescent and curious, I tried to pick the lock without success.

After almost three months of steady effort my mom’s things had been disposed of and the house was mine. Except for the chest. I still hadn’t found the key. And curiosity about what it might contain was looming larger and larger in my consciousness. Several times a day, at least, I would gaze at the dark bulk near the bed and wonder. I tried not to think about it but that simply made me think about it more. Finally, certain that the key was lost forever, I called a locksmith to open it for me.

A young man in his middle twenties with long hair and a scraggly moustache came to the door with a briefcase full of tools. It took him less than ten minutes to make the lock snap open. He started to lift the lid but something made me reach out my hand and gently push it down before the contents had been revealed. Perhaps I had some knowledge of what I’d find. He looked up at me with a slight grin and began putting his tools away. After he’d left I walked back into the bedroom, took a deep breath, and raised the top.

I wasn’t ready for what I saw. The first thing to grab my attention was a flesh-colored replica of a man’s cock. It was huge. It even had the testicles attached. Beside the cock were two vibrators. And there was a stack of magazines; the one on top showed a smiling woman with a shaved vulva astride a black man. There were video cassettes and computer disks. A large shoebox was jammed full of photos, so full that I couldn’t see the pictures. With trembling fingers I pulled a stack about an inch and a half thick out of the shoebox and shuffled through them. I was horrified to see that many of them were pictures of my mom. Naked. Having sex. With men who weren’t my dad. And there were other people doing the same thing. I threw the photos still in my hand back into the chest and slammed down the lid. With a bleating cry I sank back onto the edge of the bed and quivered. A part of me seemed to have known that I’d find something like this but most of me wished I hadn’t.

I’m not a prude. I like sex. But for me sex was something done in private. I masturbated in order to relieve the tension that built up from being alone. And only with my fingers. I knew of all the things in my mom’s secret box but I’d never sought them out. I tried to shut out the images of what I’d seen but they kept invading my mind.

That was a long day. I was in shock. I was confused. One moment I wanted to lock up the chest and ask a couple of my male friends to take it to the dump. The next moment I wanted to take another look inside. My dreams that night were full of crazy scenes of naked people grappling in a thousand lurid poses. One of those people was my mom. I woke up once, in the middle of having an orgasm, and realized the sheet between my thighs was soaked. Shame and excitement burned in me with equal intensity.

The days passed. A decision was made by not making one. The chest continued to hunch in its corner. I yearned to forget what it held. I pretended that it was just a place to put my decorative pillows. But, like Pandora, I slowly learned that once the lid is raised the contents fly into consciousness and can’t be returned to oblivion.

Weeks and then months went by. For a long time I wasn’t aware of the effect of that brief moment of revelation. I began to masturbate more. Things would catch my attention. A man on the street with an interesting bulge. I’d begin to wonder what it would look like uncovered. And feel like in my hand. My juices would flow. And I’d end up needing to touch myself. I thought about that enormous fake cock. And wondered if it would fit.

A couple of months before my 40th birthday the growing strength of my curiosity began to overpower my reluctance. I still couldn’t quite bring myself to lift the lid again. And then one day in the supermarket I passed a display of boxed wine. I very seldom drink alcohol and those few times only in social situations. But I needed a catalyst to give me courage so, after cruising around the store trying to calm the frantic flutters of anticipation, I grabbed one of those boxes and headed for the checkout line.

That box of wine sat unopened in my refrigerator for another week. I now had two boxes tempting me. And then late Saturday afternoon I pulled out the spigot and poured my first glass of the amber liquid. I sat on the patio in the chair my mother had sat in so many times before and emptied the glass. I got another. At the end of the third glass I rose and walked unsteadily towards the bedroom, making a short detour to fill the glass again.

The first thing I did after opening the chest was to divide the contents into separate piles on the bed. The pictures here, the books and magazines there, the videos on the far end, the computer disks in a stack next to the photos, and the toys resting on a pillow. I went to refill my glass. When I returned I started looking at the photos.

After I’d flipped through one handful the realization that I knew one of the men with my mother hit my brain like a hammer. Even with the wine the shock was almost overwhelming.

Uncle Earl. He wasn’t really my uncle. He, and his wife Rose, had been our neighbors and close friends of the family for as long as I could remember. He was still my neighbor but Rose had died not long after my dad. They lived two doors down and Kenny and I spent almost as much time at their house, playing with their two daughters Alice and Maggie, as we did our own.

Uncle Earl. Fucking my mom. Oh shit. I found myself looking at my childhood from an alien perspective. Once I’d reshuffled more than three decades of memories I had to get another glass of wine.

Gritting my teeth I continued to make my way through stacks of snapshots. Soon I found pictures of Aunt Rose with my dad. And other men. I started making a pile of those photos that involved Uncle Earl and Aunt Rose. I wasn’t sure why.

By the time I finished that pile was almost two inches thick and I was feeling extremely woozy. I pushed everything to one side and stretched out on the bed. The ceiling was moving around. When I closed my eyes I felt like I was tumbling through space. I preferred watching the ceiling move to tumbling through space. And then my stomach revolted and began pushing its contents into my throat. I barely made it to the bathroom in time.

When I awoke the next morning I had a fleet of antique fire engines, brass bells clanging, making repeated dashes across my frontal lobes. It was late afternoon before I felt halfway human.

Several times in the course of the day I’d seen or thought about that stack of photos of Aunt Rose and Uncle Earl. As late afternoon faded into twilight I seized them and stuffed the whole bunch into a manila envelope I’d found and, not giving myself enough time for second thoughts, marched to the house two doors down. Taking a deep breath I rang the doorbell.

“Hello Esther,” Uncle Earl said as he opened the door. He pushed the screen door ajar, “come in.”

“I just came by to bring you these,” I said, handing him the envelope.

“Come in,” he said again, accepting the package. I had the feeling he knew what it contained.

My inclination was to run home and hide but I couldn’t think of a way to refuse. I followed him down the long hall to the kitchen.

“Do you want some coffee?”

“Sure,” I said.

We chatted for awhile about the work I’d done on my parent’s house and traded stories about what our families were doing. I was just beginning to relax when he picked up the envelope from the table and took a quick look inside.

“I was wondering if she’d kept these,” he said. “It must have been a shock.”

“Oh God Uncle Earl, I don’t know what to think.” I started crying. He put his hand on top of mine.

“I understand,” he said.

“All those people. You and Aunt Rose. What did my dad think?”

“No one did anything they didn’t want to do, Esther. I know it doesn’t seem quite right to you but it was something we all enjoyed.”

“But my mom? I can’t imagine my mom doing this.”

Uncle Earl chuckled. “Your mama loved sex. She was the one who started the whole business.”

Neither of us spoke for a long time.

“I’d better be going,” I said at last.

“Okay honey,” he said, “but keep in mind that I’m here if you need to talk some more.”

I stumbled back to my parent’s house with a tornado of thoughts whirling through my brain. Later in the evening I began going through the pictures again, dividing them into groups based on the participants.

On Monday night I went through the computer disks and found a list of names and addresses. At the same time I discovered several documents that amounted to my mother’s sexual autobiography.

The next night, after I’d put each group of photos in a separate envelope, I visited Uncle Earl again and with his help was able to match most of the faces with a name.

It took me over a week to build up the courage but then I began a strange pilgrimage to return the photos to those who’d been my mother’s lovers.

I developed a routine of contacting the next person on the list, arranging a meeting, and handing them the package of pictures without too much explanation. The first three encounters took place without incident and I began to feel more comfortable.

The thing I found hardest to comprehend was the fact that these people seemed so normal. If I’d passed them on the street I’d never have guessed that they’d be capable of the antics I’d seen in the photographs. I couldn’t help glancing at them surreptitiously, looking for signs of their sensuality.

And I began looking at everyone around me with the same intent. The world burgeoned with sexual possibilities I’d never imagined before.

The fourth person I contacted was different. To begin with she wasn’t satisfied with my mumbled euphemisms.

“They’re pictures of you having sex, Denise,” I said at last.

She roared with laughter. “I’d forgotten all about those,” she said. “I can’t wait to see them.” She gave me directions to her house and we agreed on a time.

I felt very nervous as I parked in her driveway. I suspected this wouldn’t be a matter of simply handing her the envelope of photos and leaving.

“Oh yes,” she said as she answered the door, “you’ve got your mother’s eyes.” She held the door open in an obvious invitation and I walked through. “In here,” she said, directing me into the living room. “Now let’s see ’em,” she said as we settled side by side on the sofa.

I passed her the photos. She immediately opened the envelope and pulled them out. I didn’t know where to look. My eyes focused on several shelves across the room filled with carved figurines, mostly unicorns.

“Mmmm,” she said, flipping through the photos. “Oh yes.” A moment later she sighed. “I loved your mother,” she said after several very long minutes, putting the pictures on the coffee table. “She was a very special person.”

I didn’t know how to respond. I looked at her and saw she was smiling. Our eyes met. She put her hand on my knee.

“This must have been very hard for you,” she said. “You seem really tense.”

I started crying. I hadn’t cried at all following my mom’s death and now I was gushing. I felt stupid. Denise put her arm around my shoulders and pulled me against her breasts. My grief poured out of me.

Finally I managed to pull myself together and sat up. We began to talk. She told me about the side of my mom that she’d known and I told her about mine. In many ways they were the same.

Somewhere in the middle of our conversation her husband Robert came home. Denise handed him the stack of photos and he sat in an armchair going through them as we talked. I marveled at how open they were with each other. I didn’t have any sense of furtiveness or anxiety.

“I don’t know if this will interest you at all,” Denise said as she walked me to the door, “but we’re having a party the weekend after next. There’ll be people your age too. It won’t be all old farts.” Once more I heard her full bodied laugh.

I knew what kind of party she was talking about. I felt myself blushing.

“It’s up to you,” she said, watching my face. “You might be able to return some more of those photos you’ve got.”

I waved to her as I backed my car out of the driveway. My thoughts and feelings were in a hopeless tangle. The idea of attending a party like that was very exciting. But it would never have crossed my mind a few short weeks ago. Now I was giving it serious consideration. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about Denise. I knew I liked her but she scared me too. She seemed so wild.

I arrived home with a sense of relief. I made myself something to eat and then settled into bed with a thick novel. Needing to forget everything that had happened recently I studiously ignored the bulky chest crouching nearby.

This mood lasted for a couple of days. And then flashes of fantasy involving scenes I might encounter at Denise’s party began to send sparks flaring through my mind. And soon I was lifting the lid and staring at my mom’s secret stash again. I was thinking about that cock dildo. And those vibrators. But once I had them in my hands the idea of using something my mom had used in such an intimate way seemed altogether too weird.

But now that the idea was planted it took on a life of its own. I thought about scrubbing them thoroughly and almost had myself convinced but couldn’t quite bring myself to follow through. I was beginning to twitch with frustration when all at once I realized that I could go out and buy my own. Well duh.

I’d never entered an adult bookstore in my life and the thought of actually doing it was intimidating. I considered ordering what I wanted off the Internet but by now I was wiggling with impatience. Without giving myself a chance to change my mind I grabbed my car keys and headed for the door.

I was startled to find a woman behind the counter of The Pleasure Boutique. But relieved as well. I’d been wondering how I’d be able to make a selection with some leering guy watching my every move. There were two male customers in the store but they didn’t seem to pay much attention to me.

“Hi,” the woman said, smiling, “welcome to The Pleasure Boutique.”

I mumbled something.

“How can I help you?” She said.

I sidled over to the glass case where a mind numbing variety of dildos was displayed. “I want one of those,” I said.

“Any one in particular?”

I forced myself to concentrate. I was looking for one like my mom’s. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. “The Jeff Stryker one,” I said.

“Anything else?” She said as she reached under the display and pulled out a box containing the dildo I’d chosen.

Summoning my courage I looked her in the eye. “I’d like a vibrator too. Do you have any recommendations?”

She seemed to be fully aware how nervous I was and gave me a reassuring smile. “Yes, as a matter of fact I do.”

I was astounded by the total cost of my selections but by then it was too late to turn back. I handed her my credit card.

All the way home I was squirming with anticipation. I practically ran into the house. I dropped the bag on the coffee table and went to close the blinds. Then I shucked off my clothes. Boy did I feel bad. Good bad. Bad in a deliciously hot way. I didn’t usually walk around the house naked in the middle of the day. Or contemplate putting large dildos inside myself. But I was now and I found I liked the feeling.

I tore open the packaging and removed my new toys. Being the fastidious person I am I washed them first. And then I sat on the couch and opened my legs. Soon the head of the replica of Jeff’s cock was easing into my pussy. I was so wet. I spread my legs wider and used both hands to slide him in and out. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to be so filled up.

Would there be a man this big at the party? I wondered. And I, who such a short time ago had considered sex to be a very private experience, was caught up in fantasies of watching others and being watched.

By now I was fucking myself with long thrilling strokes. Moaning. It excited me to hear myself. I was usually so quiet.

“Fuck me,” I said. Saying the word out loud was like swallowing an aphrodisiac. “Fuck my hot wet cunt.” Oh yes. Oh God. It felt so good. And then I was coming. A long hard come unlike any I’d had before. Something inside me had been unleashed. “Fuck my hot juicy pussy,” I screamed. I couldn’t stop. I was pounding myself. Till I came again. And again.

Finally, as I lay in a stupor of satisfaction, the Jeff Stryker dildo dangling from my pussy, I started laughing. “Jesus mom,” I said, speaking out loud to the empty room, “look what you’ve gone and made me do.” The thought of my mother sobered me for a moment. “But I know I’ll be doing it again. I do believe you were on to something.”

It embarrasses me a little to remember how often I used my new toys in the next few days. I found I liked the vibrator even better than the dildo. In my urgent quest for stimulation I went so far as to utilize my mom’s collection of porn. Never having sought out sexual images before I assumed that this would only be an exercise in curiosity; after all I’d been inoculated by the truism that women are not affected by the visual in the way that men are.

And indeed much of what I saw left me tepid. I thought the commercial videos were plain dumb. But every now and then something would grab me and not let me go until I was weak and shaky. And satiated.

I began to seek out those kinds of images. It took me awhile to figure out that what I liked involved ordinary women who looked as if they were actually enjoying themselves. I gravitated towards the videos with sounds of natural pleasure instead of the goofy repetitious noise of canned music and inhuman cries and moans.

Two of the videos were of my parents and their friends. When I put the first one in and realized what it was I ejected it immediately. Way too much information. But later, as I became acclimatized to the idea of sexual openness, I’d put one in and play a little more. It seemed kind of weird and twisted in a way. But on the other hand it was a powerful turn on. Slowly I began to see it as a celebration of life’s essences. I was part of a family tradition.

In the course of my little journey of self discovery I started putting aside those magazines and videos that I wanted to keep. The others I put in a cardboard box beside the wooden chest.

I called Denise three days before the party and told her I’d be there.

“Are you sure?” She asked. “I want you to understand that you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to.”

“I know,” I said.

“The ladies are in control at these parties and if the guys can’t take no for an answer they’re shown the door and aren’t invited back.”

“Yes, I understand,” I said.

“Okay honey, we’ll be expecting you. I think you’ll enjoy yourself.”

“I think so too,” I said. We both laughed. My laugh was a little breathless.

I then had three days in which to experience every shade of rising anxiety. I lost count of the number of times I resolved to call Denise and tell her I’d changed my mind only to stop myself once my hand had touched the phone. It became a matter of pride for me to follow through. But by the time Saturday afternoon arrived I was a quivering mass of tingling nerves. I couldn’t remember ever being so scared.

And of course there was the trauma of trying to decide what to wear to an orgy. Someone needs to write a book about these things. I settled on my filmiest Victoria’s Secret lingerie, a black silk blouse, and my nicest pair of jeans. I considered dressing up more but that’s not really my style. They’ll have to take me as I am, I told myself. I hoped they would.

At last it was time to leave. I talked to myself the entire time I was driving, dredging up every crumb of reassurance I could think of. I didn’t succeed in calming my jitters but I did manage to get there.

Denise answered the door in a multicolored robe and quite obviously little, if anything, else. I was very conscious of the unsupported swing of her breasts as she ushered me inside.

“Everyone’s in the backyard,” she said. “Not that many. It takes a little while for these parties to get revved up.” She shot me a quick speculative look. “You okay?”

I smiled uneasily. “I’m here,” I said.

“Oh baby,” she said, hugging me to her soft breasts, “I forget how difficult this can be. I’ve been doing it so long. Just remember that if something makes you uncomfortable you just say so.”

“Okay,” I said.

She took my hand and led me through the house out onto the patio. The first thing that caught my attention was Robert; he didn’t have any clothes on. He was standing in front of a large table which contained a wide variety of food items and beverages. He raised his hand in greeting and then went back to pouring a drink.

In an effort not to stare at Robert I turned my head to the right. Two men and a woman were sitting at one of the small tables. One of the men shocked me almost as much as Robert.

“Hello Uncle Earl,” I said. He waved and smiled.

The doorbell rang. “I’ve got to get back to my hostess duties,” Denise said.

“Would you like something to drink?” Robert asked. I settled on a glass of white wine and we both walked over to the table to join the others. “This is Alan and his friend Johanna,” Robert said, gesturing toward the younger couple. “You know the other guy.”

“Is Esther really your niece?” Johanna asked. She seemed a little shocked.

Uncle Earl and I laughed and then he explained the situation.

Denise guided two more couples out the back door. One was my age and the other much younger. “This is Tom and Linda and Dwight and Rose,” she said, primarily for my benefit since everyone else seemed to know them.

Apart from the fact that Robert was naked it seemed like a regular party in a middle class neighborhood. Everyone was chatting about the usual subjects with plates balanced in their laps or set on the table in front of them. The subject of sex may have come up a bit more than usual but not as much as I thought it would. The truth is I’d expected everyone to tear their clothes off and get down to it with unbridled lust. I felt a little disappointed.

As the afternoon faded into evening I began to realize that people were disappearing. This made me curious but I didn’t have the courage to investigate. Finally, however, my bladder made the decision for me. On the way to the bathroom I walked past an open door and saw the flash of naked bodies moving on a bed. And heard soft moans. I sat on the toilet long after I was empty replaying that brief glimpse in my mind. I was shaking. When I left the bathroom I hurried past the open door without looking inside.

“Esther?” A male voice called out to me. I stopped, turned around, and edged up to the doorway. “It’s okay.” It was Dwight, sitting naked on the end of the bed. Alan and Rose were moving together with missionary zeal. “They like to be watched, at least I know Rose does,” he said.

“Me too,” Alan said without turning around.

Dwight reached out his left hand. His right hand was busy playing with his hard cock. I hesitantly walked into the room and took his hand. He pulled me closer and then wrapped his arm around my bottom. “Looks hot, doesn’t it?” He said. I had to admit it did.

My brain was going through some gyrations due to the difference in our ages. I found him attractive but his being so much younger put me off. Still I couldn’t stop myself from making surreptitious glances at his body and his cock.

“Why don’t you get more comfortable?” He said.

I froze for a couple of long minutes but he didn’t say anything further. He only held me as we watched Alan and Rose. What I found most arousing was the sound of Rose’s moans and sighs. And then, taking a deep breath, I began to unbutton my blouse.

Once he realized I was undressing he turned his attention to helping me. I was acutely conscious that my lived in, slightly pudgy, middle-aged body was about to be revealed. All too soon my blouse was off. Gritting my teeth I unhooked my bra and dropped it on the floor. Without hesitation his mouth closed around one nipple while he massaged my other breast with his hand. I cupped my hand around his head, feeling his hair under my palm, and pulled him against me. He was making little moaning sounds of appreciation.

“Let’s get these off,” he said, tugging at my belt. A moment later I was completely naked. He guided me with his hands until I was lying on my back with my legs over the edge of the bed. He spread me open and knelt between my knees. “Oh yeah,” he said, looking at me down there.

“Oh God!” Rose said. “I’m coming.”

I turned my head and realized I had a close up view of her pussy being filled with Alan’s cock. I absorbed every detail with rapt fascination. Dwight’s tongue began to flicker up and down my inner lips. He knew what he was doing.

“That’s it, that’s it,” she said. She was gripping Alan’s butt cheeks in each of her hands, pulling him into her. “Oh God yes!” She shuddered and cried out.

To my amazement I found that I too was close to coming. “Oh,” I said. “Oh my God.” Dwight’s tongue went hyperactive, pushing me to the brink. Then I felt his fingers slide inside, seeking out my g-spot. “Oh, oh yes,” I said as I came.

Dwight stood up and then his body covered mine as he entered me. I ran my hands over his hard, nearly hairless, chest. Then we were kissing.

“Puppy pile!” A male voice called out.

I was dimly aware of Denise and Uncle Earl approaching the bed. Both of them naked. Uncle Earl was sporting a hardon. Two other couples came in behind them.

“How are you doing baby?” Denise said, bending down to touch my breast, her own breasts swinging. “You seem to be having a good time.”

“Oh yeah,” I said. I caught one of her breasts in my hand. Dwight was licking her other nipple.

Denise squatted a little and I realized that Uncle Earl’s fingers were deep in her cunt. “Oh yeah baby,” she said. I knew she was talking to Uncle Earl. Then he was fucking her, gripping her hips to aid his thrusting. I could hear the soft slap of their bodies coming together.

The bed bounced as the other two couples found places. A woman with long black hair was astride a tall skinny guy. I had a clear view of his cock sliding inside her. The other woman was lying with her legs spread and the face of the man was buried deep in her crotch. She was moaning softly as she clutched his hair.

Denise bent over and kissed me, moving slightly as Uncle Earl fucked her. I’d never thought of myself as being bi but this felt natural. Our tongues tangled as she tweaked one of my nipples. At the same time Dwight was sliding in and out of me. The bed was shaking. The air was filled with moans and sighs of pleasure. Every now and then someone would obviously have an orgasm. I came two more times.

“Well that was fun,” Uncle Earl said. We were all sitting around the large living room. Most of us were still naked. Robert and Johanna were quietly fucking in front of the fireplace. We all watched them.

“I love it when that happens,” Alan said. “Everybody in one big pile.” He was sitting across the room with his arm around Rose. Dwight was sitting next to me. Rose nodded, smiling.

“So, what did you think of your first orgy?” Denise said, turning to me.

“I liked it,” I said. “But it’s not quite what I expected.”

“How so?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know how to explain it exactly,” I said. “I mean it turned me on to see everybody but it wasn’t like this big sexual thing. I’m not saying this very well.”

“I think I know what you mean,” Johanna said. Robert continued fucking her. “When Alan brought me here the first time I was expecting this constant hot lust. Everybody fucking non-stop. But it’s more like a warm glow. It’s a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be.”

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s pretty much it.”

“Oh. Robert.” Johanna said. It was obvious to everyone when she came.

“Hmmmmm,” Denise said with a smile.

By the time I got home in the early hours of the morning I knew my life had been irrevocably changed. A multitude of images shifted constantly through my mind and left me with a hunger for more. I was already looking forward to the next party.

But along with a deep sense of satisfaction there was a twinge of regret. I wished I wasn’t alone. I couldn’t help but long for someone to cuddle with, share all those images and sensations, and discuss the personalities of those involved.

So when Denise phoned me a couple of days later to say that Alan was interested in getting to know me better (she said this with an earthy chuckle) I told her to give him my number. He called a day later and we met for coffee.

“First of all I think you should know that I’m polyamorous,” he said, shortly after we’d sat down.

“What?” I said. “Is that some kind of disease?”

“No,” he said, laughing. “Essentially it means ‘many loves’. What I’m trying to say is that if we decide to have a relationship there will also be other women in my life.”

I looked at him. If I hadn’t gone through the changes I’d experienced in the last few months I would have walked out.

“I don’t know, Alan,” I said, “let’s just take it one step at a time. I’m willing to spend time with you and see if we can be friends. I can’t promise anything beyond that.”

“That sounds good to me,” he said.

And that was how it started. We began getting together on a regular basis. Frequently Johanna joined us which took some getting used to but after awhile I looked forward to seeing her as much as I did him.

On the second anniversary of my mother’s death, in a reflective mood, I lifted the lid of the old chest and looked in. Little of what I’d found in it originally remained. I’d begun replacing her treasures with my own. The only thing I’d kept of hers was a hard copy of her sexual autobiography.

Years from now, I thought, after I’ve filled it as full as my mother did, this will be my daughter’s legacy. Will it change her life as completely as my mother’s did mine?

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