MILF

I stand in Hallmark picking over Mother’s Day cards when it hits me, ice water in the face: I will never be a MILF.  Mother I’d Like to Fuck. I’m thirty-three and in no hurry to fulfill my someday promise of childbearing to my husband.  I do the math. I plan to put it off as long as I can—I’m always cheered by those forty-and-over actresses who pop out babies, fulfilling their final utility as female celebrities—or until something tugs at my uterus and sets off that biological time bomb that the Sex in the City ladies are forever moaning about.  Forty plus sixteen—the age at which I presume my possible future son’s pals will begin their MILF assessments—equals fifty-six.  Who’d wanna fuck that?

The future me at fifty-six: the pounds I’ve sweated off in yoga lump on my hips, thighs of pale pink cottage cheese, the sagging knees and the twin pendulums of my post-breastfeeding boobs.  The fifty-six-year-old me walks into my kitchen, not the shabby kitchen of my current life with its crumb perimeter and coffee ring-dotted counter, but one of those tasteful marble numbers from Bon Appetit. I imagine myself sauntering into this kitchen wearing a white t-shirt and my favorite jean cut-offs, my favorite hotsy-totsy outfit of the day.  I ruffle my maybe-someday-son’s hair. His friends call him Tiny because he’s built like a tank and irony is all the rage for the youth born in the days of Hannah Montana.  Tiny shrugs me off. He rolls his eyes at his friend, one of those fresh-faced teen soap opera boys packing bundles of sexual energy with no idea how to direct it other than to his poor tired right hand.  

I wink at the friend. “Hey hon.”

He looks up, blue eyes to swallow me, and then shrugs. “Hey Mrs. C.”  

It hits me again fresh in my daydream.  A MILF I will never be.

I drop the supposedly funny Mother’s Day card back into its slot.  (You made me the person I am today.  But I don’t blame you.)  My heart is suddenly pounding, my face flushed.  I leave the sickening potpourri world. Mall life—or more accurately mall death—teems around me.  The food court spreads wide its glistening neon legs before me, pimpled with McDonalds, Wok 2 Go, Hot Dog on a Stick, Sbarro, and the various bastardizations of the world’s ethnic delicacies.  The usual clusters of overly made-up teens and their wannabe tween worshippers sit in perfumed clumps around the court. A brightly lit billboard of the current squeaky-clean teen queen, Missy Mississippi or Anna Arkansas or whatever her half-clever name is, lords over them.  Somebody, one of her rebellious minions, has scribbled a dark spot on her horsey grin.

A girl in a daisy printed miniskirt, her flip-flops dangling from her pedicured feet, tongues a straw as a grin spreads over her glossy lips.  Her eyes rest on one of the boy clumps a few tables away. The four boys are all backwards baseball caps and baggy pants, boxer shorts peeking over the edge of their low-slung belts, impossibly narrow hips and tightly coiled arm muscles still softened by a layer of baby fat.  Fifteen-year-olds, maybe sixteen, and not yet emerged from the chrysalis of boy flesh. I wonder if the straw girl has already given the cutest one, the one t-shirted in Abercrombie & Fitch with flashing brown eyes and at least a foot advantage on the others, a blow job. If the straw is their secret message.  He pretends to ignore her as he cuffs the shortest boy on the shoulder, displays his beautiful teenage boy plumage like the peacock that he is. She uncrosses and re-crosses her legs, letting the other flip-flop dangle. Her lips close tightly around the straw.

Straws?  I don’t need no fucking straws.

“Mitch!”  I walk towards the group, sucking in my gut and arching my back.  Lead with the tits. Always.

“Mitch,” I call again, hips swinging, glad to be wearing the jean cut-offs that graze the swell of my hips without clinging to any lumps, and one of my husband’s old undershirts.  


The boys’ play goes into slow motion for a moment and then stops as all eyes rest on me. Mitch is the last to swivel around.

“Is your name Mitch?” I ask.  I lick my lips. Subtly, gently as if they were actually dry.

Mitch shakes his head.  “Naw.”

“Jason?”  I tap my finger to my chin and then quickly jam my hand in my pocket.  Nothing says old like a wedding ring.

“Naw.”

The other boys are biting back smiles, giggly snorts.  Mitch’s eyes fall to the tiled floor beneath his jittery high-tops.  The square below him is dotted with lettuce.

“Damn, I’m sorry.  You look like this guy I met at my little sister’s birthday party.  You go to State?”

He shakes his head no.  “Centennial.”

“Oh fuck, sorry.”  I put my non-ringed hand over my mouth.  “I should watch my mouth. It’s just that you look older than your age.”

“It’s cool.  We can handle it.”  A slow smile spreads across his plush lips.  

I feel the other boys fading away behind us, a muffled chorus of “aw damn.”

“I’m Madeline.”  I extend my hand.  In two straight lines in rain or shine, The smallest one was Madeline.  I’m not sure why this rhyme popped into my head.  I blame the recent Hallmark immersion.

“Tyler.”  Mitch takes my hand.  His grip is weak at first but then too tight.  

I hold his hand a moment longer and then pull it slowly away.  “Of course. You look like a Taylor.”

“Tyler.” He repeats quietly.

“Right.”  Nope, still prefer Mitch.

I buy my boy-clump two twenty-piece Chicken McNuggets.  The food relaxes them. The salt and grease remind them of their moms’ rewards after soccer games.  They tease each other, bat pieces of chicken-ish bits over the wobbly plastic table while watching Mitch and me out of the corner of their eyes.  I tell him that I am a graduate student in psychology studying the sexual response of teenagers. I toss around Psych 101 terms and he nods as if he understands, is impressed.  Freud this, Jung that. I barely know what I’m saying but wager that he still mostly tunes out his teachers, preferring to gaze at straw girl and imagine her rolling her panties over her nonexistent hips behind the school dumpster.

I do the math.  I am old enough to be his teen mother.  I’m in my prime MILF years. It’s a pity that Tiny is still a notch in my inhospitable womb.

Mitch reaches for the last nugget.  I meet his eyes. “Mind if we share?”

He breaks the nugget in two.  A puff of steam rises from the lumpy white meat just like in the commercial.  He hands it to me. Our fingers touch for a brief moment. I smile and bring the nugget to my lips, taking a slow bite while holding his gaze.  I swallow. “I never get to eat these anymore. They’re good. Really good.”

Mitch tosses the last bit in his mouth.  “Um hm.”

It’s almost too easy.  Mitch morphs into the man he thinks he is.  His voice deepens. His eyes don’t skitter away from mine but hold my gaze.  Although he can’t seem to eliminate the urge to jam his hands deep in his pockets or bite at his lips whenever I bring up my “research.”  

When straw girl strolls by us, all big-eyed hurt and ruffled mini-skirt, he says “Hey,” but keeps his eyes on me.

When the McNuggets are over, his friends disperse.  “Catch you later man.” He nods in their direction.

I go to the Gap. He follows without me asking.  I try on a bikini top and walk out of the dressing room, strutting around the area outside of the rooms and stepping close to him.

“What do you think?”

“You should get it.  It’s hot.” He drawls “hot” like the word is smoke spreading around us.

I rip off the tag and hand it to the boy in rumpled khaki behind the counter.  I pull my t-shirt over my head.

“Walk me to my car?”

 

“I’m such an idiot.  I always mean to write it down.”  I say as we wind our way up the parking levels.    

Mitch nods.  His hands go back into the pockets.  “No man, you’re really smart.”

“Not about the things that count.  I bet you would remember where you parked your fucking car.  Totally. Without even trying.”

He smiles to himself.  “I got an okay memory.”

We aren’t looking at each other but moving side-by-side.  Our hands brush each other and he leans away. My heart races.  I’ve been here for at least a couple of hours. I told my husband I’d be back in one.  The only thing anchoring me to this earth, this maze of concrete, is the strap of my new bikini top digging into my back.  I remember that I left my bra in the dressing room, its padded cups openmouthed on the bench.

My Subaru station wagon is in the corner.  The back seat is already down. This morning my husband and I found a darling china hutch at an estate sale.  He is at home dusting off the shelves, Windexing the hell out of the glass and putting it back together again at this very moment.  

I point.  “That’s me.”

“Cool,” Mitch swallows hard.

I laugh.  “A station wagon is not cool.”

He shrugs.  “You’re cool.”

We stop beside my car.  “Thanks. You’re sweet.”  

I reach over and turn his baseball cap around so the bill is between us, pointing forward.  For one moment he isn’t one of those boys who I mock for misplacing the actual purpose of a baseball cap bill in the first place, to shade ones eyes from sun.  

“May I take it off?”

His chest rises and then a puff of air escapes his lips.  He makes a noise that’s a hybrid of “I don’t know” and “okay.”  I dunnokay.

I flip it off quickly, like a band-aid, revealing a mass of brown curls tamped down to his head and a line of sweat bubbles just below the pink indent mark from the cap.  The logo on the cap is Oregon State.

“So you wanna be a beaver, eh?”

“My dad went there.”

“A family of beavers.  How nice.” I grab his moist hand and pull him closer to me.

I could be arrested.  Those fucker friends of his will laugh at me.  Poor lonely old lady. Lucky goddamned Mitch or Tyler or whatever. My husband, my husband and our gorgeous new hutch.  We were so proud this morning, so thrilled with the deal we struck with the gravel-voiced seller, her cigarette ash falling on our fresh check.

I pull Mitch close to me.  I hug him tightly to my chest, pressing into him.  “Are you afraid?” I whisper in his ear, lingering at the swirl of cartilage.  

Mitch’s breath comes in hot puffs on my neck.  I kiss him lightly above the fake diamond stud in his ear and trail down his neck.  His hard-on pokes my thigh.

Mary Kay Letourneau and her babies with that boy, his face blurred in all the pictures of them together until he turned eighteen.  They’re married now, the ultimate MILF, actually a TILF. But what about the other kids, the ones from part one of her life? Do they miss her and wonder if they should fuck other mothers and fathers to take revenge?  What of them?

“My-uh,” he swallows his words.

“It’s okay.”  I rub the lump in his jeans with my hand.  He gasps, his head falls back.

“Mmmm,” I moan.  A car drives up the ramp, its headlights flash on us.  I smile and pretend like I’m picking something up from between us on the ground.  They pass. I get on my knees. Mitch looks down, all strangled hope and fear.

“My girlfriend’s name is Sue.”

“So is my husband’s,” I say, knowing my husband would appreciate the Johnny Cash reference, but certainly not the context.

I slowly unzip his pants, careful not to catch anything in the zipper.  I start to work his dick out through the flap of his boxers when he explodes on me.  Cum on my shirt and cheek.

“Fuck!” I wipe my hand across the smear on my chin.  I look up.

Mitch has taken off.  He fumbles with his pants as he runs, tucking everything away.  He corners the row of cars, his momentum so great that he hops on one foot like a Marx brother.  His footfalls echo for a moment then fade to nothing.

I wipe up with my t-shirt and toss it in the Gap bag.  On the way home I stop by the dumpster at our old apartment, the first dwelling we shared when were twenty-five and drunk, when I could smile at my then-boyfriend over candlelight and coo, “I want to make babies with you” without considering the reality.  The actual being that would grow in the swell of my belly.

The sunny afternoon has turned hot.  I step through the door of our house in my new striped bikini top and cut-offs.  The hutch sits in the corner, clean and assembled, already accumulating knick-knacks from the boxes we’ve been meaning to unpack.  

“You went to the Gap, didn’t you.” My husband steps over the box and folds one of the flaps.

“I couldn’t help myself.” I shrug, a habit I’ve picked up from Mitch in this short time.

“Did you find a card?”

“No, they were all terrible.  They were all sappy flowers or jokes about drinking yourself to death on wine.”  I drop my purse on the couch.

“Nice get-up,” he nods and does a quick up-and-down of my new outfit.

“Not too bad, eh?” I flex my arm muscle.  “I still got it.”

He smiles and threads his arms under mine, pulling me close.  He kisses me hard on the mouth. “Two hours at the mall? What about your mall sickness?  Oh God! The neon, the teenagers, the horror.”

I kiss him on the cheek and pull away from his embrace.  I walk over to the hutch and run my fingers over the dustless surface.  

“I don’t know.  Sometimes I just get sucked in.”


 Author photo by Isaac Harrell

Author photo by Isaac Harrell

Katherine C. Sinback’s work has appeared in The Rumpus, Clackamas Literary Review, Writers Northwest, and Edging West.  She publishes her zine Crudbucket and writes two blogs: the online companion to Crudbucket, and Peabody Project Chronicles 2: Adventures in Pregnancy After Miscarriage.  Crudbucket was featured in the 2007 Multnomah County Library “Zinesters Talking” series and was included in the 2016 Alien She exhibit at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  Born and raised in Virginia, Katherine lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. She can be found on Twitter @kt_sinback, and on her blogs Crudbucket: http://ktcrud.blogspot.com and Peabody Project: 
http://peabodyproject2.blogspot.com