Nestor’s Last Valentine’s Day
by J. J. Steinfeld
Nestor, a retired and renowned (though he was always modest about his scientific achievements) astrophysicist of seventy-three, a month ago had left his wife of fifty years for the remarkable woman whose hand he was now holding, feeling her difficult to describe radiance and warmth. She refused to reveal her age to him but he estimated a most beautiful thirty, thirty-five at the most. Now Nester and this woman, who said her name was Mythie, were holding hands at an extravagant Valentine’s Day Party like infatuated teenagers. The party was being held in the large downtown townhouse of a man who had made his fortune with a chain of adult-novelties stores. He had a reputation of being quite the swinger and embracer of alternate lifestyles, and Nester would never have believed he would be spending any time here, let alone on Valentine’s Day, but Mythie insisted they come here, the geographical coordinates were favourable and the day was auspicious, she had said cryptically.
The Valentine’s Day Party’s host, speaking over the loud electronic music coming from a dozen speakers throughout the townhouse, announced that precisely at midnight the kissing would begin, encouraging everyone to make sure they didn’t stray far from their date. The couple who held their kiss the longest, he said, would receive a $750 gift card to his flagship adult-novelties store, not far from his downtown townhouse, along with a weekend cruise on his yacht that he boasted was larger than his townhouse and had seen more than its share of assignations, trysts, and fervent, illicit rendezvous. “You can buy a lot of love-enhancing paraphernalia with $750,” he said, sounding like a car salesman extolling the virtues of the flashest sportscar on the lot, adding immodestly, “bring them along for the romantic excursion of a lifetime,” and then he laughed lustfully, or at least that was how most of the people at the party experienced his laughter.
“At the stroke of midnight, elaborate kissing aside, we will reveal our true visages. All over your planet,” the new love of Nestor’s life said, her melodious voice seeming to tone down the loud electronic music. It was the wine speaking, he was certain. First “geographical coordinates,” now “true visages.“ The party’s host came over to them, a voluptuous woman on each arm and attempted to kiss Nestor’s companion but he pushed the lecherous man to the floor with a strength that astounded the retired astrophysicist.
“Hey, be cool, old man,” the host said, trying not to sound defeated or hurt, being helped off the floor by the two voluptuous woman. “It wasn’t like I was going to shag your sweetie. As you can see, I have my arms were full,” the host said, reattaching himself to the two women, and walked toward another couple, intent on kissing someone else’s date.
“I can’t remember ever pushing anyone like that before,” Nester said. “I’ve never been a violent or physical person.”
“It was quite chivalrous,” Mythie said. “You Earthlings can be territorial and emotional in ways that are irrational.”
“Earthlings,” Nester echoed, and shook his head in bafflement. Wine or no wine, she seemed so serious, more serious than during any time of their one-month burgeoning relationship.
“We first visited your planet millennia ago,” she explained to his perplexed look. “A few of us remained. I think you might find it fascinating that Medusa was one of my sisters. Actually, the sister I am most like.”
Nestor laughed nervously, unsure how to interpret what Mythie was saying, and touched the beautiful silk dress she was wearing. She always dressed stylishly, he thought, as though everything she dressed for was a special occasion, and recalled telling her when they first met that she was the most elegant woman he had ever seen. His wife, he told Mythie at their first meeting, which was by chance in the lobby of a theatre, awaiting the start of the local symphony’s first program of the new year, and on whose board he sat, no longer cared about her appearance or the way she dressed. Mythie told him then that she liked the feel of silk against her skin, enjoyed the sensuousness of dressing up.
As Nestor told Mythie how lucky he felt to even spend one evening with her, let alone the incomparable month they had shared, the host began the countdown to midnight, his lustful laughter turning to even more lustful counting.
“Close your eyes while we kiss and afterward, if you love me, turn away, leave,” Mythie beseeched Nestor, and his bafflement grew. Last night he described how he wanted to spend his remaining days with her, she had made him believe in love and life again. Not that he ever had much of a sense of humour, but he had said that he found her more erotic and desirable than astrophysics, and that had always been the love of his life.
“Let the kissing begin, the deeper the better,” the host shouted, caught in the throes of a liquor-drenched frenzy.
The fervent midnight kissing began, including between Nestor and Mythie. Feeling something strange against his face, damp, slithery, and writhing, Nestor opened his eyes.
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