Jim Whitehead at 23 was short, smart, and always horny. Sex was his favorite activity and he went for it every chance he got.
When was the miracle age between the introduction of the Pill and the advent of AIDS. Where was the venue of college – San Francisco State in fact – so there was no dearth of opportunity.
Jim wasn’t handsome but he was cute enough, and he knew how to talk smart and loom studly. Before he met Peg he knocked up three girlfriends and sired two sons. He had even been married once, because the first pregnancy and birth occurred in high school and all the parents made them. They never lived together though, and that baby was put up for adoption after all. The other son, James Whitehead Jr., was raised by his single mother. Jim’s support obligation was $85 a month, which he paid, but he never got to know the boy.
There was something about Peg, or maybe just about the season in Jim’s life, that made him stop tomcatting. He met her his last semester in college, seduced her, cleaved unto her, and proposed marriage.
She was no more beautiful than he was handsome. She had thick blondish hair but that wasn’t uncommon. She was short and well-proportioned – “more than a handful,” Jim used to say – with a trim ankle and foot. But her posture was atrocious, her skin was freckled, and her mouth was small and tight. All of which features were okay with Jim. He saw her curved back as vulnerability, and the freckles and tiny mouth were markers for youth which, truth to tell, really turned Jim on.
Some latently gay guys go for boyish women. Some with pedophiliac tendencies like them girlish instead.
Jim married Peg with all the celebration that his first wedding lacked. It was a church affair well-guested by both families. The bride wore white and the only eccentric feature was her attendant. She had girlfriends of course, and three of them served as bridesmaids, but her maid of honor was a man of honor, her best friend Nick. They’d been pals (mostly Platonic) since high school, and Peg couldn’t imagine going through the ritual without him.
It was a fine wedding and a fun honeymoon. Jim and Peg ran a vigorous bedroom, and their kinkiness flowered at the adult all-inclusive Jamaican resort. That’s where Peg first let Jim tie her up. That’s when he shaved her pubes – “the better to find you, my dear” – and Peg enjoyed the airiness enough to continue the style for some years.
Marriage didn’t change them immediately. Jim stayed in school and Peg went to work, which they each would have done anyway. Peg and Nick enjoyed a final fling of non-Platonism before their old friendship faded. Jim never found out.
The young Whiteheads flourished those first five years. Peg made decent money at her bank job and Jim did okay with investments. They bought a home (a Daly City condo) and acquired a small boat. They traveled when they could. They drank easily. They had excellent sex. Jim was the oldest of five sons and two daughters, so he saw the Playboy magazines before his father learned how to hide them well, and he carried serious lingerie fantasies from those early visions. Peg had the love and the legs to wear garter belts. There are probably still some Polaroids around from that era.
No, the decline occurred with reproduction. Peg got accidentally pregnant and then miscarried, and those events made them realize how much they wanted children. They conceived again, deliberately, some seven months later, and they told no one till Peg began the second trimester. Then they began to get excited.
They moved to Vallejo. They bought a house and painted the baby’s room before their own. Three months later Peg was delivered of a plump perfect daughter.
Kelly was pink-skinned, golden-fuzzed, with deep blue eyes and exquisite toes, but Peg felt nothing for her. The maternal urges didn’t bloom. Even four days after, when her milk began abundant flow, Peg sat with her babe in arms, calmly gazing at the upturned face, savoring the uterine twitch and release as the sucking triggered her let-down reflex, but she felt no passion, no lust to protect. The retrospective diagnosis was postpartum depression, and of course there’s no ignoring hormones, but I’m sure there was a giant shadow cast by Peg’s mother: dead when Peg was 20, their unresolved issues scattered like her ashes.