A Clear View

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Looking at a flat surface, you often just see the smooth reflection of light. If you take a different angle, you begin to see the scratches and imperfections. Life can make you shift your perspective. When that happens, new worlds appear.


The first week in August was sacred in their individual calendars. Nothing was booked, no appointments set, no meetings on the docket—this week was theirs alone.

For over twenty-five years the four couples had been gathering at the house on Cape Cod. The week was devoted to beach time, eating drinking time and just enjoying being with each other. They cherished their ability to pick up their relationships despite not having been together for a year.

Each one took comfort in each other. Agreeing that not many can sustain friendships over decades, the eight people attributed part of this closeness to the fact each couple remained married. Too many of their friends had divorced, with the division of friends often being part of the final settlement.

At least that’s how Bryan had used to view his friendships. Solid and forever. Bryan was soon to discover that this week would expose things to a new light. Although he knew no marriage was perfect, he never before saw all the cracks and flaws. This week he would develop a clear view of reality.

Bryan did not attend last year, since it was barely three months after Judy’s death. The other three couples had debated cancelling, but in the end it was a text from Bryan that said he would be deeply hurt if they did not gather in August. He only asked to remember him and Judy in a toast. It was their tradition to have their first dinner together on a Saturday evening and toast Jim, the lone unmarried member of their group, who passed away.

They all agreed and now Jim and Judy would be remembered. They called Bryan and all tried to talk to him over the cell phone’s speaker. Not much communication occurred, but all felt better for reaching out.

Although he never mentioned another reason to his friends, Bryan had decided to stay away because he was trying to reconcile the closeness of these long-time friends with his suspicion that one of them had been sleeping with his wife. Those suspicions were unresolved, but he could not imagine not having these people in his life.

Bryan was planning to be in attendance this year. He talked to Bob, the owner of their reunion house, and insisted that he take the small bedroom with the bunk beds and give up the big room with the queen. For years, Mark and Sasha took the bunk beds. After some back and forth, Bob agreed.

They arrived between 2 and 4 on the appointed Saturday. The forecast for the week was sun and high 80s. Perfect beach weather.

After getting settled, they made their ways to the large deck. Bob had the beer and wine iced, and set out six dozen steamers with bowls of broth and melted butter, and a dish of red grapes on the big picnic table. Somehow this tradition had developed and each week began with the same menu. Following the steamers, dinner would be steamed lobsters, corn on the cob, garlic mashed potatoes and garden salad, accompanied by unending loaves of crusty French bread. Mark was in charge of the wine and always supplied too many bottles of crisp Chardonnay that somehow were consumed by the end of the evening. Dessert just had to be blueberry pie, delivered by Bryan from a bakery in Maine, along with lots of Walpole vanilla ice cream.

After an initial awkwardness because of Judy’s absence, they soon resumed their ease as long-time friends and the laughter and multi-tiered conversations spilled over into the pines bordering the cedar-shake house.

Dinner, dessert and drinking occupied them until late. By midnight, all were in bed. Bryan crawled into the lower bunk slightly drunk and more than a little melancholy. Judy loved coming as much as he did and her presence was overpowering in its absence. Sleeping in a new room after all these years also added to his discomfort. After tossing and turning, he finally dozed off close to 2 am.

Up early, Bryan headed out for his morning five miles. He loved the contours, hills and unique vegetation of this part of the Cape. Truro was the last town before Provincetown and still one of the least developed parts of the Cape, although the last two decades of growth filled in many once open spaces.

He arrived home to a still quiet house. He stripped in his room and wrapped a towel around him, made his way outside and down the cedar walkway to the outdoor shower. The shower was essentially a redwood wall attached to the house with a floor of cedar boards. Two showerheads hung from the foundation, the redwood wall blocked visibility from the house and neighbors and the back was open to the thick stand of pine trees. Everyone loved the feeling of being so exposed and yet so protected.

He washed and let his hand linger on his member. Since Judy died, his hand constituted his entire love life. He stroked himself, enjoying the sensation as he grew in üsküdar escort length and girth. When he was fully erect, he stroked harder, pushing himself closer to the inevitable.

This time he stopped. He just didn’t feel right cumming here in the shower, with all his friends nearby. Maybe later in his room he could finish and find a few seconds of relief.

He turned the water off and stood looking out over the trees while his body dripped dry. It was warm for the morning and the sun filtered through the branches. The air moved across his naked body and played along his sensitive sex. He toweled his hair and smiled, looking down at his still engorged dick.

“Sorry old fellow,” he thought. “I’ll take care of you later.”

He turned to go and was about to wrap the towel around his waist, when Sasha turned the corner of the stall.

They both made a startled sound. Sasha looked at him and then her eyes traveled down.

Neither one moved. Bryan looked at her wrapped in a bath towel with a toiletry caddy in one hand. She continued to stare at his erection.

Trying to break the tension, Bryan said, “Uh, Sasha, my eyes are up here,” thinking that old line would crack her up.

She looked up, her mouth still slightly open, and looked back down.

“Sasha, hello.”

“Jesus, Bryan, you still get those,” she said.


Pointing at his hard dick, she said, “That.”

“Well, I am a guy. So, hard-ons happen.”

“Not necessarily,” she added.


Sasha and Mark were married longer than any of them. All the guys were classmates in high school. They maintained their friendship through college, since they attended state university together. When they were college seniors, Mark met Sasha. She was only a sophomore in high school and the sister of one of their day student friends. He used to invite his friends over to his house where his Russian mom would cook unbelievable amounts of great food. Sasha helped her mother serve dinner. She liked to sit with the guys and listen to their college stories.

She was simply beautiful. Of average height, she was dark-complected with deep brown eyes. As a young teenager, Sasha was slender and toned. Her long dark hair reached midway down her back and moved sensuously as she walked around.

She just turned sixteen and began to exhibit a womanly figure. Her small butt, usually hidden behind tight jeans or snug shorts, beat out an exotic tattoo with every step. Her breasts pushed against the thin polo shirts she favored. They did not appear huge, but demanded attention, especially from testosterone laden college boys. Sasha played field hockey and her legs were muscled and shapely.

All the guys held a crush for her, but they were reluctant to take a step because of her age and. her domineering mother. She would bark orders to Sasha in Russian and debate was not an option. Her mother eyed the hulking masses of boyhood suspiciously as her daughter navigated among them. Sasha’s father was Italian by ancestry. He just glowered a lot at any boy near Sasha.

Mark screwed up his courage and asked her to his senior prom. There was much discussion with her parents, but in the end her brother vouched for Mark. He also had to agree to double date with them and swear he would keep his sister in sight the entire evening.

True to his promise, her brother stood guard over her virtue the entire night. It was not an easy task since many of the other guys circled her with a look that indicated they smelled fresh meat. To her credit, Sasha ignored all of them except for Mark. They danced every dance and had a great time.

Afterwards, they dated—with plenty of supervision and many not so veiled threats from both momma and papa–and found they were a perfect match. Mark and Sasha continued seeing each other after he graduated, since he stayed for a summer job at the college. After she finished high school, she elected to attend college in the same town where Mark was now teaching. They developed their relationship and married at the end of her freshman year. Each was a virgin and Bryan believed neither had ever enjoyed serious temptation or strayed off the marital path since that time.


Sasha was now openingly staring at a naked Bryan.

“I think I should cover up, Sasha,” Bryan said.

The normally conservative and shy woman replied.

“Could you leave it out for a couple more seconds?”

Although shocked, Bryan complied and busied himself by drying his hair and back. Sasha kept staring. Looking at her expression that seemed to straddle the border between curiosity and lust, Bryan dared to run his hand up and down his shaft. Sasha sighed deeply.

Seeing that she was not repulsed, he moved it a few more times. Sasha watched intently.

“Thanks, Bryan. It’s just I haven’t seen a hard dick in a long time. Actually, this is only the second real adult erection I have ever seen. God, it’s a nice one. yenibosna escort I love the way it bounces when you were drying yourself. Also, it’s cool how it sort of curves up a little toward your tummy.”

Sasha’s attention did nothing to alleviate his condition. He stroked it twice more and Sasha closed her eyes as if sealing in the vision. He slowly pulled the towel around him, the tent looking obscene in the front.

“What are you going to do about that?” Sasha asked.

“Oh, probably nothing. Just wait until nature takes its course.”

“It’s like wasting a natural treasure.”

Not knowing how to reply, Bryan shrugged.

“If you want, you could finish here,” she said.

Bryan was sure he had not heard her correctly. Was she really inviting him to masturbate in front of her?

“Uh, I think maybe I’ll just head back inside.”

With a long sigh, Sasha said, “Well, thanks for a morning treat. I think I may be in this shower a little bit longer than usual. I do have business to attend to.”

Bryan blushed at her frank admission that she probably was going to masturbate.

“Uh, ok, yeah, I get it.”

Sasha flashed her mega-watt smile. “Always knew you were a bright one.”

“Sasha,” he asked. “What do we tell Mark?”

“Well, I’m gonna tell him I caught you in the shower and enjoyed the hell out of it.”

Bryan nodded, but wondered if she were being serious.

“Now, run along so I can start my shower and, well, other stuff.”

He slipped into his flip-flops, picked up his shaving kit and turned to head back to the house.


He turned back to look at her.

“You know if this ever happened again and you want to finish, I wouldn’t be offended.”

Bryan could only nod and smile.

He turned and left.

Fortunately, no one saw him and he made it to his room without having to explain why his towel looked like the tent at the circus.


Sitting on the deck and enjoying his morning coffee, Bryan heard the screen door slide open.

Mark came out on deck with his own coffee and a plate piled with two bagels slathered with cream cheese and lox, adorned with capers and chopped onion.

With a low groan, he eased himself into an adjoining lounge chair.

Bryan looked at his friend. Mark was once the skinniest kid of the bunch. Although only 5’5″, he now outweighed Bryan by thirty pounds. At 6’3″ Bryan easily handled his 190 pounds. For Mark, his nearly 220 pounds made his belly protrude and hang low. Mark liked to say when he and Sasha married they each weighed 125 pounds. Sasha still weighed the same.

“Beautiful morning,” Bryan offered. “Going to be another great beach day.”

“Yeah,” said Mark devouring half a bagel and licking the extra cream cheese from his fingers. Mark was meticulously clean and neat. His bald head shone as if it were shined and buffed each day. He always wore clean and pressed shirts, shorts and pants. He was fastidious about everything he did, including eating. He devoured his food, but never left a mess. The sole exception being his propensity to drop something that always landed on his protruding lap. He would sigh and be sure to change his shirt, once he finished his food.

Mark was a slave to food. He usually helped himself to more than twice as much of anything than any of the others and ate with a ritual devotion to savor every bite.

“Heard you had a little run in down at the shower?” he said.

“Shit, Mark, I’m sorry. I must have really embarrassed Sasha. I had turned the water off and she probably thought no one was there. God, we both nearly jumped out of our skins.”

Mark took a long sip of coffee and smacked his lips. He finished the remaining half of a bagel.

“Oh, Sasha was not that embarrassed. I’d say she was more curious.”

Bryan didn’t know how to respond, so he kept his mouth shut.

“Look, Bryan, I know you didn’t do anything on purpose. I’m not mad, believe me. I am jealous, however.”


“Jealous that can still get it up. I haven’t had a stiffy in years. Shit, I haven’t been able to see my dick in that long, except if I look in the mirror and hold up my gut. The little guy is all shriveled. It’s fucking pathetic. So, I don’t mind Sasha enjoying a look at a hard dick. Hell, the fact that it’s you is even better. We’re friends. And, she always had a little crush on you.”

“Still, Mark, I never meant…”

“I get that. Ok? It’s cool.”

Mark ate half of another bagel and drained his coffee.

“I need some more Joe. Can I get you some?”

“No, thanks, I’m all set.”

Mark pushed himself up with a grunt and entered the house. He returned in a few minutes with a steaming mug and another plate holding a cheese Danish and a pecan sticky bun.

He eased himself back down and finished off the remaining bagel. He put the dirty plate on the table between them and started nibbling zeytinburnu escort on the Danish.

“Bryan,” he said while washing down a mouthful of pastry, “I take a shitload of medicine. You know that. One pill for high blood pressure, one for afib, two for my diabetes and one for cholesterol. Add to that that I’m seriously overweight and in my mid-fifties, over-stressed and neurotic. Then last year I had a little prostate problem. The net effect is I’ve got a permanently limp noodle.”

Bryan knew of Mark’s health challenges. He was discreet enough never to bring up that most of his problems could go away or become much less severe if he lost weight and exercised. He loved Mark like a brother and decided it was better to let the doctors and his family berate him for his condition.

What was new was that Mark was openly discussing his impotence with him.

“So today Sasha sees someone she loves and admires with a full-blown woodie. She tells me she enjoyed looking at it. Who am I to complain? Shit, I think it was good for her. Probably give her some good dreams. Who knows?”

They sit in silence listening to the breeze in the pines and the soft chirping of the birds flitting about the numerous feeders that Bob has put out. Bryan wondered if Sasha told Mark that he was stroking it in front of her. Or, that she offered to watch him masturbate. Or, maybe this was Mark’s way of giving Bryan silent permission to please his wife, at least visually.

“Mark, I don’t know what to say. I guess I never thought about the effects that all the medicine might have on you. It must be difficult for you.”

“Difficult! You could say that. I can’t pleasure my wife. I can barely grab my own dick since I’m so fuckin’ fat. Even if I could, I could yank on it for days and it would just lie there and laugh at me.”

“Ever try Viagra or something,” asked Bryan.

“Oh, yeah. Been there, done that and not a thing changed. Docs can’t agree if it’s psychological or all the drug interactions. No matter, I still can’t get it up.”

Mark finished off the Danish and took a bite of his pecan roll.

“You know, food is my drug. I use it to satisfy everything else that is shitty. Can’t get it up? Have three Coney Island Dogs? Cholesterol is high? How about a triple decker ice cream cone? Sugar levels out of sight? Let’s go to Krispy Kreme. A big sale fell through, King-sized prime rib, please. It just gives me some control in my life. I can decide how I eat, how much and when. Of course, I know it also means that all these problems are just made worse, not better. I’m not an idiot. I’m just a fuckin’ jerk.”

Bryan rested his hand on his friend’s arm. Mark looked away and Bryan sensed he was fighting tears.

“Bryan, you’ve been my best friend,” he said as he looked off into the pines. “Of all the guys here, you have been the most supportive. You made me feel as if I was really accomplishing something when I quit teaching and tried to develop my granddad’s lake property.”

“Christ, Mark, you were accomplishing something. Look at you now. You are an amazing success. You ended up with more money than all of us. I admire you.”

“Thanks, buddy, I know you mean it. Your faith in me helped me hang in. I know I can always count on you.”

Mark put his hand on top of Bryan’s as it remained on his arm. Bryan supposed if they were women, they’d be hugging right now. That was not going to happen. He also wondered if Mark were sending him another message. Was it “Go ahead and please my wife” or “Don’t even think about Sasha that way.”

“Yeah, it’s difficult. But, Bryan, it is nowhere near as difficult as what you’ve been through. To lose Judy like that… Shit, man, we all miss her. I know that doesn’t help, but we do.”

“Mark, it means a lot,” said Bryan. “Just knowing that you guys remember Judy when she was good, that’s important. I appreciate all you have done. Knowing you were there whenever I needed to talk, well, that was really important.”

“Not that you talked all that much,” said Mark.

“Hey, I’m a guy. We are better at holding in than sharing.”

“Still, Bryan, anytime you just want to vent, I’m around. Since I can’t hear for shit anymore, you can tell me anything. Plus, what I do hear I can’t remember. Hell, I’d make a great confessor.”

The two men shared a laugh.

“What are you two boys giggling about?”

Sasha joined them on the deck, holding her coffee in one hand and a bowl of fresh fruit mixed with yogurt in the other. Her short hair was still damp. She wore a blue oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up and khaki shorts. She maintained her trim figure and toned legs through two kids and a lifetime of caring for Mark. Her smile still could be blinding. Being six years younger than the guys, she looked fabulous. She recently stopped coloring her hair and the salt and pepper look only made her sexier in Bryan’s estimation. He felt a stirring in his own shorts thinking that he stood naked in front of her and that she obviously enjoyed looking.

She cast a quick glance at the empty plates next to her husband. A look passed between them that only another married person would recognize. Sasha was beyond harping on Mark for his eating habits. Still, she wanted to let him know that she knew what he was doing.

“Just talking men stuff,” said Mark in response to her earlier inquiry.

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