Eva shakes her head at me when she sees me wheel over to the dinner table. "I told you, Eddie," she says.
"Yeah, I know," I say.
Mother comes into the dining room, wearing a slinky black dress, which may or may not be lingerie. I can see the outline of her panties through the dress and I almost gasp. Jennie never dresses like that, even in the bedroom. But Jennie doesn't have a body like my mother does, even though she's more than twenty years younger. I quickly check the blanket over my lower body, making sure that it hides any erection I might have.
I can tell that Mother has had a few too many glasses of wine to drink by the way she sways as she walks. She sits down next to me at the dinner table and smiles charmingly. "Thank you for staying, Eddie."
I nod and say nothing.
Eva brings out a basket of warm rolls, drops it on the table, and leaves the room. Mother gives her a dirty look as she is leaving. "That woman is so temperamental," Mother complains. "I'm on the verge of firing her."
"She seems nice to me," I say.
"What did she say to you?" Mother demands. "Did she tell you I'm a drunk? Did she tell you that I'm bad mouthing you to your back?"
"She doesn't have to tell me those things," I say quietly. "I already know they're true."
Mother is silent for a moment. "I'm sorry about this morning."
"It's too late for that," I say.
"Please don't say that," she says. "I want to get to know my son better. I really do."
"I really don't think you do," I say. "I invited you to my wedding, but you didn't come. You didn't come to my graduation either. And now I'm here and you don't want me here." I shake my head at her. "If that's the way you want it, fine. You'll never meet your daughter-in-law. And you'll never meet your grandchildren either."
I would like to attribute my mother's next reaction to the large quantity of wine she had drunk that day: "Grandchildren? You can have sex?"
I'm embarrassed for both of us. I know where she got this idea though. When I was eleven years old, my pediatrician came to the house, examined my small penis, tested it for sensation, then informed me and my mother that I would never be able to have sex. Before I even really knew what sex was, I knew it was something I would be excluded from.
Sex was never easy for me. After Jennie and I had several unsuccessful tries, we went to a doctor, who gave me a prescription for Viagra. With the drug and a rubber band wrapped around my penis, I can sometimes maintain an erection long enough to please my wife. I don't really feel it, but I know she does, and that's what is important to me.
I very rarely ejaculate, but a fertility doctor assured us that it would be possible for us to have children if we so desired. I went for genetic counseling and found out that if I did have a child, there would be a pretty good chance that the child would have a similar leg deformity. Any chance of having a child like myself would be too high, so I told Jennie I didn't want to have children. She understood and said that when the time was right, we would adopt.
"Yes, I can have sex," is what I say.
Mother's blushes slightly. "I'm sorry, Eddie…I didn't mean to imply…it's just that I know you don't have any feeling down there…"
"There's more to sex than pleasing myself," I say, looking her straight in the eyes. "And there are a lot of ways to please a woman."
She smiles a little sadly. "That's just the sort of thing I would expect you to say. You're so different from your father."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Your father was only concerned with his own pleasure," she says. "Every woman was a conquest for him. He never cared about making me happy, only that I was beautiful. I guess that was why he was never able to please me sexually."
My eyes widen. "Never?"
"He never even asked if I had an orgasm," she went on, "it was meaningless to him. Because he was so self-absorbed, I've never experienced sexual pleasure."
I can hardly believe what I'm hearing. "But what about with other men…?"
"Other men?" Mother laughs. "What other men? You must think I'm quite a slut. No, there were no other men. There was only your father. He's the only man I've ever been with."
I am speechless as Eva brings out the salad. There were always men trying to go out with my mother. It seems hard to believe she rejected all of them.
Mother waits until Eva is gone before she continues. "Your father was so selfish and superficial. And in a lot of ways, I'm exactly the same. I didn't marry him because I loved him-I married him because he was attractive and rich. And if you hadn't…turned out the way you did, I know you'd be just the same way."
I wonder if Mother is right. I suppose she is. I had everything-money, looks, intelligence. If not for my crippled legs, I would have thought I was entitled to everything the world had to offer. But my legs made me humble.
"You're such a good person, Eddie," Mother says. "If you hadn't been born with those…horrible legs, you'd be just like me. I wouldn't want that. You're better off this way." She stands up shakily. "You probably should go home. I don't deserve to have a son like you."
With those words, Mother stumbles in the direction of her bedroom. I sit and stare at the roll on my plate. Eva comes in carrying a tray of meatloaf and is surprised to see that my mother is gone. "I have dinner ready," Eva says.
"I'm not hungry," I say, and wheel away from the table.
I've only been in Mother's bedroom a handful of times, because her room is on the ground floor, whereas I was always restricted to the third floor. I remember where it is though and I push my chair hesitantly in that direction. I don't know what to say to her except goodbye. I came here to help her and I still want to. She's my mother and I love her.
The door to the bedroom is narrow and my wheelchair just barely fits through. It doesn't surprise me though, since nothing in this house is accessible to me. Mother is lying on her back, sprawled out on the bed. I park my chair next to the bed and lean closer to her, listening to the deep sounds of her breathing. She's passed out. I kiss her gently on the cheek.
I wheel around to the side of the bed when her legs hang off the edge. I run my finger along the smooth skin of her foot, up her calf, to her knee. She has such beautiful legs. I look down at my own legs, still concealed by the blanket. I always wanted to be like her.
I am suddenly seized by the urge to make my mother come. I want her to come so hard, she'll scream and claw at my face. I want her to come so hard that tears will squeeze from her eyes as her nails tear through my back. I want to please her the way my father never could. And I know that I can do it. Because I can't use my penis the way other men can, I've become expert at finding other ways to please a woman.
She is wearing delicate silk panties, which I carefully pull down. I assume the alcohol had caused her to pass out, but either way, she'll soon be waking up. Her pubic hair is damp and I run my finger across the slit of her cunt. I bend my head down and taste the curve of her clit. Through her drunken slumber, she moans softly.
I take this as encouragement. I run my tongue in circles, caressing her thighs with my fingertips. I quicken my pace and I hear her gasp. She's awake. She raises her head and sees what I am doing to her.
"Eddie…" she whispers.
I look up into her beautiful eyes. "Are you okay, Mommy?"
"Yes, I…" Her face flushes. "You can…keep doing that…"
I do not smile at her. "I have no intention of stopping."
I move my tongue faster, lapping her up like a little dog. Her breaths quicken to an alarming speed, but I will not let up. I will show her no mercy. This is my revenge for all those years she kept me locked away on the third floor.
When she comes, she screams so loud, I worry she had awakened the entire house. Her fingers, laced into my hair, pull so tightly that my scalp burns. Her body convulses and I have to grip her thigh to keep from falling out of my wheelchair. When the convulsions subside, she is drenched in sweat.
It seems to take all her effort to lift her head to look at me. "I don't know what to say, Eddie," she whispers. "You're such a good boy."
"I'm more than that," I say.
"Yes," she agrees. "You are." She cups her hand around my chin and kisses me on the mouth. We both look down and see that even the quilt isn't enough to conceal my erection this time.
"Don't," I say preemptively.
She isn't listening to me. Her hand is reaching toward the quilt, preparing to unveil the elephant man's legs. She's been wanting to do this since I first came home. I could see the curiosity in her eyes. Her hand is on my deformed knee.
I reach out and grab her wrist. "Don't. Really."
"You want me to," she says.
She's partially right. I want her to more than anything, but I dread the horror on her face when she pulls away the quilt. Even Jennie, who promised to love me till death, recoiled in disgust the first time she saw my legs. I don't think I could take that.
"Are you going?" she asks me.
"Yes," I say. "I have to."
Her face is still flushed from the orgasm and she gives me a look of such sadness that it takes all of my self-control to turn my chair around and wheel myself out the door, out of the house, and back to my wife.