She lay on the sofa in her flat, staring ahead with the expression and accompanying ennui of a prompter who, night after night, is not called upon to speak. The room was no longer a place where people talked and laughed, the old wooden floor no longer creaked beneath the cheerful feet of drunken friends, the walls no longer listened in on girlfriends whispering their late-night romantic confidences to her on the sofa, giggling and blushing, or to the lavishly embellished adventures laid on thick by the men who trampled down the door to her flat, hoping to impress her with their bragging, no, it was as if life had hurriedly packed its suitcases to go and try its luck elsewhere and the room was now just the room, the floor just the floor, the walls a cell in which she lay on the worn-out sofa with a head numbed by the echoing of an almost incomprehensible emptiness. It was as if she had spent the past few months, during the lockdown, frozen in time. When there was a sudden knock at the door, it seemed as if the glacier that had enveloped her in such a chill collapsed into big chunks and life abruptly went on.
‘Who’s there?’ She paused and then repeated the question, louder and with less surprise in her voice. There was no reply. The silence was even more palpable than usual. Cautiously, she walked to the door and peeped through the spyhole. No one. She opened it without removing the chain from the slot and bit her bottom lip as she looked through the crack. ‘Hello?’ She waited a moment before opening the door all the way and looking left and right without her feet crossing the threshold.
The hallway was empty.
Then she noticed the parcel. It was just in front of her feet. A small cardboard box, with no stamps and no sender. Her name wasn’t on it either. As she picked it up off the floor, she noticed a warm glow coming from it and she could have sworn that she felt the almost weightless package gently pulsating in her hands. She closed the door, put the package on the table and peered at it thoughtfully. The box looked rather crumpled.
It had clearly been opened several times before and stuck back together with new tape.
The pulsating gradually increased in frequency and her own heartbeat sped up too, while the package apparently grew even warmer as her hands felt their way over the slightly weathered cardboard. Beads of sweat formed on her temples. She wiped her forehead with her sleeve before cutting through the tape with a knife and warily opening the flaps of the box. Before she knew what was happening, something darted out of the box, shot across the room like a lightning bolt and disappeared under the sideboard.
It all happened so quickly. Confused, she staggered. Was it really what she thought it was? It couldn’t be, could it? A shiver ran down her spine. She lay flat on the floor and looked under the sideboard. Her breath caught in her throat. My God, she thought, it really is. It was sitting quietly in a corner. Unconsciously, she moistened her lips with her tongue. As she reached out an arm and tried to touch it, it skimmed past her again. It raced around the room a few times before disappearing once more, this time under the sofa.
Now she took a different approach. She lit a few candles, turned off the lights and took off her clothes. Dressed only in her panties and bra, she lay on her stomach again, which was now as hot as a lightbulb. Slowly and invitingly, she slid her open hand under the sofa. ‘Come on,’ she whispered, ‘come to me.’
And then, after a few minutes, it happened. The orgasm, which lay curled up like a hedgehog against the wall, relaxed – to the extent that an orgasm can relax – and hesitantly moved towards her fingertips. As it sniffed at them, a shudder went through her pelvis. She felt it slide onto her hand. It nestled in her tingling palm. She groaned and gently pulled back her arm. Like warm massage oil, the orgasm, which at first had been bluish-white but was now glowing orange-red like a crackling fire, slid up her arm to caress her shoulder and lick her neck before disappearing under her bra. She groaned again, louder, more intensely, before it slid over her trembling stomach and further down. She fell onto the sofa and tugged back the elastic of her lace panties. It moved beneath the fabric. She felt it burrowing around busily. Pushing her head back, she hungrily thrust up her hips. A grimace appeared on her face. For a moment, there was silence. For just a second, there was nothing to be heard. And then, from her mouth, there came the long-drawn-out sound of a thousand exploding cellos.
It was morning when she awoke. It had come to rest between her breasts. She gave it a quick stroke before picking it up and cradling it in her hands. I’m so happy you paid me a visit. She stood up and walked with the orgasm to the table where, after a moment of hesitation, she put it back in the box. ‘Thank you,’ she said, and she kissed it with moist lips before closing the box again and carefully sealing it with tape.
She opened the front door and, still naked, with her long hair down to her plump buttocks, she tiptoed with the parcel down the hallway to her neighbour’s door, a friendly widower in his sixties, who had been on his own for years now. She placed the box on the floor, knocked the door and hurried back to her own flat.