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When Madeleine comes, she’s like a Monet. A glorious riot up close, but from across the room, a magnificent canvas. I have been both artist and viewer; I know.

Whatever Madeleine does for work, I imagine she spends most of her day controlling outcomes. Whose outcomes and for what purpose I neither know nor am inclined to ask. All she asks of me is that I make the decisions so she doesn’t have to. Madeleine’s body is wonderfully responsive, though; she doesn’t understand that she makes decisions with the tone of her contented hum of pleasure, with her surprised O of wonder when I expose some undiscovered bit of flesh. Without realizing, she is guiding my every touch, every movement of our bodies.

At eight o’clock on Sunday evenings, I am let into her apartment by the doorman. Madeleine waits for me in her bed. She has a predilection for silk pajamas. I arrive in pajama bottoms of my own. Under my severely buttoned white wool coat, I am topless. The feeling of the satin lining of the coat against my bare nipples is akin to the stroke of a woman’s soft fingers. It helps me to focus.

I come to her like a familiar lover. I slip into her bed, run my hand up her hip. I am asking permission, but also informing her of my intentions. I press my breasts against her back, ever-so-softly bite her shoulder where that curve echoes my hand’s travels.

Taking her hand, I turn her so she is lying on her back. She is so pliant, so soft under me when I straddle her, but the heat from between her thighs is aggressive and wanting. I take her other hand, raise both over her head, rest them into the down of her pillows. Wrapping my hands around her wrists, I press my thumbs hard into her palms and bend to take her breast in my mouth, closing my teeth just a bit over the pajama top between us.

The flavor of silk is my unchanging memory of Madeleine.

Tonight she tastes of oysters, the kind from the sea-fed rivers of Maine, with a barely discernible sweetness, warm and salty. Her shifting rosy flesh blurs like an impressionist flower. I cradle her hips while her body tenses, her knees shaking as they do. I resist the urge to kiss the inside of her thigh when the last tremor of her orgasm passes.

Naked and aroused, I leave her to fetch two bottles of water from the kitchen. When I return, her left hand is between her legs, her hips pressing upwards into the heel of her hand as she strokes herself. She comes again silently, spread out in front of me on the bed.

She won’t need me for much longer.