| "The Lens as Mirror"
by Adhara Law
(c) 1998 Adhara Law. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced
without express written permission by the author.
I stood in his studio, where white satin dripped in silky clouds from the
walls, umbrellas of light cascaded off the ceiling. It was a place where the
thin, veiled shadows of and naked models moved in a different dimension
made of negative images. I stood where they stood, posed where they posed.
Bare arms, legs, chest, he moved my limbs like a doll and snapped quick
"Stare at the camera. Don't smile."
I obeyed silently.
It had started as an effort to take a nice of me for the company
newsletter -- a simple, graceful headshot. Being a professional, it was only
natural for my husband to take the picture. I wore a fawn-colored cashmere
sweater and a conservative lipstick, my hair tastefully held back in a
tortoiseshell clip. I smiled, the clicked.
He took five shots of me like that, my body turned slightly to the side,
angled so that I looked at the askance. But then his expression
changed. Somewhere in the space between images, he'd had a flash of artistic
epiphany and began posing me, tilting my head, removing my clothes, sliding
the clip from my hair and letting it fall in pools around my shoulders. I sat
on the white satin of his studio, bare skin tingling at the rushes of cool
air from the high windows, while he fluffed my hair and added more eyeshadow.
Somewhere in the medicine cabinet, he'd found a darker shade of lipstick --
a brazen that screamed seduction. It had been so long since I'd bought it
that I had forgotten it was in there.
"You're so beautiful," he breathed.
I hadn't heard that from him in over fifteen years.
"I've never seen this part of you." His voice had the quality of an
archeologist at the tomb of a lost pharaoh.
The next day I came home to find the photos strewn over the dining room table
and him hovering over them in complete concentration. His hands moved them
over and around one another, placing certain pictures together. I looked down
Had I not been in them myself, I'd have never guessed it was me he'd taken
the photos of. From out of each glossy image stared a beautiful woman looking
nowhere close to the forty-three years that I was. She looked like one of
the women he often photographed, the women with creamy flesh and candy lips
who pouted and draped themselves over him as he turned them into works of
art. The women I hated. In most of the photos, this siren staring out from a
black and white world seduced the viewer with begging eyes, arms crossed
seductively in front of her, hiding just enough flesh to entice the to
want to see more.
She was me.
"I want to exhibit these," he said, looking up at me from the pile of photos.
I didn't know what to say in reply except, "Okay."
A few months later I found myself dressing nervously for his photography
opening. My dress politely covered me without leaving enough to the
imagination. We entered the gallery amidst the bubbles of champagne and talk,
light laughter floating through the air on currents of artistic chatter.
People milled, women in black stopping in front of photos with hands on hips
and a criticizing eye. I noticed a large group gathered around one display in
particular. My husband took my arm in his and, with a professional smile, led
me to the crowd.
I stared where they stared, my breath stopping in my throat as I took in the
sight before me. A I'd remembered him taking, but not one that I'd
seen before this night. There I was on the wall, in black and white, sitting
and leaning back against my arms on the white satin, my head thrown back and
my knees raised slightly. Shadows from the walls licked at my barely
nipples. And though the image was obviously of a woman well into her
years, the slight spread in the hips and thickness of the thighs seemed
merely to add to the breathtaking image. I was seeing myself, as I was meant
I was beautiful.
Through the night, admirers remarked at the beauty of the images, the
freshness of the subject. They congratulated me on such a fine display of my
gracefulness. I could only blush. Thank God it eventually ended.
We drove, my husband and I, in the stark silence of the car, the mottled
darkness of the tree-lined highway guiding us home. As I stared out the
window, I felt his hand caress the inside of my thigh, eliciting a twinge
from the depths of me. I looked over to his shadowed face. He smiled. I let
him continue, blushing at the sensation of something I hadn't felt in
uncountable years. Marriage, I reflected, had a way of dimming the spark of
At home, I stood before the dresser, carefully removing my earrings. He moved
behind me, his fingers on the zipper of the dress as he slowly began pulling
it down. I let my arms go to my sides as I watched him through the mirror,
his lips slightly parted to let his breathe escape is tiny gasps. I stood
silent while he pulled the dress down over my hips and let it ripple to the
floor in a puddle of blue silk. I watched the reflection of his hands running
over my stomach and up to my breasts, where he let them pause, as if to renew
his acquaintance with something he'd once cherished but had long forgotten.
I turned. As I found his mouth with mine, I reached behind me and removed the
rest of my underclothes. He stepped back to watch. The feel of his starved
eyes as they crawled along my body brought shivers to my cool skin, and I
found myself stripping slowly, delicately, as he watched hungrily. When I'd
let my silk fall to the floor, he hit the light switch and we both
moved to the bed, the nervousness and unsurety of ourselves, so much like the
first time, moving the adrenaline a little faster through our veins.
He pulled me to him to lay side by side on the bed. His mouth tasted my ears,
my neck and my shoulders as it sought the crevice behind my
collarbone. I arched my back as he moved down, his tongue gently savoring the
flesh he'd been away from for so long.
My body seethed at the rediscovered sensations, the forgotten flow of
feelings, and so I pushed him onto his back and covered his hips with mine,
sliding him into me with ease. We both moaned as I ground into him with an
urgency that comes from abstinence. And as his hands ran hungrily over my
hips, I wondered, did he feel the flesh of the nineteen-year-old nymphs I'd
grown to hate, with bones that jutted and stabbed? Was I, at that moment, one
of the models who so shamelessly displayed herself for him like wares in a
store in the hopes that he would buy? Did he feel the tight and the
juices of a twenty years his junior, now, fucking him as they ran down
his hips and onto the sheets?
When he ran his hands eagerly over the full and ample flesh of my hips, the
soft spread of my thighs as they pressed against him in rhythmic thrusts, and
pulled me down against him in a soft moan, I knew that it was me that he
"Your body..." He moaned, too deep in the rising tide that was washing
through him. I pushed harder, faster, reveling in the freeness of my self, my
own beauty as I came, loud and alive, his own orgasm trailing behind mine.
And then we settled in amongst the sheets, hands and legs intertwined.
That night, I dreamt of youth, but did not miss it.
I strongly encourage both positive and negative feedback on my stories. Please
write to me, Adhara Law, at email@example.com and let me know what you
thought of this story.