I remember being so surprised when Audrey told me. We had just begun to get to know each other. We'd been on a couple dates. It was at that point in the relationship where you've gone out together, but but you might not yet say, "We're together."
We were at one of the coffeehouses near campus. A chill place that also served beer. And in the afternoons, when most people were in class, it was a nice time to have a drink and talk. The talk soon turned to sex. Perhaps because we hadn't had any together, and there was that real excitement and anticipation because it seemed we were headed that way.
Not having sex together, we talked about masturbation. Asking each other about having sex alone, was not just flirty verbal foreplay, but a coded way to gage if either of us were really single, or playing the field, or pent up and desperate.
Audrey said that, like college boys, she probably masturbated twice a day. She said she did it in bed, like when she woke up, or before ending her day. Sometimes in the shower before classes, if she wasn't too rushed. And sometimes "just around," she said.
"What do you mean, just around," I asked.
"Oh you know," she said. "Like if I'm in my car and stuck in traffic, instead of getting all pissed off, I just touch myself."
I nodded. "Where else," I asked, curious.
"Well, once I did it on a plane coming home from school. It was pretty late, and I had one of those blankets in my lap, and the movie wasn't that good, so I slipped my hand under the blanket."
I was feeling myself get hard as I tried to imagine Audrey in an airplane flying home from college, rubbing herself in her seat.
"Oh, and in the library, sometimes I need a little study break, you know? My eyes get all blurry, and start reading the same sentence like a hundred times. and I don't want to walk back halfway across campus to the dorms. So I just do it right there."
"What do you mean right there?"
"Well, you know, it's a big library, and the tables are big, and there not very many people there, and I just slip my hand down."
"And no one sees you?"
"I don't think so. I mean really, you know how it always feels like everyone is watching everything you do? It's not really true. Everyone's always in their own world. I've done it with someone studying at the same table. They never had a clue."
I was totally turned on, now picturing her at one of the large oak tables in the library, secretly touching herself underneath it, while her textbooks were open in front of her.
"That's hard to believe they didn't catch on," I said. "I mean, people aren't stupid."
"No," said Audrey. "Not stupid, just usually too much in their own thoughts to really look or care what's going on next to them. Like now."
"Like now what?"
"Like as we've been talking, I've been touching myself."
That was the most shocking thing a woman had ever, and has ever, said to me. I looked at Audrey across the table for some sign. Her faces was calm, same as always. She smiled. She wore a striped dress, and all I could see was her top. I couldn't see her hands, in her lap or what they were doing. There was a student in the booth behind us, but he'd been working on his laptop and I don't think had tuned into our conversation.
"I don't believe you," I said.
"See for yourself," said Audrey and slid back in the booth chair. I glanced under the booth and saw that she did in fact have both hands inside her tights and panties. She was clearly rubbing herself. Now she had her eyes closed and she looked like she was quietly sleeping or just concentrating. I could see her fingers moving faster against the fabric, but she didn't moan or sigh, just sat back in the booth, rubbing herself. I snapped a quick shot with my celphone, trying to capture the moment. I think I got the scene: the table, my beer, the dude behind us. But it's hard to capture just how real and powerful it was to be sitting just inches from Audrey as she rubbed herself. She was fully clothed and if anyone walked by, she could simply close her legs and smooth her dress down. No one would ever know what was going on, unless, like me, they could watch and focus on the small quiver of her lips and how she squeezed her eyes when her orgasm came.