Yumi was the wife of a friend. Once, I joked that the
sound of her name embodied the both of us – you know:
you, me – but she looked back at me as if she didn’t
understand. Of course she couldn’t, for I had fallen
deeply and secretly in love with her.
The things which transpired and which I am about to
relate are all true, and although I know that some of
what I did is indefensible, I hope that people who
know me might someday see this and think less harshly
Yumi’s husband Ken was transferred to our office from
the Tokyo section. Close in age and with certain life
experiences in common, we soon became friends. It was
only natural that I would meet his wife eventually.
Yumi was tall for a Japanese, and slender. She had the
kind of beauty that grew on me the more I saw of her.
It was in the way she moved; even the most simple
gesture could make my heart ache. Before I got to know
her she seldom betrayed much emotion but her elusive
smile was enchanting and as radiant as the sun emerging
from behind a cloud.
When I met Ken and Yumi I had recently broken up with
my longtime girlfriend. Since I was often in a low
mood my new friends went out of their way to cheer me
up. I spent many an evening with them at their house
and that is when my admiration for her blossomed into
– what some might call an obsession. Seeing her, the
clouds of my disaffection would suddenly lift, and in
those moments I would live in hope, vain though it may
Yumi cooked elaborate meals while Ken sat with his
feet propped up on the coffee table and served me
drinks. As the guest, my offers of assistance were
politely but firmly declined. While Ken and I drank
and laughed together I secretly kept one eye on Yumi
moving silently about the kitchen. I will never forget
the gentle curve of her fingers as she held a knife
or the way she bit her lip when she was concentrating
Over the next several months Yumi’s natural reserve
diminished as she became more comfortable in my pre-
sence. Seeing her personality emerge so slowly was
like patiently watching a flower open its blossom,
revealing a secret wonder within. Her shy demeanor
concealed a forceful personality, a penetrating wit
that could run circles around her husband and me when
she unleashed it. I felt pleased to have penetrated
one of her layers, however superficial; the thought
that the process could go on to unfathomable depths
made me surrender myself more completely to the secret
passion I had developed for this beautiful, untouchable
One night I stayed with them quite late. I’m not sure
what the occasion was, but we were all in a jolly
mood; much sake had been consumed. Excusing myself, I
made my way down the hall towards the bathroom. Due to
my drunkenness, I must have missed the door for I found
myself stepping into the master bedroom, illuminated
only by what light spilled in from the hallway.
So this is the bed where Ken and Yumi, I thought… I
squeezed my eyes shut; the image was at once tanta-
lizing and painful. I could hear the musical sound of
her laugh drifting down the hall. Knowing I should
leave, I moved to the dresser instead – where I
noticed one drawer slightly ajar.
Hardly aware what I was doing, I reached in and pulled
out the first thing my fingers came into contact with,
a pair of Yumi’s panties. Almost blind with nervous
excitement, I slipped them into my pocket and hurried
from the room.
In the bathroom I examined them, turning them around
between my trembling fingers. How delicate and feminine
her body must look when she had them on. It was some
minutes before I could compose myself enough to return
to my hosts, and for the rest of the evening the
offending garment burned a guilty hole in my pocket.
The next day, sober, realizing what I had done, I felt
too ashamed to even look at them. For days the panties
lay at the back of my dresser drawer, gone but not
forgotten. Their presence ate away at me until the day
Yumi called with an invitation to dinner and I pulled
them out at last.
I had only the intention of slipping them back where
they came from, but with Yumi’s voice fresh in my ear
and the soft fabric between my fingers I was overcome.
I sat on my bed for quite a while, letting my fingers
play over them, imagining the parts of her body they
That evening, knowing I had something intimate of hers
in my pocket, I regarded Yumi even more carefully in
my secret way and the private thrill she provided me
was greater than ever before.
When the chance came, I returned to the bedroom. My
motive was only to replace what I had taken and be
done with the forbidden pleasure; but pushing the
stolen panties to the back of the drawer, my hand
brushed against a fabric even softer, even more al-
luring in its texture. My heart sank. I knew I was
succumbing to a compulsion.
Powerless to stop myself, I drew out another pair of
panties and stuffed them into my pocket in place of
the ones I had just returned.
Once again upon arriving home my initial reaction was
shame; I hid them in the back of my drawer. But more
quickly than before I found myself drawing them out,
holding them in my hands while I thought of her.
The next time I went to see them I knew I would once
again exchange for another pair. When the moment
arrived, I drew out three and chose the prettiest:
silky yellow things with a white lace fringe.
It was some time after my thievery had become routine
that I descended to the next level of transgression.
It began with a torrid, erotic dream. I awoke to find
myself drenched in sweat, with a throbbing erection.
Trying to hold the fleeting dream images in my mind,
I began to relieve myself of my urgent, painful desire.
It was then that I brushed against something soft and
silky, cool to the touch. Yumi’s panties had been under
my pillow; somehow during the night they had become
dislodged. The cool silk felt soothing. I wrapped the
sheer fabric around myself, imagining it to be Yumi’s
lips enveloping me. Draped over my thighs, I let the
slippery fabric be the satiny cascade of her hair. I
fantasized about our bodies combined in all manner of
sexual couplings until I emptied myself into the
bunched up panties with great, throbbing liquid bursts.
The next morning I discovered the panties encrusted
with come and I was mortified. I quickly washed them
in warm soapy water to remove any stains I might have
left. After that, I recoiled, stuffing them in the
back of my drawer again, not willing to acknowledge
that I had descended more deeply into the realm of my
My resistance didn’t last long. By the time Ken and
Yumi entertained me again I was dying to try it once
more. The next pair in my possession I laid out neatly
on the edge of the bed. Stroking myself while I
imagined Yumi placidly waiting for my offering, I sent
a thick jet of come over the crotch strip, imagining
it to be the soft enfolded lips of her sex I was
wetting with my sperm. This time I had the warm soapy
water ready in advance.
When I next saw Yumi I found it difficult to look at
her; but when I did, oh what profound and secret de-
light! I burned to know when she would slip on a pair
of panties I had soaked with my come; the thrill of
that would be almost unimaginable!
By then, I knew Yumi owned roughly fifteen pair of
panties and I arrived at the crazy notion that I must
come into each and every one of them to be certain
that when I saw her she would be wearing one of ‘mine’.
I vowed to undertake the systematic project of stealing
each of them in turn even though I knew it might take
me quite some time to reach my goal. For some reason,
the idea such a drawn out plan thrilled me in a way I
find impossible to explain.
Right about then, I noticed a subtle change in Ken and
Yumi. There was a stiffness to her, a formality that I
had not noticed before. Ken began drinking more heavily
and behaving more rudely in front of his wife.
One day when we were alone he confided that they were
having problems. Yumi was unhappy in America; she
wanted more autonomy but, by his own admission, Ken
was too overprotective to grant it. He characterized
her demands as nagging.
For a moment I was secretly afraid I would not be able
to see Yumi as often, but Ken reassured me. They con-
sidered my presence a welcome distraction.
The frequency of my invitations increased. During that
time I made excellent headway on my project, but I also
rediscovered the cause for my obsession. The thought of
Yumi unhappy pained me greatly and I came to realize
how much I cared about her.
I know this must sound ludicrous in the midst of such
a sick, twisted revelation. It was just that my love
for her, as impossible as it was, took a torturous,
twisted route to its fulfillment just as a river that
is blocked sometimes finds a subterranean route to the
sea. Knowing her husband didn’t appreciate her as I
did only made my situation more tragic.
Ken’s birthday was a few weeks away when Yumi called
me to help her set up a surprise party. I needed to
keep him away from the house for an hour or two while
she got everything ready. Not wanting to let her off
the phone too quickly I asked if there was anything
else I could do to help, but she assured me in a
breezy, indifferent tone of voice that she would handle
When the day arrived I persuaded Ken to let me buy him
a drink after work. He thought Yumi was taking him out
to dinner later that evening, confiding in me that
things were still not great between them and that he
wasn’t really looking forward to it. He had three
glasses of scotch in the hour we were together.
The surprise worked and, as far as I could see, Yumi’s
party was a success. Everyone seemed to be having a
good time except the birthday boy himself. Ken con-
tinued to drink heavily as the evening wore on; he
seemed to be in a morose, morbid humor and the guests
all tiptoed around him carefully.
With such a crowd it was easy for me to break away to
make my switch. But slipping my hand into the familiar
drawer I was shocked to find it empty, save for one
tightly bound object.
I broke out in a cold sweat.
Drawing out the little bundle, I discovered it to be a
pair of black silk panties tied up with a red ribbon.
I whirled around as if to find someone confronting me,
but there was no one. The sounds of the party were like
a dull roar in my ears as I slipped into the bathroom
and undid the little parcel.
The panties were of an exquisite silk fabric, rimmed
all around with a delicate black lacework pattern. Most
notably, on the front there was emblazoned two Japanese
characters in a brush-stroke script. I had no idea what
it meant. As I held the panties before me, puzzling
over the meaning of it all, a small scrap of paper
fluttered to the ground. On it were three words: “I
Know,” and two other characters that I recognized to
My first instinct was to flee, jump out the window, run
away; I certainly couldn’t return to the party and face
her. The room seemed to be spinning; I was taking great
gasps of breath. Lowering myself to the edge of the
tub, I tried to think, but no thoughts would come, only
the clamoring of a thousand guilty voices, each one
blaming the others for my misfortune.
I am not sure how long I stayed. Gradually a voice of
reason rose above the rest and began to prevail. Why
would she wrap them up in a little bow? Could it be…
she isn’t angry? I was just beginning to entertain the
possibility when a knock sounded at the door and an
unfamiliar voice asked if anybody was using the bath-
room. I had no choice but to return to the party.
Yumi was busy catering to the guests. Did her eyes
flicker past me as I stepped out of the hallway? I
tried to stay as far from her as I could, watching her,
warily looking for some sign. Graceful and demure as
ever, she gave none.
I pondered leaving quickly, going home and waiting to
see if they ever called me again. She knows, she knows!
It kept going through my head. But how? What had given
me away? Was the gift-wrapped pair of panties an angry
gesture, full of sarcasm? Was it a signal? And if so,
of what? How could I possibly find out?
I was standing, mulling over my situation when a com-
motion arose from across the room. I caught a fleeting
glimpse of Ken rising, staggering, people moving, some
backing away, others stepping forward to help. Then
there was a crash. The coffee table was overturned and
Ken lay sprawled on the carpet. I joined the crowd that
encircled the fallen birthday boy. Someone remarked
that he was drunk, trashed to be certain. Hands lifted
him to the sofa and laid him out.
The party dissipated quickly after that. Yumi was the
recipient of many helpful offers but she declined them
all, seeing the guests off with impeccable poise and
grace even after her husband had made such an ass of
himself. She asked a few small favors of me: pick up
these cups, re-cork this wine – things of that nature
– and I got the distinct impression she wanted me to
After the last guest had gone, I helped Yumi to restore
order to her house while Ken snored away on the sofa,
a look of placid oblivion on his face. She worked with
infuriating, meticulous care while my heart raced with
a mixture of curiosity and dread. I had no idea what to
expect from her and she gave no sign as to her feelings.
Finally, when all was in order, she returned from the
linen closet and draped a blanket over Ken.
Motioning for me to come close, I found myself standing
beside her, looking down at her sleeping husband. I had
been avoiding her eye until that moment; now her gaze
was fixed on me, serene and penetrating. My obsessive
fantasy world had run smack up against flesh and blood.
She began by telling me how she had discovered some-
thing was amiss, speaking softly so as not to wake her
husband. She owned fifteen pair of panties; one for
each day of the two weeks between laundry days, and an
extra pair. When one was gone it was easy to notice.
But even before that, she had noticed my interest in
her and was curious what I would do about it, if any-
She carefully avoided revealing her own feelings how-
ever. She told me what Ken had already revealed – that
their marriage was not working out. In fact, she was
planning to leave for Japan soon, and possibly not re-
Then she wanted to know what I had done with her under-
things when I had them. Her question was simple, direct
leaving no room for obfuscation on my part. Still, I
tried to avoid being specific.
Speaking in a whisper, looking nervously down at the
sleeping Ken, I began telling her a small part of the
story. I think I said I had simply ‘admired’ the stolen
panties, or something equally ridiculous.
My words fell flat as I talked myself into a corner
from which there was no escape. Yumi’s eyes seemed to
be driving me onward, towards my own destruction. I
babbled on and on without saying anything until, ex-
hausted, I ground to a halt and we stood for a moment
Then a magical thing happened. Seeing no other way out,
I began to tell the truth, admitting for the first time
to another living person the things I had been doing,
what I had been feeling for all these months.
The words flowed more easily now, like a cool clear
stream running over a smooth bed, with no impediments
to block its course. I felt exhilarated, lighter than
air, realizing what a burden my obsession had been.
Yumi listened intently, quietly, until I had told her
When finished I was exhausted. I remember drawing
several deep breaths, waiting for her reaction, like
a skater looking up at the judges for the final stand-
Then Yumi completely took me by surprise. She quietly
asked me to undo my pants. I didn’t know what to think
I was so startled. Was she going to take my underwear
in exchange? I know that sounds ridiculous, but that
is what went through my mind in that instant.
I protested, gesturing to her sleeping husband lying
below us, but Yumi was firm and insistent. I felt like
a naked child before her, completely helpless. Drained
by my confession, I lacked the strength to go against
what she wanted.
When I stood before her with my trousers around my
ankles she had me pull my shorts down and then lift up
my shirttails. I was highly aroused, but the fear that
Ken might open his eyes at any instant, and maybe also
from too much drink, I had only the faintest stirrings
of an erection. Normally even imagining myself in this
position would have provoked in me the most heightened
state of arousal. Now I felt embarrassed to have only
such a modest offering to show her.
Yumi took back the pair of black silk panties. She
knelt before me. Looking up at me, she said: “When Ken
and I were married I vowed never to touch another man.
I have no intention of breaking that promise now.”
And with that, she took the panties and wrapped them
around my semi erect penis. Opening her mouth, she
engulfed my entire length and began sucking me through
the panties, so that her flesh never actually touched
The warm moist pressure of her lips clamped around me
– enhanced the familiar sensation of silk sliding along
my skin. I swelled until she could no longer contain
all of me and she began rocking her head back and forth
sending me into ecstasy.
I looked down and our eyes met briefly before she
closed hers again and her brow got that little furrow
in the middle like when she was thinking very hard
about something. She slowed down and through the thin
layer of silk I could feel her tongue exploring the
ridges and contours of my now achingly erect penis.
Then she clamped her lips around me more tightly than
before and she began moving back and forth over me
with real purpose.
When I began to squirm about, stifling little cries of
pleasure, Yumi withdrew her mouth and rose to stand
beside me. She whispered in my ear that she wanted to
see me do what I did with her panties when I was alone.
Her voice sounded husky and out of breath. She put a
hand lightly on my shoulder and motioned for me to
kneel. She reached down and slid the panties off me
and laid them out on the coffee table, just the way I
had described laying them out on the edge of my bed.
As I knelt down beside the low table, Ken stirred in
his sleep momentarily. In panic, I began to rise, but
Yumi’s hand was on my shoulder, pressing me down.
I remained motionless for a moment or two before she
gave me a light tap on the back indicating I should go
ahead. I was looking directly at the sleeping Ken as I
began to tentatively stroke myself over the panties
Yumi had spread out for me.
Even in my nervous state, I found myself very near the
point of orgasm already. I looked up at Yumi; she was
standing over me, looking down with her arms folded. I
could see her chest rise and fall as she took several
In another few moments there was no holding back. My
hand was moving like a blur over the shaft of my penis.
I could feel Yumi’s eyes burning on me as I rose
slightly from one knee so that I could aim the thick
shots of my come downward, directly at the characters
emblazoned on the crotch of the panties laid out before
me. She put a hand out to steady my trembling body as
the orgasm that shook me seemed to go on forever.
When I was done, Yumi cleaned me off with the bunched
up panties, which she quickly whisked from the coffee
table. While I put on my pants, she went to the kitchen
for a damp paper towel with which she cleaned off the
coffee table. My aim hadn’t been perfect.
The things that happened afterwards were dreary: the
breakup of Ken and Yumi’s marriage; the way they became
so consumed with their bad feelings for each other that
they didn’t have time for me any more; Yumi’s return to
We never discussed what happened. After that day, it
was as if we began to drift swiftly apart. Bringing up
what had happened seemed like it wasn’t worth the ef-
fort considering there was no future in it.
She became so preoccupied with her marriage falling
apart and I had become so depressed knowing I was los-
ing her that the few times I saw her again were all
shaded with melancholy.
A month after Yumi returned to Japan, I received a
small package. Much to my surprise I discovered it
contained the very same panties that had played such
a role that night, or at least an identical pair.
Along with them was the rather cryptic note that said
when I figured out the meaning of the characters
printed on them I could come and talk to her about it.
It took me a while to find a Japanese dictionary, then
a while longer to figure out how to find one character
among the thousands that all seemed to look alike. I
was too afraid to ask someone to simply translate it
for me in case it was obscene or embarrassing in some
way. What I finally discovered was they stood for love,
the physical act of love…
The flight to Narita is twelve hours from where I live.
I’ll need to wrap this up now since they want all
electronic devices turned off; you know how it is. I
hope the man next to me couldn’t see too much of what
I was writing, but it doesn’t matter much anyway, I
suppose. I’m more concerned about whether this trip is
a fool’s errand or not: to fly halfway around the world
on such nebulous hopes…the diaphanous fabric of a