Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chapter 12: What is want?

What is want, anyway? What is the nature of wanting? Perhaps, a little voice whispers, I'm just using him and our happy hours for what I want at home and do not feel that I'm getting. Perhaps I am lying to myself about a lot of things. I really don't know.

Perhaps these questions come only because I know that he's leaving soon and fear hurting him somehow, either by tying up those loose ends or cutting the strings completely.  I don't think there is a way to not hurt one of us.

I do want him. I want his attention. I want to keep feeling that wonderful way he makes me feel when we talk -- as if I'm the center of his world. Perhaps it is my ego driving all of this: after all, how easy one becomes invisible at home sometimes! I want to be able to touch if I want to touch, or to not touch if I don't want to touch. I want to make him laugh. I want to laugh with him. Physically, there's want as well... though that's the easiest to squelch down and try to ignore. It's the emotional wants that I can't pretend away.

I've changed so much since last year, in ways that even I can't fully understand. I've begun to yell more at home, to expect more from my "significant other." I've quit being my mother in that I have to make everything better. Solve your own damn problems. I'm no longer satisfied with the attention I am getting, no longer as willing to explain away what I feel I'm missing. We fight a little more often because I'm no longer the clinging, frightened woman he first knew. He no longer needs to take care of me as he once did. It throws him off, this headstrong female who says "no" more often and who won't accept traits I once willingly ignored.

My... my what? my passions? my affair? my games?... my friendship with Liam began.. when? Does that matter?

After everything I knew fell apart and after I changed. So, yes, we started down this path of our own making, heedless of everything -- including the rules that insist what begins must have a middle as well as an ending, a resolution. I won't accept a resolution that costs us everything, even each other. The truth is that I'd end up resenting Liam in the end, hating him -- and it doesn't matter how rational or irrational it is.

My wants are irrational to begin with. I am discovering more then even Liam knows. Do you know I've only willingly been with one man, ever? Only one, my boyfriend. Before it was guilt and manipulation and starvation. Before that, just boys... as clueless as I was and willing to accept my lead in everything. Then an episode in the hotel, pressed against the wall, tasting nothing but disinterest. That time, I used my knee when he didn't let up.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chapter 11: Discovery

Discovery now, experimentation, determining limits and likes. I now know how to kiss him to hear a groan of pleasure. He knows my sensitive spots and can make me melt against him. His mouth and taste are becoming familiar to me. Still, though, we aren't chasing each other around the office like two horny teenagers. We touch now, freely... though still with some shyness on my part. I'm not quite able to fully understand this, to comprehend that I can hold his hand or run my fingers through his hair without there being expectations of more or feelings of guilt.

Where did this man come from? Why was he put on my team and in my office to begin with? How is it that I managed to find someone who is such an incredible friend and then some? He sees me, you know. What the most amazing part about this is that he not only sees but tells. He sees what I keep trying to be but what I never believe comes through. (I guess it must after all.)

When I thought that I was being a pest all those times I stopped in his office last year, before he moved into my space, he thought I was anything but. He saw my visits as a self-possessed "I'll visit when I want, and I'll leave when I want" moments; ones he looked forward to and enjoyed. Essentially, I really was -- really am -- my own person. Even then. I never knew that. My confidence, until only very recently, always left me feeling like a little girl playing dress-up, waiting for someone to come in and call her bluff.

Again, throughout the day, we visited the reasons we're doing this, deciding that we want the attention and the affection. We suppose. He doesn't need me, either, by the way. We're the other's want, nothing more. It's a wonderful, heady sensation to want for the sake of wanting, you know. To simply hold his hand… all because I wanted to. I played my fingers in his hair this afternoon, because I wanted to. When I wanted to touch his face, I did. Marvelous freedom! As always, I felt like a girl with him, someone without a care in the world.

I got to tell him today that I wasn't going to take care of him. There would be no falling into a wifely role for me, like some mistress with impossible expectations. So many others need me to take care of them, which I do because I want to... but to be able to look at a man and say "no, I'm not your keeper"... incredible.

Our moments together were interrupted too often, of course. Clients, co-workers, bosses... all day, in and out of our private world. One gentleman came in, a friend of ours -- Liam's more than mine, though -- and at some point during his visit, a remark about my being tense came up. This man put his hands on me, gave me a pleasant little backrub for, oh, maybe three minutes tops...

"It's funny," Liam said when his friend left.  "When he was touching you, I just wanted to tell him to get his hands off of you." He paused for a moment. "I was jealous. I was actually jealous." I'm guessing that that emotion wasn't quite what he expected. Me neither.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chapter 10: Only an Hour Ago

Just an hour ago... what happened?  Did we really?  Only an hour ago?  Why can't I concentrate?  What is it about him?  His presence?  Just an hour ago... a whole hour... only...?  An hour.

An hour ago we stole another kiss.  One hour ago I was finding out what it was like to kiss him back, feeling his lips and the beginning of a five-o'clock shadow... really, I did that? Kissing back, nipping his lower lip with my teeth. Tasting him fully, our tongues mating. Him? Me? Thinking so clearly that I actually remember silently telling him: You really want to know? Now you do. And boldly initiating that first intimate kiss.

I felt his arms go around me as he gave himself as fully as I was. His hand touched my lower back, under my shirt. His other hand I felt on the back of my neck. Skin on skin. Us?

It ended that day only because someone outside walked by and we heard keys jingle. I realized my hand had fallen to his leg and was resting there rather naturally. A logical place for a hand... so begins the sense of un-reality, of "did that really happen?"

Did he really nuzzle my neck, did I really hear him whisper thank you? He did. I did.

No longer was it THE KISS. There are now too many to count, there is more than just kissing. In our fantasy world, our office after everyone leaves, we can taste each other and hold hands and pretend that we don't have to go out into the real world. To distant others and bills and perpetual clamor of children. We can steal time and hold it hostage and imagine that those responsibilities don't exist.  Tonight I'll go home and be the good girl, the little woman who fusses over her man.  If he’s home. 

I don't feel like we did anything wrong.  I don't feel like we were cheating or sinning or doing anything damnable.  Perhaps it's because I know that, underneath it all, we have already left our significant others.  Perhaps it's because I'm going to resign, and he's being sent across the state.  We'll see each other still... just differently.  Away from this playful world we created for ourselves.  Perhaps the intensity will fade with the distance.  Perhaps not.  I don't know and won't make up answers that sound right.

We talked a little, though I found that -- as usual -- words stuck in my throat. Liam spoke eloquently, telling me sweet words that made me blush somewhat. I marveled at the freedom I now felt in touching him: holding his hand, satisfying my desire to touch his arm and play my fingers along it, press the palm of my hands to his cheeks.

We both admit that this comes from some frantic need to spend as much time together as possible before he leaves.  Passions and curiosities that might have gone on un-addressed, ignored by choice, exploded.  We've never said a word about love.  We may be romantics, but we're still realists.  We like each other intensely, but love.... no.  Even as we held hands, exploring the geography of palms and calluses, and spoke about the un-reality of this all, we weren't so foolish as to insist upon love.  

"You know, all those oblique comments we've made... your comments about carrying baggage... that doesn't matter," he said.

I gave his a crooked little smile.  "That's because I've decided to stop carrying those bags."  I'm tired of them, was the simple and sincere unspoken end to that remark.  It's very liberating to not be a victim.  "You know, we're very good for each other here," I said softly, tracing my fingers over his. "But I still don't think that we would be out there."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chapter 9: Fools

In the days since THE KISS, it all seems less real.  As if it were nothing more than a fantasy conjured in the dark, in the minutes before sleep takes hold.  There’ve been many a night like that, after all, where I fall asleep thinking about Liam.  But they’re curious thoughts, ones asking “what did he mean?” or “what should I do now?”

Am I dwelling on this too much?  It was a kiss.  That’s all.  God, I didn’t even relax enough to give myself fully, so it’s not like the kiss was so earth-shattering that I’m still trying to re-assemble myself.  If there is another one, I won’t hold back.  Then again, if I don’t… do I want to know what I’m missing?  Isn’t ignorance bliss?  Oh, but we both had a taste, and one sip isn’t enough.  I know that. 

Yet at the same time that I'm thinking all of this, I want to laugh at this man, mock him, tell him that he wouldn't want me if knew about my "demons," as I've nicknamed my hang-ups.

He remarked, off-hand, yesterday something that I took to mean that I might make a bigger deal out of some things then I had to. This after he saw the diet pills when I opened my desk drawer.  He said nothing, just took them.  "You're perfect, you don't need them."  I wanted to look squarely at him and ask what he knew and what he thought he knew.

Fool.  Since when is it about just the pounds?  When is it about a stupid little number on a scale?  

It's about control, about being able to make my body do what I want it to do and not what comes naturally.  It's about being able to look at Reed and give him a silent fuck you.  He thinks he knows me, but he doesn't  If he did, he'd see the pills on the bathroom sink.  If he did, he would know that the harder he steps, the better those pills taste. And Liam.  He would recognize that few sensations are more powerful than not eating, that few things taste as sublime as the emptiness that I manufacture.  Popping that little brown capsule from it's foil pack, feeling it cradled -- for only a moment -- in my palm, then downing it, chasing it with water.  I close my eyes then, feeling how full I am.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chapter 8: Weighing In

I understand that anorexia and bulimia are turning up in women over 30. Small shock there. We don't outgrow our problems, readers. We take them with us. They latch on for the ride, joining us as we "grow into ourselves" and "re-invent" what it means to be over 29. Being over the hill doesn't mean squat to our individual angsts anymore. The little buggers just buckle-up and hang on tighter.

We become more adept at hiding our problems, swallowing them instead of food. We are too busy to eat, we say, because we have so much to do -- sandwiched as we are between children and parents or between careers and home. No one notices anyway. It's “obvious” to everyone that we're stressed out and too busy, so if we drop a few pounds no one really says anything because we'll “put it back on when everything is over.”

No one notices the pills we quietly pop or the way our pants hang more than they should. Of course, if our breasts deflate from the lack of body fat, well, someone might start to note... but the good news is that it's nothing a push-up bra can't fix. Trust me.

I'm disgusted today, readers. Frustrated. I'm waging a war, thinking that maybe, just maybe, one little pill doesn't really hurt. I'm starting to justify it in my mind, to think of perfectly reasonable excuses.


A trip to a legit website on eating disorders resulted in my being labeled "healthy." I'm only guilty of popping pills.  Green tea ones, designed to help boost my metabolism "naturally." I don't fit the other criteria.

I didn't fit anywhere, actually. I don't obsess about calories, nor do I exercise compulsively. I don't binge and purge, nor do I starve.

Deep down, it's really not that. I think it's more about being seen. You know, I once left those damned pills out on the bathroom counter for the world to see. No one did. When I dropped to barely a size six, no one said a word because it was chalked up to stress.

You know it's all about control, of course. Whatever we women can't control gets channeled into – onto – our dinner plates.

C'est la via, readers. Eat up while you can.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chapter 7: Conversation

A different post today.  Less thought out.  

Yesterday we had dinner, planned this time, and a very long –unplanned – discussion.

He lied to his wife to get away with me.  It was a first, and it didn’t sit well with him.  Nor did it sit well with me.  Lies tangle me up, trip me, and confuse everything.  While I’m not innocent of tale-telling, I tend to lean toward the lies of omission.  Last night I told Reed I’d grabbed a bite with a colleague.  His response was okay.
He didn’t ask for details.  I didn’t provide them.

At dinner, Liam wanted to hash it out within himself, to find some resolution to it all, and figure out "what the hell [he was] doing." Referring, of course, to everything up to today – to him, and me, and the us that seems to be forming.

I disagreed: we needed to discuss this.  I'm too much the cause.  Don't take this statement for more than face value, readers.  There's no regret or guilt in that remark.

Ironically, I felt like my mother during that ride to the restaurant.  I felt her strength in knowing what she wanted and what she needed to do in her life.  As she told one man once, I told this man: it won't happen. It's not going to happen. I'm not willing to pay the price for an us.

I'm too selfish, I think. I'm not ready to face leaving Reed. I know it's coming. I know that soon enough the 800-pound gorilla between he and I will become too big to dance around and that I will no longer be able to be an ostrich. I need to get my financial ducks in a row first.

You know, there's a part of me that wants to just get it over with and tell him to go to hell and have the affair Liam proposes.  Hell with it all.  And there's another part of me that says revenge can be sweet. I could have my own affair and who would Reed be to object?  Not when he's already guilty. Liam will be traveling between here and the new office for the next month or so. He can certainly slip away for a day. In fact, he'll be home alone for a weekend that's coming up. It crossed my mind several times.  Who's to know if he and I meet in some hotel two or three hours away from our hometown?

But I can't lie about it, not even to myself.  I don't want to try to fit into a family that will see me as a home-wrecker.  I don't want his children to be torn between loving him and knowing that he did just what his father did once upon a time.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chapter 6: Growing Pains

"You outgrew your job," Erin said to me yesterday. We were sitting in a coffee shop talking about my career and where it needed to go now.

That remark hit the nail on the head. Three years ago, timid little me walked into work with dreams of perfect customer service, of making a difference, and of having a point to my employment. Actually, I did all of that pretty well. I've a number of clients who will deal only with me and who refer me to their friends. "She's the only writer you want if you deal with Martinson," is the refrain. "She gets the results you want."

The economy being what it is, however, sometimes causes people to change their spending habits. We've dipped in clients numbers and revenue in the last year, and the powers-that-are are holding their pretty little necks and waiting for the home office to start swinging the axe. Poor management being what it is, they hauled the lot of us into the conference room yesterday and let the CEO read all of us the riot act. The problem is that the reasons for a lack of repeat business are not related to my department. We lost one account because the owner of the business died. Another company moved out of state and took its money with it. A third business owner had a daughter that just graduated from the university and she took over what he'd hired us to do.

According to the CEO, it's our fault the guy kicked it, the second left town, and the girl was intelligent. Gosh. Didn't know I was that powerful.  Wonder if I can stop time and move independent of Earth's gravitational pull, too?

Sarcasm aside... I've head enough guilt in my life. I don't need more. Those events are not my fault, and attempts to cultivate guilt for their occurring is a tactical error on management's part. If I hadn't wanted to give her the satisfaction, I would have walked out of the meeting and let the CEO fire me right there.

How dare you! I wanted to scream. How dare you accuse us collectively! How dare you play the self-assigned role of mother! I wanted to remind her of the numbers game that everyone in management likes to play. I wanted to ask her about the "bonuses" that our sales people got -- despite pulling in clients who had no intention of paying a single bill. Instead, I stared straight ahead and tried to think about anything but what she was saying.

Dismissed after a very long 20 minutes, we trudged back to our offices. Annoyed, I pulled a bag of chips out of my desk and tried to calm down. There are four of us in this office. The two women, the ones who died 20 years ago, were re-hashing that waste of time. One thought it was appalling; the other thought it was long over-due.

Thus immersed in their chat, relishing the opportunity to gossip about the other employees and speculate on who was actually at fault, they ignored me hiding in my corner -- something that's pretty easy since I long-ago "hid" my desk behind some file cabinets. Unless you make it a point to look, you won't know I'm there; sorta like the loft I'd had in college. I've an affinity for privacy and life rarely affords it.

Our fourth officemate is Liam.  Tall and dark-eyed Liam who acts like nothing has happened, who acts as if he doesn't remember taking me in his arms and kissing me.  I didn't really give him much of an answer as to what was making me so angry.  I didn't want to get into a discussion with anyone, including him, at the moment. The best answer was "everything."

I've outgrown my job. Yeah, she's right. I'm too confident now. My opinions are forming, solidifying, and changing -- I no longer need to hide from the professional world. The hellacious beginning I had when I was fresh out of college is long past. Who cares now? I try not to. The point is, I'm ready to leave.  These next two months are going to go by very, very slowly.  Then again, I'm leaving Liam.  They'll go by quickly.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chapter 5: The Mundane

“I’m going to kiss you.”

So he did.  And I let him.  And his arms went around me and pulled me close, his lips touched mine, and… the papers I was holding fell to the floor and I felt the cold metal file cabinet against my back and his hand were on my body tracing my geography learning the curve of my hips and pulling us together as was only right…. And my lips parted, instinctively, willingly… and we kissed.  For long minutes, tasting each other, testing…

And not once did I think of Reed.  Not in guilt, not in revenge.  I suppose I should have though something.  But I didn’t.  Then again, why would I? 

I let me desire rule because I wanted to.  I’ve always been the good girl, the one that the parents wanted their sons to date and the one whose virginity the boys vied for.  What did it get me?  Men value purity far more than most women.  Society places great stock in the “firsts” of life.  But the truth is that most “firsts” are awkward and clumsy.   

My first time was in the backseat of a boy’s car.  He was nervous and eager and very much like a puppy dog – easy to please but relatively clueless.  He came too fast, finishing long before I even began, then decided that he was officially a man, having claimed the Purity of Meredith.

Seconds, thirds, fourths…. Those are better.  Those are when you know what you’re doing.  When you know when and how.  When you know what you want and have learned how to ask for it, when you stretch out below the man and laugh and say, do it again and touch me here.  Fourths, fifths, and sixths give you courage to say no, not like that with practiced ease.  By then you've learned how to smile and purr, how to wrap yourself around him and make him feel like he's the only man who ever had you.   Firsts are things to get out of the way, to move on from, and to learn from.  They break the ice and allow you to dive in.   

I went home and worked in the yard, pulling out weeds, thinking about today.  How mundane.  A kiss.  Then yard work.    

I suppose, if this kiss broke the ice, then you might say I'm standing on the edge, dipping my toes in.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Chapter 4: The Phone Call

The phone rang last night. I answered. Someone hung up.

"Who was it?"
"I don't know. The person hung up."

Reed nodded and finished reading whatever sports article held his fancy. A moment later, he got up, answered the buzz of his cell phone, and cursed.

"I have to go, the system crashed at work."
"Do you think you'll be long?"
"I don't know. Don't wait up for me."

I hid behind the curtain and watched out the dining room window while he went upstairs and gathered his briefcase and whatever else would make it look like he was needed there. A black car across the street, its lights off, pulled away slowly, disappearing down the street.  The lights came on just as it turned the corner.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Chapter 3: What is an Affair?

What is an affair, anyway?

Is it two people who take pleasure in each other’s company but not in body?  Is it only when there’s a sexual thrill to that companionship?  Or is sex itself required?   Must we insert… the round peg into the round… oh my….  Is that an affair?

We had dinner again today.  It was full of conversation and laughter, and I was later reminded of a professor who spoke of how he was seeking someone who would “run, jump, and play” just like he did.    He wanted someone who enjoyed like as much – or more – than he did. 

Liam and I toy with ideas and thoughts and leave each other feeling mentally stimulated.  We speak of poetry and art and what such ideas are.  We touched briefly on our friendship, but there were more interesting – more important ? – topics to think about.

Bodies are cheap.  I’m slim and curvy and tell.  With a well-placed sign of smile, I can pretty much have what I want.  To be honest, it’s his mind that I crave above all.

He makes me laugh.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Chapter 2: Define Respectable

Never mix beer and painkillers, dear readers.  But it’s Friday and I’m in good company.  He and I are at our usual hangout, the Rusty Anchor on Smithfield Street, having our usual Friday bite to eat: a beer and a club sandwich.

We waxed poetic today, musing topics such as life and love, pondered work, and contemplated the fact that we aren’t a couple, that we don’t love each other, and that it’s probably a really good thing that I’m quitting when this project wraps up in a few weeks. 

The booze and the pills made me quite mellow, made it possible for me to lean back and study him openly, to stare at his bare arms and rolled-up sleeves and frankly enjoy the view.  Just muscular enough, just the right amount of hair.  His palms are rough, slightly calloused.  He likes to work with his hands on weekends, remodeling his house, doing yard work, fixing cars. 

It’s hard to keep your head on your shoulders when you want to be in those arms, to feel those hands.  Just to touch me cheek, his palm to my face.  A fantasy.  So far.

Today our two officemates raised their eyebrows.  Another dinner?  Just the two of you?  They exchanged a glance, one that said that they were on to us, on to me.  You see, respectable women don’t go to bars with men. 

Nor do they go to dusty old bookstores and read Chaucer to each other.

Or to a tapas bar on an out-of-the-way street on the far side of town. 

But I’ve never advertised myself as respectable.  

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Chapter 1: This Guy at Work

Some time ago, I wrote so there’s this guy at work.  I talked about how he wanted me and how I wanted him.  I used different names, I played with different ideas.  I became what I was – and wasn’t – and only told half of the story. 

What a gentleman he is.   Holding back, letting me do the falling.  Letting me make each move, calculated as it is.  He lets me pursue and manipulate when, in reality, he no doubt just as involved.  He feeds me stories, incomplete but true nonetheless. 

We have a nice banter, I’ll give us that.  Sexy and non-confrontational and completely non-threatening.  We know our limits, but we also know those limits are flexible.  We don’t know how flexible though.  Not yet.    

Given that I’m in a… relationship… long dead, that the man I live with is too interested in another woman to notice the one living with him, I feel no guilt as I choose the clothing I wear, what is seen as well as unseen.    There’s no guilt as I play with fire.  

And as for him, he has a relationship, he’s living with someone, just like I am.  The difference is that she snared him with an “oops.”  Then the proverbial shotgun.  He had much more to lose than I do.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


Nonsense... non sense... sensing, no sense.... sensible... not sensible... illlogical... ill logic... sick logic, sickening logic.... sick of logic....

Words... worlds... words create worlds... whirl, spin, turn, dizzying... whirl of the words... war of the worlds... war of the words... worlds warring... words warring... warring, wary... warning....

Scared... scare... scarred... scar red... red, passion, blood, lust, hate... love and hate... a thin line between... thin, losing weight... smaller.... and smaller.... smaller and larger.... large... big... bigger then life... life is sacred... scared... scar... mark... indelible....

Words create... scared words... sacred worlds... untouchable... touch... feel... literal and figurative... feel emotions... love and hate... passions... pass on... to pass over... to give to... to give meaning.... sacred meaning... scared of meaning... symbols of meaning... what is sacred scares us, scars us, marks us...


Well, said the Mock Turtle, I never heard it before, but it sounds like uncommon nonsense...