Posts tagged kindness
Aimless Love

When I stay in my house in far Southeast I've started taking a new bus in the mornings. The mornings when I don't wake up next to my love and the commute is already long, the buses crowded and full of frustrated and damp commuters. Everyone sitting on one another and crowding each other's space bubbles, personal boundaries already compacted to fit the special etiquette of public transit where strangers touch legs in tight seats but don't talk or make eye contact.

The bus that makes the most sense is the one a couple blocks from my front door that drops me off right in front of work. But each bus has a personality, a genre of people who inhabit it and this bus is grumpy and miserable. No one says good morning or offers a seat to people struggling or elderly. No one assists with arms full of too many bags or even says I'm sorry for stepped on toes. I imagine this bus is what a big city like New York feels like. Crowded and yet so lonely, no human connection at all. The empath in me is exhausted before the day even starts to touch arms with these folks. It's too much, too cruel, too cold.

The route also goes by my former house, the site of which still saddens me, forces me to remember my dog friend the literal love of my life who is just suddenly no part of my life at all. Break-ups are hard enough but breaking all ties with a roommate who used to be a pal never occurred to me.  I never thought to keep my heart to myself when it came to the dog we were co-parenting. So there's a pit bull shaped scar at the center of me that I don't know how to heal. A hurt I can't fix and is too awkward for most anyone to talk about.

“Just be friends with S find a way to figure out your differences for the dog.” As if it's that easy. As if I can forget the harsh words. The lies. The abusive partner allowed to move in. The passive aggressive hatred and jealousy he allowed them to direct towards me. That partner’s threats of violence. The constant substance abuse.  The once friend's ability to forget all I did for him and our dog friend, to push me towards possible houseless all because I asked if our dog friend had been fed that day.

As if I can forget or forgive the unnecessary cruelty of yet another so-called friend choosing a partner and a drug (alcohol and the high of co-dependence in this case) over our friendship. I can't forget and I can't make due with continuing to be mistreated in the name of occasionally seeing my dog friend, an animal I loved so deeply she's thanked in the inscription of my book. So I've ripped off the band aid and moved on, no more abusive relationships no matter what I’ve promised myself.

Me modeling in one of those lovely downtown buildings once upon a time.

Me modeling in one of those lovely downtown buildings once upon a time.

So I found a new bus, one where the people are kinder. They smile and follow the rules of we're-all-in-this-smelly-form-of-public-transit-together. It’s also a bus that skirts that part of town completely, the part with so many strange hurtful memories. Instead it drops me in the heart of downtown Portland. There tall buildings are topped with gargoyles and other decorative stone frippery. Where buses and trains and streetcars all meet and share crowded roads with cars and pedestrians. The smell of petrichor wafting off the bricks. Pigeons argue. Pan handlers sell Street Roots. Stores advertise sales and display oddly dressed mannequins.

And the people. All the beards and flannel and North Face jackets. The hippy lady with the orange leg warmers. The gentleman in shiny shoes and equally shiny hair. The woman in fishnets and leopard print coat, seemingly immune to the cold. The man living on the streets, face grizzled by time and weather who has a life likely infinitely more difficult than my own who smiles and says good morning, knocking me out of my selfish internal whinging about jobs and roommates. And I carry that smile on to a woman across the next street who seems lost and saddened by similar thoughts. She smiles back and seems a little lighter.

All these odd and wonderful strangers going about their day. So many of them looking like extras cast for a movie set in the Pacific Northwest (did I mention the beards and flannel?) And I'm reminded why I stay in this city even though it's difficult. Though I constantly feel on the verge of being priced out of housing or frustrated into quitting the newest in a long line of dead end jobs. I stay because this is the closest to feeling at home I've ever had. And for that morning reminder, those fleeting smiles, that pay forward momentary sweetness that creates  the feeling of we are none of us alone, for that I'll walk 20 minutes to work and take in the city that I love. It's a frustrated love but what love isn't.

Absence Makes a Heart...

My lover goes to another country for two weeks.  Not that long.  Easy peasy.  The time will fly. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, right?  His last words to me are “I’ll miss you.”  He leaves me with a vase of flowers to remember him by.  I’m so secure in our mutual feels for one another that it’s all silly puppy love pouts of longing and not worry about the distance, neither physical nor emotional, that has me bummed.

Except: absence makes the heart grow fonder…

He texts me about his days, his adventures and I live vicariously through him. One day the phrase “and I had company” appears in his run down of the day.  And I feel a weird flutter in my chest as I read it a couple of times to parse that out.  And the queasy feeling grows, not because he’s likely slept with another woman—he’s free to do whatever he likes within the bounds of safety and honesty—but because none of this is ideal.  There are conversations we should have had before he left, and silly us, we were too busy saying good bye to have those talks. 

So logical me smiles and teasingly congratulates him, eager to hear more about her later, ideally when we’re in the same room so I can touch him, see him smile when he describes their time.  Because I do want to know more and I want him to do all the things (and people) that make him happy.  But emotional me can’t figure out why this hurts. I frantically leave the brunch place I’ve taken myself to while texting him good morning and lay in bed feeling deflated.

Then it hits me. I hear his voice in my head, “She was just keeping me company, stop over reacting, Emily.” Not Mr. Right’s voice.  It’s Mutton, the shit box narcissist abuser whose manipulation and mind games were as plentiful as the amount of women he kept around to make me feel insecure during our two years together. That was years ago and yet…

And I feel like a shit for not being able to say more, say the right thing to Mr. Right just then.  My feels are not his fault.  Dear, PTSD brain, you suck.  Unfuck you Mutton and the abuse that keeps on abusing even though you’re long gone from my life.  It was the euphemism, too familiar, too often used against me, and not the information conveyed that hurt.

Logical me treats herself to an orgasm because Mutton never gets to ruin my day ever again.  Seriously, unfuck that guy.  I turn on porn and fuck myself for a good long while, delaying the inevitable, getting myself just to the edge and stopping to go plainfly slow while watching the man and woman on the screen.  In my head the couple becomes Mr. Right and his mystery hook up.  And it becomes more difficult to wait. 

Holding myself on the edge is excruciating as I fuck myself with the vibrator, not allowing myself the stimulation to my clit that would put me over the edge.  The couple on the screen kiss, looking at one another that way only people who are really enjoying fucking do.  Eyes and mouths wide and bodies absolutely on the same page of pleasure.  Looking almost as if they’re shocked to find themselves in this situation.  Their connection is palpable and erotic as hell.

I wonder if Mr. Right looked at his mystery lady that way.  It’s a look I’ve seen on his face many times.  And I hope so, I hope his hotel room was full of pleasure.  I fantasize about watching them from a chair in the corner of that room, touching myself as my lover fucks another woman.  Would their entangling look anything like ours?  Does he touch her the way he touches me?  What’s specific to our repertoire?

It’s not enough that I’m a dirty old woman fucking this sweet young thing?  Now I’m imagining his trysts?   Knowing this fantasy is weird makes the moment that much better.  So of course this is the moment I move the vibrator to my clit and let go.

And the climax is so cathartic that I cry while coming down from that high. Sweaty and sticky between the legs, face covered in tears, I laugh at myself.  I never stop being surprised at the human heart.  That limerence*, lust, and sadness can occur in the same moment.  That both people can do everything right and one person can trip over the strangest trigger.  That a bruised heart can lead to such debauchery.

Emotional me feels raw the next day until she grows the ovaries to text Mr. Right the “right” way to let me know next time he sleeps with someone else.  100% industrial strength honesty with no euphemism please and thank you.  And that is that.  I have a communication-is-sexy boner the rest of the day.

And the heart grows fonder still…

So I have to throw my hands up and roll my eyes epically at the universe to hear that as soon as Mr. Right gets home, he’s sick.  Instead of having a sweet, sexy reunion we’re both miserable, our bodies playing cruel tricks on us both.  Fortunately he’s well enough a day later to snuggle up and hide from the world. 

We aren’t able to follow our lust anywhere deeper than to spooning but we talk and that’s world’s more intimate.  I hear about the mystery woman and my heart swells to see him shy and pleased, sharing the perfect amount of details.  And in hearing him talk about her I learn more about him, what he likes and what he is like.  What delights him and what drew him to her.  I’ve never adored him as much as when I hear him speak kindly of another woman and their time together.  Because he doesn’t hide anything or compare us. No one is better or more than, we’re just both ladies who happened to cross paths with this same man.  And isn’t that beautiful and strange?

And I tell him of my own minor hook up while he was away.  The rope fun I had when my regular rope bottom was away.  Everything is sweet and silly and out in the open.  We tease one another and giggle at ourselves, it’s not the cathartic sex I’d prefer to be having after having such a vulnerable conversation, but when is life ever perfect?

Instead he lets me hold him through a long night of fever sleep, my arm wrapped around him, hand on his heart, feeling him close.  And I don’t even feel sad about our lack of sexual intimacy just then. Instead I’m consumed with sweetness. For once I actually believe what’s happening in front of me, none of it is manipulation, or denial to keep me on my toes, sad and stressed.  It’s just life.  And we’ll get to the dirty stuff soon enough.  For now the tenderness is plenty satisfying and real.

When I finally get around to tying him up…  Oh boy.



*used here to describe that delightful mushy lovey dovey near obsession that happens early in a romance before the commitment and bonding stage begins