For two days he tormented me until every muscle of my body ached, the bruises littering my skin like the aftermath of a car accident. I even had rope burns inside my mouth from a particularly evil bit of play—if it could still be called “play” while involving such brutality. All this and yet I cuddle into his ample frame, grinning like a fool. Whatever this is, it’s delightful.
This is what I’ve longed for as long as I’ve understood rope as an erotic experience; a person to mess around in rope endlessly with only breaks for food and silliness. In those two short days I had more rope on my body than in the entire last year combined. And I didn’t have to apply any of it myself nor whinge and bargain to make it happen. The play was organic, endless because he loves experimenting with rope as much as I do. And it’s easy between us; I can take what he doles out and giggle for more.
So he’s confused when at the end of our weekend together I confess how little time I actually spend in rope.”I don’t let many people top me. It just feels safer to top instead.”
He laughs in a tone that is the definition of maniacal, “Then why did you let me?”
I think back to the first rope he put on me, a leg tie so painful I flew back horizontal and cried out loud enough to scare the dog. And the multiple suspensions he did in short succession, all of them brutal, leaving bruises from the tightness and sparseness of the rope. All of them leaving me breathless and flooded with endorphins. And that’s a good question. That was some fucked up shit to let a near stranger do.
“You’re different. And I don’t just mean in the short bus kinda way.”
He threatens to push me into a tangle of waist high berry bushes, using his strength to pull me back to him at the last moment. The bantering and sarcasm an ongoing means of interacting for as long as we’ve been acquainted.
“Basically you believe in consent. That’s big. You’re from Seattle where that’s more of a given. And you’ve actually said the words ‘yes means yes’ of your own volition.”
“True. And that’s sad that fear of people not hearing the word ‘no’ is the reason you aren’t getting tied up all the damn time. And yet it’s not surprising considering consent is a tough thing in this country.”
“Also you’re the right amount of mean.”
He gives me a weird look before pinching the tender back side of my arm to elicit a squeal and pout. I don’t have to be able to see his eyes to know he’s getting off on my girlie noises which he has figured out how to lure out of me like no one else, cruel sadist that he is.
As we finish the walk to my place I realize that it’s always been men like him, queer in some way, that I’m able to trust. The less part of the norm he is, the more at ease I am in the company of a man. So that even though this man is the only one that has hurt me to the point of tears, I’ve felt nothing but safe in his presence; never once having a pang of wonder about my physical or sexual safety. Perhaps because there is not a trace of typical masculinity in him, no hint of what “a real man” should be, look like, say or do.
This is why I thoroughly enjoy him. Why I have no second thoughts about saying yes with no hedge or qualifications when he asked with a sinister gleam in his boyish blue eyes, “Can I do something really fucked up?”
I smile at him nervously and offer him the leg he desires, the one he hasn’t yet run through with purple. The moment he sends the rope into the first cinch at the bottom of my calf, tightening it down until I howl, I know I’m in trouble but still curious to know what he can do, that could possibly be worse than what he’s already done.
That cuff around my ankle is so painful I again fall backward, thrashing at the blanket underneath us, gripping at anything I can to take my mind off the agony, the animal urge to lash out at him. My hands aren’t bound, I’m free to tell him to stop or remove the rope if need be whenever I like, but I don’t. Instead I lay, brow crinkled and gazing blankly at the ceiling. People watch, the ones that know me confused, usually I’m so stoic rarely playing hard, let alone bottoming in public spaces but here I am being so vocal.
The next loop of rope around my leg, just above the first is tighter, nearly unbearable. As my fight or flight brain chemicals take in the last dose of rope, becoming accustomed, he adds the next loop causing another scream of pain. I cover my face, embarrassed at the animal-ness of my response, longing to go back to the comfortable near invisibility I live my life in. As each new rope loops up my calf the pressure on the muscles and blood vessels there is almost too much to bear. I breathe through it, hoping he’ll soon be finished but knowing the tie isn’t anywhere near complete.
When he makes it near the bend of my knee he turns back, adding the rope over itself to create an x pattern until he returns to the beginning with a tug that pulls everything so tight I groan and thrash. “You fucker!”
This just makes him grin wider and yank down on the rope to tie it off. He rubs my calf, feigning sympathy, knowing full well that putting any pressure on it is excruciating. While I’m distracted, he pops open a new skein of jute and forces my leg into a frogged position, putting so much pressure on the painfully ropes leg that I squirm away, pleading with him, “Please no.”
What I really mean is, “Please make me. Show me you’re in charge, it’s what I need to endure this for you. Give me a sign that my pain is your pleasure.”
He grips my ankle and looks at me with his cold blue eyes. “Get back here.”
With his size, he could easily bring me back to him but that isn’t the point. He waits patiently as I moan my way back close enough to him that he can grip my thigh and return my leg to its folded position. We hold eye contact until I feel on the verge of tears and have to lay back again. It’s like how I feel about getting blood taken, I don’t mind the act, I just can’t watch.
He cruelly puts his knee in my cunt to hold me down this time while adding lines of rope in a spiral up and around my frogged together leg, each loop of jute applied makes the rope, already alarmingly tight on my calf, somehow tighter. It’s impossible to stay quiet or stoic, my pained noises fill the small room and draw the attention of people milling around. I’m embarrassed by the primal-ness of this moment, my vulnerability, that other people can see how he’s affecting me. There’s no hiding it. Especially as he cinches down this piece of rope, creating a handle he can use to suspend me from.
Of course this is the direction he was headed. Of course. But until now I was able to convince myself otherwise, denying even he could be that cruel. But as he grabs an up line and secures that to my leg all I can say is, “Oh no.”
He drags me to under the suspension ring and looks at me, cringing on the floor, flashing a cruel grin to clue me into what’s about to happen. I grip at the floor trying to stay earth bound as he drags me instantly into the air with one strong pull on the rope. Dangling there I can touch the ground which makes the unbearable pain somehow worse because it gives me some false sense of control over my fate. It allows me to think that crawling away from the pain in my leg is possible. Which of course it is not. Funny the things a brain thinks at times like these.
Laying down under me he looks at me through the tangled curtain of my hair while I mumble and grunt trying to process the weight of my body fully on this agonizing rope harness on my leg. He grabs an arm and folds it in the small of my back, an action that a year ago would have been a trigger that would have sent me into a spiral of terror but now even as I’m being tormented to a startling degree is just sends a wave of delight through me, right to my masochistic cunt.
He takes my other hand away and gravity, that bitch, pulls at each tangle of rope on my leg, the endorphins surge my brain to provide some semblance of protection. Everything but this man goes blurry and disappears from the background.
Now he’s in strong focus, the only thing in my world, looking at me with such tender sadism, letting me know we’re in this together. He draws me closer to him, swinging me a couple inches through the air to bring me to his lips. Perhaps the most intense kiss I’ve ever experienced because I feel every iota of it, the pleasure of that sweetness contrasting the pain in my leg.
And I want to cry, to let it all go, to give my brokenness to him. And I would if we were alone, I’d cry like a baby but something about other’s watching convinces me to hang on, to feign strength. To keep on pretending I’m strong for the sake of another, like I always do. And this it the thing that’s contributed to me staying with so many people I shouldn’t have by sucking it up and denying my pain. Foolish.
Instead I’ll later let all of those tears go on the chest of my good friend, Victor, crying into him with thanks that he was with me over the last years, watching my pain while I was with Sean, knowing full well I should let him go but unable to. Victor has always been there for me and he’s here now as I let go of that relationship, of how much Sean hurt me, how I hurt myself by holding on a lot longer than I should have. I promise myself and Victor to let go from now on, to listen to my friends and my instincts.
Like the instinct that wanted to let go of my tears for my cruel friend instead of holding on. I am strong, unbelievably resilient, but I don’t always have to be. It’s okay to let go. It’s okay to ask for help. To let someone else care for me and share or be aware of my pain. I know good people, good men now, if only I could let them in.
As I hang upside down, arching into his kiss several times, my brain chemicals have brought me to a place of Zen. I can endure this for him as he holds my teary eyes in his. A moment that seems to stretch on forever.
“You had enough?”
Somehow I’m able to nod the affirmative and he starts the process of letting me down to the ground where nothing makes sense. Where the background re-appears. Where the real world returns. Where he doesn’t know it yet but this man’s cruelty has taken me a step closer to letting go of the last year. Of my desire to ever again walk on egg shells or deny my true self.
Next time he hurts me I know I’ll be able to give him my tears if he wants them. And the next time a man unworthy of my time hurts my heart I’ll be able to walk away, egg shells or no.