By Iain Cambridge ©2015
We are celebrating the work a fine new short story writer this month, Iain Cambridge.
Most stories will have a beginning, middle and an end, and most of them will start at the beginning, move to the middle and finish up at the end. Mine however starts at the middle, for at the age of fifty-eight I am hoping that I have a long way to go before I reach the end.
Let me introduce myself.
My name is Rhapsody Caine, although this is not who I started out as, but moreover it is the name of the person who set me free.
The person that, two years ago helped me to discover sex.
To explain; I have been sexually active since the age of twenty-three, and although I was legally allowed to have sex at eighteen the word ‘allowed’ did not mean that anyone wanted to have sex with me.
You see, I was the fat girl in high school, the girl that was popular only by association. I had many friends, but as time went by I began to realise that I was the ‘fat friend’ — the group necessity. A comparison to be drawn against what you were getting, to what you could end up with.
The last resort.
Looking around me now at the young groups of girls of today I can still see my echo within the crowd. The overweight girl trying to squeeze into societies expectations as hard as she tried to squeeze into the dress she was now wearing.
Fitting in with the crowd as well as she fitted her wardrobe. The irony always being that as they were a size to small for her, she was a size too big for the crowd.
Unaware that she was bigger than all of them — in so many other ways.
As all of my ‘friends’ paired off with various boyfriends, (that later became husbands), I was left to make my way alone in the world, and to be fair I did okay.
I trained as a nurse, and later went on to leave the wards and transfer to the private sector, and it was around this time that I first met my husband.
He was not my first, but he was the first to treat me with any kind of respect and to look past my failings. I feel I need to point out that one of these ‘failings’ mentioned was not that of being overweight. He loved me because I made him laugh, made him see the world differently and more importantly — made him dinner.
No, my failings come in the shape of another ‘darker’ side to my persona. The exploration of which forms the basis of this story.
My first was a drunken fumble that turned into something more when, at a graduation party, I found myself in a corner with a very drunk young doctor – or doctor to be.
To be honest he could have been the janitor for all I cared, as the only real fact I knew about him then, and still know now, was that he was close to passing out and very horny. I had been drinking too, but not enough to stop me taking advantage of a situation that rarely, if at all, had presented itself before then.
At this time I feel that I should describe myself in a little more detail.
As you would have gathered by now, I am fat.
I’m not going to sugar coat it and use words like ‘Big Boned’ or ‘Plus Sized’ for I feel that this is hiding the fact that what other people call ‘Water Retention’ I call ‘Lard Retention’, or even ‘Cake Retention’.
I make no excuse for this, because I don’t feel I have to. I am perfectly healthy, but I like my food.
Now, I do not comfort eat, nor do I have some condition, psychological or physical, that causes any sort of depression. I have no issue with my size, but what I do have an issue with is that society refuses to fit me in, for with this access of body matter comes a large butt and a very large pair of breasts, which is great – isn’t it?
Case in point: It seems to be an unwritten rule that making a bra that is in anyway flattering or sexy, is just a waste of everyone’s time. And so we, and by ‘we’ I mean all the women that are at the larger end of the scale, (and in this day and age this seems to include anyone over and above their birth-weight), have to make do with the ever so flattering style of ‘Parachute’ that come in black, white, brown or flesh tone, (although I have never seen or met a woman with skin that colour).
So, finding a bra that fits, whilst being comfortable and sexy is akin to finding the Holy Grail. Or any garment that buttons up at the front — which is near impossible to find if you have to stuff a healthy sized bosom in there, for the force exerted from the other side threatens to launch any loose button with such ferocity that anyone who stood within a four foot radius took a very real chance of loosing an eye. I took to corsetry for a while, in an attempt to reduce parts of me whilst enhancing certain other bits, but the creaking caused by the fight this torturous article of clothing had to make, in order to keep in the very things it was designed to show off, made me sound like a paper bag being scrunched up every time I moved. Plus they are very uncomfortable and pushed my boobs up so far that I felt like I was wearing earmuffs. I will touch on this subject again a little later, for I feel the roar from this woman’s issue should be heard – in the meantime, I will return your attention away from my breasts, and back to the party – where it had become apparent that the attention they drew was not something that was easily avoided.
The drunken young student, janitor or whatever he was, had noticed through his newly fitted beer goggles that the woman he was sitting next to was largely made up of tits, which, to him, had seemed to enter the room a good few seconds before she did. The only thing that stopped him falling into an alcohol induced coma was that he somehow found that he was now snogging the owner of this incredible bosom, and now had his hand firmly inside her blouse, having gained a remarkably easy access.
This was more as a result of my encouragement, for if I had left it for him to take the initiative then we would still be sitting there now.
There were a lot of people at the party, but quite frankly no one was looking at what was going on in our little corner of the room. It was safe to say that, at that late stage of the evening, what was happening to me was pretty commonplace throughout the house. Most of the action was taking place upstairs, and some within the hot-tub outside. The rest had just got on with whatever they were doing and everyone was minding their own business.
My new friend found after some time that he needed some assistance, for after unbuttoning the rest of my blouse he had unsuccessfully tried to unclasp my bra.
This would have required a better man that he, and one with a greater spatial awareness than his addled senses were now providing.
My bras have to work for their living and have a tensile strength that are equalled only by the Hoover Dam, and therefore presented him with a problem simular to that of a Rubik Cube. He tried to solve this problem by inserting his hand inside the actual cup, but the pressure exerted by its contents proved to be a serious force and leverage challenge that, without trained supervision, could have resulted in the loss of a finger. My answer was much simpler than his, being that I reached around and undid the clasp myself.
Now as has been mentioned, I am a big girl and the sudden release of several pounds of mammary gland is a sight to see.
My friend thought so too.
This was the first time I had ever exposed myself to a man, or woman – well, anyone really, and so I was not sure what the reaction would be, or should be.
So the words, ‘Jesus – you’re huge’, was not the romantic line I had been expecting on their public debut, and the sudden, if a little eager undoing of his pants showed me that I should have not have read so many ‘romantic stories’, for what was being presented to me was less than huge. This to be fair was more to do with the alcohol surging through his bloodstream, a sergeancy that was preventing any, or little normal service.
But here’s the thing.
I was a twenty-three year old, fat little Indian girl – did I mention I was Indian?
Not that it matters of course, but it will explain a few things later on if you know this.
I will simplify that last sentence – I was a twenty-three year old virgin, and so the image of a real, if flaccid appendage, being offered to me as part of the nighttime entertainment was a major thrill for me – and a rare one at that.
And so while our kissing continued I concentrated on bringing back to life that what seemed to have died, and in religious terms I was successful in raising Lazarus.
A little too successful it seems for, after an impressive release, I had to wait for the second coming – so to speak.
So this, without the obvious ensuing detail, was my first time.And although my description of these events seems to suggest an utter catastrophe filled with clumsy intent, to me it was absolutely wonderful.
For this was my introduction to the world of men.
There were many times like this in the years that followed – about four or five times a month to be honest. Nothing ever evolved into any sort of relationship, but it all followed the same pattern of a drunken fondle, followed by hurried sex.
Perverse, dirty and empty sex.
It seemed after a while that I had gained a reputation as an experimental playground for men to express their darker desires – desires that they would not want to expose to their loved ones, through fear of rejection and judgment thereof as a pervert, and to be honest I cannot say with my hand on my heart that I didn’t enjoy it.
In fact – I loved it.
Now, it is important to note that, during a rare ‘after coitus’ conversation with one of the more sober of my gentlemen friends, I discovered something very interesting.
You may remember earlier that I mentioned that I was Indian? well it seemed that this was some sort of barrier to men asking me out.
Not for any racist reason, although I cannot speak for everyone – no, it appeared that the view of my nationality was that from a young age we were betrothed to another, and we were therefore unobtainable. The fact that I was so willing to put out just served as the catalyst for having a taste of the ‘forbidden fruit’.
I found this absolutely wonderful news, as I assumed it was my size that had prevented men from approaching me.
I told him that, in some cases this was perfectly true, but not for me. I was completely free do what I want, and with whom I please.
I asked him if he would like to go out sometime.
He said no as his girlfriend might object.
Sais la vie.
So to my husband.
We met in a bar, which had turned into some sort of hunting ground for me over the years, but far from being part of the drunken crowd, of which I had seemed to become a fringe member of, he was the guy serving behind the bar. I had wobbled my way on heels that were way too high for me, (but something I felt I needed to add a little height), and expressed to him that I would like something ‘exotic’.
‘I’m half Italian’ he replied, ‘does that count’
Such was the infrequency of being chatted up, (for infrequency read never), that I almost missed it. He asked if I would meet him for a drink sometime, and with an incredulous nod I agreed to a date.
An actual date.
The drink date turned into a lunch date, which in turn led to a walk in the park.
We talked – proper talking, like a conversation and everything.
In truth it was him that did most of the talking, as all I could do was nod and giggle.
And whilst walking he did something that melted the cold heart that had been frozen by years of misuse, turned to stone by the needy and the unfeeling.
He held my hand.
This simple action gave me worth.
It gave me courage, and it gave me strength.
One date turned into two, and two into three, until the days when we were not together were few and far between.
We were an item.
We were in love.
The frenzied, heated sex had made way to long nights of lovemaking, and this was a good thing.
Well. Actually, no – it wasn’t.
You see, although I loved him with all my heart – and still do, I missed the passion, the urgency and the feeling of pure selfish gratification.
With my other partners I didn’t have to care about their feelings, because they sure didn’t care about mine. That was the point you see — it was all about me.
I had stopped being the little fat Indian girl with the big tits.
The forbidden fruit.
The surprising event.
With my husband, as he became not two years after we met, I couldn’t give instruction as I had done to the others. I couldn’t tell him what I wanted done to me, or in the heat of passion refer to myself in the third person as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’ from fear of exposing some hidden perverse nature that he had not been aware of – or wanted in a wife.
Sex became less dirty, and more safe.
Predictable – Dull.
My body changed too.
Not in a physical sense, but in its description.
I became cuddly, instead of fat.
I gained breasts instead of tits.
I was of ‘ethnic origin’ instead of being Pakistani, or Indian.
But I settled for this life of love and security, for with it came three children, and from one – a grandson. And slowly over the years I became less and less – me.
* * *
‘I have prostate cancer’
These were the four words that sent an ice shard through my heart, for they were words that threatened to take away everything. For a few months my husband had complained that his hand become a little numb when he clenched it into a fist.
‘It’s as though I’m wearing a glove’ he told me.
I had sent him to the doctor to get his blood pressure checked out and to make sure this was nothing to do with his heart, as this was a problem within his family. His father had died of a heart attack and so I was always making sure that he attended regular checks in that department. Tests were done and all was fine, until the results of his PSA levels came back showing it to be way too high. I won’t give you the full medical terminology, but if your PSA level is high, there is a good chance you have prostate issues.
On hearing the diagnosis from the ensuing biopsy, I felt my world fall apart.
I was going to loose the only man I had ever loved, and who had ever loved me.
Prostate cancer is a slow burner, and if caught early enough can be treated and eventually cured. Most men, when being diagnosed, opt for treatment, and most die with it as opposed to of it. The trick is getting checked out on a regular basis.
Such was the case for us.
‘Cut it out’ my husband had said, ‘I don’t want a time-bomb inside me ready to go off – why treat something that can be cured’ he had reasoned.
And so it was.
Three months after finding out what was happening to him, he was in hospital and having the prostate gland removed – along with some other things too.
You see – the doctors, in an attempt to remove the gland and the outer areas, (to make sure they had got everything), had to remove one of the nerves that controlled his erections. This was of no matter to either of us, for we had our children and he had his life. Sex wasn’t that important to us at our age — was it?
Well, as it happens – yes it was.
I was Fifty-four and not ready to live a life of half celibacy. I was not ready to give in to what fate had decreed should be.
I wasn’t prepared to just bend over and take it – well, actually I was, but that was the whole point you see. The option pertaining to any position I may take, sexual or otherwise, had been taken away from me, and no one seemed to be interested in how I would be affected.
Now you may think that this account seems a little unsympathetic to my husband’s plight, but I have to point out that there are two sides to a marriage, and therefore two stories to be told. If I were to write this story from his point of view I would be able to explain the angst and depression he felt. I would tell you of the lonely tears he shed during the night, having been woken by nightmares caused by the feeling of having his masculinity torn from him, and of the fear that his wife would go in search of satisfaction with another man.
A real man.
A whole man.
Such as he had once been.
But this other point of view, the wife’s point of view, is a side that is very rarely told.
A lonely, unsaid tale.
It is a side of the story that, if left untold, is subject to misinterpretation.
A non-telling of which can, and often does, lead to resentment.
For the first few months after his surgery, we made do with oral gratification as
penetrative sex was out of the question, and although we both pretended that it didn’t matter — for both of us it really did. As time went on it became clear that he was not going to regain full function in that department.
This drove an unseen and unspoken wedge between us.
We attended sex therapy sessions, of all things, which basically told us that we had to ‘explore each other’s bodies’ and ‘bring our lovemaking to a new and spiritual level’ – Yuk!
Did I look elsewhere?
Of course I did – to my shame.
But my husband had come to terms with what life had thrown his way, and had resigned himself to never having ‘normal’ sex again.
He was at peace with his fate — I was not.
I felt cheated.
I had settled for a love life without passion, and now I was expected have no sexual outlet at all – ever.
I had never been one for self-gratification – other than to please a partner, but there came a time where I was in very real danger of going blind.
Now the needs of the selfish heart will argue a point beyond reason. It will find a way to justify any actions that allows its goal to be achieved, and so I made up my mind to actively search for someway to satisfy the needs that had built up within me, and to quash this lust that had raged inside for so many years. I reasoned that if I could expend this access energy I would be able to become a better wife.
A new wife for this new, asexual marriage.
One able to fix this broken man and to tend to his needs.
I would be able to devote ninety-eight percent of my time to him, whilst using the other two percent for my own selfish desires.
Just two percent.
That sounds reasonable – doesn’t it?
Well, yes – it does.
The thing is that although I didn’t find it hard to attract a man when I was younger, I now no longer had that youth to play with. I was a middle aged Indian woman with and expanding rear end and an overly large bust, and no amount of cleavage was going to attract the kind of man I needed, and what made it harder was the fact that I was not sure what sort of man I was looking for.
The type I went for all those years ago was basically anyone who wanted me.
I wasn’t interested in whether or not they had a girlfriend or a wife.
If they were black or white.
Skinny or fat.
Or even if they thought I was someone else – or wished I was someone else.
As long as they had a pulse and were awake, something I often felt was more of a guideline that an actual rule, I was really not that fussy.
And although it’s a cliché for a person of my ethnic background, for all those that knew me, I was the corner dairy – open all hours.
I took to the Internet in search of my two percent.
This new woman that had been created out of sexual frustration, seemed a lot more attractive and confident in cyberspace than she did in real life, but I figured that when push came to shove I was only offering the very thing that most of these men seemed to be looking for anyway. But in order to attempt to mesh reality with fiction I decided to go shopping in order to ‘decorate the float’, so to speak, and to make sure I had something saucy to wear if and when I managed to get a response to my newly formed, on-line persona.
I wanted to look the part.
I wanted to feel – sexy.
I wanted to be the woman I had created.
I entered the lingerie department of the newly opened clothing store on the other side of town with trepidation and excitement. I was actually tingling as I went through the doors and into this new world of sauciness and sexual intent.
I felt something inside me, some suppressed urge straining at the leash.
It was as though the past thirty years had been pushed aside by the demon that lived within me – the demon that had been locked away for her own good all those years ago, but was now making way for old feelings to rise to the surface, fuelled by selfish lust and dark desires.
I had decided to shop away from prying eyes, as I needed my new life to remain a secret. Ironically though I bumped into three people I knew from work on the way in.
I passed my being there off as a shopping trip for my daughter in law, and this was plausible enough because, as mentioned before, I am a middle-aged Indian woman, which means that I do not indulge in such things as saucy nightwear, and sex is just something only foreigners do.
The fact that I was also fat sealed their thinking into fact.
I went into the section for the ‘larger woman’ and had a look around.
This didn’t take long as there was little or nothing that had been designed for these ‘larger women’ to make them look good, or feel desirable. It seemed to shout out to the general public that the policy of this store was to pass scorn on any middle-aged fat woman who felt the need to look sexy.
Nothing that advertised itself to be in my size actually fitted.
Let me take this opportunity to explain to the people who have been given the unenviable task of making clothes for the ‘Fuller Figured Woman’.
It needs to fit, not just cover the said lady’s body, but actually fit.
Try making the thing you made in a size twenty-six exactly the same way you made it for a size six. Style and cut it in exactly the same way.
Merely getting a piece of cloth and cutting arms and a hole to put your head through does not constitute a dress. I appreciate that you have to use more cloth to cover my ‘fuller figure’ and I am quite willing to pay for the extra material and time spent in sewing this tent into something that may actually makes me look nice, and helps me feel like a woman.
Look, I know from experience that men like a big pair of boobs – they really do, ask them. So why not try to dress these bags of fun up in something sexy?
Again, I will pay a little extra for your time, and I am sure there are plenty of men that would also fork out their hard earned cash for this privilege.
Different patterns, colours, and styles – you will be amazed at the open market that has been left untapped. There are women like me out there who want to look sexy.
Just because you don’t think we are worth it – we do.
Our opinions should be like those bras — and carry a lot of weight.
I picked a nice looking basque/corset type thing and went to ask an assistant if they had it in a large, only to be told that what I had was a large.
‘One size does fit all though’ squeaked the young girl, who’s drug of choice appeared to be that of helium. This sounded like a challenge to me, and one I was willing to accept, if only to prove to her that one size does not fit all as ‘fat’ is not a size, and so I took myself off to the changing rooms in order to attempt to squeeze a pint into a half pint pot.
The first order of the day was to undress.
This was only an issue because, at some point, I knew that I would have to re-dress, and having to put a pair of boobs as big as mine into a bra that is fed up of its job and has decided to take up some other vocation, is a feat of engineering and leverage that, (if written out as a mathematical equation), would probably hold the key to space and time travel. It would not however have an answer as to how to get a bra back on when you are hot and sweaty from trying to get a bra back on.
It was nice to take it off for a bit though.
I held up the garment I had taken in with me, to see what it would have looked like had I ever managed to get it on.
‘Not on your best day’ I said under my breath.
I put the corset / basque back down again without making this futile attempt and looked at myself in the cubical mirror in order to imagine something else that would add a little sparkle to this party.
To be honest I did feel a little sorry for the bra makers at this point.
It is a reasonable given that most fat women would have an ample bosom as part of their arsenal, the containment of which must prove to be a major logistics problem. Mine however are a problem without a solution, as I have a more than my fair share.
In fact it has been commented on before that I may also have someone else’s share.
As I stared at my reflection I took the time to examine them. Even though they were large it had to be said that were not too saggy. They still held their firmness and weight very nicely, and protruded out further than my belly with the aid of the military grade bra that looked as though I had purchased it from the ‘House of Chernobyl’.
I tried to massage some life back into them, in an attempt to regain some feeling since their release from incarceration, and it was at this point that I noticed something, or more specifically – someone. The changing room had a curtain that had chosen not close completely, as it had been designed to store brooms and mops, and therefore afforded a narrow view of a young man sitting in the waiting area of the women’s changing room.
More importantly, it also allowed him to see me.
He was not obviously looking in my direction, but I could see that he was surreptitiously sneaking a peek whenever he thought that no one was looking, and as I had spotted him via the changing room mirror, he was blissfully unaware that I found him out.
I kind of liked it.
I positioned myself in such a way as to increase his view, and as I looked at the reflection I could see that this had gained his full attention. His eyes flicked back and forth from me, and to the expected appearance of whomever he was waiting for.
This act of voyeurism was quite new and exiting for me, so much so that I had to fight the urge to turn around and invite him to join me in my little cubicle/broom closet.
I started to reason that, if he had misconstrued my attempts to bring some life back into my numb breasts as some sort of eroticism, then maybe I should take it a little further.
Should I provide him with a little something else?
A small show maybe?
What would the young woman in me done all those years ago, and how hot did those fires of old still burn?
I cupped my breasts once more and slid my palms up and over my nipples, causing them to become dark and erect with the sudden rush of blood and attention.
Having seemingly been resurrected from a long and enforced abstinence from any sexual activity, they actually started to ache with anticipation.
It was as if they longed to be touched by someone — anyone other than me.
I felt bad.
I felt naughty.
I felt alive.
I also felt a little deflated when his attention was drawn back to the woman he had been waiting for to rejoin him. He stood up and, having commented to the lady in question about the outfit she had chosen, or the time he had to wait for her to try it on, he left. But not before taking one last glance at me.
I sighed and began to get dressed.
I felt that someone had returned my desires to glowing embers once more, by dowsing them with cold water. Who was I kidding to think that I could dress this mutton up as the lamb she used to be?
But still – the young man, who had entertained himself at my expense, obviously thought I was attractive enough to risk being unmasked as some sort of peeping Tom.
I mean, in what world would a woman of my age find his actions complementary?
Having redressed I took the garment back the squeaky girl and handed it to her with an almost ‘Hah! In my voice when telling her that I was the one size that the makers did not take into consideration.
‘In fact’ I added. ‘I am sure there is a breech of the trades descriptions act here to answer to’.
And with that I left the store and decided to make my way to the small coffee shop I had spotted earlier in order to get something to eat – and obviously a coffee.
Having been deprived of my fantasy I felt the need for caffeine and sugar in order to quell the hormonal rush that had caused this itch that I was unable to scratch.
I settled myself down with my ‘sex substitute’ that consisted of a Cappuccino and an apple donut, and took the time to look around at the people in the coffeehouse with me, whilst my coffee cooled.
It is kind of a hobby of mine to people watch – being nosey my husband called it.
My thoughts returned to him at that moment.
Was what I was doing right?
This seeking out of someone just to satisfy a basic animal lust was nothing more than adultery – wasn’t it?
Yes it was.
I stared into my coffee for a long while and considered my future actions. If I were to continue with this — whatever ‘this’ was, I needed not to care about who I was hurting, and not to feel guilty about the pain my actions would cause another. I needed to be as selfish as I had been during my youth.
To use and be used without any remorse, or any thought for another’s needs.
All milk – No Moo.
My eyes became refocused as I snapped myself back to reality once more and resumed my critique of my fellow coffee shop dropouts.
Young and old together in one place — not knowing or caring about the feelings of one other. Unaware of what was going on in each other’s lives and unaffected by the thoughts and needs of the other patrons. My attention drifted from one person to another until they eventually settled on someone that made me regain my faith in the universe.
‘Well I never’ I said to myself, for standing at the food counter was the young man who had played ‘Peeping Tom’ with me not half an hour ago.
‘Well isn’t fate a wonderful thing’ I said quietly to myself.
I got up and went to the counter on the pretext of ordering another coffee, and stood next to him whilst I waited for some service.
I smiled again to myself at the irony of what kind of service I was hoping for.
He looked over at me, and I returned his look with a smile.
‘Hello’ I said.
He smiled back and said,
My heart was beating so hard that I feared that it would burst from my chest, but encased as it was by a cleavage that even Victoria would find hard to keep secret, I was fairly safe that it was going nowhere — for now.
I felt like a nervous teenager standing next to her first crush.
My mouth was dry and my hands were sweaty as I tried to compose what I would say to him in my head. The most obvious question felt wrong, but before I had a chance to edit them and arrange the question, so as not to seem foolish, the words fell from my lips.
‘Did you like what you saw?’ My inner voice screamed at what seemed to be no more than dialogue from a bad porn movie.
He looked over to me again, and then over his shoulder in order to see if I was talking to someone else.
‘I’m sorry Ma’am, was you talking to me’
I smiled at him once more.
‘Indeed I was’ I replied. It was obvious that he didn’t recognise me, but then it wasn’t my face he had been looking at – or was interested in. He looked confused, but still held a polite smile. The smile someone adopts when they fear that a simpleton is addressing them.
‘Sorry, I not sure what you mean’ he said. The concern in his voice was quite sweet and showed me that he was not an unkind man, and so I stepped a little closer and looked around as if we were part of some great conspiracy.
I leaned in so as to lower my voice.
‘The changing rooms at the store across the way – that was me’
I offered him what I thought was an alluring wink, but in truth it probably looked as though I had something in my eye. He looked at me for a moment until the realisation hit him. His eyes darted quickly to my cleavage and then back to my face.
‘Oh crap’ he said. ‘Look, I am really s-sorry ma’am; I don’t usually do that kind of thing. I am so sorry if I offended you’.
The embarrassment was clear by the reddening of his face and the stutter in his voice. I patted his arm, and was genuinely moved by his apologies.
‘No need to be sorry — to be honest, I was quite flattered that this old woman could still gain the interest of a young man such as yourself’
He visibly sagged with relief that he had not incurred the wrath of this woman, and that she had not sought him out in order to create a scene by accusing him of some sort of public invasion of privacy. This woman with whom he had shared, what he thought, was a secret moment of perversion. A moment that was now being highlighted by a carnivorous cleavage dancing to a rhythm of its own design.
‘May I buy you that coffee?’ he said nodding towards my purchase ‘by way of an apology’
I thought about it and said, ‘Only if you join me whilst I drink it’
He smiled once more and said,‘Of course – it’s the least I can do’
I went back to my table and waited while he brought the drinks over.
He sat himself down opposite me.
‘Harvey’ he said, and held out his hand by way of introduction.
‘Rhapsody Caine’ I said, and with that I had given life to my new persona.
Harvey sat down and took a sip of his coffee.
‘That’s an interesting name’ he said.
I tried to look alluring, but then confused myself as I could quite remember what alluring looked like, so I replied with, ‘Some might say that I’m an interesting person’
From inside I winced again at my clumsy dialogue.
‘Even so’ he said, ‘you must get tired of this sort of thing happening all the time?’
‘Get tired of what thing’ I inquired as I took a sip of my coffee.
‘The stupid questions and’. He paused and nodded toward by bosom.
‘Men staring at your..’ His words faltered and then failed him.
‘Tits?’ I said.
He looked at me in surprise.
‘You seem shocked that an old woman would know of such a word’
‘A little’ he admitted ‘sorry, I didn’t mean that I thought you were old, of course you’re not old. No, I assumed that – you know, being Indian and all that’.
I smiled, ‘My family were not religious. My Mother was from India and my father was French, and so I was raised to fit in with the other children, rather than to some stereotypical ideal’
‘You still have an accent though’ he said.
I nodded whilst raising my eyebrows in agreement.
‘Yes, I’m not sure why that is – I guess you can take the girl out of India, but you can’t take India out of the girl’
He took another sip.
‘And did you fit in – with the other children?’
‘I had to make a few adjustments to my thinking and to the way I used the language. Some Indian words can’t properly express what you are trying to say’
He smiled and said, ‘Like your eloquent description to your..’ he nodded towards my cleavage again.
‘Tits’ I said.
‘As you say’ he said, and smiled once more. He seemed relieved that was not the sort of woman to take offence at a perverse whim – a mere opportunistic act of voyeurism, designed to provide a little light entertainment from the monotony of having to wait for someone to try a dress on – only to put it back on the rack afterwards without buying it. I started to wonder as to what depths he would explore in order to break that boredom cycle once more. I took another a sip of my coffee and looked into his eyes over the brim of the cup.
‘I know other words too’ I said.
He laughed an easy laugh.
‘I bet you know quite a few’ he said.
‘Indeed — would you like to make me say some of them for you?’
He looked at me with confusion in his eyes.
‘I’m not sure what you mean – sorry’
I put my coffee down and, reaching across the table, I took his hand.
‘You seemed very interested in watching me undress’
‘W-well yes’ he stammered, ‘but I..’
‘How about’ I interrupted ‘ you and I go somewhere and we find out if there is anything else about me that you would be ‘interested’ in’
He retracted his hand and stood up.
‘I’m sorry’ he said ‘I seem to have given you the wrong impression. I was just trying to make a mends for – well, you know…’
At that he began to leave. As he walked past me I took his arm and said,‘Why so shy – don’t tell me it didn’t cross your mind back then’
He looked around and smiled nervously at the other customers, some of which had been privy to the latter part of our conversation. The table opposite us had three teenage girls, who giggled at his plight. He bent down until his mouth was close to my ear, and when he spoke it was a low, hiss of a whisper. A voice tainted with poison and anger.
‘Listen love, the curtain was open and you were naked – I found it funny that the fat Paki was flapping her tits around for all to see. Jesus woman, who the hell want to fuck you’
He yanked his arm from my grasp and walked out of the café leaving me stunned – shocked that my fantasy world had been torn down before my eyes.
I sat and stared into space for a long while.
Time enough for my coffee to grow cold.
Time enough for the adrenaline in my bloodstream to sour — causing me to shake.
Hot tears started to roll down my face.
I felt stupid.
I felt embarrassed.
My clumsy and obvious attempts at seduction had made me look like nothing more that a randy old woman. Someone so desperate for male company that she had resorted to stalking a peeping Tom.
Is this what I had become?
This one size that used to fit all – did not any more.
When I arrived home that evening, it was to the sound of the T.V being played too loud. For one of the other many things I had lost – peace and quiet were two more.
As he had gotten older, my husband had started to loose his hearing. Along with his teeth and hair, this detracted from the Adonis he imagined himself to be.
But then, who was I to cast the first stone in this greenhouse that had been built around our marriage. This fragile thing, kept from shattering by my silence and subservience to a life that I was not prepared for.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror.
My first attempts at channeling this dangerous overflow of sexual repression had failed miserably, and my confidence had taken a severe battering.
I turned this way and that in order to get an all round view of what had expanded over the years. This took a little while and I started to notice that I was able to swing to the left and to the right at the same time.
I smiled at this.
I figured that maybe my on-line persona had had a little more success than I had, and so made my way to the kitchen in order to start up my laptop.
From the sitting room I noticed the sound of two voices, and recognized the other as being my husbands friend Harry. Harry had been coming over from the house next door for the past two years in order to watch old cowboy movies, of which they both indulged in once a month. I had forgotten this was movie night, and so quietly popped my head around the door to in order to say my hellos and to ask if they needed anything in the way of refreshments. My husband looked up from where he was sitting and asked if they might have a bite to eat and maybe a drink. I smiled the ‘good wife’ smile and went into the kitchen in order to prepare their snacks.
My husband joined me a few moments later.
‘Harry has brought the first season of Rawhide around tonight’ he enthused.
I smiled the smile again.
‘That’s nice’ I lied. Quite frankly I didn’t know, or care what Rawhide was.
‘It goes on for a bit, so it will be a bit of a late night for the boys tonight I’m sorry’
He looked at me with his big, open apologetic face.
‘That’s okay dear’ I said, ‘I am going to have a bath and an early night anyway.’
I kissed him on the cheek and handed him the tray with his snacks and two beers.
‘Enjoy your cowboy thing’ I said.
‘Rawhide’ came his correction.
‘Who cares’ I thought.
I busied myself around the kitchen whilst I decided what I wanted to eat myself, and as I waited for the kettle to boil I cut myself a sandwich. I looked around for a magazine to read whist I ate my supper, and in doing so I noticed Harry in the hallway. He had come out of the living room in order to retrieve something from his coat pocket and started a little when he saw me.
I waved at him and smiled, to which he responded with a nervous wave of his own.
Harry was a bookish little man who lived next door with his aged mother.
They had both lived in the same house for the past sixty years when he and his parents had moved there when Harry was six years old, as their home had been destroyed during the blitz. When his Father had died Thirty years ago Harry had taken care of his Mother, a sacrifice that eventually cost him his marriage when his wife had taken herself and her son off to a hotter climate, and a hotter man. It was the opinion of those who knew him that he had never had another woman in his life since then, save for his mother. And so Harry had involved himself in his trains and his cowboy movies – alone in his sad little world, that is until he befriended my husband.
They had a shared passion for the Wild West and cowboy movies, and from this was born the ritual of a ‘Once a month movie night’.
It was harmless, dull and a little sad.
A bit like Harry.
I always had the feeling that he was a little nervous, almost afraid of me.
Whether he found me a bit intimidating because of my size, or that he hadn’t had much to do with women, was never clear to me.
‘Have you lost something Harry?’ I called to him.
He held up his glasses by way of an answer.
I smiled at him and said, ‘Won’t see much of the action without them.’
I left me in the wake of a half-smile that he always seemed to have when I spoke to him. It was as if he had not understood some joke I had made, but was to polite not to seem amused. I chuckled to myself and went back to finishing my supper before making my way upstairs, taking my laptop with me in order to see if my cyber fishing had caught anything.
There was a quiet knocking on the bedroom door about an hour after I had settled down. I looked up as my husband opened the door slightly to see if I was in too deep a sleep. He seemed surprised that I was awake.
‘What wrong?’ I said, for it was unusual for him to knock on his own bedroom door.
He entered when he saw that I had my laptop open.
‘Nothing’ he said, ‘well, at least I hope not’
I peered over the top of my glasses and at the alarm clock.
‘It’s nine –thirty’ I said, ‘you movie hasn’t finished yet has it?’
He proceeded to enter the room and sat himself on the edge of the bed.
‘No, far from it – I sent Harry home early.’
He looked concerned – worried almost, so much so that he had got me worried, as he never missed an opportunity to loose himself in his little world, and to send Harry home meant that something was playing on his mind. My thoughts immediately jumped to the obvious. Maybe he was sick again, and his cancer had returned.
‘Is there something the matter? – Are you okay?’
His smile was not one of mirth. It was grim and held no humor.
‘That’s what I was going to ask you’ he said – and then he went on to change our lives forever.
‘Harry didn’t come around for movie night, and if your mind had not been elsewhere you would have realised that we don’t meet until next week. Harry came around to tell me something that he thought I needed to know.’
I sat further up in bed – anxious as to what was coming next.
‘Do you know what Harry does for a living?’ he asked.
I said that I had no idea.
‘He owns, and runs the coffee shop in town.’
These few words turned my blood to ice. A chill of fear ran over me as I put my hand up to my mouth as if to stifle my cry of guilt.
‘Why?’ asked my husband.
My blood rose at his question, and for some reason this one word undid any guilt that I was feeling.
I should have felt ashamed.
I should have been begging for his forgiveness.
But this act of calling me out to explain the actions of thirty years of pent up repression caused nothing but anger – a rage that suddenly, and violently found its voice.
‘Because YOU gave up on me – on us’ I snarled, ‘did you even consider me when you made the decision on both our behalves?’
He recoiled at this sudden outburst of emotion – this re-direction of his own accusations being used a weapon of choice against him.
‘What decision?’ he asked with incredulity in his voice.
‘The decision to remove sex from our marriage’
He stood up, and I saw the anger rise in his face but I was too far-gone in my pursuit of emotional justice to back down now.
‘I had that choice ripped from me, as well you know’ he said, almost spitting his own rage at me, ‘and we still make love – all right, not as often as we used to, but I still do what I can – I have never given you cause to complain before’
At this I threw back the bedclothes and got out of the bed.
I took off my nightdress and stood naked before him.
‘What do you see?’ I shouted.
‘What?’ he took a step back at my question and at this sudden thrusting of these weapons of mass deception that were normally hidden beneath an almost military grade Kevlar bra.
‘A simple enough question – what do you see?’
‘Well, you – all of you’ he stammered. My instincts told me that the fight had left him, and so I used this opportunity to increase my attack.
‘No, wrong answer’
‘Sorry, I don’t..’
‘This is not me — this is what I became’. My voice had risen to a repressed scream – a half shout through clenched teeth.
‘This is what I turned myself into to please you…
This is your wife…
This is the mother of your children…
This is the woman who cooks and cleans for you…
This is the woman who was happy to be all those things until you took away the only part of this marriage that had you in it.’
He looked wild eyed and confused.
‘You want to make love more often? – Is that what this is all about?’
He looked genuinely scared of this demon that had manifested itself from the image of his wife. This spitting viper that spoke nonsensically of some betrayal his bedroom duties that he had no idea he had relinquished.
I forced my breathing to slow down and calmed myself enough so that my heart was no longer in danger of leaving my chest. The sound of the blood pumping in my head started to dissipate enough for me to be no longer fearful of having a stroke.
I stepped towards him and took his hands.
They were shaking and sweating from the adrenalin that had been forced into him – which was now turning cold and stale in his veins.
An ironic reflection of our marriage.
‘I never wanted you to make love to me.’
He winced at this – visibly shocked at my statement and greatly misunderstanding its intent. I pulled him closer and placed his hands on my naked breasts.
‘I wanted more than that’ and at that I started to explain, in great detail, the things I craved in my life.
Of the things I wanted done for me, and to me.
I poured out the wants and needs of my soul, and opened my heart to him so that he may forgive my failings – hoping against hope that he would see my darker side, not as a thing to be fixed – but something to be attended to, and to be nurtured.
To enjoy and to indulge in.
He needed to see that my attempted feeding of those perversions was merely this drowning woman’s cry for help, and for attention.
‘I wanted you – and I wanted you to want me, to need me and to use me’ I said.
My confessions settled like disturbed dust, with each mote catching the light and refracting the truth back to him — splitting the white light of hypocrisy into a spectrum of truth.
He looked into my eyes as if searching for an answer to a question he did not have.
‘But I thought you…the other men’ He said eventually.
‘What of them’ I said softly.
‘The way you were treated – I thought…’
I put my hand up to his lips.
‘I liked it’ I said.
‘But — why didn’t you say something – all these years, and you said nothing.’
I laughed a little at that point.
‘Because I was afraid you would think that I was a little strange’
He smiled at me and raised his eyebrows.
‘I always thought you were strange, just not ‘THAT’ strange’
We hugged each other for a long time, until I became uncomfortably aware that I was still naked.
‘I need to put some clothes on,’ I said.
I went to pull away in order to retrieve the nightdress that I had found its way across the room from the force of this woman’s rage — only to find my husband had not released his hold on me. My puzzled look was answered with raised eyebrows once more.
‘What for?’ he smiled.
So I will end this part of my story, for it is in truth the start of a new one.
But before I go I will say one thing.
Society is not a thing.
It is a state of being created by us all.
Although I was fully in control of my sexual activities as a young woman, I cannot help but feel that the way I was regarded by my peers contributed to the fact that I could not tell my husband about my ‘strange ways’. Had I been treated differently for not fitting in with an ideal then maybe I would not have felt that my perversions were something to hide.
Fearing that they were not normal.
Of course they are normal — this was never the issue as there is no ‘normal’
I am not the way that I am because of the way I look – my desires are my choice to explore. We all have urges and fantasies in one form or another, and just how extreme those fantasies are is a personal thing – a normal thing. As long as we are not hurting anyone then we should not be judged.
By the same token, it is the right of another not to indulge in that persons ways, as they may feel that what they do is enough to satisfy the beast within them – the beast that resides within us all.
My husband knows me by my real name, but when the need arises he calls me Destiny Caine – amongst other things.