Comfortable Silences

 

I tried to write some smut.  It got away from me and turned into social commentary.  Now I don’t know what to call it.


They sat in the board room, two dixie cups from the water cooler and an open bottle of champagne between them. The merger had been a success – one six months in the making. The sun had gone down and the last of the staff had long logged off and gone home, probably to celebrate with their loved ones.

This deal meant everybody got a pay day, even the clerks in the mail room.

“Did we already toast to us?” he asked, picking up the paper cup with his pinky out.

“We did a few times, I think,” she smirked. “But what the hell? Let’s do it again.” She lifted her cup in similar fashion and tapped it against his before bringing it back up to her lips to smother a girlish giggle.

He caught his stare lingering on her lips. She was older than him by a good fifteen years and she still looked great. The merger made her rich enough to retire, and as of midnight, he was the new CEO.

“It’s getting late,” he said. Again.

“Yes, it is.”

“I keep saying that, don’t I?”

“Every time there’s an uncomfortable silence,” she said, peering up at him through her lashes.

“Aren’t all silences uncomfortable?” he asked her.

“No, some are heavenly,” she sighed.

Now he smirked. “Heavenly silences? Explain how those work.”

She smiled with a hint of mischief. Taking a slow, deep breath she set her cup down and uncrossed her legs so as to face him. Without a word, she reached out to unbutton the top two buttons of her blouse.

“Woah, what are you….?” he began, but she interrupted him.

“Shhhh,” she shushed him as she unbuttoned the third, this time revealing the blue lace of her bra and enough cleavage to file an HR report.

He sat and realized again that his gaze remained on her lips as though they held the key to deciphering her intention.

“I think maybe the bubbly is getting to us,” he stammered.

“You wanted to know what a comfortable silence felt like,” she reminded him.

“Yeah. I’m not so sure how comfortable I’m feeling about all of this,” he said.

“Do you object?” she asked, those damned lips pouting slightly.

“Uh…no, I wouldn’t say that, I just……”

“Shhhhh. Don’t answer me with your words. Let your silence tell me what you really want,” she whispered.

“That…..that doesn’t make sense,” he stammered.

She broke into peals of laughter and leaned back, crossing her legs again. “No, it doesn’t, does it?” She took another drink.

Confused, but relieved that her body language had stopped being so aggressive, he laughed nervously along. “No…not really.”

She leaned against the backrest of the chair, smiling as if lost in a memory. He sat and watched her for a few minutes.

“There,” her voice broke the silence.

“What?” he asked, surprised.

“That silence just now,” she continued. “Was that uncomfortable?”

“No,” he responded honestly. Once she’d stopped trying to seduce him, he felt as though the silence was a welcome reprieve from having to face the discomfort of the situation.

She stood and buttoned her blouse. “I’m tipsy. I better call a car to take me home,” she said.

Just before exiting the board room she turned and looked back at him. “That silence is gonna feel pretty comfortable for a day or two. Maybe even a couple weeks. It’ll be a relief for a little while. But one day, it’s gonna be a knot in your stomach, wondering if you should have said something. Done something. One day you’re gonna wonder what would have happened if….”

He stared at her curiously.

“You’re the boss now, buddy,” she continued. “This deal means I’m retired and you’re on your own in charge of all of this,” she waved her arm around the board room.

“For years, I put up with those silences. Those comfortable silences that meant I could move up and get ahead. And now, I sit here tipsy from the champagne I drank with you because I never trusted anybody enough to let them in, and thinking about all the silences I kept all in the name of keeping things comfortable….”

He stared at her as she continued.

“I tell you what. I’ll be plenty comfortable now for the rest of my life and I’d give it all away in a heartbeat if…-.” her sentence trailed off.

“If what?” he asked softly.

Her smile was sad now. “I can’t go back and fix it all now. It’s too late for me.”

She left the room.

He sat in silence, questioning everything that had just transpired. Just as she’d hoped he would.

Ritual

Her shoulders are hunched as she takes each knock-kneed baby step toward the kitchenette, using her french-manicured and liver-spotted hands to steady herself on any furniture she passes along the way. I offer to help, but no. She won’t allow it. I sit back and send an email to work that I’ll be late this morning.

She fills a plastic measuring cup from the water cooler and takes a cautious three steps over to empty it into the kettle. Then she steps back to the dispenser and repeats it. Then again.

There is a hot water lever on the dispenser, but it’s the kind that requires you push down a red button while pulling on the lever – too difficult for her frail, arthritic hands.

I smile as I watched her struggle. There’s no point in offering to help again. I’ll only irritate her.

While the kettle heats, she spoons some of the herbs into the hollowed out gourd and inserts the metal straw with the built-in filter. She pulls the tall thermos out from under the counter and spoons in a touch of sweetener.

When the kettle is finished, she pours the heated water into the thermos. She returns to the sofa in the sitting area, this time using the walker on wheels to rest the thermos while she carries the gourd in one hand.

She sits beside me and pours the water over the leaves, setting the thermos down on the floor before handing me the gourd.

I say nothing, and take a few sips. Memories of generations of childhoods brought up drinkingmate (mah-teh) in the morning erupt onto my tastebuds. The warm liquid soothes my throat, still healing from a week of high winds and higher stress.

“I haven’t even eaten breakfast today,” she tells me as I drink. “But I got up at six this morning to drink mate.

I finish up the liquid in the gourd and hand it back to her. She refills it and returns it to me. “Did you eat?” she asks me.

“I had a protein shake on the way here.”

“A protein shake? That’s not breakfast,” she tells me.

“And what did you have?” I remind her.

She sighs. “I don’t have an appetite, with everything going on.” My grandfather, he was moved back to the hospital again last night after he woke up agitated in the nursing home, confiscated a wheelchair and somehow made his way out to the street before the attendants were able to bring him back inside. Unable to sedate him at the home, they sent him back to where he could remain under medicated observation.

I nod and take another sip. When the sound of the air pulling through the straw comes through, I hand her back the gourd. She fills it again and returns it to me.

This is the ritual she has every morning, rain or shine, every day of her life. Usually with him, but for the last two days he’s been gone, after a few falls had the doctors concerned about his low energy levels.

She serves him. And without him there, she’s frightened.

I reach over and take her hand, fingering the diamond ring on the intricate golden band that I claimed for myself when I was ten years old. “I like that ring, bubbe,” I’d said. “I want you to leave it to me in your will.”

All my cousins are boys and none of them would have wanted it, but I wanted to be sure that would end up mine.

She sets the thermos down on the floor. I take another sip. “It’s so good, bubbe.”

“You’re done?”

That’s part of the ritual with mate. One does not acknowledge it until they’re finished. That is when they say thank you to the person in charge of filling it and passing it on to the next drinker to indicate they don’t want any more.

“No, but I’ll serve it now,” I say.

I finish out the water that’s left in the thermos as we sit and chat. At one point, she forgets enough to have regained her appetite and fixes herself a bowl of cereal. Corn flakes. She offers me some.

“I’m okay, bubbe. I need to get to work, actually.”

“Ok, Ok. Go. Go. Don’t make problems for yourself. I’m fine,” she says.

She is, and she’s not. My grandfather retired decades ago from his job, but her job had always been to take care of him. She never really considered retirement. She never considered having to live a day of her life without him.

My widowed heart sinks as I recall those first few days. It won’t be easy for her.

In many ways she’s been in a 24/7 dynamic her whole life.

Walls of Jericho

But my life turned out okay, didn’t it?

That’s the answer I’d expect from some people after I write the post I want to write. This wouldn’t be the response I’d get from the people who already “get it.” It would be from the ones who regularly refute the premise, but for some reason, they’d be more inclined to listen to me even if they’d continue to disagree with me.

And then they’d remind me that despite all that had happened my life turned out okay, didn’t it?

And to them, I’d just want to say that yes, it did. It turned out okay. And that still doesn’t make it right. That still doesn’t make it an acceptable loss.

It’s hard to imagine there are still people in the world who would ask the question “if it were true, why did they take so long to say anything about it?”

I keep waiting for my parents to ask the question so I can remind them what happened the two or three times I told them about it right after it happened.

You weren’t there, so I’ll tell you.

Nothing. I was told not to make a fuss. I was told not to make a scene. In one case I was told I was overreacting and exaggerating despite having a male family member corroborate my story. And when I refused to be near or friendly with the person that was making me uncomfortable, I was chided and accused of being rude.

It was happening right under their nose, not just once. Not twice, but THREE times. Though, one of those times I was all for it; but looking through the lens of maturity now, they should have said something. It was highly inappropriate.

But, of course, they didn’t want to make a scene.

Yes, my life turned out okay. Just like when my dad sold my car without talking to me about it first, and…well, I mean, I love my Prius now, so that turned out okay, right? Why would I still be upset with him for doing that without talking to me about it first if it all turned out okay?

For millions of others, that’s not the case. They don’t end up “okay.” And even if it were…even if everyone who ever got groped without consent, or raped, or had their personal space and personal agency violated in anyway turned out okay it would STILL not make it okay for that shit to have happened to them.

So, why don’t they speak up sooner?

Are you listening? Or did your wall go up as soon as you figured out what this post was about?

If I include a pretty picture of me, will you read it?

Today I posted a link to an article on Huffington Post by a woman has made a valiant effort to convey what it’s like to live as a woman (and I will add my personal amendment to include those who present as women).

It was a shared post from a man who urged other men to read it all the way to the end. And, just in case they wouldn’t, he copy/pasted the portion of the article he wanted them to read.

On Saturday night, after a few drinks and a lengthy conversation about sexism and women’s issues prompted by the “grab them by the pussy” recording, my brother walked me to my car and said “I really don’t know what it’s like to be a woman.”

So when I shared that article, it was with the hope that some of the male (or male presenting) folk in my feed would take a look and try to understand.

So far, the only people who have loved or shared it are all women.


Prior to the wedding, I’d gone in for a wash and blow dry since I didn’t have my house available with the continuing water heater issues.

The woman who took me at the last minute, upon hearing that I was going to a wedding, offered to do something “more fancy” with the blow dry. I was game, so I told her to go ahead.

She ended up doing this terribly over-teased and over-sprayed gravity-defying …..thing to my hair. Someone in the waiting area actually told me I looked like Adele.

I was laughing about it, so I posted a picture on facebook. After all, it’s just a family wedding and I still had a few hours for gravity to do its job and bring my hair down. (There is NO curl that will ever stay put in my very fine, straight, hair.)

The photo got a couple laughs from my friends, and upon my arrival at the wedding more than several comments of people who were cracking up about it on their way to the wedding.

But, by the time I had my dress and makeup on, my hair had deflated significantly. It still was a little overdone, but not quite so comically. I posted an updated photo.

That one started getting all the likes. Even my dad did a heart love on it, and he hasn’t been very active on any of my posts lately at all.


I know facebook isn’t necessarily the proper venue for political statements. Neither is Fetlife. But what they are for me are places with an audience. This morning I saw a post from someone who was told his posts were “too vanilla” for Fetlife. I was a little shocked.

Nobody’s ever told me my posts are tooanything except frequent. And yet, others were commenting on that statement this morning saying that they too had been told they weren’t writing correctly enough for this website.

There were several reasons why I deactivated the option for my posts to trend, not the least of which was the reality that most of the time – it was the ranty stuff that would get pushed to the top of the K&P leaderboard. Then I’d have all these people who never read anything else I have to say making assumptions about who I am and what I’m about based on 500 words out of the 500,000 I’ve probably shared on this site.

I won’t make sweeping generalizations about what trends here. I won’t say that everything that ever makes it to K&P is crap. I will say that I’m not always thrilled with what general populations deem worthy of acknowledgment and what they would rather pretend doesn’t exist.


As of right now, 4 women have liked or shared the post I shared about what it’s like to live as a woman.

20 have loved the picture of me with my hair and makeup all done up. Eight are men. Four of those men and two of the women are Trump supporters.

I am not surprised.

But I am disappointed.

Using my words

Once upon a time I thought I was telepathic.

No, not really, but once upon a time, I behaved as though the men I was interested in could read my mind. With a look or a series of hints, I could convey my desires and they’d have the option to either make them happen or not.

I was in a crowded elevator heading to the top of the Eiffel Tower. My parents, my brother, and his girlfriend (now wife) were with me. I was sanding beside the elevator operator, who was eye-fucking me.

I have a thing about pushing my own boundaries. I mean, I was a legal adult, a sexually active one, and I’d spent the previous week sharing a room with my little brother and his girlfriend, without access to a vibrator or any sexual release.

I felt the elevator operator’s attention fixate on me. I fixated back, silently. I imagined him wanting me and touching me. I imagined all SORTS of things while we stood there, nearly touching, on the ride up while everyone else was oblivious to it.

And then he grabbed me by the pussy.

No joke, that’s exactly what happened. He grabbed my cunt and worked his fingers around it over my clothes.

I froze.

I didn’t say anything, I just remembered feeling really confused by what had just happened.

See, there are fantasies I want to make happen and there are some that are better off left in the land of make-believe. This was the latter.

Did I want him to grab me? Yeah, part of me did. BUT NOT THE PART THAT WOULD HAVE SAID SO OUT LOUD.

So now, I don’t leave it up to interpretation. I tell people straight up what I want from them. I tell my partner “I want you to kiss me,” or “I want you to say something nice to me,” or “I want to tease you until you can’t take it anymore and then overpower me.”

Would it be super fun if he could read my mind and life played out like a custom made fantasy?

Not anymore.

I used to think it would. But imagine if every time I thought a guy was attractive and thought something remotely flirtatious and/or sexual about him he acted on it like the guy in the elevator at the Eiffel Tower?

Yeah, I do not want people to act on my thoughts. I don’t want to be grabbed by the pussy by someone who is getting a “message” from me that is not a message I said with my words.

Now, my partner and I have a negotiated relationship. He can grab me by the pussy whenever he wants – because I trust, for example, that he wouldn’t do it in a situation that would make trouble for me with family, coworkers, or law enforcement.

In our VERY FIRST SCENE I gave him verbal permission to touch me wherever he wanted. He chose not to grab me by the pussy that time.

But he was aware he could have.

There’s a lot of writing/talking about consent, and it’s an important conversation to have. What clearly separates assault, abuse, and harassment from what we do here is consent.

And unless you’ve heard me tell you something with my words, step the fuck back.

Stink

My house has an odd medicinal smell to it. I don’t know if it’s caused by whatever mysterious process is going on in the downstairs guest room that has been quarantined while they have these enormous drying machines running 24/7 since Saturday.

But I do know that I didn’t start smelling the new not-entirely-pleasant smell until I finally cleaned the cat box last night when I got home.

There’s something really icky about uncovering a new uncomfortable aroma after removing another competing odor that had been so pervasive and overpowering, you didn’t even realize there was still another nose-crinkling scent festering beneath it.

Somehow this situation reminds me of last night’s VP debates.

That is all.

Priorities

I’m falling.

I was laying on my back on some sort of exercise bench that was rickety and only long enough to support me from ass to shoulders. My head was hanging backward off one end, and I was struggling to find a position or some leverage that would stabilize my legs without aggravating the highly-invasive crotch rope that was digging into my ass and cunt.

I’m falling. I thought, but all I could muster out loud was a minor squeak.

My arms were bound in front. My everything was bound in front, with his rope crisscrossing to contain my shoulders, arms and chest in a firm and constant embrace.

He was standing behind me. When I opened my eyes I could see the black of his jeans as he leaned over my body to grope and touch and prod. The bench wiggled again and I squirmed to compensate. Without the use of my arms, i couldn’t brace myself for a fall. I could get my wrists out of the cuff, though, if I had to. Free up enough of my arms to grab hold of something.

I looked up again. I became aware of the closeness of his crotch to my face. In my struggle to find balance and composure I’d not noticed the physical position I’d placed myself in.

By the time his fingers had traveled down to unfasten his belt buckle, I’d forgotten about falling. My mind became of singular purpose. I watched with growing anticipation.

I’m choking.

Instinctively, I pulled my wrists from out of their binds and reached around to grab his thighs from behind. Not to brace myself.

But to pull him deeper inside.