“Shit. What do I do for his birthday? What I’d thought about doing weeks ago? Or something different?”
My heart was pained. And my nights were sleepless.
“C’mon G-d. Give me some sort of message.”
“Be true to yourself, Randi.” Ah, I knew exactly what I’d do.
I decided there’d be three parts to his gift. Part one was easy: A card mailed to his home. You know the type: the sarcastic kind when one hits 40. I switched the 40 to 41 and sent it off a week ahead of time.
His response? Not one mention about it.
Part two was going to be more difficult. One day, many months earlier, he’d shown me a leather neckpiece he used to wear. The symbol on it had broken in half. He’d said he’d never been able to find a replacement and had been looking for over a year. I’d only gotten a quick glance at it. I thought perhaps it was the zodiac sing for cancer but wasn’t all that sure. On a fluke, one day I was browsing the web and poof! I realized I’d found it.
For part three, I bought several boxes of fortune cookies and removed the fortunes from them with a tweezers. On the back of 41 of them, I wrote one thing I liked about him. NONE of them were sexual in nature. And then I placed them in a small can and sealed it.
The day after Tank’s birthday dinner with his family—sans me—I was flying home from a client that night—he appeared at my door.
I gave him Part Two. He unwrapped the package and didn’t say a word when he saw what was inside. Instead he immediately put it on and reached down to kiss me in a way I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
“Where’d you find this, Randi?”
“I got it online. Is it the right item? I wasn’t sure.
“It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I can’t believe you found it. My whole family’s been looking. No one’s found it. Thank you. This is really nice.”
“You’re welcome. I also have something else for you.” I handed him the can.
He opened it and stared at me, quizzically. “What are these for?
“Each cookie has a fortune in it—from me. Something I like about you. Open one.”
“No. I’m going to save them for those days when I need a boost. Then I’ll pull one out.”
Then, he took my hand. And walked me out of the family room, through the living room, up two short flights of stairs, down the hall and into my bedroom. He put a DVD into the TV and plopped down on the bed next to me.
I was lying on my tummy. All set to watch the movie. He laid down next to me on his side and put one arm around my waist. His tongue entered my mouth. It tasted so sweet. I took one of my fingers and slowly put it into his mouth. And then into mine. I heard him moan. Against my leg, I felt his cock harden inside his pants.
He turned me on my back and pulled up my dress to expose my thong. When I felt his fingers moving inside of me and his tongue sucking on my clit, I knew I’d done good.
One day, a few weeks after this all started, I found myself at his house, washing his cherry red Porsche. And then his conventional white car for work. And finally, my grey Honda truck.
I’d been silent for most of the hour we’d been together. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself.
“Tank, do you think you’ll ever kiss me passionately again? I miss those kisses.”
His response was immediate—and firm. “If you have to ask, you don’t deserve to be kissed like that.”
My response was visceral. I could feel the sting of his words in every cell in my body. As I wondered what I’d have to do to be deserving of such kisses again, a single tear scrolled down my left cheek. A few minutes later, I walked in the house, got my things and quietly left—without a hug or a peck on the cheek.
“Every now and then I check your site and wonder if you’ll be back. I know July was tough and I’m hoping you have moved on. I think of you often and hope you are well. You went through a lot.”
Two hundred and thirty days have passed since I last wrote a posting on this site. I guess you could say I’ve been hibernating. I traveled on business every week from August 1 to December 5th. Including Thanksgiving week. I completely changed my hairstyle and the color of my hair. To top it all off, I lost 30 pounds in two months through the use of HCG and am now in maintenance. It’s tougher than I thought it would since an allergy to eggs made itself known—through the complete disappearance of very small rashes on my body (no eggs are allowed on HCG). And yes, I’ll post new pictures in a few weeks.
And, Tank is gone. Long gone. I’ll share some highlights in the coming days about the circuitous route that our relationship took before he departed in early October. It taught me a lot about him—and about myself. Not being one to dwell all that much on the past, you’ll hear a few highlights about what’s occurred since then. And then I’ll return to writing about the present moment.
Thank you for hanging in there with me. If you thought the ride was a wild one, just wait!
“What do you want to do, Randi? Do you want to go upstairs and freshen up or do you want to go sit out on the boat dock?”
“The boat dock? Was he crazy?” The heat was still oppressive outside, even at 7 in the evening. “I’ll go upstairs.”
“I ran. Into the master bathroom. Man, I looked a mess. Mascara all over my face. My eyes redder than they were when I’d arrived an hour earlier. “Where’s a towel?” I soaked it in cold water and applied it to my face as a compress.
I heard her voice. Isabel was always gracious—and flirtatious—when she interacted with Tank. We’d met her a few weeks earlier With her partner. He’d contacted me online, wanting to learn more about me. I quickly set the record straight that I had a swing partner and wasn’t interested in playing alone. Much to my surprise, he said he had a partner, too.
She asked to chat with me by phone before the four of us met. I thought I’d met a kindred spirit: a jewish woman, a year older than me. Fairly new to the lifestyle with a kink for spanking, not during sex, but beforehand as a stimulant. She’d been the BDSM route and pulled back a bit in favor of swinging.
It was a Friday evening when we all had dinner together at a brewery. The three of them did most of the talking; I chose to sit back and observe the interactions. This was the first meeting with a couple where Tank and I agreed all we’d do is meet—no play.
We met a second time at a meet-and-greet the following Saturday night. She was all over Tank like a wet noodle. And he was into her in a big way. She was getting the sorts of passion kisses I hadn’t had from him in a while. But that’s the life of a swinger—especially when you’re a single. Sometimes your partner is more turned on by newness than by familiarity and what he can have on a regular basis.
Isabel had shown up at his house this evening for a posture assessment. Her body had been wracked with pain for years—sciatica she said—and Tank felt differently—and had offered to see her professionally for free. She’d been without work a long while and had just started a new sales position.
Once I put myself together, I quietly walked down the stairs and sat on the fourth one from the bottom. I watched through the step railings as Tank had her position her body in various ways so he could assess her pain and her multiple problems. She finally saw me.
“Yes, I’m fine. Just a little tired.”
“You don’t look well.”
“We have to get together and play soon—the four of us. I’m sooooo looking forward to it.”
Like I didn’t know. She’d been calling me almost daily to say how much she was looking forward to that opportunity. I remember one day in particular when she called to gush about Tank for 45 minutes. And then called back five minutes later to say how sorry she was not to have mentioned her interest in both of us as a couple.
Before she left, she pulled out her calendar and rattled off dates that she and her partner had available to meet with us. Tank had told her at the meet-and-greet he thought it’d be fun to spend the whole night together as a foursome and have breakfast together in the morning. He agreed to a date a few weekends later. I kept quiet.
After she left, he walked me over to the kitchen table and turned two chairs to face each other. I sat down. So did he. And he held my hands in his. We sat quiet for a few minutes.
“I’m not going to see you any more if you decide to no longer continue our relationship.”
“Well, that’s the problem, Randi. It’s a relationship. That’s now how things got started. You were seeking another swing partner to add to the mix and then things changed. Although I am jealous that you know how you feel.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be. It’s painful to love somebody who doesn’t love you back. I’ve known that for a long time. That’s why I never told you how I felt. Was it ever good?”
“It was great in Palm Springs. Everything was moving along great. Then things changed. I had to focus my attention on my daughter because of what happened on our trip (side note: she’d decided to act out at home and Tank pulled in all the reins on her when he got home). And you wanted more time with me—and I didn’t have it. There were birthdays and high school graduations.”
“But you never asked me out.”
“You never gave me a chance, Randi. Every week you were telling me about a party or who’d written to you to play with us. There was never time for me to ask you out.”
“But you told me to orchestrate everything. I was just doing what you told me to do. And now you’re telling me what I’ve done hasn’t been working. What do you want? You need to tell me. Otherwise, I won’t know what to do.”
“I want us to take a break from swinging. For at least a month.”
“What about us? Do you want a break from us too? I told you a long time ago that if ‘we’ don’t find ourselves going forward as a couple, I will disappear. I don’t think I could be your friend given how I feel about you. It would be too hard for me emotionally.” (But truth be told, I didn’t fully understand why this was so important to me. I just knew it was.)
“I want to see you. But I want us to stop having sex. It’s too much. I need to figure out how I feel about you. Without the physical stuff.”
“So what are you saying? You want to press the reset button? What do we call ourselves?”
“Well, I’m not planning to see anyone else so I would be dating you exclusively. So I guess you’d be my girlfriend. Does that work for you?”
“Yes, only we also need to talk about the rules. What I can and can’t do. I’m not going to call you anymore. If you want to see me, you’ll need to call me. And we need to recalibrate regularly so we know if things are going okay. The airline ticket I gave you for the end of September. It’s yours no matter what. I just need to know if you plan on using it with me. I got us a hotel room and things would change for the bat mitzvah we are to attend if you don’t come with me.”
“I need space, Randi. And I need to make sure that my brain, my heart and my physical reactions match. Right now, this (he pointed to his head) isn’t connecting with you.”
I was devastated. He knew how much I prized an intellectual—a brain connection. I felt like a dagger had pierced my heart.
“I understand. But there’s more. God told me to ask you why you’re sabotaging this relationship. Every time things get good, you back away. And your daughter—there are ways you interact with her that are more like interacting with a significant other than a daughter. Sometimes you talk baby talk to her and she pulls hairs out of your back. Those are more intimate acts. I know the two of you have been alone a long time, but I need you to reflect on these things.”
“I need to think about this. You’re telling me things I haven’t thought about.”
I left Tank’s home that evening, not knowing exactly when I’d hear from him again. Whatever lesson I needed to learn had been set in motion.
“How are you?”
“Uhmmm, I’m a bit nervous.”
“I think you broke up with me over the phone on Monday and Tuesday night. I’m not quite sure what to say or how to act. I don’t even know why I’m here.”
I don’t recall the lengthy conversations we’d had prior to this moment. My mind has this ability to forget difficult moments. It’s a habit I picked up with my first husband—to live through the pain of being hit repeatedly.
He sat down next to me and I started to sob. Not small tears. Crocodile tears. And I began to shake. Uncontrollably. How did this happen? How did the amazing connection we had get reduced to this moment?
I couldn’t breathe, I’d been crying for close to 72 hours and my sinuses were swollen and inflamed. I looked towards the ceiling, a technique I’d learned from a colleague. A way to stop tears. Try it sometime. It works—until you look down again.
My brain engaged again when I heard:
“I called Lyzette. We talked for two and a half hours. She said the easy way out would be to break up with you. But I said, ‘Lyzette, When have you ever taken the easy way out?’”
I lost it. I mean really lost it. I stood up. Ran to get my purse and keys, turned around and screamed.
“I don’t care how good a friend she is. How dare you talk to her about our issues without talking to me about how you truly feel. I called no one. Not a soul. None of my friends. Not even my sister … I talked G-d. And you say you’re a spiritual man. How dare you do this to me. That’s it. I’m done. Damn it. Take the easy way out. ”
Tank’s face turned pale. He got up from the sofa and walked towards me. He took the purse from my hand and set it on the floor. Softly, he said:
“What did God say?”
“He said, ‘If you were to die tomorrow, what would I regret not having told you?’” (What I couldn’t admit was that this question was one that Tank was to answer about me. What would he regret not having told me if I were to die tomorrow.)
“And, what would that be?”
I put one hand on each side of his face and said for the first time, “I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment we met. I can’t explain it. It just is.”
“You know I don’t feel that way about you. And it bothers me. I should know. After six months I should know. I tried to tell you months ago how difficult this is for me.”
At that very instant, the doorbell rang. She’d arrived.
(to be continued)