♦ Comments, anonymous and otherwise, are more than welcome. We want to know what our work makes you feel. – X
“We’re almost there.”
Rough terrain made seat springs groan underneath their asses. As she looked at the vast expanse of nothing, she wondered how he knew the way so well. They drove up to a group of monoliths that shone turmeric in the fading light. The truck screamed to a halt.
“Welcome to my secret place.” He gave her a goofy grin, then coughed as dust drifted into the cab and settled in his hair.
“Not so secret anymore,” she said, but she was flattered. They’d only been friends for a couple of months, but he’d been an everyday fixture in her life from the first moment they’d bonded over their hate of suburban bar music.
He grabbed stuff from the back of the truck. A dusty mexican blanket. A flashlight. A canteen. A bottle of tequila. A shotgun.
Her mouth dropped open.
“For the coyotes.” He pronounced it caw-yotes, like a spaghetti western cowboy.
“Are you serious?”
He tipped her a wink and walked, keeping in the glow of the headlights.
“Shouldn’t you turn those off?”
“Gotta see where we’re going, right? I’ve got a couple of extra batteries in the back, just in case.”
She was a desert novice, scrutinizing the sand a beat too long before each step. She followed him by scent, cigarette smoke and the fresh-cut green smell of his aftershave. His boots carved deep pits into the sand. He took her hand and guided her up the side of the biggest rock. It was flat and warm on top, and the surreal panorama temporarily took her breath away.
He let her bask while he checked for heat-seeking reptiles and laid out the blanket near a fire pit already prickly with dry brush. He sprinkled some tequila on the kindling.
“A small libation for the fire gods.” His face was a deathmask as he lit his cigarette before throwing the match. The roaring fire seemed to swallow him whole, but he was not consumed.
“That’ll burn for a while,” he said as he settled beside her. He stretched his long legs in front of him and watched her counting spikes of flame.
“You know, I haven’t brought anybody here in years.” His cigarette dangled precariously on his lip. “No one except some really close friends.”
The fire’s heat made her cheeks tingle suggestively. “But not your wife?”
“Wow…” She felt a bit awkward.
“She knows we’re here. She understands.” Smoke snaked out of the side of his lovely mouth. He took a hit off the tequila bottle. His eyelight matched the dusk sky, a translucent blue that she couldn’t believe she’d once thought empty. Night was falling fast.
“Thank you. For sharing this with me.” She hiccupped.
“You’re most welcome, beautiful,” he said in a syrup-slow drawl. They watched the stars appear in silence. She appreciated that he didn’t force her to verbalize her feelings prematurely. The tears came easily in that alien place, and he gathered her into his arms and rocked her against him. His neck and his shirt were wet with tears and snot but he held on, clucking into her hair. He didn’t seem to care. That kind of deep, effortless affection felt like it came easily to him – he was a father, after all. Most probably a good father.
It was a full ten minutes before she had the strength to speak.
“Can you believe the first thought when you brought me here was that he wouldn’t like it here? He hates sand.”
“Izzat so? What do you think?
“That’s what I thought the first time I came up here. Whoop-de-doo, another thing in common.” She gave him a weak smile. He dabbed a handkerchief over her upper lip then squeezed her nose. She blew. “Good girl.” He handed her the canteen. “Drink.”
“I’d rather have the bottle.” She took an impressive bite out of it.
“How long did you stay together?” He licked the liquor off the threads on the mouth before drinking. She swallowed hard.
“Six years. We met in grad school.”
“He a science nerd too?”
“Oh yeah. Doctor Tran.” He smirked.
“He hated anyone who joked about that. Even considered changing his name.”
“Seems he hated a lot of things.” He lit a fresh cigarette at the fire. The sky above them was black now, and a million stars vied for best and brightest. She laid back as the alcohol seeped into her limbs.
“A person like me could get sucked into this emptiness.”
“This desert’s not empty. Not nearly.” He lay beside her, his head propped up by his hand.
She took another drink. “Explain, pilgrim.”
“Do you mind if I wax poetic and shit?”
She shook her head.
“She gives as good as she gets, which is a lot more that can be said for any other place on Earth.”
She was interested. “Go on.”
“Every other extreme environment takes and rarely gives in return. Tundra. Deep woods. Inner city. But not this. Not her.”
“Her?” She giggled. Men and their ceaseless urge to feminize things they longed to tame.
“Oh yeah. No place so full of secrets and hidden life could possibly have a masculine energy.”
The moon lit the crooked arms of cacti and clumps of brush clinging to the sand for respite. A jack rabbit bounced into the light, curious of the goings on. He threw a rock near it.
“Hey! You’ll hurt it.”
“Can’t have it get too close. It’ll attract predators.”
“The coyotes?” She pronounced it like he had.
“Among other things.”
Her head hurt from drinking too fast, but she didn’t dare complain for fear he’d take her home. They could’ve cut the silence with a blade. She got anxious.
“I really thought he’d come for me. I was so hubristic, thinking we’d get through the temporary long-distance thing and live happily ever after.” She sat up and hugged her knees.” I loved him.”
“There is no happily ever after,” he said, then drank deep.
“It’s strange to hear you say that. By what I’ve seen and heard, you and your wife have an amazing relationship.”
“We do. She’s my soulmate, the mother of my firstborn son.” He waggled his eyebrow at her.
“Then what’s that bullshit about no happily ever after?” She was sensitive and his apparent nonchalance stung.
“Let me explain myself. In all good relationships, people have to give each other room to breathe. To grow. To change. Believing in happily ever after is complacency at its worst. It’s slow death by boredom.”
She didn’t know what to say.
“Lara’s my soulmate, my partner in crime – I knew that from our first conversation.” He sounded so sure. There was a stab of jealousy she identified consciously as skepticism.
“We were talking over a bottle of tequila much like this one and she asked me something interesting. ‘Do you believe that love is finding the person who fills the you-shaped hole in your chest?’ I knew I loved her already, so I told her the first thing that came to mind. “No one person can fill another completely, for ever. But love has a way of filling in the gaps.’ And she understood what I meant by that. ”
She had been with a psychiatry student for most of her adult life, yet he’d never fascinated her with the unspoken parts of human nature like this man did.
“We’re complex beings, with more than one psychic cubbyhole to fill for different kinds of love. Spouse. Parent. Best Friend. etc. ” He pointed at the stars with the burning tip of his cigarette. “For example, you can love someone like a sister, although she’s not. You can love a mentor like a father although you already have a father, and love him deeply. You get what I’m sayin’?”
“Damn. Alcohol really makes you philosophical.”
He laughed. “The alcohol just intensifies it.”
Her eyes drifted to the open v of his shirt and down, where his pecs pressed hard against the fabric. Her fingers twitched to put her hand over his heart. She wanted to feel whether he was as real as he sounded. She was getting dizzy. She laid back again, just a little bit closer to him. She convinced herself it was because of the chill in the air. “Tell me more.”
“Very rarely do people have just one really good friend, right?” he asked.
“Why do you think that is?”
“Because you love each friend for different reasons. Having just one friend is like writing a lifetime’s worth of songs using only one key.” Her eyes widened. “Holy shit. It’s rubbing off on me!”
“It is contagious,” he drawled. “But you caught on quicker than most.” He put his hand on the flare of her hip, then traced up to her ribs.
“The ogee curve of a woman’s hips. It’s driven me mad since I was a wee thumbsucker.” She pretended to rub her elbow to hide her flushing face. He smirked. “I didn’t embarrass you, did I?”
She turned on her back. “Oh no. Pfft.” The heat of his touch still prickled.
“You’d think such a dangerous curves would weaken your structural integrity, but it’s just a lie we men tell ourselves. You can bear the weight of all the world’s desire and never bend or break.”
“The things that come out of your mouth. You should write a book. You’d get young men laid from here to Honshu.” Firelight pooled in her concave belly.
“Nah. Can’t give hormonal, empty-headed assholes the keys to the kingdom like that. They’ll abuse the privilege.”
“So your silence is for the good of humanity?” she joked.
“Hell yeah. ‘Give a man a fish’ and all that. I wasn’t born knowing.” He could tell her elbow and her hands hurt from lying on them. He patted his thigh. “You can rest your head on me.”
She gave him a long look, but there wasn’t an ounce of guile in his gaze. She laid her head on his thigh and looked up at the sharpness of his chin.
“I just had a small epiphany.”
“I’m a serial monogamist.”
“Most people are, sugar. It works for them.” Something in the tone of his voice made his terms of endearment not sound silly or overindulgent.
“I went out with the same boy in middle school. Then in highschool, I dated another boy for three years. I took a bit of a sabbatical during undergrad after he and I broke up, but then I dated someone for a year and a half…”
He interrupted her.
“Were you happy, Raquel?” He lit yet another cigarette. Shadows played in the hollow of his cheeks as he sucked smoke.
“I mean with Doctor Tran.” He put his hand on her forehead.
“We got along really well, had a lot of the same interests, inhabited the same socio-economic bracket…” She giggled nervously. “God that sounds awful.”
He pulled off her ponytail holder and began to run his fingers through her hair from scalp to tip. Her eyes fell closed.
“I loved him.”
“Okay. But were you happy?”
She pulled his hand out of her hair. “Why do you keep asking me that?” She got up and took another swig of tequila. He was unmoved by her show of irritation. He waited patiently for her to speak.
“When you said ‘love has a way of filling the gaps’, what did you mean? I have a feeling you didn’t quite mean that love conquers all.”
“Ah. Another well-meaning but ridiculous platitude.”
“Realistic much.” He smiled wistfully. Their fingers touched when she handed him the bottle, and he didn’t take his eyes off her as he drank. Something deep in her belly stirred, something her brain refused to recognize. He laid on his back, and she put her head on his hard belly.
“If love can’t conquer a thousand miles’ distance for half a year, what can it do?”
His hand went into her hair again, softly scratching at her scalp. “I think I spoke too soon about ‘love conquers all’.”
“It does if you believe love is free-flowing energy that isn’t in any particular person.” He traced the line of her chin and the bridge of her nose.
“It has to do with what I said before about filling in the gaps. Whatever one person you love can’t give you…find it in someone else you love. The equation balances out in the end, if we’re honest and open.”
She looked at the sky and let what he’d just said sink in. The thoughts she’d pushed away ever since they’d met had finally been forced to the forefront.
“But you’re saying Lara doesn’t give you everything you need?”
“Yes. We both agree that no one person can do that.”
“So you… sleep with other people?” Her voice had gotten rough with tequila and tension. She sat up.
“We’re not swingers in the conventional sense, Raquel. It’s a bit more complex than that.”
She was finding it hard to breathe, although she couldn’t figure out why. She was alone in this wilderness with him, under the stars, with a bellyful of tequila. Her body wanted what it wanted, and it upset her.
“You have a happy life. Kids, a wife you love… Most people spend their whole lives trying to find that. It’s just plain selfish to want more.” And by more, she meant her.
During her sermonizing she ignored the glaring fact that secretly, she’d always wanted his magic hands and his strange philosophies. She felt like a woman in his arms, not just a citizen of humanity. Wanting to explore how much deeper that feeling might get if she gave in to him frightened her.
He didn’t try to touch her, but his eyes shone sympathetically.
“I do the best that I can. I’ve been as honest as possible with Lara…and now, with you.”
“So letting your wife know before taking women to ‘your secret place’ for a fuck and chuck makes you a model citizen?!”
She started down the rock. She shivered so violently she could barely walk. She slid down the steep side on her ass in the dark and ran toward the headlights.
“Raquel!” His voice was swallowed whole by the desert.
She was fast but he was faster. He caught up just as she’d slammed the driver’s side door shut and locked it. The truck roared to life as he rolled over the hood and yanked open the passenger’s side door and dove inside. She waggled the gear shift fruitlessly and hit the gas, but the truck hiccupped and turned off. She ran out into the dark. He caught her quick. She tried to kick and punch him, but he was bigger and stronger.
“Rachel, stop it.” He pressed her against the truck with his body, holding her wrists above her head. She was really angry, and it put a lump in his throat. Although his wife knew about her, he had not planned on confessing his feelings for a little bit longer…or maybe never. Not everyone could live life the way him and Lara did. Despite his dismay, her angry bucking made his body react. His cock poked her belly, stilling her.
“You’re disgusting,” she said. She tried to spit, but her mouth was too dry. Her body reacted to him, regardless of her emotional turmoil. Her pussy lips swelled and her clit ached. “I thought we were friends…” She went limp. She was angry, but what he didn’t know is that she was mostly angry at herself. She was weak and needy and horny – so fucking horny – and she had wanted him when she was supposed to be wanting her fiance. She felt like she’d willed herself into her misery. Karma’s a bitch, after all.
“I didn’t bring you here to mindfuck you, Raquel. I genuinely care about you.”
“Why don’t you spare me the lip service? Just be straight with me. You want to fuck me. That’s it.” Her sudden coldness made him shiver against her.
“I don’t spend so much time and effort on one-night stands. In fact, I don’t do one night stands.”
“I’m not a whore. I don’t know what made you think I’d sleep with a ‘happily married’ man.” She sounded like she was thinking aloud.
“I know you’re not a whore. But you’re brilliant. And quirky. Both strong and fragile, funny, and so…so…hot.”
The edge of desperate emotion in his voice caught her attention. She had not seen guile in his eyes on the rock, and she simply could not see it in his eyes now. She was so confused.
“What do you want from me?”
He let go of her wrists and cupped her chin in his hand.
“I want you. All of you.”
“But…what about me? Could you ever give me all of you? If you truly care about me, don’t you feel I deserve more than furtive bits and pieces?”
He stared at the star-studded blackness above her head. She began to shiver again.
“I learned long ago that bits and pieces are all even the most sanctified of us can ever really give anyone else. It’s quality that counts, not quantity.”
“You have an answer for everything,” she said and pushed him off.
“I’ve been thinking about these things a lot longer than you have, I guess.”
She sucked her teeth. “I think you should take me home.” She got into the truck and slammed the door.
She didn’t even look at him and crossed her arms. He grabbed a red jug from the back of the truck. “Gotta put out the fire.”
“You’ll be fine. I’ll be right back.”
She was so deep in thought that she didn’t even see him coming up again, and the angry creak of the truck door scared her. He threw the half-empty bottle of tequila on the seat. “Wouldn’t want the critters getting drunk,” he said, trying to get a smile from her. She nodded slowly, but didn’t smile. The truck roared.
They were silent until they hit asphalt. The moon had risen so high and bright it dimmed the stars. He reached for the radio, but she pulled his hand away.
“No. I like the silence.” She squeezed for a split second before letting go. He looked at her, and her eyes were different. He wanted to speak so much his throat itched, but he waited. Hoped. She looked at his skin, russet made silver by the moon and ruminated.
“Your wife. She knows about me?”
“I’ve spoken about you enough.”
She scooted a little closer to him. The tequila was really doing its work. She didn’t want to think. She slid her hand underneath his shirt and caressed his nipple. It hardened underneath her thumb. His jaw muscles bounced underneath his scruff. He gave her a desperate look before his eyes returned to the road.
He looked down at his lap.
“Hard all over,” she said, and pressed her fingertips into his belly. It was tight as a drum. The adrenaline in her system had given way to endorphins. He wanted her. She wanted him. And it was okay. She blinked at the enormity of the thought. No guilt, just pleasure. It was too good to be true. The ground had to open underneath her at some point, but she was curious. She took off her shirt and bra at the same time and threw the shirt on the floor. He tapped the brakes, nearly swerved from looking. Now all of him was truly hard.
“What’ll happen after the liquor haze fades?” She unbuttoned her jeans. There was a tempting V of flesh, but no panties.
“I’ll be there to bring you water and aspirin.” His hands trembled on the steering wheel.
She kicked off her jeans and shoes and leaned into the door. She glimmered. The small cabin was filled with her sweet animal scent. “What if I fall in love? What if you do?”
“Too late. And when you do, I’ll do my best to keep you happy.”
“When, not if?”
“Try me.” He grabbed her foot and put it in his lap. His hard cock warmed her arch. The town lights twinkled in the distance.
His heart started to pound. “Yes?’
“Stop the truck.”
He drove off the road and into the desert without another word.
This is my first real stab at trying to untangle the complex emotional aspects of polyamory, a concept that has fascinated me for a while now. I tried to put myself in the bodies and brains of those who truly have room for more, and hope I’ve done it justice.
Categories: Erotica, Pursuit, Romance, Short Story, Ximena
made me cry, that’s for sure. This sure mirrors how I feel. And it’s pretty damned lucky if one who loves freely finds another who thinks and feels the same. I love how you phrased it…love filling the cracks and keyholes and seeping in….we all have those cracks, and expecting one person to be “the one” to fill them all? I just don’t believe it is possible. Thank you.
This was tender, awesome. I hope there is more, but if not? This stands alone, and stands strong.
No, Nilla. Thank *you* for sharing such intimate aspects of your life to us, your captive audience.
I don’t know a lot of people who have found happiness and a new peace with this kind of arrangement, but I would love to hear the experiences — the good and the bad — from willing parties.
In any case, the older I get, the more life shows me that things are never as black and white as we thought when we were children.
this is lovely, I couldn’t do it, but I recognised a long while ago that black and white are quite rare, it’s the shades in between that gives life it’s spice.
There are many kinds of love and we need to be open to all of them.
Ximena…i had to put a link to this on my blog…it is truly a special story. And thank you for your kind and beautiful response to my early comment.
I was really flattered when I saw the pingback. Any time, Nilla :)
There’s a crackin’ discussion going on, and you might be able to answer some interesting questions. Please feel free to jump in, if you’re comfortable.
Ximena, any time you want to talk about poly, just holler. BTDT and have been of a poly mindset all my life. Your story is good.
In fact, Will just brought up an interesting. If you know, how do poly couples with younger children juggle their outside sex lives and their home lives? Is it a guaranteed recipe for drama, or can it go smoothly for everyone involved?
It can go smoothly. It takes planning, babysitters and creative dates. Must remember the three rules of poly.
2. Repeat rule #1
If you plan and work with your lovers, you can manage things. Love is infinite, time is finite. So, if Thursday is date night, make sure there is a baby sitter to watch the youngsters and then go have fun. Then switch, so everyone has a date night. In many ways it is very similar to having a large family and getting the ‘older kids’ to watch the younger ones while the adults go have sex.
Now that I can believe (and sympathize with). :-)
Its a good discussion. I love that an apparently “simple” (or “selfish” *wink wink*) story can start such an intense discussion. Ximena…you’ve got people talking…and as an author, isn’t that the supreme goal? :)
:) Have to admit, it always helps to talk to people who’ve lived though these things. I did more than my fair share of brain picking at one point.
Thanks for sharing, Wordwytch. Those rules make a lot of sense.
// Now that I can believe (and sympathize with). :-) //
I’m sure many people could sympathize, but a long list of rules and regulations jammed in the middle of the narrative 50 Shades of Grey style wouldn’t make for good reading :p
Nilla: Starting a discussion is always a good thing…
No, rules wouldn’t make for good reading, However, you can always ‘explain’ in narrative. :)
This is very, very good. I still can’t decide whether I like either of them. My reaction wasn’t so much to the relationship, but the pat and convenient truisms — narcissistic philosophies — each of them spouted to justify their decisions. By the end of the story I didn’t have any sense of direction (whether it was going to end well or not) — and that’s perfect. It’s all well and fine to dime-store philosophize about love and relationships when you don’t have children, but throwing children into the mix… well, you did a beautiful job.
Ha! Your response tickled me, because it was the very same response of an old friend who I allowed to read this story a while back.
To put it bluntly, he thinks Lonny is a ‘slick piece of shit’ who poached on Raquel’s relative innocence and her desire for him. He is also decidedly anti-polyamory in all of its iterations, so no explanations, however well-worded, are going to convince him.
I have another story dealing with the same issue called Room for More. It’s far more succinct and just focuses on their desire for each other. There are no neat explanations, and he doesn’t chat her up. It’s all visceral.
Now I’m wondering whether you [and other readers] might respond more favorably to the characters in that one. We’ll see.
// It’s all well and fine to dime-store philosophize about love and relationships when you don’t have children, but throwing children into the mix…//
To be fair, the people who I’ve met who practiced polyamory did not have children OR their children were grown and gone so they didn’t have to deal with them directly. It’s valid to wonder how young children are dealt with in such situations, but I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that confusion and amorality will reign supreme. These individuals [at least, most of them, because there are bad parents of every stripe] are loving parents first.
//he thinks Lonny is a ‘slick piece of shit’ who poached on Raquel’s relative innocence and her desire for him//
Yup. That about sums it up.
//To be fair, the people who I’ve met who practiced polyamory did not have children OR their children were grown and gone…//
Ones wife or husband is a grown adult. They can comprehend an open marriage. Children can’t and don’t. They’re like little planets. The tug of their parent’s marriage is like the tug of the sun. They just don’t get why they have to share a parent with a strange woman or man. So, yeah, do I think this guy is a ‘slick piece of shit’? You betcha’. If the story hadn’t mentioned the kids, I might see it a little differently.
You really did a good job with this.
P.S. The reason I see the female character as being (to use your friend’s nomenclature) a narcissistic piece of ass, is because of this passage:
She never once says something like: “What’ll happen when your daughter needs you to watch her the first time she hangs upside down, like a little goof, from the swing set? — when she wants you to watch and wants your praise more than the earth wants water in July?”
It’s all about her.
Very intriguing, to be sure.
Would you have seen the characters in a slightly different light if they had had a long, detailed discussion about how his children would be affected before making the decision to start a romantic relationship?
In the end, he’s still a ‘narcissistic shit’, her still a profligate woman ultimately thinking about her own pleasure. Platitudes aside, he’s a good father — it’s in the beginning of the story. I’m certain he could see his boy do his first spin kick at karate practice, or see his little girl be the star of the school play…
How would the person he fucks at night — when his kids are safely tucked into bed — change that?
Now I’m wondering whether it would have been different if she’d been the one spouting the dime store philosophies. She might’ve been seen as a forked-tongue monster, ha!
is he slick? Or just confident with who he is, who he and his wife are? And Will? I think there’s a certain balance in ANY sexual relationship as pertains to the children. I don’t get the feeling from this that its all sex, all day. This specific encounter happens at night; what I got from it was the wife at home with the daughter, as he works towards bringing Rachel into their fold.
I have no firsthand knowledge of poly as living it, thus am not fully aware of the ramifications of the effects on family and children. For a dear friend of mine, it has worked in several situations, and not, in others. Children are very adaptable…and due to life-circumstances, I’m able to be home with them all day, but now go to work in the late afternoon and don’t get home until they are in bed. They spend that time with their other mom, my wife, when she gets home from work. It’s not an “ideal” situation, but we’re all making it work. When we were first together, and with our first child, her mom lived with us. Although there was no sexual dynamic there, her being here was folded into the fabric of everyday life…including all her drama and emotional ups and downs. My son handled it all fine, and even when she remarried years later, and moved out, adapted to that as well, so I don’t blythly say “kids are adaptable”. . . although, again, not a sexual relationship.
My reaction to the story had far more to do with the male characters viewpoint of love…that it is a boundless energy source, and it doesn’t always flow from one person to another. That there are many levels of love. I love my best friend, and I love my Master, and I love my wife…I love my children, I love my dog. They are all gradients, all have different ebbs and energies for me, but there is an honest and true love there. I don’t feel jealous. If my M took another sub, it would not change my love for him. I have come to believe that I’m the odd duck here, that more people do want to hold tight to their One, and not share. I know a few others like me, but not that many. I’ve felt *envy*…but not full-on jealousy (usually I envy someone’s “things” rather than the people they are with…as in…boy, I sure wish I had her eyelashes…)
This is a great conversation you’ve started Ximena.
Children are adaptable. There are probably polyamorous relationships where the children are happy. It would be interesting to hear from such children.
In the context of the story, I’m not sure that you change my opinion. :-)
There were two big questions that “slick-guy” didn’t answer:
Although this doesn’t have a question mark after it, it’s a question. Why isn’t this selfish? He doesn’t answer the question.
Then the next question:
At that, the Miss melodramatically tries to exit the scene and saves slick-guy from having to answer the question. He never does. It’s one of those classic soap opera moments, right? — where the matriarch rips off a zinger. Mr. steely jaw gets that deer in the headlights look just before he’s saved by the commercial (Edit: *I should add, everybody is saved by the commercial: Mr. Steely Jaw and the writers of the script). But what about the children? Did he let the children know too? Those are uncomfortable questions neither protagonist mentions and that’s what makes me think, in the context of this story, we’re seeing two narcissistic people spouting dime-store philosophy to justify their actions.
I yield the soapbox.
// Although this doesn’t have a question mark after it, it’s a question. Why isn’t this selfish? He doesn’t answer the question. //
Ah, but he does, in his slick way…
// “So letting your wife know before taking women to ‘your secret place’ for a fuck and chuck makes you a model citizen?!”
At that, the Miss melodramatically tries to exit the scene and saves slick-guy from having to answer the question //
Again, people are silly, flighty, melodramatic. Especially women trying to hide their desire for a married man. She shouldn’t have gone to the desert alone with him in the first place, right? She set herself up for the fall, regardless of what she said.
There’s a clue to how the wife feels about it all in the beginning of the story:
Who’s to say the wife isn’t the one who convinced him to take her there and let her know how he felt?
is selfish always wrong?
my perspective is this:.
I give 99.9% to my family. Stay at home mom. Homeschooler. Wife. House cleaner, food preparer, and home renovation maven. I work 3 part time jobs to pull my share of the financial load. I teach my kids to be good citizens, to help each other and me, cook with them, play with them, vacation with them.
And yet…selfishly…..I cheat.
I don’t get sex/lovemaking at home. NOthing. Nada. It’s been 9 years without sex of any kind. My wife rarely hugs, and we “peck” each other bye in the morning when she goes to work and before I go to bed.
And any overt attempts to get “it” are met with disinterest. There is love here but not sexual love. Her major focus is our children (4). They always, 100% of the time? come before me in our relationship.
Selfishly, I find that elsewhere. Selfishly, I dove into the D/s lifestyle (part time?) and serve a Master. Have sex with Him on the times we get together.
Cheating on my family/wife is wrong, evil, bad. Right?
Sure, by society’s standards I am. Do I tell my wife I’m out there doing the nasty with some strange guy? (a “Guy” I’ve been in relationship with for 3 years) Do I share that with my kids?
no. no I don’t. Yet….If it weren’t for my Master, my online life? I’d be one very lonely (unselfish) woman.
That’s where I’m comin’ from. Maybe over sharing…but perspective is everything, yes?
“Nilla, stop it.” He wrote, quoting the main character. He held Nilla’s hands over her head. “You know I cain’t answer you when you get all personal-like.”
“You’re disgusting,” Nilla answered. She tried to spit, but her mouth was full of jellybeans.
“I didn’t bring you here to mindfuck you, sugar-plum baby. I genuinely care about you. Why don’t you come back on up and watch me smoke this here cigarette.”
Here’s what I think. It’s not about the cheating. Besides that, I don’t think the main character is cheating. His wife knows where he is. I just don’t get the impression he’s being fully honest with himself or her. More later. ;-)
// Here’s what I think. It’s not about the cheating. //
So your issue is not with the cheating, but with the characters? More specifically, the way they are both written? The story’s too top-heavy with bullshit for you.
As Lonny would say: “Well, sheeit. It is what it is.”
There are no lies, Mr. Crimson. Just truths that repel you [and a good number of other folks, to be honest].
Phew! Okay, I’m not sitting on my lunchbox at the jobsite.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with reading ones personal life into a story. But just remember, it’s black magic. I was on the receiving end, as a child, of self-absorbed adults who were just as content to put me in an orphanage as have me cramp their style.
But that’s not why I disliked the characters in the story.
And Ximena, don’t confuse my dislike of the characters with dislike of your writing! I thought you portrayed them very well. The problem with putting literature in the world is that readers aren’t always going to interpret it the way you write it. I think that makes a story, play, or poem better. I never care for writers who fussily try to manipulate their readers. I do think Mr. Slick is top heavy with bullshit.
As for truths that repel, the problem with that knife is that it cuts both ways. :-)
Just saw your other comment:
//Would you have seen the characters in a slightly different light if they had had a long, detailed discussion about how his children would be affected before making the decision to start a romantic relationship?//
I’m guessing that the unspoken impetus behind this question is the desire to make the characters more sympathetic (to a reader like me). You, as the storyteller, decided this detail about the children was important enough to mention. You certainly could remove that detail. Let me ask a counter-question: Why include it?
//Platitudes aside, he’s a good father — it’s in the beginning of the story. I’m certain he could see his boy do his first spin kick at karate practice, or see his little girl be the star of the school play…//
Yes, here it is:
“His neck and his shirt were wet with tears and snot but he held on, clucking into her hair. That kind of deep, effortless affection came easily for him – he was a father. A good father.”
There’s more than one way to read that sentence. One could read it sarcastically or ironically. One could read it as a reflection of the guy’s own internal self-congratulation.
//How would the person he fucks at night — when his kids are safely tucked into bed — change that?//
I don’t know, but the story gives us no reason to think it won’t change that. You’ve written a story very open to interpretation. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing?
//Now I’m wondering whether it would have been different if she’d been the one spouting the dime store philosophies. She might’ve been seen as a forked-tongue monster, ha!//
The seductress. Yeah, I could see it. :-)
// There’s more than one way to read that sentence. One could read it sarcastically or ironically. One could read it as a reflection of the guy’s own internal self-congratulation.//
You got me there! I’m going to have to change the wording, since it’s supposed to be in her POV. She’s thinking that he’s a good father, not him.
All in all, your little confession makes it easier to understand why you’d have such a strong reaction to the characters. We filter things through our own experiences, after all. I’ve got a little confession of my own:
My parents were much like yours. I have few memories of my father before I was six, and my mother was too busy chasing after him to pay attention to me. Stuff — bad stuff, life-changing stuff — happened that might not have happened had they been paying attention to things other than their silly little dramas. Not much changed after I turned six either…there was only a change in scene, so to speak.
It’ll stay open to interpretation. Double-edged swords are doubly effective, after all.
Nice. As a poly person, it’s nice to see a story like this. :)
I really enjoyed this (followed ‘Nilla’s recommendation). I’ve been poly for about a decade now, and a writer for longer, so thoroughly enjoyed seeing one explored via the other.