Sometimes When It Feels Just Right

Sometimes everything just feels wrong. He shows up looking like he’s come straight from the gym, though you know he hasn’t. With his long, baggy shorts, tank top and bandana around his head, you wonder why you made the effort to get out of your similar-looking pjs to take a shower and pick out an outfit to try to look cute for him.

You ask him about the big project in his life, the one that you found so fascinating and made you especially eager to get to know him in the first place, and he informs you that it’s on indefinite hiatus. Instead, he talks about his ex-wife, her lack of intelligence and poor mothering skills. He’s watching the clock as he tells you about his three daughters.

After reading a text message that comes in, he tells you about his truck that broke down in front of a friend’s and is going to be towed away if he can’t sell it on Craigslist. He doesn’t bother to ask much about you, and you don’t bother to reveal a lot about yourself because it’s obvious he wouldn’t really be listening.

The meal is done. Check please. He pays the bill. You leave the tip. There’s no, “I’ll call you later” or “Let’s get together again.” This is perfectly fine with you.

Sometimes everything just feels right. The moment you see each other for the evening, he flashes a smile that knocks you a little off your center. It’s been a while since someone’s had that effect on you. He looks comfortable in his jeans and dress shirt even while you know he’s made some effort to look nice. The heels you traded the flip-flops for were totally worth it.

At dinner, he asks you to select two of the four choices for tapas. He won’t let you get away with, “I’ll eat anything – you choose.” You find yourself thinking there’s just something too darn cute about how he puts on his reading glasses to look at the menu.

Even when the servers and waiters come, you and he are talking away about your respective lives up until now – discussing relationships, religion, politics and anything else that springs to mind. There are no awkward pauses, and in fact, the only silences are when you are in the midst of chewing.

After a stop for dessert, you decide to take a stroll with no destination, except to find a comfortable bench on which you can sit. Every now and then, your bodies brush against one another. After a while, you can’t tell if it’s by accident or on purpose, until the touch on the arm becomes more pronounced and lingers.

You find a rocking bench. You talk about your dreams and goals. You talk about where you came from, going beyond the surface and shedding light on some of the darker shadows of the family portrait. You head to a bookstore where you confirm you have even more in common in literary tastes (Wow, someone else who actually reads!!), but most of all, he starts sharing jokes that make you laugh from the belly.

On the way back to the car, you are suddenly holding hands. “Is this okay?” he asks. Yes, yes, yes,

You ride home listening to jazz and holding hands. You share sweet kisses and words in the car before realizing sleep has to come sometime, and he has more than an hour drive to get back to his home.

When you walk through the door, your best friend asks, “How was it?”

“It was wonderful,” you giddily sigh, wanting to hold this happiness close to you, capture in a jar like fireflies so it can light your room up every time the world is looking dark and a little hopeless.

But the best part is knowing that you can feel this way again before too long.

Every Good Girl Needs Her Toys

Ladies, I have three magic words for you: California Exotic Novelties. Now, you may not be familiar with them. I was complete clueless until a week and a half ago, so let me school you on what I’ve very pleasurably learned.

But first, a little back story. It all started with dinner at a Japanese restaurant. No, there was no sushi consumed. I had some chicken teriyaki dish (sub-par–nothing will ever compare to my near weekly haunt to my favorite Japanese restaurant in Menlo Park), and my dinner guest had the safe chicken stir fry. His meal looked absolutely incredible, it tasted delightful, but I won’t begrudge him…even though it has literally taken me almost four years to get him to go somewhere beyond the familiar and try Japanese food when I knew he’d find something on the menu he’d like. But I digress.

We got to the car after a long day, a really long work week for me–somehow I’ve turned into a workaholic who never sleeps, who is always writing, editing, plotting, perusing for ideas, or whatever the hell else I am doing at 4 a.m. His week has been just as busy, though he found time to sleep, at least.

Anyway, I assume we’re heading back for a quiet night of Saturday Night Live, when all of a sudden, he says, “Let’s go get some toys.” Now ladies and gentlemen, I am not so naive that I didn’t know exactly what he meant when he suggested getting toys. I started wearing the high heels, the fishnet stockings, the leather bra for him. It’s funny, we never really played dress up beyond panties and skirts. The week prior he got this weird look on his face and said, “Let’s put something up you!” Little did I know he meant something other than his finger, tongue or cock.

When he mentioned a cucumber, I was in utter disbelief. Never, ever would I have thought of such things. Especially not coming from him. We had a tame sex life in general…other than the anal. So I listened as he microwaved the cucumber–so I wouldn’t have a chilled vagina, right?

Are you really going to try to shove that huge vegetable inside me??

First, he spread me open with his fingers, and before I knew it, I had a cucumber in my pussy. Not only did I have a cucumber there, I actually kind of liked it. And while one hole was filled, another hole was free for him to fill me, and it felt pretty damn amazing.

So no, going to the L.U.V., right next door to the “gentleman’s club” didn’t come completely out of nowhere. Yet I was still a giggly sex toy virgin. They literally had everything from dildos to vibrators to penis extenders to pocket pussies to blow up dolls, gag gifts, magazines and videos for every fetish under the sun, and the strippers from next door to model skimpy clothing. It was like a Toy Store Warehouse for adults.

He kept asking me what I wanted, picking up things he thought were neat. A glass dildo that had groovy swirls and nobs that you could cool and heat, various vibrating toys, straight out ridiculous Ron Jeremy-sized dildos and a whole bunch of other things I was completely overwhelmed by. We wound up with a purple vibrating dildo and an amazingly small (waterproof, the female staff, kept highlighting) with at least a half dozen speeds, intensities and types of vibrations. The shape of a clam it could easily fit way up inside of you.

I will not go into any further detail about how said items were used, except to say that the clam vibrator is something both a man and woman can enjoy in synchronicity for a truly amazing and new sexual experience. It’s amazing how one little thing, or rather, two little things can change things. When the shape of a relationship changes, have gone stale or when you’ve reached that stage where it’s make it or break it point, living outside the box can really help bring that spark back. I can enjoy every minute of it, no matter where it takes me, sexually or purely emotionally.

And I think, personally, every good girl needs a little playtime away from her insane work-centered existence.

Please Forgive Me, I Know Not What I Do

Forgiveness is a mysterious temptress. Sometimes she flows so freely from your every pore, like air from your lungs.  Before anyone even has to open their mouth to beg for forgiveness, she has been freely, fully given, with no conditions or catches. Once you have been forgiven of your transgressions, the matter is truly over, left in the past where it should be buried in a shallow grave, given its proper regards. Life moves on.

Sometimes forgiveness digs her heels in. She must be earned. There are some things that can’t and shouldn’t be so easily forgiven. Infidelity. Big lies that can’t be simply explained as  I just didn’t want to hurt you by telling you the brunt reality.  Or, “I forgot to tell you that I’m actually living here illegally, and I have another family in Mexico.”  You must bow down to your ego and realize that you aren’t as clever or as wise as you thought you were. You have seriously hurt someone, probably someone you care about very much. And because of this, they’ve lost some degree of faith in you. They feel like they can’t trust you.

You can’t just win them back with a joke or a bouquet of flowers. You will have to spend some serious time working to regain their trust. You will have to be transparent. You will have to realize that you can’t keep everything to yourself anymore. You will have to be held accountable. You will have to treat the injured party like a king or queen, respectively. You will have to say you’re sorry, feeling it and meaning it from the bottom of your heart. You will have to say it so that he/she knows it in their core that you mean it. You will have to pay for this transgression until you’ve earned entry through that door that leads you back into your partner’s inner circle. Her walls have been let down and she can trust you with her love again. She can once again feel your respect and admiration for her.

Forgiveness often remains just at the edge of our fingertips, waiting to be learned. Some peoples’ walls have been built up so high from all their past bad experiences with other people at other times, they genuinely don’t know how to let other people back in again. It’s a process, often brutal and never simple. Sometimes their partner has the patience to stand by their side, give them space, while still letting them know they are loved and admired. Sure there has been pain both ways. Sure they both need to let go off hurtful things said, past wrongs, poor choices, and yes, that damn variable of bad timing. Sometimes people fear that learning how to forgive is a sign of showing weakness. In fact, I think forgiveness is one of the strongest things we can do, not only to others, but for ourselves.

When we carry around our pain, disappointment and hurt over all the ways people have wronged us in the past, we block ourselves from moving forward. We create a toxic cloud around ourselves that prevents us from truly seeing what is in front of our eyes in the present. We don’t allow ourselves to live in and enjoy the now.

We can’t forgive and we definitely can’t forget, so we get mired in the past. We relive it like a broken record that never stops replaying. We grow so used to it, we think it must be what we need, where we should invest our time and emotion. Instead we’re just paralyzing ourselves, keeping ourselves from living the best life we are meant to live.

So how do we learn to listen to forgiveness when her whisper is so quiet, yet admittedly so sweet? We must come to her like a child. We don’t know it all, and we can’t pretend to. We must be willing to get still and listen to the true drumming and thrumming of our heart beats. What are they secretly telling us? Do we want to stay mad at this person we love possibly more than anyone else we’ve loved before? Have they really committed a transgression so great that it cannot be overcome through time, personal and spiritual growth, and love? These answers aren’t easy and you may have one answer today and a different answer next week. But the point is to listen and to keep an ear out for consistency. Which answer do you keep finding yourself turning back to?

Learn to know yourself so well that when your heart gives you truth, you can recognize it clearly and soundly. This often means stepping back and taking a lot of personal time, meditation and for some, prayer. Don’t be afraid of your solitude. Or the silence. Don’t be afraid of the mood swings that are sure to follow. Forgive yourself if you sometimes fall back into bad habits during this process. The point is to get through this process. Journal your journey. Talk to people you feel you can trust. I pray about it. Sometimes, this process takes a month, sometimes it takes a year. But when your eyes finally open wide, you know when you are capable of forgiveness or not.

You know whether you can and should take that big leap again. You know when a surprise 3-hour Skype call can start you dreaming again, when the flood of memories aren’t so bittersweet anymore–they’re just sweet. You know when you both have matured and transformed enough as individuals that you feel the potential that maybe one day there might come a time when you both truly can forgive each other again. When you know there is just too much good that outweighs that bad. You sit at the computer at 3:30 in the morning, and you realize, “That sneaky forgiveness may have slid her way back into my heart once again.”

The Weight of Waiting

“You totally scare the shit out of me,” Mr. Etiquette said tonight, grabbing my hand as we walked under the light of the almost full moon. “And that’s a really good thing.”

“It is a good thing,” I agreed as we made our way along the curving stone pathway leading to the abandoned pavilion. “Unless it scares you so much that you run to the hills.”

“Which is a possibility,” Mr. Etiquette conceded.

I tried to swallow the fear in my throat. “I know.” I squeezed his hand. “I know what I signed up for.”

I know I am seeing a man still cautious as old wounds are only beginning to scar over. A man who finds it hard to trust that the good things in his life will not just disappear. A man who wonders how he was so lucky to find me, a woman who fits him perfectly in so many of the most important ways. This naturally petrifies him because it’s too soon. For many reasons, he is a man living in fear, and I respect and understand this about him.`

Lightning flashed against the clouds. In the South, we always called this colorful display following a day of unbearable humidity, “heat lightning.” There was definitely still heat in the air later as my still moist, bare legs brushed together under my flimsy skirt.

“You might just have to meet the kids when they come out in August,” Mr. Etiquette said after we had gotten back into the car. He tilted his head toward me, giving me a shy grin.

“Uh-oh, I know, scary,” I said, shrugging my shoulders in defeat.

“Last year they met Sarah, and they liked her. They had fun with her,” Mr. E said of the colleague who had previously captured his heart after the divorce but did the disappearing act constantly and would never follow through on her commitments.

“They may not like me then,” I said, twisting the fabric of my skirt in my fingers.

“They know she hurts Papa. Or that she hurt me,” he clarified. “I talk to them about things. Maybe I shouldn’t, but even my 10-year-old said, ‘We never can count on if she’s really coming or isn’t she, can we, Papa?’ during their last visit here. They don’t want me to be with someone who hurts me.” Mr. E looked at me with fondness and more confidence than sometimes sweep across his expressive face when he’s pondering big steps. “So they might have to meet you.”

i knew not to say anything. I just smiled. I didn’t want to act too excited or hopeful, though I was feeling both.

“It’s something to think about,” Mr. E said. I nodded.

Normally this uncertainty would be driving me wild. The fear of potentially getting hurt in the future might make me cut my losses now and run. When the need arises, I share my concerns and tell him my trepidations. Yet somehow, when he needs his time and space, I find myself patient and accepting. He keeps coming back on his own and letting me further in. There is more satisfaction in this than the alternative: pushing or nagging. He’s worth waiting for, no matter where the path ends.