Tuesday, December 1, 2009

January 11, 1989.

This was the date that my life (not to mention the lives of the participants mentioned within) was irreparably changed.

Some time around 7:00 in the evening, my friend Jax (17 at the time) was laying on her belly in the middle of her parents' living room floor doing homework. Neither of her parents were home and her sister was  living in the city closer to university at the time. She heard the front door open and rolled half on her side to figure out who it was. The man was fairly tall and was wearing something on his face - she wasn't sure exactly what it was, but it was covering his features. 

She figured it was Clarke, as it was not unusual for him to be arsing around ... and Jax's place was "the hangout spot" in our neighborhood. We lived in a very small place. Everybody knew everybody. My aunt and uncle owned the convenience store across the street from Jax's house. Very few people even locked their doors at night, and everyone in our group knew how to gain access to most houses in the area in the event that someone did. It was these very factors that allowed the intrusion ... without alarm. She scoffed at him and told him to 'fuck off, (she didn't) have any cigarettes' as she rolled back onto her belly to continue her math.

He was pulling her off the floor by her hair and jamming the muzzle of his gun into her ribs before she realized this was not any of her friends. Dragging her through every room in the house, he ripped each and every  phone (including the jacks) out of the wall. No chance for arousing help. Are there any more? He barked the question into the side of her head. She shook her head side to side, the shaking of her legs making it hard to remain standing. An awful thought occurred to her. She remembered her father had recently hooked up a phone in the laundry room, located in the basement. What if Mom or Dad called home to check in? What would he do to me if it rang? She tried to open her mouth to say something, but found no voice. 

The finite details of what happened next are vague intentionally, out of respect, out of complete disgust ... out of not possessing power over enough words to describe the horror. He bound her hands with a coarse rope that burned through the skin on her wrists leaving open gashes that took weeks to heal. He raped her. Repeatedly. Such a short, seemingly harmless group of words. The physical acts were heinous, violent, degrading ... sickening. Not that she would have been able to vomit. She was threatened with her very life against that. But it was the lingering fear that did the real damage.

Before he left her, he tied her ankles with the same rope. Left her naked, face down on her parents' couch. He whispered in her ear before disappearing into the night ... soft, almost apologetic: thank you. The sound of that in my mind (to this day) causes the hair to stand on the back of my neck and that hot strain of utter disgust to burn through my shoulder blades.

She laid there for likely an hour or so. Not daring to move. She was in shock. To pass the time, she sang. 'When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad ...' for over an hour, getting louder with every round ... Naked. Bound. Afraid to move, but equally afraid of her father's reaction when he walked through that door and saw her. I was at my house, less than a five minute walk away. Hanging out my bedroom window, smoking. Had the road not had a bend in it, I would have been able to see into her front yard. She later told me she was screeching the words to the song by the time her parents arrived home to find their youngest daughter in the aftermath.

The next morning, as I walked to my school bus stop (at the convenience store), two things hit me pretty hard. No Jax, and police tape encircling her house. My heart stopped. I wanted to run across the street. See what had happened. Comfort my friend. I could easily see that was not likely to happen. Police had descended on the house like ants on a candy apple. In and out of the doors, in the driveway, around the yard ... It was surreal. Jax's parents' vehicles notably absent... maybe it was just a break in and they were staying somewhere else. But ... wait. Jax would have been home last night. The low, dull pain in my belly began to grow - ever slowly.

The day at school was like slow motion. There were rumors flying all over the place. Nobody really knew anything for sure, but in hindsight - there was a remarkable amount of accuracy to those rumors. I was nearly frantic by the time I was called to the office ... to the phone. It was Sally, the woman that cared for my sisters while my parents worked. She was actually a cousin of Jax's as well. She informed me I was not to come home on the bus. That she was on her way to pick me up. She told me I would be able to speak to Jax later that evening on the phone, but first I needed to speak to Jane from S.S.A.V. Save? What's the hell is save?

The moment that passed between my asking the question and Sally answering, was the last of my childhood. I didn't know it then. I had no real idea how all of what was happening would affect any of us.

"Service for Sexual Assault Victims". Before I realized what had happened, I was bum first on the floor of the principal's office. I don't really remember sliding to the floor, only that I was there. The secretary was hurrying toward me, arms flapping like a disgruntled goose. Sound stopped. I don't recall actually doing it, but I must've gotten up and walked down the hall to the girls bathroom. I vaguely recall vomiting and  then perching myself on the edge of the commode and dissolving into tears.

 In the weeks following the attack, Jax slowly came to purge herself of the offenses perpetrated against her.  She could not talk to her parents about it at all. This was my job. I never left her side. Not for a minute. I slept with her, stayed home from school with her until she was ready to start attending again. I missed almost all of the second term of grade 10 (as did she). She was my only job. My only focus. She got a lot of counseling in the following months. Her grandparents bought her a fully trained doberman pincher, aptly named "Angel ". Her family had all measures of security and so forth installed. Slowly, she started to allow herself to relax slightly. Eventually, the time came for her to go back to school. I was stuck on her like a body guard. I had never known the kind of ferocity a mama bear could have when her cub is in any danger. I certainly learned that in hurry.

There were good days and bad ... and when a bad day came, I was excused from class to drive home with Jax. Some nights (after I started sleeping at home again ... weeks later) I would get a call in the middle of the night and hear Jax's terrified voice on the other end of the line. Nobody else in her house awake, she turned to me to lull her to sleep... or talk her through the dark. I used to tell her silly made up stories until dawn broke.

Finally, in April - they caught the son of a bitch. Turns out he raped 18 other women (that we know of) during a period of time in which he was on parole for another sexual assault charge. A serial rapist. We learned through the investigation and subsequent trial that he had raped another woman not far from our community and forced her 4 year old son to watch. The item he had worn on his face turned out to be his three year old nephew's (I think) tee shirt. The child had apparently been left in the car alone during Jax's attack. Of the 19 women we were aware of, only six agreed to testify in court. In the end, it was only Jax and the "mom" from the neighboring community that didn't allow the defense lawyers to shred them on the stand. Two, out of 19.

I did not attend the trial. She didn't want any more 'publicity'... and asked everyone to stay away. I was the only one of her friends that actually listened to her. It nearly killed me, but I respected her wishes. I didn't witness it, but I was so proud of her. She was a rock! She stared that wolf of a lawyer straight in the eye and recounted the most horrific moments of her young life - all while he attempted to discredit her at every turn. Things she could scarcely whisper to me, she then had to recount for the entire community, her friends, busy bodies and her shocked and horrified parents to hear. It turns out that while the 'alleged' rapist is innocent until proven guilty, it is quite the opposite for the victim.

Someone actually said during the trial that it was a damned good thing Jax was a virgin prior to the attack. I'm not so sure THAT wasn't the most abhorrent part of the entire ordeal. What in the holy hell could that possibly mean? Getting brutally raped, at gunpoint, by a serial rapist could somehow have been her fault? Even if she was the loosest girl in the country, I don't see how it could have been any less HER fault. It was heartbreaking.

The trial was merciless. The rigors etched deep worry lines in our faces. All of us torn apart by the uncertainty. She was terrified for her life, and the lives of her family that he would not be convicted. He told her he'd kill her, her sister, mother and father if she tried to find him. He had been watching her house for months prior to the attack. Ironically, it was this fear that kept her so strong. He was convicted of 6 counts of sexual assault and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to somewhere around 30 years in prison because the judge had the good sense to make his sentences consecutive.

We are approaching the 21st anniversary of that night. He has tried three times to be granted early parole. Three times, we have managed to block this from happening. It is really only a matter of time now, before he gets his day in the sun... though I'm not entirely certain he'd make it all the way to the end.

Jax doesn't live in the same province anymore. She married her first love. He is the only other man that has ever touched her. Everyone moved forward from that day ... left foot, right foot ... repeat. I developed an all encompassing case of agoraphobia the following fall. It eventually forced me out of school. I didn't understand why at the time, but later learned my pubescent mind just couldn't process what had happened and as soon as Jax didn't need me so much anymore, I started to come unglued.

Until that night, our world was very simple. We lived in "Mr. Roger's neighborhood". A place where my bud, Clarke could gain access to my bedroom via my window at any time it pleased him. A place where I walked the street between my house and Jax's most nights of the week ... in the dark - alone. Somewhere that parents didn't worry about leaving their teens at home alone, save the fact they may get into their own brand of mischief. Nothing would ever be the same for a single one of us.

Twenty plus years later, I don't dwell on this so often anymore. I usually try to forget January 11th on my calendar. I haven't spoken to Jax since she got married - several years ago, now. I know how she is ,as I am close friends with her sister, but our friendship died a very long time ago. Something more painful for me than any of the other events spoken in this post. She was my best friend, my cub. I loved her like family.

I guess in the end, I was too much of a reminder for her.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wednesday October 26, 1994.

(Originally posted on Oct 26/09 on My Other Blog Page ... it is more of a story than my other crap, so I'm letting it live here)

I began my day the same as any other. Got up, showered, spackled and plastered (the make up kind). Got in my 2 tone baby/navy blue, 2 door Grand Am ... (oh, but I love that car) and proceed to work.

I am a teller. That is to say, this is what I do in order to earn money. I am 21 years old ... turning 22 in less than a month. Currently, I am living in an apartment with my boyfriend, Trigger. He's pretty... hell I'm pretty, for that matter. Though the events of the past two weeks have played havoc with my looks. I haven't been sleeping. I have cried a whole lot. It feels as though there is a grand piano resting on my ribs. The weight of it impedes my ability to draw breath. I am growing weary of the smell of hospitals.

After sitting my cash box down at my assigned wicket, I am summoned to my manager's office. She has been friends with my mother for close to two decades. I meet her gaze when I enter the room and realize there is a call holding ... a call that will herald the end of a life. "Is it over?" I ask. She nods toward the flashing line and hands me the receiver. "Hi Mum, I'm on my way".

The drive to my mother's house is going to take me 35 minutes. I am numb. I think that maybe if I stop for a coffee, it might snap me around. I am pondering the call I placed to Trigger before leaving work ... he's on his way too. I didn't expect that from him, but he's coming ... to support me. That's good. As I am pulling out onto the highway (coffee in hand) to head for the home of my childhood, the memories of the past 14 days flood my consciousness.

Thursday October 13, 1994:

It's morning. I have just finished getting ready for work. I am puttering around finishing up my routine and the phone rings ... it's 7:17 am ... something shifts inside my head ... this will forever change my life. Trigger snatches up the receiver. " Hello?"  long silence ... I hear him say ... uh huh ... oh my God!!  Seriously? more silence ..."Yeah? I'll get her "- I wave my arms that I don't want to talk yet and gesture for him to get off the call. I don't know how, but I know what is coming ... I just know. He looks at me and says: "It's your step father ..." I cut him off "did he kill anyone else?". Trigger is highly confused and after sputtering for a few minutes he says: "no, nobody is dead, he's at the hospital. Your mom isn't even there right at this moment ... she seems to think he's going to be okay, although he isn't conscious - wait, how the hell could you know?" I shoot him a firey glare and say "he's an alcoholic, a cocaine addict and he has a Peter Pan complex ... it was only a matter of time. Where did it happen?" Trigger thinks about the comment for a moment before he answers. "Just before the school in your home town. He was supposed to be picking up your sister after her dance - she wound up catching a ride with a friend". This news hits my stomach like a speeding medicine ball. My sister is 12. I curse him under my breath. So close he came ... so terrifyingly close. "Was he alone in the car?" He nods his head yes and then says "but..." I brace myself. "There was another car involved ... a van full of kids coming from the dance. Your mom said their injuries were very minor". Fuck, I think to myself. Son of a bitch! He finishes by telling me Mom will call me from the hospital later with an update. I start to shake. He doesn't share my reaction and becomes annoyed with me and my emotional ways. I look at him with an expression of gravity. "If this man has had a car accident that has left him unconscious ... he will not survive it." Trigger scoffs and proceeds to leave for work. I follow suit.

Later in the day, my mother calls the bank and I am summoned to the phone. She explains to me that there has been little progress since her husband was admitted in the wee hours of this morning. He is still unconscious, although she has learned that he was in fact, lucid at the accident site. His blood alcohol level nearly triple the allowable limit and cocaine enough in his system to have been present and functioning in its intended capacity at the time of the crash. She has been talking to police more than doctors. I tell her I will be there as soon as I am finished with work and she blows me off. Tells me not to worry about it. She can handle things. I realize that the voice I am speaking to is not that of my mother ... my mother is essentially gone for the next few months.

Work complete, I make my way to the hospital. I locate the intensive care unit. Mom is not there. I ask a nurse for an update and she suggests I speak to my mother. Inside my head I am thinking that there is little point in speaking to her ... she is not comprehending what is taking place here. She is in shock and is looking at this through a long, dark tunnel. I make some calls. My sisters are with a neighbor. They are 12 and 10. Too young to have to deal with what is coming. My boyfriend is en route. My stepfather's best friend is too. This will be difficult. I find Mom. We talk for a bit and I am finally able to piece the story together. He was thrown from the car on impact ... out the passenger side window of the vehicle he had been driving. There was a hefty dent in the top of the door frame where his head hit. He landed in a marshy area just to the side of the highway. Apparently this was likely to cause pneumonia. He's been moving. This strikes Mom as a positive.

Trigger arrives and he and I go in to the ICU area. There he is. A man on whom I have focused so much negative energy, for so many years. A man I have feared. Hated. A man I told, just eleven short days ago to just go the fuck away, already ... do us all a favor and just disappear. I shake my head to purge my ears of my ill spoken words. He looks so broken. Half his head is shaved. There are tubes sticking out of him everywhere... as though he were the machine itself. I look to my spouse for comfort. His expression concurs... this is bad. Suddenly there is a tremor. It starts in his hands and moves throughout his entire body. (Later in the evening, I learn that this is known a "posturing" and it is not a good sign.) I can't stand anymore. His friend is here. He wants to come in - only two at a time ... I leave and he enters. I can not make eye contact with him. When he emerges several minutes later, there is no colour in his face. He looks for my mom, but she is not there ... then to me. He embraces me in a heavy hug and we both begin to weep. I realize somewhere in my mind that I haven't cried yet. "I don't want him to die ... he can't die" ... clutched in the arms of one of the toughest men I know, hearing him sob ... the flood gates blow off their hinges and I am done for.

When I finally get to speak to someone who can answer some questions, I learn that due to the shaking that his brain sustained, if he did not wake within the first 12 - 16 hours, it would be highly unlikely he would. Mom didn't seem to be able to accept this information. I spoke to the doctor about the movements and he explained that this is normally a sign of severe brain damage. I mention the fact that he had been awake after the accident and the doctor explained how this phenomenon occurs often in this type of injury. He proceeds to say that the drug abuse has further complicated his chances for recovery.

My fears confirmed and my world about to shatter, I convince my mother to let me take her home and we leave. I drive her vehicle and Trigger takes care of ours. He will meet me at Mom's.

The next two days are the hardest. Praying he'll wake. Begging him to beat the odds - one more time. Late in the day on Saturday, we have a conversation with his doctor. The decision is made. He is 96% brain dead based on their best hypothesis. We will remove him from life support. Mom and I decide that it can wait until his daughters have seen him, so we make the plan for Monday and bring the girls in on Sunday. My aunt has come at this point and she steps in as Mom's backbone. The hospital staff screws up this request and has taken him off several hours before our arrival on Sunday ... but he is alive. Oh God.  

As I veer off the highway at the intended exit and begin to slow ... I realize that the problem I have been experiencing with my torque converter is still not fixed ... my car stalls out and I coast to the side of the ramp. I shake my fist at the sky ... you did this, didn't you??? Find that funny, do ya? Normally I would have to wait for the car to completely cool before it will start again ... but today, I attempt to start the car only a few minutes later - and vavoom ... we have ignition. Thanks.

I arrive at Mom's. When I enter, it is as though nothing has changed. It's loud and Mom is on the phone. She's in her flannel nightie. My aunt had gone home a few days ago, but is on her way back. She is just shy of 4 hours away by car. Mom seems ... absent. I panic. I don't know what to do. What do I do? Think! People need to be called, arrangements need to be made, insurance policies need to be cashed ... right? Is that what I do? The girls are at school. Better to leave them there for the day. Mom, do you need me? She's not even here. No, I will take over for now. I contact a funeral home. Locate our priest. Call ... well ... everyone. Boy - where to start? Mom's friend of a thousand years arrives ... a voice of experience. She whips us around and gets us moving in the right direction. I take Mom to the funeral home to prepare the obituary. We try to decide on a casket, then nix the viewing - after all ... the last two weeks have served that purpose. The pain in my chest is lightening its grip. I am slowly beginning to breathe. This experience is banal ... like I've done it on an assembly line my entire life. Time slows inside my ears.

The next few hours are a blur. I can't say for certain exactly how the day progressed. I know we went to the hospital. I know there were forms to sign and belongings to pick up. You know - I don't remember for certain if we saw him again ... but I think that Mom did. It was more like an out of body experience for me. During this process, I learn that it was the pneumonia that finally killed him. A blessing at this point. He could have lived on for decades in the vegetative state to which he had reverted. As callous as it may sound, at least Mom could get the insurance and try to move on with her life.

She came from it slowly. We all have.


This post, though a little on the depressing side is really nothing more than a commemoration of the lessons that needed to be learned from this terrible event. My step dad's friend swore off alcohol after he died ... and you know - he hasn't touched it since. We all thought this man was invincible ... not like a super hero, perhaps a little more like a demon. He had his redeeming qualities, though. He never got to see his girls grow up, never got to meet mine. He died at the tender age of 44 ... and for what? Such a waste.

Because the vehicle that he was driving that night happened to have a plate that was registered to my mom on it, she was dragged through court by the insurance company of the other vehicle that was involved. It was TEN years later when she was finally free of it. She suffered for so long because of this arrogant, self involved son of a bitch ... that it is tough for me to feel a sense of loss where he is concerned. Yet, oddly enough - I do. I struggled for a very long time with the guilt of my last words to him.

It's been fifteen years since this awful, yet merciful day. My sisters are 27 and 25. They scarcely remember their father ... not like I do, anyway. We celebrate and remember the good things, make fun of the quirky and do our best to glaze over the rest. The road has been long.

I offer this to you as a cautionary tale. Please - don't drink (or use) and drive... and don't let anyone you know do it either. The havock that you leave in your wake is not yours to bear - it is your family and the people who are left picking up the pieces of the lives you've shattered that suffer the punishment.


The Management said...
A cautionary tale if ever there was one. I used to drink and drive as a teenager and in my early twenties. Then my daughter came along and I learned that it's just not worth the conveinience of having your car when the consequences can be so terrible for your own family and others. My sympathys for your families loss, but I have little respect for drunk drivers.

Mark Price said...
Good lessons Danica. My wifes older brother was killed by a drunk driver so there is never a question about drinking/driving in our family. Such a waste and I feel for your family.

Xtreme said...
I too used to be guilty of raging stupidity in my youth. Cost me one nice car. Fortunately, it was a fairly minor single vehicle accident with no injuries. I didn't smarten up until I met my wife at 22. But I can say that I've managed to not be that kind of stupid since.

Condolences girl, that post made me sad.

Sparky said...
:o( this is a very sad tale.

But a good lesson to those would be drink drivers. I think that people who don't take driving seriously, and put others at risk are stupid and selfish. I have been in two accidents, one when I was only a small child, and that was the result of someone drinking.

But I am very sorry for youre loss.

Cynica Sarcastamos said...
Hey Danica. Wow. You're makin' me think, Girl.
We are all capable of extreme selfishness. I admire those who take the high road and pitty the ones who don't. I've been both. Your post reminds me that there are things worse than death and that death is often not as self-centered as those who toy with it. Well done, You.

Danica Dragonfly said...
D - Neither do I, man ... believe me.

Mark - I am sorry to hear that. It is such a preventable reason for dying. (Or more often killing someone else) The only saving grace is that in our case, he didn't hurt anyone else ... he came very close, but didn't.

Xtreme - VERY happy that you were able to change your evil ways :). It helps to have something worth living for ... it sucks to be the one left behind.

Sparky - our loss sucks, yes ... but the shame that is still associated is what sucks more. He was an asshat of epic proportions. I even wished death upon him. I'll have more to say as time goes on ... it's still a festering topic where he is concerned.

Cynica - welcome! Yes, we are all capable. I (especially lately) am frighteningly so of being highly selfish being. All I can say about this experience is - it's over. There were lessons learned. Thank God nobody else was hurt.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Feather ... An Existential Query

I sit atop a flattened rock, smoking my cigarette.
The autumn wind, a taunting foe, hastens street debris to a distainful tempest.
Here, in the alley is to where, I flee. Physically, at the least.

I smoke ... sometimes twice.
How joyous the taste, crisp fall air intermingled with drug laden ghosts of my ill fated future.
Inhaling my escape.

I watch the foot traffic hustle by, unaware of my presence.
Some days, I imagine the lives of these marionettes as they fumble past, to my pleasure.
Some days, my distraction resides within.

Today, I spy a feathery spirit.
Performing the Viennese Waltz with a delicate, yet razor precision.
Her white, downy body alight with the peril in which she finds herself.

A dance, does she, wrings tears from my eyes.
Along the grid of the sewer grate.
She dips and turns and sways.

I catch my breath, she is gone.
But wait ...
The wind, caustic in its sensibilty, lifts her to safety.

A safety so fleeting, she's gone once more.
My heart sinks into the depth of dispair.
I receive the lesson.

Bereft and once again, alone.
I search for the meaning.
Has anyone ever known?

My feather is gone ...
With the grey water and street run off.
I so thought she'd prevail.

Where is the meaning?
What is the point?
Why are we here?

The answers elude scholars and fools.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury

Who am I?

I am 5'6" tall ... and getting shorter every day - it is my secret desire to shrink away from sight.

I am 49% bitch and 51% sweetheart – so don’t push me.

 I am a young, beautiful and vibrant woman trapped in an old, tired and out of shape body that I'm being systematically smothered out of every minute.

I am shaken, then stirred.

I am a daughter, sister, mother, wife, co-worker, friend ... and I am woman - hear me roar.

I am a bacon bringing, office managing, dinner preparing, household running, child rearing multi-tasker with the will of a two year old and the attention span of 36 year old.

I wear stress like a second skin and would trade my eye teeth for a snake's ability to shed it.

I am a wannabe writer, singer and independently wealthy recluse.

I grab life by the ass and either kiss it, spank it, change it, kick it or wear it as a hat.

I am contents under pressure & handle with care.

I put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional.

I am an emotional escape artist.

I have a crunchy outer shell, a marshmallowy centre and I melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

I am scarcely two dimensional one minute and overflowing the fifth the next.

I am politically incorrect, inept and incapable of caring.

I am the other white meat.

I am a pill.

I am poet laureate to my own amphitheater of idiots and idiot laureate to my amphitheater of poets.

I am smarter than a speeding bullet, furrier than a locomotive and able to leap tall sandwiches in a single bound.

I live in certainty that I am the product of an immaculate conception.

I keep a clean house, run a tight ship, have a balanced cheque book and lie like a cheap rug - several of which I own, incidentally.

I am high octane, high maintenance, high and mighty and sitting on my high horse.

I am squandering my existence all the while railing against the injustice that resides between the expectation of greatness and the life sentence of mediocrity.

I am heaven and hell wrapped up in one glorious package of rose petals and razor blades.

I am an impish spark and I shine through the fog of my sometimes dreary existence - until I don't ... and then in that chilly absence, I am a bathtub full of bubbles with a cold drizzle closing in.

I am the fire, the ashes and the pheonix - the light and the dark and I make frequent apology for it all.

I am equal to no one, living in constant shadow or glaring sunlight - neither of importance nor inconsequential.

All that is certain is that I 'am'.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Cabin

Within a wrinkle of the fabric of time, there stands a cabin at the base of a great mountain. A lush thicket surrounds the small clearing and a river meanders past. The sweet grass of Spring's first kiss bursts forth from the freshly defrosted earth. Brightly colored blooms and vivid greens intermingle and surround this quaint abode of hand hewn logs and a tin roof. Soft rain dapples the ground, and the colors melt into one breathtaking blush. A tongue and groove plank door opens to a single great room. Along the far wall stands a stone fireplace - its gaping mouth exhaling baited breath onto the hearth that contains it. On the floor, like the door in its construction, lay a soft rug of lamb skin - as lavish in its comfort as in its size... a contradiction of luxury in an otherwise primitive dwelling. Handmade furniture, some cabinets and a wood stove occupy the opposing wall space and a hand water pump sits on a counter top located near the ground cellar door, rounding out the amenities of this deep country Shangra-la.
From within, the sound of the rain is a clandestine performance for an audience of two ... fine jazz ... smooth, sultry. The fire snaps and crackles a ravenous path through tinder dry birch. Lost souls are they ... brought together from hunger so great, the threat of total consumption wafts through the smoke scented air. Tangled in each other, their lips connect and each essence bleeds into one. Passion grows within and without, rising and falling with the flicker of the fire - all at once indiscernible from the flames themselves. His body and hers, joining for the first time. Electrified bare wire, gingerly avoiding the explosive shower of sparks that looms ever near. Deeper into the glorious luxury of her, he pushes ... offering himself, a sacrifice to his goddess - if only in this moment. She answers with total submission - now as master, he reaches her primordial core - taking her to sweat laden fervor. Harder and deeper than either has known with another ... blinding heat rips through her, flooding her senses... searing fingers of molten passion coursing into him ... until irrevocably, they collapse into one another - spent of the desire that drew both to this place.

As the fire feeds down to embers, each seems to glow in the other's gaze. Their love silently stated for none to hear - a fleeting wisp of fog , vanishing in the righteousness of the sun's rays. They will leave this place, never to speak of their passion. The images burned into each soul - cryptic paintings on ancient cave walls bear lone testament to this union.

Leaving the way they came, neither looks back for fear of lost resolve ...

At the base of a great mountain, surrounded by a lush thicket - a cabin stands ... a solitary witness to a birth, a death, and a life lived in between - no matter how brief. An effigy to their love, existing for no one to know - never to be disturbed by the conventions of mankind.

A Moment More

... 'What am I doing?' she thought as she sat anxiously in the back of the cab. The city that raced by the window was completely foreign to her. She kept going over the day's events in her mind. 'Was he watching me the entire day?' Her company had sent her on conference for the weekend to put on a host of seminars. It was held in Chicago, so the thought had never entered her mind that any of her colleagues would be attending. Their cyber affair had gone on such a long time she never imagined she'd meet him in person ... until today. She felt eyes on her early in the day. Standing at the front of a conference room would do that to a person, but she had long grown accustomed to the decidedly uncomfortable position of presenter. No. This was different. This was familiar, focused energy flowing straight to her ... enveloping her ... it was unsettling not knowing its origin. It was late in the afternoon when she spotted him. He was nestled in at the back of the conference room, enjoying his success at remaining undiscovered. It was as though he had chosen that precise moment to be revealed - like he was playing hide and seek with her, an unwitting party. She lost her poise, if only for a moment. Normally unflappable in these situations, she struggled to keep her attention on her task. Her mind raced through a thousand questions. Could it really be him? How could he be here and not have told her he'd be joining this conference? Then remembering she had neglected to mention her involvement in it as well. 'Oh good God, how did she look?' she thought. She was exhausted from the trip and feeling crumpled after a long day - she must be a disheveled wreck. She might’ve known he'd find a way to get the upper hand. That seemed a fitting circumstance where he was concerned. On the street outside the taxi, a fleet of fire trucks screeched by jerking her back to reality. She looked down at the napkin in her hand that was now moist with the nervous anticipation that welled up inside her. 'Meet me at 8:00' and an address of what appeared to be a restaurant. He had slipped it into her bag as she was occupied with post presentation questions and then disappeared into the crowd. She had relayed the address to the cabby and was sped off to heaven only knows where to meet a man she'd been taunting and toying with for years via internet. "Am I out of my mind?" She muttered under her breath. She had nearly managed to talk herself into turning around and heading back to her hotel when the taxi squeaked to a halt in front of a lavish hotel. "That'll be $17.50, Ma'am." Startled, she turned to the driver. "$17.50." The impatient man stated again in a somewhat perfunctory manner. She handed him the money as she stepped out of the cab and then stood, mystified on the front steps of the glorious building rising into the night before her. The face was raw stone and the windows that graced this stately creation were an expanse of what appeared to be leaded crystal. Allowing only a tantalizing clue as to what lay within its walls. She was lost in gaping awe when the concierge interrupted her thoughts. "May I help you, Miss?" She smiled at the reference to Miss rather than Ma'am - fluffing her ego slightly and encouraging her to continue this journey. "Yes, I'm looking for the Stone Room please" she answered in a voice that sounded more like that of a twitterpated teen than an adult of her years. While being led through the grand foyer and down a massive corridor, she drifted back to her hurried preparation for this meeting. 'Likely for the best' she thought with a tone reminiscent of sour grapes. She had raced through the shower and threw on the only evening dress she had brought along. It was black and fell off her shoulders. The fabric was so light it floated as though it were nothing more than gossamer around her slender yet curvaceous build. Her long, shapely legs were bare and shimmered in the evening glow of candlelight. Her hair, which she was just now noticing was still damp from her hasty departure was draped over her shoulders to the middle of her back and pulled loosely off her alabaster face. It was then that she met his gaze. He stood beside the table in a rustic, yet remarkably grand dining room. Her heart lurched. He was a vision of raw sexuality in khaki dress pants and a dark green shirt. Tall and handsome, his hands slightly extended to her. She reached for him and he gently pulled her close. "Do you have the slightest clue how long I've dreamed of holding you like this?" His breath was hot against her neck as he spoke. She trembled, almost imperceptibly. She could feel his body next to hers. Alive, electric. She was responding in ways she had been unprepared to counteract. His chest heaved with a long deep breath. It was as though he was inhaling her very essence. She wantonly relinquished, allowing her spirit to flow into him. "I'm thinkin' I could take a stab at a guess" she barbed. Had her voice not broken when she spoke, she'd likely have pulled off that 'cool as a cucumber' exterior she fought hard to maintain. No. He was all too aware of his effect on her. They were seated. Without awkward hesitation, they waded into a tropical lagoon of conversation. Topics ranged from politics and shop talk to childhood stories and favorite movies. Their ease with one another was reminiscent of old friends. It was comfortable. She challenged him in ways he had never been and he led her into veins of thought she had never considered. They were yin and yang and energy flowed freely between them throughout the evening. With their meal complete and the night drawing to an end, the chilly reality of their circumstance began to wrap its icy fingers around them. They had waited years for this moment and now it was ending. She reached out for him and he pulled her to his chest. With her face turned up to his, she locked his gaze for a seemingly eternal moment. Her eyes, the color of a turquoise sea and every ounce as deep and wet drew him into her web, it was then that he caught her mouth in a kiss. So soft were her lips, that the mounting urgency in her response took him by surprise. Neither could remember getting into the elevator that now drew ever closer to the privacy of his room. They remained locked in embrace until the door opened into the coolness of the hallway. He fumbled for his card key and she giggled like a schoolgirl as they made their way clumsily to his door. Once inside, the gravity of their circumstance was lost. Their desire - borne of curiosity and fed by time, in one evening, became a force that threatened to consume them whole. The world as they knew it dissolved into the shimmer of night. With hands, fingers, mouths and tongues they explored one another. Venturing ever closer to the brink, only to pull back and begin again. He was skilled, she thought amid the aqua marine mist that seemed to fill the room. Never had she experienced such a deep passion ... and all at once, they were one. No distinction of where she ended and he began. Their writhing bodies were lit by only the distorted light of the silver moon that shone outside the thickly plated windows. It traced their union onto the universe for eternity. Waves of heat coursed through her veins. She had little choice but to surrender to the impending orgasmic eruption that seared her loins and quickened her pulse. She sat atop his body coaxing his essence to the surface as he quietly, though unconvincingly pleaded with her to stop. The movement of their hips evolved into a primitive rhythm that could be heard only by them and quickly erupted into a feverish drum dance. The room was swimming, the internal sound of their passion drowning all conscious thought. It was then he succumbed to her, as though bursting forth into life... His slowing breath whipped goose flesh across her back as she lay against his chest, basking in the afterglow. With both spent and much too tired to analyze their situation further, they drifted into a deep sleep, intertwined - mind, body and spirit. With the harsh reality of morning's light still miles away, they lay together - unfettered in their fantasy where sense and sensibility do not dwell and the dream can continue, if for only a moment more.

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