5 years-10 weeks Again
"Jim, I'm heading to the can." Bill paused, " I'm going to be there for a bit, to take a.. " He laughed. Classic Bill when Terry wasn't around. He was a poet and did know it. "Why don't you plug your phone into the wall and see if you can call Terry. I didn't bring my plug-in charger."
"No problem Bill. It feels good just to sit down in some place half-way clean. This cafeteria is tiny by Milwaukee standards, but these little hospitals in the middle of nowhere, I guess it's just good enough for what they need."
After a few minutes, my phone finally picked enough of a charge and we're in a town. Finally, cell reception. That's when I realized I didn't have Terry's cell number. I can call Marie and have her call or get the number from her.
"Hello Marie, it's Jim, can you call Terry..."
"JIM. IT'S JIM. TERRY IT'S JIM. WHERE ARE YOU?"
"We're at the Emergency Room in ..."
"OH MY GOD, HOW BAD ARE YOU HURT?"
"Marie, I'm not in the hospital, we just ..."
"WHERE'S BILL? TERRY WANTS TO KNOW WHERE BILL'S AT. IS HE HURT? HOW BAD IS HE HURT?"
"He's in over in the..."
"HOW BAD IS HE HURT?"
"HOW BAD ARE YOU HURT?. BILL..."
"S T O P"
"WAIT A ..."
I hear the phone being passed. Now it's Terry.
"JIM, HOW BAD ARE YOU GUYS HURT? WHERE ARE YOU AT? WHAT'S GOING ON? WHAT..."
"S T O P"
"S T O P"
"S T O P"
There was a slight break in the call. "PUT ME ON SPEAKER PHONE NOW. THEN WAIT UNTIL I TALK." I hear a couple of buttons being pressed then the wonderful echo of speaker phone radiated from the phone.
"Are you both ready? YES OR NO ANSWERS ONLY." I hear two muted yes answers.
"NUMBER 1. NO ONE HERE IS HURT. UNDERSTAND? YES OR NO ONLY"
I hear two relieved yes answers.
"NUMBER 2. WE HIT A STORM AND HAD TO WAIT IT OUT FOR A DAY. UNDERSTAND? YES OR NO ONLY"
I hear two more relieved yes answers.
"NUMBER 3. The cell phones at the car were drained. I dropped the car charger in a puddle. We showed up here at the ER in a little town on the way home because we had to go to the washroom and try to plug in for a recharge. There's no cell phone coverage in the boonies. We're going to see if we can hit their cafeteria for something to eat. ok? Wait before you talk. Wait a minute, Bill just got back from the can. Here he is and it's my turn to go. Bye"
Relieving myself in a real bathroom was a treat after a week on the river. The northern Wisconsin state bird, the mosquito would attack every time. I was daydreaming one time when I even got a mosquito bite on my cock. It was worse if you had to take a shit because the deer flies would also attack. Now I get to wash my face and hands the first time in a day, unless you count the rain. Looking into the mirror, it's a week of beard and a calm face. A week on the Flambeau flowage is therapy. And on the Flambeau with a friend that will listen and ask an occasional difficult question, priceless.
By the time I got back from the washroom, Bill was ready to go. "We've got marching orders, we're going straight home."
"Bill, you can drop me off at my house and I'll get my stuff tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a long hot shower followed by a steak and a tall stout that I have in my fridge."
"Maybe you didn't hear me. I said WE are going straight home. WE do not pass go, WE do not collect $200. That is unless WE want to go to a funeral, either mine or yours, but probably both. My guess that WE would receive a slow and painful death if WE don't do this." He paused and gripped my shoulder and spoke a bit softer. "There was a massive tornado in our area the day it stormed and we were in the tent and didn't travel. We're about 30 hours late checking in. They thought they lost us. We have to go. OK?"
I nodded yes. Now it makes so much sense. "The cafeteria is going to close in a few minutes. You get the coffees and I'll get some food that isn't freeze dried or walleye. We have a three hour trip ahead of us. I have a feeling that they won't care that we haven't showered or shaved for the past week. I've been bending your ear about Marie half the trip. Can you handle another hour?"
"Jim, that's what friends are for. But you owe me a bottle of cognac for that." Pollocks like cognac.
"Bill, only if it's a handle and we both empty it together." We laughed and I began the next leg of a trip that was over 5 years in the making.
It's been ten weeks since Marie came back into my life, and it's been a gut wrenching ten weeks. Gut wrenching in a good way... sometimes... maybe... occasionally?
This long planned trip with Bill to canoe and fish in the shallow flowages in northwestern Wisconsin was supposed to be a way to get away from it all. I brought it all with me and Bill got to hear it all, several times. I owe him more than a handle of great cognac. For what he did for me, a case of the best cognac still wouldn't be enough.
Marie and I have been dancing around each other for the past ten weeks. Neither of us willing to take a step to either end the dancing and go away, or get closer. Both are scary things.
Five years apart, we both married and divorced, both not seeing anyone else for the past year. Her parents came into town twice and stayed with me both times because I offered and had the extra bed. While she was at work, I got to hear from them about other things in her life, the great things she's done and hasn't told me. I've been afraid. Just fucking afraid to stay or go.
This trip was supposed to be a week of canoeing and fishing and not thinking about a damn thing. Now with a week of body grime covered by our only set of clean dry clothes, I'll be face to face with her again.
I can't deny what I heard today, the worry, the concern. I've seen her reaching out to me for the past two months, then checking herself. Thought that if I didn't physically touch her, we would keep our emotional distance from each other. Fat chance for that.
It was 2 AM when we finally arrived at Bill and Terry's house. All the lights were on and both women met us at the car when we drove up. Bill and I had to drive with the windows cracked in the cold night air. We were pretty fragrant. Getting out of the car, Bill got a big hug and a squeal of delight. I could see the relief in Terry's face. Marie looked at me pensively, not knowing what to do.
When you make up your mind, do it. Bill and I missed our traditional sauna after the trip. In the steamy sauna built over a lake, we used to sweat off the dirt and grime. The hard part was jumping into the cold lake. Run down the pier and just jump. If you wait, you might become afraid of the shock of cold water and never get refreshed to do it again and again. It might never happen.
I quickly stepped up to Marie and hugged her for all we were worth. The first hug in over 5 years. She hugged me back and melted into my arms. I think that we both quietly sobbed. The last three hours of understanding that we could have lost one another again was more than we could handle. I knew that the last 5 years I did not want to repeat.
We got into the house and a couple of cold ones were forced into our hands along with a large brat in a small bun. That was rough. We were famished and thirsty and tired. And lonely too. A week in a canoe with the water, wild life and no electrical gadgets slows down your life. The background noise of life starts to drop off and you even get to hear what's going on inside of you. I felt like I returned from a pilgrimage.
It took about 15 minutes to finish the beer and the brat when Terry whisked Bill off to the shower. I yelled out that scotch bright pads with comet will do wonders. He didn't hear me, but Terry replied something about steel wool, sandpaper and paint strippers. Then it was just Marie and me. We had some small talk when I asked her to me a favor.
"Your father left his spare reading glasses at the house. I found them as I was going out the door to meet Bill for the trip. Can you send him an email to tell him I found them? I don't have their phone number or email address. Just log on to your account and sent it, will you?"
"That's easy. Why don't you log on in, you know it Jim. I never changed my password."
"What do you mean, you never changed your password?"
"I never changed it from that day. You snail mailed it to me a week later, I never changed it."
"Marie, what are you talking about?"
"It's still I_am_1_Real_WhorE."
I was pissed. "God damn it woman, what the hell's wrong with you? Why didn't you change it right away? It's been over 5 years, you've been married and divorced. Life goes on. Why?"
"Part of it was laziness, part was me reminding myself of what I had become, and had to overcome. Another part was security, no one would ever think of me using it. You remember what it was before? I_am_1_QueeN?"
I nodded yes as she continued. "I was a princess growing up. Great self esteem, no reality to it. I'm no longer a princess, I'm a washed up whore. Keeps me from feeling entitled."
"Is that all you are? Just a washed up whore?" She nodded yes. "Give me a fucking break. By your own words, you pulled Terry away from destroying her marriage before it even began. You tried your best to save your marriage with someone who wouldn't address his illness with medication. You volunter as a nurse every two weeks at the homeless shelter. You're financially stable and have paid off all your student loans. And I know that there's a lot more. Give me a fucking break." I was pissed.
I logged into her gmail account and then hit change password. After typing in the old password, I stood up and motioned for her to sit. She wasn't going to budge. She shook her head no. Now I'm really pissed.
I grabbed her by the shoulders and looked directly into her eyes. "WE ARE MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER. WE ARE GOING TO BE EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY WITH OURSELVES AND ONE ANOTHER. IT STARTS WITH CHANGING THAT UNHEALTHY PASSWORD. NOW."
Tears were forming in her eyes. In a soft voice she said, "You said we."
"Damn right I said WE. I think that it will be a WE until either of us decides it will not be a WE. And if that happens WE will talk about it so neither of us will be blindsided. WE will be healthy with one another. Now sit YOUR ass down there so WE can move on to all the other things WE need to talk about."
She looked at me with hope and fear in her eyes. I reached over and hugged her. A week without a real shower, lake mud still on my clothes, eau-de-bug-spray as cologne and I hugged her, and she hugged me back. This is running and jumping off the dock into the water.
"You're sure about this Jim? Are you sure?"
"Sure that I want to do this or sure that it's going to work?" I paused. "Yes and no, and I'll take my chances with Marie. Gail is no longer here.
"The old Jim isn't here either. Are YOU willing to take a chance with me? I don't want to continue dancing around things with you. You willing?"
"What if it doesn't work out? What if..."
"What if? What if? What if? We both have a maturity now, we've both got the desire to do this. I had a marriage that didn't work out. We worked on it until we both realized that it wasn't going to work out.
"That could happen to us, or not. We get to decide. Are you in or do you want to think about it? We go at the pace we need to go. We make the decisions together."
She pulled my head down to hers and kissed my mouth and her arms came over my back, capturing me. She held me for what seemed like hours, but it could only have been minutes. When we broke, I had to joke with her. "So I take it that that was a yes?" and she hit me in the upper arm, and hurt her hand. Over 100 paddling miles a canoe and portaging 80 lbs of canoe and more gear will build up your arms pretty good.
"Look Marie, I need more than a shower. Let's put the rest of this off till tomorrow. I need a shower and a good night rest. You do too. It'll be Sunday and we can get together in the afternoon. I know you go to 11 AM mass, and I want nothing to stand in the way of that."
"How about we go to your house and I'll help scrub you down. There is no way you'll be able to do all that and get totally clean. I've waited a long time for this.
"You can come back here for your camping equipment tomorrow. Let's start this off right."
She told me to get into her car, and keep the doors open till she could start the car and open the windows. I heard her knocking on the bathroom door while I was leaving. She met me at the car and she was chuckling.
"Ok, what's up?"
All I'm going to say is that there was some oh yesssing and heavy breathing going on. I needed to disturb them a little, but I don't think they minded us going. I saw their robes on their bed. Somebody was going to have to make a dash for it. I was there for the last day. She didn't bring the towels up from the laundry yet. I put them on the floor outside the bath."
It was a ten minute drive to my house. She pulled into the driveway and I fumbled for my key. Going camping, I only brought a spare house key, and I had sewn it in my little spare pocket in my 'clean and dry driving home' jeans.
I opened the door and knew that I needed to open the windows. It was more than stuffy. The week of warm weather did it. We looked at each other but Marie spoke first. "Go to the bathroom and start drawing a bath. I'll take care of things out here."
"Wait a minute. This is my house and..."
"And you are in need of a serious bath. Your hair was wonderful from the rain, but the rest of you..."
"How about I start with a quick shower to settle the dust first? Then I'll do the bath."
"Deal. Leave your clothes outside the door. I'll take them to the basement and soak them. They smell like..."
"Ok ok ok ok. We did race home as soon as we could."
"I know you guys did." She paused and smiled, "Get thee to the shower knave." Then she patted my bottom as I went down the hall.
I've only been wearing these clothes for about 8 hours, and they stank, really bad. I dropped them out the door then started shaving. A week worth of growth isn't good enough. It would need to be two or three before it would look good. When I finished, I ran the shower and stepped in.
Warm clean water and lots of soap. I grabbed a washcloth and did a good once over. While I had the water rinse off the soap from my face, I felt a hand on my back. I didn't move, just enjoyed her touch.
Her arms wrapped around me and then I felt her body spooning into mine. This is not what I was afraid of, it was all the other stuff. That other stuff will wait. This can bond us together if it is part of everything else.
She disengaged and grabbed the wash cloth. Still at my back side, she soaped it up and started at my neck, scrubbing the built up grime away. Then it was my shoulders and the back of my arms, slowly moving down my back. I'm sure I looked like a polka dotted lobster, pink from the scrubbing and the dark red from the mosquito and dime-sized deer fly bites.
She got to my ass and carefully only worked the outside. Neither of us had yet said a word. But she then slipped her hand between my legs and gently pushed them apart and the wash cloth cleaned my neither regions.
She got down on her knees and began the back of my legs ending at my feet. Lifting each foot, everything, including each toe was washed. In all the time we were together before, we never did anything like this. This was not erotic, this was scrubbing, getting me clean. This was... different?
She turned me around and continued on my legs then hips. She quickly washed my soft cock and moved on to my chest. She stood up again and scrubbed my neck and face. Something was wrong, something was amiss with her, with us.
We were lovers those years ago. Damaged? Is she that damaged from what we did to one another? Is it here now? I pulled her close to me. "Marie, what's the matter? What's wrong? Is this too soon?"
She looked at me with pain in her eyes. Then she started crying. I held her close as the water washed over us.
I turned off the water and grabbed a towel, drying her and wrapping it around her as she continued to cry. I got another and tousled her hair and led her to the bedroom. "We going here to talk and rest. Please sit down while I dry off."
She started to cry less and I dried myself quickly. Then I went into my dresser and got an oversized t-shirt for her and another one for me with a pair of boxers, my normal sleep attire. Then I sat next to her and put my arm around her. I rocked her slightly and said nothing. It was 4 in the morning and we were both exhausted.
She leaned into my arms and quietly rested. Then I suggested that we sleep and I pulled down the covers for her and tucked her in. I got on the other side and turned off the light. She snuggled to me and we both dropped off in minutes.
Morning came very soon for me, if you call 10:30 soon. I woke and saw her sleeping next to me. It's been 5 years. Marriages, divorces, upheavals...life. And we are back here, trying again. I would not wake her. The emotions from yesterday drained both of us. I will not push making love to her, that will come on its own accord. This is starting over, the long haul.
She started to stir and began to stretch, and then fell back asleep. Watching her again, feeling her newness once more. Breathing in her scent. It hurt so much so long ago. Now older, wiser, more scars, more maturity to handle the scars and the bumps and bruises of being with another.
Eyes wide open this time, eyes wide open.
It took another half hour for Marie to wake up. She stretched and hit me slightly. She awoke with a start. She looked around and didn't see anything familiar then she felt me and jumped again.
"It's ok Marie, it's ok. You're safe now."
Hearing my voice, it took a couple of seconds to remember the previous day. She relaxed and closed her eyes while she turned and spooned into me. I placed my arm around her and we both fell back asleep for another half hour.
She woke up before me and when I woke, I saw her looking at me. "Good morning Jim." Then she planted a kiss on my lips. Her face was pensive, still unsure, still on edge. Change doesn't come easy for me either. I had a week to work things out internally. She didn't have that luxury.
"Good morning Marie. How's the new life so far?" I paused. She wasn't ready for this last night, and not now either. "Looks like we're going to have a bit of discussion this morning. So how about breakfast? I'll make the coffee?" I rose to get out of bed. She pulled me back down.
"I know what you are doing, and I'm grateful to you for that. But stay here with me a little while." She moved slightly away from me, but sat up to see me easier. "You shocked the hell out of me last night, I wasn't ready for that. You're right. We've been dancing around each other. I wasn't going to do anything to make you go away, but I'm still frightened."
"Marie, I've had a week to mull this over. Whatever we do, we do it together. Nobody can race ahead and think that it's ok. It was wonderful to sleep next to you last night, but we'll talk things over before we try that or anything else again. OK? I'm here for the long haul and I think that we've got a bunch of things to work out and build on first."
She leaned over and kissed me, a kiss of connectedness, not one of passion. Sexual thrills are always great, but they are always so much better with the love of your life. We have to work on that love part.
Without saying a word, we both rose from the bed. I started looking for a robe for her, but she immediately hit the bathroom. I found an older summer robe I had and placed it on the bathroom door handle as I went to the kitchen.
I started setting up for coffee and looked into the fridge for something for breakfast. Then I remembered, I emptied the fridge before my trip. Coffee and then brunch out? That's when Marie walked into the kitchen. The robe was nowhere to be seen, or my oversized t-shirt for that matter.
"I need to take a shower. Would you like to scrub my back in a few minutes?"
"We don't have to Marie, don't feel ..."
"It's been a long time Jim, a very long time. I think that we should give it a try. It's been a long time for both of us." Then she turned and walked away toward the bathroom, pausing at the kitchen doorway. Looking back over her shoulder, her eyes told me that she was doing what she wanted to do.
I heard her turn on the water and step into the shower. I grabbed several fresh towels and followed.
She stood in the shower, letting the water fall over her face. She is beautiful, as beautiful as she ever was. Maybe, no definitely more so. For now she's real, and so am I.
"Are you going to join me in here or do you just want to look?" Marie turned around and was spreading her arms, inviting me in. I dropped my clothing and embraced her. The water, the warmth of our feelings, her body against mine. Not so bad so far, jumping into that lake.
I turned her around and lathered up my hands with the body wash. I started working on her back. Touching her again, the slipperiness of the soap over her skin, her hair in my face. I felt the tension in her shoulders and started massaging them. Pulling the tension from them, loosening them and her up. She always kept some tension in her body there. I remembered how tight they were before the wedding. Then I found out why. I shook my head to dump that thought.
I heard a slight moaning from her. Not a sexual moan of passion, but a moan of relief. She leaned up against the wall as I continued my work. "Oh Jim, I've missed this so much."
"Marie, I have too." That's when I kissed her neck and reached around her with both hands, hugging her from behind. I broke away and used more body wash on a washcloth to finish her back, then I moved down to her cheeks. At first I attempt to clean her skin, but she swished her ass into my hands. And I heard a different moan. I dropped the wash cloth and cupped both cheeks, then slipped my right hand between her cheeks, brushed against her rosebud and ended at her clit. She backed in to me while my other hand reached around and cupped her left tit. She swished her ass more and leaned back into me more, her back against my chest.
My hand massaged her clit from behind while the other wrapped around her and kneaded her tit. I felt her desire. She pulled my hand away from behind her pussy and repositioned it around her, to access her pussy from the front. Then she backed into me, swishing her ass against my hardening cock.
My mouth was on her neck, then up to her ear to nibble on her ear lobe. She used to love that. With both hands, she leaned against the shower wall, letting my hands work their magic over her. Her eyes are closed and her nipples are hard. She is taking all I give to her, do to her, into her.
But something was wrong, I felt it. Her body said one thing, but something else was not right. I decided to not push anything, not make any drastic changes, but to pay attention.
Her body tone changed slightly again, then look on her face was now different. There was a look of discomfort. I slowed then stopped completely. I pulled her from the wall and turned her around to hold her. My arms wrapped around her and only held her while the water cascaded over us. That's when I felt a sob from her.
We embraced, my love was in pain. I turned off the water and grabbed a towel for her, replaying what happened early this morning.
She cried on my shoulder as I bundled her with a towel and took her back to the bedroom, an emotional mess. More that we could handle now, much more.
May 13, 2018 in romance