Airdre Grant, Lismore
When you think about it, all relationships are about loneliness and hope. Someones lonely, someones hoping. Sounds harsh I know but maybe its just the truth. Being with Jeff was like that. You see, Id had a hard time and needed someone to look after me. He loved doing that. We met at the supermarket. I was trying to carry my shopping and the bag kept slipping off my arm because of the bandages. He was very helpful and it kind of followed on from there. He helped me to the bus and then rang me later to see if I was okay and, the next thing you know, hes there all the time and, sure enough, we start sleeping together. What a good deal. Me, pathetically grateful, and him, feeling like a Good Kind Man. Stuff gets overlooked, wounds get forgotten and the events of the past get moulded into a story thats all about the present.
Anyway, we went to the beach, where his family had a small holiday house and it was beautiful. I was able to forget for a little while about being hurt so badly. The pain faded in the face of another gorgeous sea-drenched sunset. I was being wooed and won. I was a pushover. When the phone calls started, I ignored them. I was having a wonderful time and the sex was great. I didnt want anything to break the spell.
The calls kept coming, so I turned my phone off. It had been a long time since I had been treated tenderly and I was lapping it up. I knew it was Gary calling. I didnt mention much about Gary to Jeff as I didnt want him to see me as one of those women who spend all their time telling their new boyfriend about what an arsehole their last boyfriend is. Women love doing that. They never tire of talking about how men let them down and what losers they are. Idiots. Dont they know its a major turnoff?
One day, there was a dead bird on the road near the car. The poor thing had its head half hanging off. Jeff kicked it into bushes and said something about dingoes or feral cats. He and I had been up all night having sex. After four years of scary, dont-make-a-sound, lie-still-and-spread-your-legs-while-I-cover-your-mouth sex, I was pleased to find out some new things. I told Jeff a little bit about the way it was. About being really passive and that. I gave him that snippet of information so he could feel like a hero. I didnt mention the ropes. That would have been too much.
The next day, there was a big scratch in the side of the car. Jeff said hoons but my heart started pounding. Gary had said, if I ever went with anyone else, he would take the necessary action. In the beginning, I enjoyed the way he was. How he had to be with me all the time and that he stopped me seeing my girlfriends. I loved it that he wanted me so much. Finally I was the one with the doting boyfriend. The first time Gary locked me in the house when he went out, I freaked a bit, but when he came back with flowers and a gold bracelet, I got over it. Anyway, it gave me time to shave my legs and get ready for him without him watching me all the time, like he always did. I never told Jeff about that part, just in case he thought I was weak or crazy. And I certainly never told him I quite liked being tied up. He wouldnt have understood.
This morning there was rope on the windscreen of the car tied in a knot I recognised. It was one of my favourites. Then Gary turned up at the house. When I saw him I felt a thrill run right through me. Gary tied Jeff to a chair in the living room. At first, Jeff was angry and shouted at Gary but when he saw me holding my wrists to be tied up, he got upset. Can you believe it? He started to cry! Poor Jeff. He had no idea. Gary drove me back to our place. He lay me down and he covered my mouth and he said he would never let me go, ever. I couldnt stop laughing. I felt so happy.
A Kiwi by birth, Airdre Grant is currently completing a PhD at Southern Cross University. This effort pales in comparison to the task of raising two teenage daughters and keeping in good humour, having been informed regularly that she knows nothing, never has anything decent to eat in the house and is incapable of understanding anything as it appears she was never young herself. She isa member of the Northern Rivers Writers Centre and receives sustenance from a small writing group that meets weekly in Mullumbimby.