I just need to clarify one item here before I go on with the story.
I wrote that the bartender’s family thought I was wonderful because I didn’t drink.
However – in previous postings I have written about drinking with Kim. I should have said that his family thought I was wonderful because I ‘wasn’t’ drinking.
When I was running the store for my own family (and while hanging around with Kim) I had come to the conclusion that I had a tendency towards addiction. Remember that this was right after a year of university where one of the prerequisites for admission is the ability to drink – especially in northern Ontario. Every afternoon around 3pm I use to have to lock the front door of the store and run around to the bar located directly behind it to have a quick couple glasses of beer. I always knew I needed a drink as my hands would shake and my mouth would water when I thought of one. Now this could have been from all the drinking I did the night before – but I believed I was turning into an alcoholic and I quit drinking once Kim moved out.
After working at the strip bar for a couple of months I started having a drink once in a while. Meeting my husband increased the volume and six weeks after we married I was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm from taking the pill and I had to quit drinking again. As the marriage progressed – so did the drinking. After his melt-down and all the ensuing insanity, I was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and spent three weeks in the hospital with that. When I met the bartender’s family I was living on medication for an ulcer and wasn’t drinking at all. Living well and playing hard – especially when your money comes from media – seems to be the way of life for all those involved in it. His family felt the need to keep up with those images and addictions of all sorts were prevalent throughout. I was what they considered ‘straitlaced’ and – an oddity.
I remember the day everything changed quite clearly. It was midsummer and we had headed to the local beach for a cooling swim after work. We had played tag and cavorted about in the water in an effort to wash away the smells and sights of the strip-bar. I had locked my arms about his neck and floated behind him as he took long powerful strokes – my body gliding effortlessly through the water. I had stepped into his cupped hands and let him lift me so I could dive over his shoulder. I had wrapped my legs about his waist and reveled in the feel of his manhood straining against his own swimsuit as it pressed against me in full view of everyone – yet unseen below the water. All those wonderful things you do when you swim with a lover.
Later, as we let the fading sun dry our bodies, I nestled between his legs and lay back against his chest, tired from our play and content in our relationship. Wordlessly we shared a cigarette as I watched a small family of geese as they paddled their way along the other side of the swimming buoys.
“You’re a bitch,” he said from his position behind me.
“What!” I said in disbelief as I tried to turn and look into his face but he pinned me with his knees and held me there.
“I know you’re looking at that guy,” he seethed into my right ear.
“What guy?” I asked incredulously.
“That guy who walked along the beach. You were watching him every step of the way.”
“I was not! I was watching that family of geese. Didn’t you see them?”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. You watched that guy. Don’t lie! I watched you watching that guy. I’m sitting right behind you I could see the direction your eyes were going.” Grabbing my neck from behind he dug his fingers into each side and forced me to look at the man in question.
“See him! See – him! I know you were watching him – don’t deny it. You bitch!”
He was so angry I could feel his spittle hitting the back of my neck as he spoke. I felt a thrill run up and down my spine and settle between my legs. ‘So this is what real love is all about’ I thought. When he released me I was sexually excited and I tried to cover it up before I turned to look at him.
“What’s that shit-eating grin for that you’ve got plastered all over your stupid face?” he said as he gathered our towels with one hand and sunk his fingers into my upper arm with the other. Without allowing me to answer he dragged me off to his car and propelled me into the front seat before slamming the door behind me. My face flamed with the knowledge that those on the beach that knew us could see what was happening. I was taken by complete surprise when he got into his side of the car, started the engine, then turned and slapped me hard across the face.
“How dare you stare at some other man when you are with me!”
“I already told you I was not looking at that man!”
“I saw you looking at him! And why do you have that shit-eating grin – again?”
I couldn’t explain it to him. I couldn’t explain the sexual excitement even to myself. I could only think how sick it was that I was feeling that way, that I must be perverted to be turned on and that I must deserve it. The second slap hurt worse than the first and I tried to cry as quietly as I could as he drove me home.
When we arrived at my house he opened my car door like a true gentleman and took my keys from my trembling hands and unlocked the door. Once inside he told me to not say a word, but to go upstairs and put on some lingerie and lie on the bed. I lay there for what seemed an eternity, my body vibrating uncontrollably when I heard his footsteps on the stairs. He stood looking at me like I was a piece of dirt before he pulled off his belt and tied my hands together over my head. Sitting on the bed he took out his cigarettes and lit one, throwing the match into an ashtray and blowing a smoke ring up towards the ceiling. He seemed like a different person when he spread my ankles and moved up my body, bringing the burning embers close to my skin. At one point I let out a small scream from the pain and he just looked at me.
“I told you not to say anything!” his words almost dripping with venom.
I bit my lower lip until I drew blood when he touched the cigarette to the skin on my stomach and breasts, and I dutifully took a puff when he smiled and put the cigarette to my lips and raised an eyebrow.
I stayed on the bed for a long time after he left. My wrists still burned from the leather of the belt, but those little spots where he had touched me burned brighter.
I thought that his jealousy and possessiveness was love. I thought this sick kind of torture and punishment for a perceived wrong was love. Underneath I knew it was sick and that I should run as far away as I could. But I found it erotic and I wanted more – so I stayed.
And it got worse.