[I’d planned to include “The Wake” in the Tuesday Linkfest, but an expired domain name coupled with a Wordpress glitch seem to have made a number of my wife’s older blog posts unavailable. This is one of hers from several years ago, back in the Maledom days of my (our?) switchhood. We may have been different people, or at least at different places, than we are now, but kink was still a powerful connection for us, and with sometimes unexpected benefits...]
“Well, it’s finally happened.”
“I’m looking my own mortality in the face. One of my college friends died.”
Mr. Tungsten ran his finger down a page of his alumni magazine to a name I didn’t know. “Do you normally read the obits?”
“No. Her name just jumped out at me.”
I broadcasted concern. “Were you close?”
“Well, not for the last 20 years. But we hung out a lot during college and after. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised that she lasted as long as she did.”
“Because of her drinking. And she had other problems.”
It was Friday when Mr. Tungsten told me this. He didn’t seem terribly affected by the news. Our date at the local dungeon was still on, even after I asked if he was sure. “I’ll get over it,” he said, and I nodded. By this point in our marriage it’s obvious when something’s really up. And though he wasn’t in the highest of spirits on the drive over, I attributed this to his regular pre-rope group slump. Once the Starbucks kicked in he’d be fine.
“I want you to tie me up,” he said, after we’d walked around and said hi to the people we knew. “Because you’ve been getting all the bondage lately and I miss it.”
We sat down on a couple of mats I’d dragged over from the side of the room. All around us people were practicing ties or socializing. No one looked our way. Meanwhile, my mind spun at close to a thousand rpm.
Mr. Tungsten has been topping me exclusively for months now. He owns me. He decides what we do on a given night as well as when (and if) I come. I’m no longer even allowed to bring myself off without his say-so. He’d often say that there’d come a time when I’d dominate him, although not at such an early point in my training. It would happen after my hypnotic triggers became strong enough that he could boost me into top-space with a word. So what is this? I thought as the rope came out and I had him take off his shirt. Are we done with our agreement? Is there no more waiting as he steers our course? Because, to be honest, it was such a relief to give him control last year. To be his beck-and-call girl as it were. Even though I know submissiveness is a part of him and will need to be seen to one way or another, I’d been paradoxically higher than a kite during those months under his thumb.
There was irritation too. Why is he springing this on me? was a thought that came up more than once.
Meanwhile, I concentrated on the knots. I was seeing what looked good around his chest and shoulders. And before long, I settled. It was fun to be the person doing the tying for once. I got to lose myself in the world of slack and tension and how the rope wrapped around muscle and skin. At times I’d ask how he was or if his hands were tingling. There was a comfort in that too, of taking care of him in that way. He held opposite wrists and I did a kind of impromptu box tie before moving on to his legs, tying his knees in a bent position and butterflying them out. He looked good like that. Handsome. I took a picture to record the symmetry and the feeling of accomplishment I had gazing down. Without any prompting, I got behind him. Sat him up and then reclined him with his bound arms in my lap. I held him. I passed a hand over his face so he’d close his eyes and be still. I kissed his forehead and rocked just a little bit. We’d been talking the entire time—just communicating about what looked good or felt okay. But now, with my lips just brushing his forehead every so often, the conversation turned to his friend.
He told me stories.
There were weekends spent in the Catskills with all their friends, and one particular time when she’d propositioned him and he’d turned her down. The funniest story was about the time a working-class friend had taught some MIT guys how to make a mortar, and how they’d followed him around like fanboys for the rest of their stay. The saddest story was about the time they’d encountered his friend’s mother drunk and raving, and how one of the ways they bonded was over having those kinds of family troubles in common.
In short, it was a wake.
Somehow being tied up and held allowed Mr. Tungsten to remember his friend—the good and bad times—without fear of judgement, and then to let her go, even as her memory lived on. “Thank you,” he said afterwards. “You have no idea how much I needed that.”
“Maybe I do.”
He held me tight. “Yeah. Maybe you do.”
I’ve rarely felt more in sync with my husband than I have this weekend. We get one another. We’re so grateful for each other that sometimes it’s as if one or both of us is going to pop. We have this thing called kink that doesn’t just bring us pleasure, but facilitates being who we are. Right now that seems to be two ordinary people who are struggling to be, make things and know things, and get somewhere in life.
And that’s much easier when you feel understood.