Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

This is not a Sad Story--it's just Life.


I thought about it because of three comments, three separate clients had made this week:

One mentioned that he couldn’t read my blog anymore because he thought my stories were too disturbing.
Astonished, I answered that I had not yet written anything I considered ‘sad’.
And that I was saving the really tragic stuff for later.

The second said it bothered him that I talked of myself as ‘the disposable woman.’ I told him I did not feel this way at work. That this term entered my consciousness due to my ‘real-life’ experiences with men and friends based on the way they concluded their relationships with me.

The third was talking about how confounding his present experience was trying to raise a pubescent daughter. He felt the only answer was to keep her chained to her room for the next five years and sit watch at the front door with a baseball bat.
I felt the need to protest.
"You can’t do that to her." I almost demanded of my client. "You have to be braver."

My parents and I lost one another when I developed hips and breasts. When I sprouted pubic hair and began to bleed. It was a shame.
We re-united when I was in my late twenties.
But the guidance I should have had could never be reclaimed.
And perhaps my future would have been different had I had the blessing of honesty without fear given to me. Who can say?

I listen to politicians these days, speak about abstinence. I cringe and weep inside. I am too well versed on what ‘head-in-the-sand’ mentality did to my life.
I fear for those going through it now.

Sex is Natural. Gorgeous. Essential. And yes, complicated, straight-jacketed by so many emotions and again by paradigms of thought belonging to whatever culture one is steeped in.

It began when I was a child on the verge—pre-pubescent. I wanted pierced ears. When I was eleven, I began my crusade:
"Mom, can I get my ears pierced?"
"Ask your father."
"Dad, can I get pierced ears?"
"You’re too young."
"But lots of girls in my class have them. Why can’t I get ‘em?"
"Because I said so."

I hated that answer from my father. Not only because it stopped all negotiations in their tracks, but also because my father and I could really confide in one another.
This was not that.
Usually, he treated me like ‘the intelligent one’, as opposed to my mother who was the ‘fragile girl-doll’.

My father was a loner. He wasn’t much interested in sports.
He liked to sit alone and study things like Mathematics and Scientific theories.
He liked to learn about organic gardening, or sailing.
Anything he was interested in became my interest too.
He wasn’t interested in the things I was interested in like Girl Scout badges-I had so many they had to get me a second sash to put them on. Or cheerleading or gymnastics or any of the stories I wrote for creative writing class, so to connect with my father meant to be interested in the things he enjoyed—his intellectual pursuits.
He taught me to play chess and I beat him once when I was seven.

Many nights after dinner when my brothers would be watching TV and my mother crocheting, I would sit next to my father and he would look up from his book and say excitedly,
"Oh Lane. Listen to this. This book says here…"
And he would go on to explain some Theory of Chaos or Infinity that I really didn’t understand but I would listen and ask questions and have all his attention to myself.
Soon, he would get so excited explaining to me, thinking I was grasping it that he and I would go off to the other room alone where the desk was and he’d get out paper and pencils and start drawing until, sometimes I actually understood.

It was those nights especially when I would go off to bed, I would lay awake wondering how he couldn’t prefer me over my mother. I would devise ploys to keep his attention throughout the night. After lights out, and the family was tucked in bed, I would call out for my father in a pained voice,
"Irving! Irrrrr—vvvv-eeeee-nnnng! Irving!"
This was bold of me, as we were not supposed to call our parents by their first names.
Finally after two hundred or so various ‘Irvings’, my dad would appear at my bedroom door and inquire as to what was wrong. I could tell he was a bit miffed and so I needed to come up with something legitimate—like a tummy ache.

Usually, this went one of two ways: he would sit down on my bed and tell me a story from his childhood, one of the many I had heard already-but that brought me great comfort to hear again, while he rubbed my tummy in circles.

Or he would take me into the bathroom, thinking perhaps I had 'to go' and that was why my stomach hurt, putting me on the toilet while he read to me off the toothpaste label and we would discuss the purpose of Fluoride and other such ingredients.
He said sometimes if you can’t go to the bathroom, it helps to read, so then you relax and it’s easier to go.

Of course I never had any problems ‘going’, I just wanted to be with him, even if it meant learning all the values of Crest.

One time the tummy ache story went beyond my control and they rushed me to the emergency room where I was kept over night and given a series of enemas.
That ended that ploy.

"Don’t say, ‘Because you said so’. That’s no reason." I would continue.
I was insulted by this answer.
At least give me something reasonable to hang on to.

Finally my dad broke down and said, "You can get pierced ears when you’re old enough to take care of them."
"I’m old enough now!"
"No you’re not."
"How will I know when I’m old enough?"
"When you become a woman, then you can get pierced ears."
"When will that be?"
"You’ll know."
"How will I know?"
"You’ll know."
‘Ugh!

Obviously my dad was not afraid of me not being able to take care of them.
Or any resulting infections arising from my irresponsibility pertaining to my ear holes.
He was afraid of the metaphor; to him even more than to me: The piercing of virgin flesh.

That summer, my family took a vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
I was just getting minor breasts and had my first training bra.
My best girlfriend Elsie, who I was allowed to bring along with me, already had pubic hair. Very impressive.

During the day when Elsie and I were at the pool, a very cute lifeguard flirted with us, sending us running to the girl’s locker room in a fit of giggles.

He was really old—sixteen. He had a car and wore a seashell necklace. We absolutely luuuuved him, Elsie and I.

One day, this boy, whose name has vanished in the vapors of time, asked me if I wanted to go to the movies with him on Thursday night, which if memory serves, was the next evening.
He didn’t ask both of us, just me, so Elsie and I knew it was like an official date and would be my first. We were so excited we compared goose bumps on our thighs.

That night, my family sat down to dinner. I was wearing my bathing suit with my dad’s button-down white-collar work shirt over it.
Elsie and I could barely eat.
I dipped my head down low to my plate to stare at her across the table over my fork.
She held her cup up to her face and mouthed the words: "Ask him."
I gave her a wide-eyed look of terror and shook my head ‘no’.
She hunkered down lower and mouthed again, "ASK HIM."
I mouthed at her: "Now?"
She gave me a squirrel nod.
I sat up straight and looked at my dad until I lost courage.
We started the whole mouthing thing again.

My brother’s were chattering and my mother was oblivious so when I finally spoke up, it came as a bit of a shock and an interruption.

"Dad can I go to the movies with Tom?"-(We’ll call him that for now).

Silence falls over the dinner table.

My dad just looks at me.

"He’s the lifeguard at the pool and he’s really nice and he asked me if I could go with him to the movies so can I?"

Elsie and I bore holes through my father’s face waiting for his answer. Finally, he put down his water glass and said simply,
"No."

"But why not?"

"Because I said so."

"But why? He’s really nice. You see him when you go to the pool. He’s the one with really white blond hair and he really likes me and I want to go and—You don’t trust me?"

"Lane." My father said chewing his food. Swallowing. "Lane. Men are wolves. Men are dogs. You don’t understand men yet."

"No they’re not. He was really really nice."

"Lane—"

"You’re not a dog. Or a wolf. And you’re a man."

My father interrupts me with a solid, don’t-mess-with-me: "No."

"But—"

"That’s enough Lane. I said 'No' and I mean 'No'."

"But—"

"NO!"

"But why? Daddy? Why not?"

Now I’m tearing up. I want to go and I don’t understand my father’s unreasonable-ness.
"You’re not being fair and ‘because I said so’ is no reason."

My dad slams his fist on the table. We jump. No one speaks. I can’t understand why he is getting so upset.

"Dammit Lane, that’s it. Enough."

But I am after all, his daughter. Just as stubborn and willful.

What I said next, I know, at the time, I honestly didn’t know the meaning of. But I knew, I sensed, it was the very thing my father feared: It was his reason. It was the truth.
So I said it:
"Why? Are you afraid he’s going to FUCK me or something?"

Everything happened at once.

My father jumped up from the table and before I knew it, he had his hands at my throat, lifting me off my chair by the collar of his shirt that I was wearing.

I heard my mother screaming, "Don’t hit her Irving! Don’t hit her!"

I am aware of her rustling the boys and Elsie up the stairs and their eyes on me as they go.

I feel my father pick me up and throw me down on the shag white carpeting.
I see him over me.

Other than a few spanks on the bottom when I was little, my father has never hit me before.

I see his hand go up and feel his palm crack my face.

I'm too stunned to speak or cry. I watch his hand in slow motion, rise up again.
I notice his face, blotched and red and contorted with anger.

"Don’t you ever say that again! Do you hear me? Don’t you ever--!"

I feel the smack of his hand again.
I feel my brothers watching and hear my youngest brother who is only about four at this time, crying.
My eyes lock into my father’s.

"Go ahead, hit me again. See what I care. Hit me again."

My father’s hand freezes in mid-air.
Loud, effortful breathing.
He lets go of my collar and struggles to stand.
He has tears in his eyes.
Not looking at me he says,
"Go up to your room and stay there."

Defiantly, refusing to give him the satisfaction of seeing me vulnerable, of seeing me weep, I stand, then storm past him, past my brothers, my mother, even past Elsie into my room slamming the door behind me.

Something was changing between my father and me.
I didn’t know what it was but I knew it had something to do with pierced ears, lifeguards and the word ‘fuck’.

Things were changing with my mother and I too.
At the pool, I felt her eyes on my breasts, on my pubic area. I caught her furtive whispers to my father after her eyes had roamed me. Something about my new body was bothering them. Creating a distance that would only grow deeper and further: creating a Grand Canyon between us that we would never be able to bridge.

Nothing more was said about our vacation incident.
It was now my twelfth birthday.
I had been in a grumpy mood all day and although the place just below my stomach actually did hurt, had been bothering me all day in fact; I said nothing about it to my parents. (Perhaps I feared the enema treatment again!)

As a treat, we were all going to Kentucky Fried Chicken that night for dinner. I didn’t want to go. I cried. I wanted to stay home. I begged them not to make me go with them to ‘stupid Kentucky Fried Chicken.’
My father was ‘sick of my attitude, young lady’ and told me to get into the car, that he’d ‘had enough of me’.
I pouted throughout dinner, licking my greasy fingers in silence, feeling the pain in my belly grow fiercer.

When we got home, my dad went into the laundry room to take the clothes out of the dryer for my mother while she put the boys to bed.

I went into the bathroom, pulled down my underpants and sat on the toilet.
I looked down and saw a brown spot in the crotch of my panties. It was wet and reddish and gooey looking.
I was terrified.
I sat there frozen and then I realized.
I remembered suddenly the strange talk my mother had with me years ago after health class sent us home with odd kits only for the girls.

My mother sat on the bed with me at a time she called ‘special mother/daughter time’, and read to me from a booklet. It went something like this:

"You know (fill in your daughter’s name), there comes a time…"

My mother actually said the words: ‘fill in your daughters name’.
After that, she cottoned on and said my name at least three times per sentence.
That’s of course when I knew something strange was up because I had never heard my mother say my name so much in so many sentences so close together ever in my life.

"You, Lane, will become a woman someday. Your body Lane, will change and this change Lane is called…"

I stared at the spot. Felt the cramps. I wiped myself. I didn’t think to ask my mother about it because it seemed to me this wasn’t something she had experience with. She had needed to read from the instructions in a booklet to explain it to me. Obviously this was either something unique to just some girls or something you definitely did not talk about.

I found the kit they sent home with us under the bathroom counter way in the back and unwrapped it. I pulled out a white pad that was cigarette pack thick and about a foot long, and a white elastic belt with hooks on the ends.

What seemed like ages in the bathroom that night trying to figure out how to work the contraption, I finally lodged the diaper in place. Legs bowed from the enormity of it, I waddled out of the bathroom with my panties in hand and marched straight to the laundry room with what they might call a ‘shit eating grin’ on my face.

Seeing my dad unloading the clothes, I tucked the underpants in my fist in a wad behind my back and strode directly up to him saying,
"Daddy? Can I get pierced ears? I’m a woman now."

I didn’t even have to present the panties as evidence.

I watched my father’s entire being freeze up. I watched the color leave his face. His eyes didn’t leave me but I could tell they were searching around in his own world for something. Something he either wanted to escape from or a death he didn’t want to recall.

Then he smiled a very sad smile and said softly,
"I’ll take you on Sunday."

It seemed to have happened all at once. We lived in the suburbs of Chicago, wore lots of clothes all winter and there was no full-length mirror in our house. So that summer, the summer I was thirteen and Elsie was fourteen, when I went to Elsie’s, school having just ended, and put on my bathing suit in her bathroom, it felt as if I came out with the body of someone else. Suddenly, I looked like the voluptuous paper dolls I drew all through my childhood. I got my wish after having said all those baruh-ata’s and God gave me the body I had wished for. Elsie too.

Either that or the hours we spent in the bathroom together, with our fists at chin level, our elbows bent and high, moving them fiercely from the from to the back chanting—:

"We must, we must, we must increase our bust!
For fear, for fear, for that they might disappear!
The bigger, the better, the tighter the sweater!
The boys depend on us! Hey!"

--must have worked.

We went into her bedroom to compare.
Her breasts were different than mine.
Hers were sloped and pear-shaped with nipples that stuck our whether she was cold or not.
My breasts were round, perfect half melons with nipples brown but still puffy like a little girl’s. But so pretty looking.
Elsie always liked the look of pear-shaped breasts and I always liked the full look of the round ones so here we were with both our wishes granted.

Something happened to the boys around us as well. With our new bodies, they seemed to treat us differently. The boys who boldly yelled in our faces and threw crab apples at us now couldn’t even speak when we walked by.

Even older men who we would have to respect because they were ‘dads’ in the neighborhood would look at us in deference.

The boy at the register at the 7-11 gave us candy instead of throwing us out when we didn’t have the right amount of money.

One day while we were at the local laundry mat sneaking a cigarette, a man we didn’t even know came up and gave us a pack of cigarettes for free and lit them for us, holding our hands while he did it.

These breasts had power! These hips opened doors! These bodies stole men’s ability to speak! It was a powder keg waiting to blow.

In my home, sex was no more complicated than ‘yes or no’. And the answer was ‘no’. You just weren’t allowed to have it. There was no space to speak into, to talk about the strange stirrings you felt, or the wetness that appeared in your panties, or if kissing a boy was bad if you weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, or what any of it meant.

Men were wolves, dogs. My father said so. And I wasn’t going to get to go with any of them. He trusted me, you understand, but not them. Who knows what they would do given the chance? I had no choice in the matter. If a boy wanted what he wanted, even if I said 'no', it didn’t matter. Men were animals.

I was a young girl, a young goddess like all girls are, blossoming. Yet instead of a celebration, instead of an honoring of that, it seemed to be a shameful thing. A dishonorable, frightening, dangerous, unwelcome passage.

My father and I didn’t speak anymore unless it was to argue about which boy I wasn’t allowed to see.

And my mother constantly scanned me head-to-toe making that back-of-the-palate groan.

Our lives became a series of fights. The more I felt these new urges, the tinier the outlet I had to speak about them, and hence, the more we fought.

Most girls, who are heterosexual, are going to want to be with boys--it’s the Master Plan; it’s natural. To tell a young girl that 'all men are dogs', 'they will use you and throw you away', just rings false in a young girl’s ears. It can’t be that way or life wouldn’t be worth living. There had to be something in between.

And what about my dad? Was he a dog? He was with my mother and they ‘did it’ and he didn’t throw her away did he? It wasn’t logical.

I decided my father was just wrong.
If he knew these boys the way I did and could see how really nice they were, he wouldn’t say that.

And so I was set adrift with the body of a woman and the insights and intuition of a child, into the world of sex.

In the heat of July that year, Elsie and I decided we wanted to lose our virginity’s.
We had gotten a-hold of a little book called "Cosmo’s Love Guide". It was filled with all sorts of sexy scenes like: "His cock was poised at the entry-way to her heaven, and suddenly he plunged in. As he did, she began to moan: "Oh yes baby, ummm, give it to me! Oh yes, oh yes…"

We’d crawl underneath a bed to read it because we were so paranoid someone would catch us. We weren’t quite sure what they were talking about but it made our skin come alive to read it.

Near our houses, there was an apartment complex that had a pool. Elsie and I had mastered the sneaking-into-the-pool-area technique so we spent quite a few days lounging at this particular pool.

Together, we spotted him. He had long brown hair tied with a ponytail holder in the back of his neck. He had a tattoo of Spiderman on his right bicep. He was twenty-one, (which was soooo old.) His name was Dave.

With Dave between us, Elsie and I stood in the pool’s shallow end, our arms resting outside on the deck. Dave, it seemed, or so he told us, played in a rock-n-roll band and his band played in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Breaks.

"What’s Spring Breaks?" Elsie asked. I wanted to know too.
It sounded so glamorous. College kids relaxing in the sun, having parties and wet T-shirt contests.
Elsie and I could not figure this one out for the life of us:
"Wait, they wet their T-shirts and then what?"

Around noon Elsie had to be home for lunch. Dave offered to have us up for lunch in his apartment.

"He has his own apartment!" I whispered to Elsie. We were very impressed. He was a real grown-up.

"I have to go home." Elsie said. "I have to go shopping with my mom this afternoon anyway. Don’t you have to go to your Bat Mitzvah practice?" she asked me. (Elsie knew my secret; that I was Jewish, but she loved me anyway.)

"Yeah, but not until four. I want to stay. Let’s stay?" I pleaded.

But Elsie wanted to go home and I went upstairs with Dave.

When we got upstairs, Dave cranked opens a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, put it in a pan, placed it on the stove, and turned on the fire. Then he reached out for me, pulling me in close to him. He was wearing one of those mini-Speedo bikinis with a tiger print pattern. He moved my body close to his to kiss me and suddenly I became very giggly.
I’d never kissed a boy before, except in spin-the-bottle games and make-out parties, that I snuck away to after school.
But nothing for-real like this.

His hands bring my hips into his and then suddenly, I feel something in the center of his pelvis pressing up against me that's very, very hard and because of the ‘packing limitations’ of a mini-Speedo, feels round like a rock. To me, it feels like he has a small boulder tucked in his trunks.

At thirteen, I have never seen a penis before. I have no idea what they look like or how they are actually shaped. So I ask him quite guilelessly:
"Do you have a rock in your pants?"

For some reason this makes him laugh and he says.
"Yeah for you." He chuckles.

And he starts to kiss me again. And all the time, I’m trying to figure out what he’s got a rock in his trunks for?

Then somehow we get into his bedroom and it’s all white: the carpet, the walls, the bedspread, the sheets. And as he’s taking the bedspread off the bed, I see a picture of him with a woman in a frame on the nightstand and I ask him who she is and he says it’s his girlfriend Karen. She lives here too-with him, but she’s at work.

My chest collapses. I was dreaming that he would become my boyfriend. I was imagining what it would be like to show him off to all my friends--this older man. Maybe we would even get married someday and our kids would have long brown hair in ponytails and musical talent.

"Wouldn’t she be angry if she knew I was here kissing you?" I ask him.

"No." he says and adds that they have a very open relationship, which I’m not sure what that meant.

He moves me backward until I’m lying on my back on the sheets, and he begins trying to lift off my swimsuit top. I’ve got my arm crossed over my ribs underneath my breasts blocking his move so he can’t get up there.

(Because, even though I had nice breasts, I was embarrassed because I felt like my nipples weren’t like a woman’s nipples yet; they were still puffy like a little girls.)

But! I did have tufts of pubic hair! And that was 'grown up' so I let him pull off my bikini bottoms.

His body glides down between my legs and he starts to lick me down there.
I don’t feel anything specific. It doesn’t feel good or bad.
At that age, the feelings come in a big rush and are still so unspecific.
I didn’t know my own body yet. I’d never had sex before.
But suddenly the "Cosmo Love Guide" comes to the rescue. This was just like a scene Elsie and I had read, so now I knew what do. I start moving my head back and forth, imitating the woman in the book going, "Oh yessss, baby!"
This seemed to please him enough to get him to stop.

He climbs up on the bed with me, clumsily removing his Speedo’s.
NOW I see what that ‘rock’ was.
Only it’s not round like it felt in his trunks.
It’s long and straight and pointing at me.

He climbs on top of me and tries to put it in and it HURTS!
He hardly has it in and it feel like it’s going into my throat.
I can hardly breathe.
I push my hands against his chest and then against either side of his hips in an effort to push him away.

"No, stop. It hurts now! It hurts too much!"

I guess I figured if he knew I wasn’t having fun anymore, he’d stop.
Obviously, I didn’t know men and sex too well at the time.

He keeps going in a motion I think was 'in and out' but I couldn’t tell because my teeth were grinding together and I was hoping he wasn’t puncturing my lung.
I wasn’t sure where it was going inside me, it hurt so much.

Suddenly, he pulls it out. I see him raise himself up above me, frantic and tense, he’s kind of arced above me. Quickly, he grabs my hand, wrapping it around his penis, moving it up and down until he groans and just like in ‘The Love Guide’, he cries out: "Agh, I’m coming…" and suddenly shoots this white stuff out all over my face and my bathing suit top.

(Which wasn’t explained in the ‘Cosmo’s’ book, by the way. Harumph.)

Everything seemed to stop. He falls on the bed next to me and just lays there catching his breath with his eyes closed.

Then after a few seconds everything goes crazy. He opens his eyes and spots the sheets: There was blood on them.
My virgin blood.

"Oh Shit! Fuck! Why didn’t you tell me you were a virgin! Fuck! Look at the fuckin’ bed!"

He grabs the sheet, tearing it off the bed, taking me off with it.
From the floor, I watch him run into the bathroom, hear the water running, see him come back in, he throws me a red washcloth to scrub the mattress with, stalks swiftly into the kitchen with the sheet.

I look down between my legs. My thighs are saturated with red. Carefully I wipe them and pat the soreness on my vagina.

I begin to attack the blood spots on the mattress with the washcloth when I hear him yell:
"Oh fuck!"

"Are you okay?" I call to him in the kitchen.

"Fuck!" he’s now shouting.

Eegah. I hop up from the bed and peek my head around the corner into the kitchen to see him frantically wiping the Campbell’s Tomato Soup up with the same sheet. It had boiled over the pan, onto the stove and floor, leaving a very red mess in the kitchen.

"I’m sorry I was a virgin." I say meekly.

"It’s just the mess man! How am I going to hide all this from Karen?"

I stand there frozen, not wanting to cause any more trouble than I already have, watching him wipe up.

I just stand there and watch him, almost like it was in slow motion.
I watched him open the cabinet under the sink,
crumple up the sheet with my virgin blood on it,
and throw it,
in the garbage.

p.s. This is not a sad story.
This is a story about how sexuality is inevitable and should be faced with love and honesty. This is not why I felt like a ‘disposable woman’.
It was, however, the metaphor that popped into my head years later when indeed, I experienced by first bout of 'being discarded'.

Eventually, I would learn, that just because something is valuable to me, does not necessarily mean it will be treated as something of value to someone else. It would take me a long time to learn this lesson.

Ironically, it was my underground business that finally taught it to me.


1 Comments:

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Samurai Warrior said...

Persephone,

I'm sure there are many women out there that have similar stories.

Am glad that I have only boys and not girls when I hear these things although if I had a little princess, I would have certainly loved her, been very protective and spoiled her to death!

It is a challenge to explain a woman's world to a man. That will happen after prostitution has been legalized so you know how long that will take.

I do find some of your postings some what sad at times but certainly not all the time -- I'm a sensitive wolf -- you can call me "wolfy" and not SW. Do any of your female friends find your postings sad at all? Empathize? Have similar stories?

 

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