Page 97 Heart Ache

                                                     HEART ACHE.                            8-29-11

                                                          Roy Garde.

     When Steven Whiting reached the age of twelve, or so, he stopped crying when he got hurt. That wasn’t because he’d developed a high pain threshold but because he’d found that he quite liked pain. Not enough to seek it out but he was there for it if it came and he’d welcome it.

     He was a good-looking young man and considerate and intelligent and because he had no other hang-ups his adolescence and youth passed quite happily.

     After graduating as a CPA he got himself a nice apartment in the City and he changed jobs frequently, always upwards, which let him live the good life. He seldom stayed at home at night and always had lots of friends.

     However, his masochistic bent kept developing, slowly but inexorably.

     He started moving in circles that included it in their itinerary and he joined a secret club following the logic that he’d find plenty of sadists in attendance.

     He’d figured that because opposites attract – if you get down to Quantum levels, as nearly everybody seems to be doing these days, the strength of the attraction involved has been recorded as being trillions of times stronger that Gravity, which, if you’ve ever let a hammer fall on your toe, is mind-boggling – in a perfect world every single rich man and woman should be required to find and marry a poor one and it should be incumbent on all lesbians who have found their life-partners and who want to get the same benefits and privileges that come with conventional marriages – without giving conniptions to traditionalists – to search out a similar pair of gay men and arrange a nice double wedding and then, as it suits them, go off on separate honeymoons and maybe never meet up again except when required for legal reasons. Using the same logic, he figured that for every masochist there should be a sadist available – which is in fact close to the truth but kept well hidden – but, as he soon found out at first hand, when the pain-lover gets into it really deeply the current pain-giver in his life, quite logically, refuses to cooperate with him anymore because he can get his kicks by simply saying “No. I won’t do that for you.” and then stick around to watch the need-induced squirming and pleading that results.

         Steven was soon reduced to seeking out and paying specialists for ‘one night stands’ to get the amount of pain that his body craved and after several humiliating encounters – too mundane and involving far-too-hard-to-believe out-and-out cruelty to be recorded here in detail – he found that he had no choice but to seek help and he was advised to go into an institution that specialized in his particular perversion and receive the standard, “It should only take around one year,” course in intensive therapy.

        Happily, in less than that ‘one year’ it let him out at the other end in fairly good shape.

        Because one of his jobs had been in a department of Human Resources he knew his way around CV’s and so when he’d arranged firm dates for his ‘incarceration’ he gave notice to his then employer on the first day of June 2009 that he’d be quitting at the end of that month and he intended to start his next job on the first of July 2010. He knew that by doing it that way it would be relatively easy for him to think up a suitable ‘bridge’ to cover up the potentially career-damaging yearlong gap in his resume.

      When he’d found a new job and was waiting for July to come around he had a month of idleness to deal with so he opted to take a cruise that went from Miami through the Panama Canal and on to the Galapagos and would then continue south to Lima, with stops in several other cities before rounding the Horn, and there’d be more stops on the way northwards towards home.

       When the passengers, including Steven of course, went ashore in the Galapagos – the two hundred of them had had to be split up into four parties to avoid swamping the facilities ashore and so the ship’s management decided to follow naval tradition and they split them all up, by cabin location only, into ‘Port Fore’ and ‘Port Aft’ and ‘Starboard Fore’ and ‘Starboard Aft’ groups and that way the ones who had the most expensive cabins and the ones who had inner ones were ‘equal’ which meant that a lot of awkwardness was avoided  – he met someone who changed his life.

       The wonders that they beheld on the islands did something strange to all of them in that they found instant rapport with the other members of their group, and with Nature, which came from merely knowing that they’d seen them at the same time and that that had, somehow, made them special, privileged people when compared to everyone else in the world who hadn’t yet been fortunate enough, and/or astute enough, to have arranged their lives so as to be able to go there and see for themselves.

       That might well be true.

      Anyway, because of the landing arrangements Steven lucked into meeting a woman who was getting over a messy divorce and who was ready for ‘support’ – as was obvious in the first place from the fact that she was on the cruise alone – and because of the aforementioned rapport, and because they’d both noticed that the other one was unaccompanied, that led to their starting a conversation and ten minutes or so later an ‘accidental’ touch of hands led to the clasping of same and then unspoken but positive messages via vibes were exchanged.

    When they got back aboard they sat in a lounge and did a lot more talking, and hand holding, which soon led to their needing to seek out some privacy and because her cabin was nearest they went there and because it was bigger and nicer than his poky, inner one – and had a ‘balcony’ that was open to the sea and the sky – it won hands down as a preferred habitat and so he moved in with her.

    She didn’t tell him, so as to not hurt his feelings, that they’d both paid close to the same amount for their cabins. That had come about because although she earned much less than he did she was far more astute.

     From the very beginning of experiencing his extensive, round-the-clock, support program, which didn’t leave them much time for eating no matter about deck sports and the like, she found that her depression had lifted completely and they both reveled in the knowledge that the rapport that the whole party had been subjected to in the Galapagos was puny when compared to what they’d found together between the sheets.

      After two full days, and nights, she laughingly suggested that he should consider getting off the ship in Lima and get a large refund and then sneak back on board and stay with her in her bed in her cabin and he wouldn’t be found out and banished because if it was up to her they’d both stay there, behind a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, and not emerge until they got back to Miami.

    They were both New Yorkers – she had an apartment in Queens and he had one in Chelsea – and when they were sure that their shipboard romance had legs she moved in with him and their relationship proved out to be good and stayed solid for more than a year.

     However, it couldn’t last.

     IT came back. Slowly and gently, but certainly, IT started beating up on him again by telling him that IT needed him to start getting beaten up again.

      As time went by his partner was surprised but not too unhappy about complying with his request to be lashed lightly with a cane before sex nor with indulging him by scratching his back with her nails while having sex but when he’d progressed to asking her to burn him “just once or twice” with his cigarette after sex she was wise enough to know that, no matter with what deeply-felt reluctance, it was best that they should break up and that she should move out and on.

     The next morning she packed up all her clothes and knick-knacks and then she asked him to use the intercom to call down to the doorman to get her a cab.

     She saw the hang-dog sullenness in his face as he walked over to the front door, where the phone was located, and pangs of regret shot through her and forced her to apologize and state her case yet again, “Steven, darling, as I’ve already told you, I really do hate leaving you like this but I must to protect myself. You do understand, don’t you? You have to see that. Yes?”

    “I guess so, but we love each other, right? That should override everything else, shouldn’t it?”

     “Well, yes. It should do and it would do too for just about anything else but not this. I feel positive sure that if I stay with you a horrid, dark abyss will open up between us and it’ll be one that I won’t be able to cope with. You know, it’s extra difficult for me because when I was going through my divorce I had to cope with a tremendous amount of pain and suffering and – – – Oh, my God! . . . . Oh, dear heaven . . . . Uh, Steven – don’t call for that cab. I want to go and sit down and think this through.”