Chapter 15 – What Kind of Name is Zale?

Chapter 15 – What Kind of Name is Zale?

With the horses returned to the barn, the saddles on their hooks, and every other piece of tack in it’s place we made our way back to the house.

“This isn’t fair.” you state dryly. “You’ve kept me talking about myself and yet you’re the stranger in my home.”

It was a valid point. The intriguing backstory of your life had completely enveloped my mind and I had not thought about myself at all. It was a relief though. The long drive through the rural roads crisscrossing these sparsely populated prairies was a purposeful choice to give me more time to think. To contemplate my next move in life. But after three hours of spiteful introspection, over analyzing every mistake, every miscue, every missed opportunity, I had become wrapped up in a depressive state. I wholly detested the feeling. It is an incredible waste of energy to feel sorry for oneself.

“Well,” I finally reply, “What would you like to know?”

“Tell me something…..” you pause for a moment then stop walking. Looking right at me, deep into my eyes, “…..tell me something about you that normally you’d never say.” A confused expression crosses my face so you explain. “Tell me something about yourself that you’re scared to reveal.” Your serene dispassionate stare slowly morphs into a sly grin, then an all out smile. You seem to revel in making me squirm. Honesty. Brutal, bold, unabashed honesty. Is there anything more frightening to reveal to someone you’re just getting to know?

I look back at you, my brow furrowed and I begin to unconsciously bite my lip. “Hmmmm” is all I manage to reply. Not sure what to say yet. There are a number of things I fear to reveal, but I find myself trying to choose among them the least scary, but still frightening enough to convince you I’m keeping my end of the bargain. There’s nothing more irritating than asking a person what’s the craziest thing they’ve done, only to hear them reveal some petty paudry truth like stealing a candy from the bulk box at a grocery store.


“I’m thinking.”

“That either means you’ve got a lot of secrets, or the few you have are pretty damaging.” you assess, as would a detective.

“It’s just….I….well….”

“….you don’t want to embarrass yourself?”

“That’s part of it.”

“You’re afraid I’ll look at you differently? That I will no longer be interested in you?”

It’s true. That is exactly what I’m worried about. But in your query you have just revealed to me one snippet of truth that I was seeking. You could only become disinterested in me if you were at first interested. “Yes.”


“Because…..I like you Alcina.” I admit sheepishly. “I think you’re a very interesting, intelligent, and beautiful woman.”

“But you barely know me.” you reply, playing the role of devil’s advocate.

“True. But what I do know, and what I sense, is promising.”

“So tell me then, Zale, if you find me interesting, intelligent, and attractive, why is your first reaction to keep secrets from me?” You’re turning the screws on me now and the smirk on your face tells me you’re finding it quite amusing.

“Honestly I’m not sure. It’s instinctual.” I answer without thinking.

“Your instincts tell you to keep secrets? That seems a tad bizarre don’t you think?”

“Maybe? It feels like self preservation. I do like you and I part of my brain wants to only show you what is good about me.”

“But how do you know what is good? What if what you think is good, I actually detest?”

“I guess I just….assume?”

“You can stop that right now then. I’m not the naive girl that I was. Every decent person has dark moments in their life. Every honest person has moments of dishonesty. I accept that. I don’t judge it.” you smile again, disarming me once more. “Come on, let’s get back inside and warm up. You can tell me all your dirty dark secrets while we eat dinner.” You laugh to yourself and continue up the path. I walk behind you, unsure of what’s to come.

Like any man I am the combination of the way I was raised, the events of my youth, the influence of my friends, and the personality I was born with. My demeanor has been carefully crafted over time. It has been molded to suit what society expects of me. I am the master of the hearty handshake. I am gifted with the glib tongue of petty conversation. The welcoming smile. The master of small talk. All tools I use to fit in, to be accepted. That is how I got my job. That is how I got my wife. And that is why I got divorced. Perhaps this was the moment for a change. The moment in which for the first time I can be truly honest with someone. Full, unabashed, unwavering honesty. My word how that scares me.

“I’m going to have a shower.” you tell me once we’re inside. “Take a look inside the kitchen and see what you’d like to make for dinner.”

“Alright.” is all I manage to reply before you’ve sauntered down the hall and into the bathroom. Moments later I hear the water gushing from the tap, the switching to the distinctive and soothing white noise of a warm shower. “I wish I could join you.” I mutter to myself. “That’s a truth I’m scared to admit.” I then shake my head at my own words, trying to clear my mind before heading to the kitchen and looking what was available for dinner.

Fifteen minutes or so later I hear the door to the bathroom creek open followed by your distinctively light, feminine foot falls trailing off as you walk down the hall. I sigh to myself once more. How lucky Celine was to share a shower with you. My momentary jealousy quickly replaced with a smile as I draw up a image in my mind of what that would look like. For a few minutes I entertain the thought, allowing my imagination to fill in the gaps and create a small sensuous scene. Letting the small imaginary movie progress in my mind, I continue to collect ingredients for dinner. Once I’m done I’ve collected some potatoes, a couple of chicken breasts, some broccoli, tomatoes, and onions. Laying out the ingredients on the counter I stop for a moment to consider what I’m going to construct. At that moment, however I hear you come up behind me, “Your turn for the shower. I think I left you at least a little hot water.” you chuckle and then nod your head in the direction of the bathroom.

“Alright. I’ll be right back to help with dinner.”

“Sounds good.” you reply nonchalantly looking me over as I walk away. I’m still a relative mystery to you and you can feel yourself getting excited at the prospect of discovering what hidden secrets lurk beneath my calm exterior.

I stop in the living room to pick up my suitcase, taking it with me into the bathroom. I feel unkempt and in need of a shave as well as a shower. Being able to wear my own clothes instead of your father’s would be a welcomed change as well. While in the shower I feel my mind racing. As much as I would like to simply relax and enjoy the therapeutic effects of a hot shower, I am instead fixated on what to reveal to you. The motions of washing begin feel foreign. I feel the absurdness of standing in this strangers shower and the excited anticipation of meeting someone on a blind date simultaneously.

As the temperature of the shower begins to alter from soothing heat to undesirably tepid I realize it’s time to dry off and face you. I quickly run the fluffy towel over my dripping body enjoying the refreshing feeling of the air cooling my skin. After I’ve dried off enough I rummage through my suitcase and pull out a nice pair of jeans, a belt, and a t-shirt that, though tight, fits just well enough to show off the strong shoulders I was lucky enough to be blessed with. Setting the clothes to the side I retrieve my straight razor and go through the practiced motions of a close shave.

A long time ago I abandoned the multi blade disposable razors that fill most drugstores. There was a sense of danger with a straight razor. Your hand had to be steady. Your movement slow and precise. Dragged across the skin properly, there was no closer shave. Dragged across the skin improperly, and you may need stitches. Shaving, that male-centric act, was so very meditative in it’s process. After thoroughly cleaning your body you must examined yourself in a mirror, planning the course of action. Preparing your face for the task, preparing your mind for the day. Shaving was self improvement at it’s most basic level. Discarding the unwanted pieces of yourself to display the truer honed visage of your innerself.

With the last swipe of the razor I looked back into the mirror at my refined reflection. Checking for any missing stray hairs or knicks. Satisfied with my performance I reach into my suitcase again, retrieve a small bottle of aftershave and lightly rub it into my skin. The initial sting of it’s application giving way to a cool icy feeling. Now that I’m cleaned up, I swiftly slip into a pair of underwear, then my jeans. Finally sliding the t-shirt over my head I adjust my hair and close up the suitcase. I smile at myself in the mirror. I’m not an overly conceited man, but there are those times when you see your reflection, or yourself in a picture, and you know that in that moment you look as good as you possibly can. It makes your stride longer and your back straighter. Something I’ve relished in the time since my badly timed divorce.

The door to the bathroom opens with a prolonged creek that gives away the age of the house. I can hear you moving about in the kitchen and before I can take a step from the bathroom to the hallway I hear you shout, “All done?” Instead of answering I stride into the kitchen with a cocky confidence. You turn from the stove and smile, your eyes looking me over from head to toe as you smirk. “Well don’t you clean up nicely.” you say with a laugh, turning back to the stove and tending to dinner.

Without a second thought I walk up behind you and put my hand on your back. You jump slightly at my touch but do not shift away. Small shivers course up your spine and it feels as if your hair must be standing on end. You can feel a flutter in your stomach that comes with the familiar anxiousness of anticipation. “How about I handle that.” I suggest my voice soothing and yet commanding in your ear. You turn to me and smile our faces much closer than they’ve been since I crashed through your door. I’m no longer the weekend zombie I was. Instead you see the pride and strength eminating through my gaze. Without a word you slip away from my touch and away from the stove watching as I expertly tend to the pan fried chicken breast and smirking to yourself. It has been a very long time since a man was at that stove. The last one was likely your brother before he moved out. It was a nice change of pace and to have such an adept handsome man in your brothers place. Well now, how could you complain.

I continue to cook the rest of the meal as you fetch dishes, cutlery and glasses to set the table with. Such a bizarre feeling this is. It has the air of being a date but its not. It has the familiarity of a relationship but it can’t be. You feel there is a closeness between us already. An unseen magnetism pulling us together. Something you hadn’t felt since you first met Celine.

As you adjusted the spacing of the cutlery absentmindedly I walked into the dining room with the completed meal. There was something about a man that can cook that really got to you. It was confusing as to why. You didn’t need a man to cook, after all. You could do it yourself if you wanted. But seeing a man in the kitchen working the ingredients like a master painter with brush and oils, it struck a chord with you. “Smells fantastic” you praise immediately.

“Wait until you taste it. Then you’ll really be impressed. ” comes my chuckling reply. Granted it sounds a little boastful, but I knew it would be delicious.

You simply smile and shake your head. I motion you to take your seat at the table and you comply still smiling. “So you asked me before,” I start “about the sort of secrets I keep and why I would keep them.”


I stand with my hands on the back of my chair, leaning over and smirking at you I say “well some things are better left as a mystery” you groan but laugh as well.

“You certainly are mysterious Mr Zale.” You reply. “Even your name is unusual. What sort of name is Zale?”

“What sort of a name is Alcina?”

“It was my great grandmas name. Who are you named for?

“I’m named for no one. Zale is my chosen name.”

“Chosen? You mean you used to have a different name?”


“Ooooh now that’s interesting. Why did you change it. Clearly it wasn’t for religious reasons.” You chuckle to yourself as your brain simultaneously races to figure out what would possess a man to change his name.

“No. Not really. I changed it because my given name didn’t suit me.” I tell you with raw sincerity that scares me. “Geez, that sounded vane.” I groan.

“I see.” You reply. Caught again in the web of confusion and unsure how to proceed. “But of all names….you chose…..Zale?”

I nod as a reply. “It’s from a story my father used to tell me. It seemed far more appropriate than the name they gave me, which was, in the end a name I truly despised.”

You furrow your brow in continued confusion. “Let’s drop it for now but I want to hear that story eventually.” Your eyes twinkle as you smirk at me disarming my defensive posture. “Let’s eat this delicious meal while its still warm.”

I nod in wholehearted agreement still in disbelief of my partial revelation. I had never told anyone why I had needed to change my name. Not even my ex wife. Yet here you were and without very much provocation or interrogation and without the use of waterboarding or truth serum I had simply relaxed enough to begin to share one of my darkest secrets. To open the door a crack and allow you to glimpse the skeletons behind. How confusing. How exhilarating.


Heading home

I’m 5mins away from boarding the plane that eventually lead me back home. Belize was amazing. There were some moments that will stick with me for a lifetime. Feeding a jaguar and having it lick my forehead through its cage among the top. If you read about my favorite animal you know I have a penchant for big cats. Lol

I’m pretty badly burnt though. I made the mistake of forgetting to wear a rash shirt while snorkeling as well as not putting sunscreen on. The result is bubbled skin with a lot of micro blisters.

My group is being called now so gotta run. Will post again soon. Till then love ya all. 😉

On Vacation


Tomorrow I’ll be stepping onto a plane and jetting off to Belize for a week. I’ll be spending time in the sun, and in the surf far removed from the vestiges of all encompassing technology. As such I’m not going to be posting anything new until I get back.

I do realize I’m behind a week on my main story but I’ve been under far more pressure than usual at work. My time has become quite limited and no amount of fanciful multitasking has allowed me to write as I usually would.  Additionally I’m in the process of major renovations at home so my home computer has been sealed away into storage for the last 6 months. So suffice to say, I haven’t had a lot of time to write.

If I’m going to be perfectly honest though, I have found myself lagging behind in my writing. I’m still so extrinsically motivated that if I don’t receive regular and generous feedback it can be tiresome to get to work on the novel or my shorts. 

This was bugging me. I was finding that even though I knew I should put in the time to write I just couldn’t motivate myself to do so. That is, until just this morning I received a text from a good friend on the other side of the country.

She’s a wonderful beautiful woman that I’ve grown close to over the last few years, this despite of the vast distance between us. She’s a beacon of smiles to me. Often whenever either of us is feeling down we have some sort of bizarre sixth sense about it. We’ll randomly contact each other without provocation and innately know the right things to say to make their day. If you’re reading this bubs….love ya!

Anyways, she had asked me if the last posting “Addicted to You” was a real person. She told me that she thought it was really good writing, and that she was looking for a new book to read but has found that she enjoys my writing far better.

The simple compliment put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. 

I find now that as I’m writing this post, that I have a sense of renewed vigor in my veins. The wall that I was clawing at has developed a slight crack, and when I come back from my vacation I will enjoy the feeling of breaking through it.

I must. I simply must break through. I just enjoy the creativity of painting a picture with words far too much. I enjoy rousing people’s emotions and sensual energy. To be able to manipulate the mood of others by combining words into sentences designed to convey my own thoughts into their mind…..well now…it’s a bit of a power trip.

Alas, in the meantime, you that are my faithful few loyal readers, you will have to wait for me to get back before there’s anything new to read.

Till then….





……I’ve recently discovered a genre of music I was unaware of until now; Electro Swing. My god…….it’s full of stars!!!…Uh..I mean my goodness I love it. I’ve always been a fan of swing music, big band, jazz, blues etc…Electro Swing is takes it and twists it into something new and exciting. Here’s an example. Booty Swing by Parov Stelar  I challenge you to listen to this song without bobbing your head or tapping your toes!

Truth #11

This is a bit of a trick question. My dad passed away when I was in high school so I don’t turn to him. You may think “oh so that means he turns to his mom for help” but you’d be wrong there too.

To be honest it’s been a very long time since I’ve turned to either for help at all. I’m more independent and have the will and strength to handle most issues on my own. I think the last major issue I ever turned to my parents for assistance was when I needed help with a book report in grade 4.
Other than that…just the usual parenting things. Clothes food and shelter.
It’s a real pain in the ass for my mom. I guess my self reliance works against her instinct to try to help in some motherly way. I can certainly understand her frustration. According to her the first sentence I ever said was “I know that.” So I’m pretty experienced at being a self reliant smart ass.

Ah well. I’d rather not need my mom then to need her incessantly.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my mom. I loved my dad when he was alive. I just don’t need them to survive which, to me, means they raised me well.


There is an excitement brooding within me. A long awaited moment is soon to arrive. My muse, the often unknowing inspiration of my carnal aspirations, is going to meet with me so we can catch up on time passed.

It has been awhile since I’ve seen her. Far too long for my liking; but we are busy people. We lead busy lives. We hold down busy jobs. We have complicated home lives.

I miss her.


She is without a doubt my counterpart in this existence. My mirror. Ying to my yang. To converse with her is as simple as breathing. I can be myself around her; she does not fear me nor the beast within me. She feels at ease in my presence; assured and confident. We can exchange the deeper truths of ourselves without concern for impropriety, or prudish judgement.

I find her deeply attractive. The physicality of her beauty is unquestionably stunning as is the personality, humor, and eccentricities that makes her unique. Stranger still is her vocal appreciation of my own traits both physical and otherwise.

In a different time, a different reality, a different universe perhaps we are more than just this heady combination of friends and flirts. Perhaps in the grand tapestry of our lives these threads that bind us would have woven us together.
Instead we are to vast ships on parallel trajectories. Always within view. Always within earshot. But never to be on the same heading. Never to take the same course. Our paths never to cross.

Still, despite the heavy emotional toll of loving each other without the safety of a relationship, I’m still happy to see her. I still look forward to seeing her once more. Seeing her laugh at my jokes. Feel her arms around me in a friendly hug that lasts just long enough to change the rhythms of my heart. She is and always will be my muse. The everlasting flower in the meadow of my mind.

Chapter 14 – You always remember your first….

Chapter 14 – You always remember your first….

“What is this? What are you doing?” came a bellow from the doorway. Leon had arrived. His hair was matted and his cheeks were red from running through the cool winter air. “The weather is beautiful today. You should be out!”

“We’re writing a letter!” Celine yells back, “It’s brilliant.”

Leon kicked off his running shoes and sauntered into the kitchen area where you both were sitting. “What is this? What letter? To who is this sent to?” Leon said looking at each of you in turn trying to decipher the mystery.

“To Michelle.” you replied to the sweaty, but handsome frenchman. Celine turns and nods with a big grin.

“Ah merd.” Leon exclaims. “But you know this is not good.” he blurts while raising his hands in frustration. “You know what will happen to you if you send her that letter. Come now Celine. We talked about this. You have to let her go.” His words came softer now, placing a large hand on Celine’s slight shoulder. “You have to stop torturing yourself.” It was clear his was the voice of experience.

“I’m not sending the letter Leon.”

“But,” Leon stood up straight, his face squished into a confused scowl. “why do you write then?”

“Because I’m going to send it.” you interrupted, a brilliant smile on your face and your hands on your hips. All you were missing was a cape and cowl and it would feel like you were a superhero.

“What?” Leon bubblered. His eyes darted around the room as he tried to grasp the implications. “Wait, so you send the letter.”


“But Celine will write it.”


“So….” the realization of the simplicity of the ruse caused Leon to shout, “So the letter will arrive and Michelle will finally be able to talk to Celine again!?!”

“Yes” you reply once more.

“Oh mon dieu! Vas faire foutre a la vache! Êtes-vous sérieux? C’est magnifique!” Leon roared, amused and elated simultaneously.

“See?” Celine chimed in, “Brilliant isn’t she.”

Leon swiftly grabbed you by the shoulders and kissed you on both cheeks. The roughness of his stubble stinging slightly. “Truly brilliant.” He looked you in the eyes with pride. “Ok, then I shower and I’m off. You two have the studio to yourself today. I’ll be back for dinner.”

“Come on now,” you whisper to Celine, “Let’s write that letter and get it mailed today!” Celine looks at you and smiles, bites her lip, and smiles again but shortly after her smile devolves into a furrowed frown.

“I don’t know what to say!” Celine exclaims in exasperation “I …I’ve wanted to talk to her for so long and now that I have the chance I don’t know what to say!”

You look at her with sincere compaction taking her by the shoulders and kissing her on the cheek you whisper “it’s ok. Just tell her…tell her what’s in your heart.” You smile into Celine’s crying eyes then gently wipe away the tears. “Come on Celine” you encourage “if she was here right now in front of you what would you say? You know you’d say something. Right? You wouldn’t just remain so silent.”

“Non I would not be silent. ”

“So then what would you say?”

“I miss you. I miss every part of you. I miss the smell of your hair. The softness of your kiss. Your breath on my skin as we share a bed. ” you smile as Celine continues her heart felt profession of her feelings “I didn’t know love until I met you and I feel I never will again till you and I are reunited.” Her words speak volumes to you and while you listen your own heart melts as it aches for the same declaration to be spoken you you. “Mon dieu I sound crazy.” Celine laments. Her eyes darting from side to side and for the first time since you’ve known her, she looked unsure of herself.

“Celine, that sounded beautiful. I know if I was Michelle I would melt if I heard those words.” You smile then continue “god you made me melt and you weren’t even saying those things to me!” A chuckle escapes your lips if only to mask the disappointment of never experiencing the depth of connection that your friends felt.

“You really think so?” Celine asked, her eyes blinking rapidly as her voice wavered.

“Yes I do. ” you replied honestly trying to reassure the normally stalwart Celine. “Now lets get this letter written. Find me some paper and a pen.” Celine stepped away from the kitchen counter and over to the corner area that seemed to be designated as Leon’s office. She retrieved some stationary and a pen and quickly handed them over to you. “Now we have to write this so it seems like its me that is writing. We don’t want you an Leon to get in trouble again.” Celine rolled her eyes in disgust but then nodded in agreement.

“Ok. This is true. But how do we do this?”

“We’ll make it sound like I’m telling Michelle a story. Hopefully she’ll understand.”

“I hope so.” Celine repeats quietly to herself and for the next few hours you and Celine crafted a clever love story for Michelle to read.

The last line of the letter was one that Celine insisted on, and it trouble you to write. “I hope this letter finds you safe and secure, but if you are in any danger please contact me immediately and I will make sure you’re protected.”

“I don’t understand Celine, why wouldn’t she be safe? Isn’t she home with her parents?”

Celine turned to you and scowled, “Oh come on Al. Don’t be stupid.”


“If her home was safe why did she run away?” Celine said with a sneer that you hoped wasn’t totally directed at you. She folded the letter neatly and kissed it. Her eyes closed, her lips lingered on the paper imagining it to be more than the object it was. She opened her eyes slowly then slid the letter into its envelope, sealed it, and affixed a stamp.

“I don’t understand Celine. What is the secret? Why can’t you tell me what happened. Don’t you trust me?” your hurt feelings soaked through the words like mud through a shoe.

Celine put the letter down on her lap and sighed. Turning to you she smiled then scrunched her face in thought, “Ok…ok Al….I will…I will tell you what happened, but let’s mail this first.” You nodded in agreement trying not to let your curiosity get the best of you.

On the snow dusted cobbled road Celine and you walked to the nearest mailbox. You and her were arm in arm when she turned to you and kissed you on the cheek, “Thank you for this Al.”

After depositing the letter the two of you turned to walk the short block back to Leon’s studio. “What happened to Michelle shouldn’t happen to anyone.” Celine quietly said to you. Her words were soft and gentle. The opening introduction to a story equal parts captivating as horrible.

“Michelle has never known her dad.” Celine quietly continues, “The man that she called dad was actually her stepdad not her actual flesh and blood.” She unlocked the door to the studio and swung the large door in. “I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. My dad was a monster. If my mom had remarried perhaps I would have a stepdad that was better. Or maybe he’d be just as bad. You never know.” The two of you kicked off your boots and hung your coats. You followed Celine up the stairs and down the hallway to her tiny room.

Once inside her room she flopped on the bed, then sat up cross-legged. You stood at the doorway waiting. She then sighed and continued, “It was her step-dad that started it.” Celine stated cryptically. “He was the one that started everything in motion. Just him. That dirty ugly man, and now she’s back within his reach.” Your mind swam with grievous thoughts of what might have happened and you stood in silence hoping for Celine to assuage your mind. “He touched her Al. He touched Michelle.” Your eyes darted around the room as if searching for an appropriate response. You felt full of anger, but simultaneously you felt sympathy for Michelle.

Unfortunately all you could manage to utter was, “Ah…”

“Her mom had gone to the coast for the weekend to visit with her grandma. Michelle was under the care of her step-dad which ordinarily would have been fine, but in the last while Michelle had noticed Florian had been lingering. When she was younger it wouldn’t have been anything that struck her as strange, but when you start to notice boys, you notice all boys. Even the ones that you don’t like, or maybe you notice them even more.” Celine shook her head and body as if affected by a sudden chill. “She told me it started slowly. Every once in awhile Florian would walk in on her when she was changing. He would always claim it was innocent, that he didn’t realize she was home, but these were excuses that Michelle could easily see through. At first she didn’t recognize the pattern, but once she did she went to her mom.”

“She did? That must of been hard.”

“Well her mom and her were still close at that point, so it wasn’t too difficult.” Celine shrugged, “But when she told her mom about how he kept coming into her room her mom’s response was just to ignore the obvious signs and instead pretend that it was just that Florian was still in the mindset that Michelle was a little girl.” You shook your head in annoyance, and Celine continued. “So her mom told Florian to be sure to knock since Michelle was blossoming into a grown woman.”

“…and I’m guessing that didn’t help” you interjected.

“Non…Qui n’a pas réussi. It did not work. All her step-dad did now was knock and quickly open the door. Not even waiting for Michelle’s response.”

“That’s gross.”

“Patience my friend, we haven’t even got to the gross part yet.”


“So then when she came home from school, instead of changing out of her uniform like she normally would, she would wear it and wait till her mom came home in the evening. Once her mom and her step-dad started to talk she’d race upstairs and quickly change.”

“She had a school uniform?”

“Yes, and of course she didn’t like the uniform and wished to be out of it as soon as possible. But what do you do? If she goes to change she gets accosted by his accidental bursting into the room. If she doesn’t change she’s walking around the house with a schoolgirl uniform.”

You nod in understanding. There was something about a knee high pleated skirt and fluffy blouses that made even normal men act giddy. Ironic when you thought of it, because most of the schools that enforced these uniforms were noted for their staunch rigidity to order and discipline. More often than not they were overtly religious in nature.

“This went on for a year almost.” Celine continued. “This stupid cat and mouse game between them. Michelle trying to avoid him at all costs, only to be stuck in the same room time after time. It was driving her crazy.”

“That’s horrible.” you chime in, not sure what else you could really say.

“Yes…horrible. She kept trying to let her mom know, but she had every possible excuse. It was like her mom would rather pretend that the world was perfect than protect her daughter.” Celine clenched her fists in anger perhaps with thoughts of her own mother.

Inwardly you felt ashamed. It was hard to understand why, but you felt guilty. Your family life was picturesque and normal in every sense of the word. You suffered no abuse. You accrued no loss. There was no belligerence, hostility, or quarrelsome situations. Your parents showed care, love and compassion to you and your siblings as well as each other. The rare arguments that they had were trifles over inconsequential subjects like who left the toilet seat up. Or why did we get chunky peanut butter this time instead of smooth. Both Celine and Michelle had been through their own personal crucible moments and as much as you attempted to sympathize, you really couldn’t grasp the complexity of what they felt then or now.

“So now you can imagine her horror when she found out she was to be alone with him for the entire weekend.” Again all you can really do is nod. “At first her plan was to have a friend over, but her friend changed her mind at the last moment, deciding instead that she’d rather spend her time with her new boyfriend.” Celine sighed and clenched her eyes tight. “I….I can’t tell you what happened Al, it’s….it’s…..just….wrong.”

You grimace and pull Celine close, attempting as best as you can to give her a reassuring hug, “It’s ok Celine. You don’t have to tell me every little detail.”

“Well…he….did things….to her.” Celine scowled, her eyes still clamped shut. “Things that only a boyfriend should do. Things that Michelle hadn’t even experienced with her own boyfriend.” Celine opened her eyes and looked straight through you. Her eyes piercing and filled with anger as well as sadness. “She was a virgin Al and he robbed her of that. This disgusting perverted leach of a man stole her last piece of innocence.”

“That….I….” you stammer, uncomfortable and completely unsure of what to say, “I just…can’t understand it.” you finally manage to croak.

“Then when her mom gets back she tells her what happened. She shows her the bloody sheets. She cries. She wails. She does everything that you would expect, but her mom didn’t believe her. Told her she was making up stories. Her mom then turned everything around and claimed that Michelle was trying to seduce him.”

“What??!?” you exclaim at the shock.

“Yes! I know! But you know how she kept her school uniform on until her mom came home? Her mom had the crazy idea that Michelle was trying to get Florian interested in her. So she was parading around in her skirt, only to change as soon as her mom got back. In her mom’s eyes Michelle was not the victim here, but it was poor old Florian being subjected to the beguiling ways of a sexed up teenager.”

“I’m sorry but her mom is a moron.”

“No need to apologize I couldn’t agree more.” Celine mirrors. “Then of course the weekend is over so she has to go to school. Her friend that didn’t stay the weekend asks her what happened, why is Michelle looking so disheveled and sad. Michelle didn’t want to reveal her ugly truth but her friend persisted and in that moment, Michelle thought about how it may have been different if her stupid friend had stayed the night instead of hanging out with her boyfriend, she told her what happened.”

“Did Michelle’s friend feel guilty?”

“Not at all.” Celine revealed, her voice filled with contempt and anger. “Non….this sweet tart of a friend acted happy for her instead.”


“Yes happy. Her friend’s mom was friends with Michelle’s mom you see. So Michelle’s friend had overheard Michelle’s mom and her mom talking about how Michelle kept parading around in her school uniform hours after getting home. It was Michelle’s friends mom who had made the suggestion that Michelle was trying to seduce Florian. She had said that it was “perfectly natural” and that “it was nothing to worry about.” How awful is that?”

“Wait….so…it was actually her friend’s mom that said this?”


“So then Michelle’s mom believed her, and that’s why she kept ignoring Michelle’s pleas for help.”

“Oui. Her friend’s mom had convinced her that it was a cry out for attention, nothing more.”

“Oh shit. So…if she didn’t believe that….maybe….”

“Maybe it would have been different.”

“That’s awful.”

“It’s worse. Her friend, who isn’t her friend anymore. Had told other girls in the school about it. They jumped on the chance to peg Michelle as a slut who was trying to seduce her step-dad. Prior to this whole situation Michelle was a stand out. She was somewhat of a teachers pet, although not intentionally. She was just smarter than most, so they were jealous of her. Given the opportunity to ridicule her, they dove on it and so the rumors immediately burned through the school about Michelle’s wild weekend of sex with her step-dad. All of this started by her supposed best friend.”

“I understand why she wanted to escape.”

“Well there’s more…” Celine continued quietly, her face scrunched up again in a pained expression.


“Michelle was ashamed, embarrassed, and in pain so she wanted to stay away from home. So after a week of putting up with all the sniggering, pointing, giggling girls and raucous detestable boys, she convinced her mom to let her spend the night at her boyfriend’s place instead of at home. Her mom was all too happy to have the weekend alone with Florian, who suddenly had a renewed vigor to his sex drive and her boyfriend was also happy to have her over.”

“That sounds…..ok….right now…but you’re going to tell me something shitty next aren’t you…”



“Michelle wanted to run away but she didn’t want to do it alone. She wanted her boyfriend to come with her. She wanted to run away with him to Paris like some crazy romantic silliness from some stupid poorly written movie. Of course he didn’t want to run. I’m sure he loved her in his own way, but he was just a boy, and boys don’t know love, they only know this kind of love.” Celine grabbed her crotch and mimicked the actions of a teenage boy masturbating. You laughed for a moment, but lost your smile once she continued. “Her boyfriend had heard the talk. He heard everyone say about how she was trying to get with her step-dad. Any adult would have realized the implication of this and tried to help, but he’s just a stupid boy. He thought if she could have sex with her step-dad then she would definitely have sex with him.”

“Oh no.”

“Yes….that’s how they think you know.” Celine rolled her eyes. “So he told her he would run away with her to Paris, but only if he could trust her.”

“Trust her?”

“Yes that is what he had said. He said that if he was going to run away with her they had to trust each other and he couldn’t trust her if this thing with her step-dad was real. How could he trust her if she had sex with her step-dad and not with her own boyfriend? That was his argument.”

“And that worked??”

“She was desperate!” Celine exclaimed, her arms raised to the ceiling in aggravation. “She just wanted to escape. She wanted to forget all about everything and just go away. Disappear. Leave. Just vanish.” Celine sighed then continued, “So she was intimate with her boyfriend as well. It wasn’t as bad as her step-dad. He didn’t last long and she was grateful for that.”

“Oh Michelle” you lamented out loud, wishing very much that you could hold her in your arms right now and make all of this past go away.

“So he promised they would run away together the next weekend. But then Monday came, they went to school and everything changed. Before lunch the school was buzzing. Her boyfriend, the toad, had told all of his friends about how he got lucky with Michelle the previous weekend. And being a deceptive little toad he fabricated the details of their minute tryst filling in the details with the glimpses of porn he had seen from time to time. By the end of the day Michelle was rumored to be the next best thing to a high class hooker, willing and able to do all sorts of sex acts with the skill of a seasoned pro.”

“What a fucking ass…” you say through clenched teeth, now squeezing your own fists tightly as Celine was earlier.

“Yes…an ass for sure. If I ever meet this little prick I’ll cut his balls off if I could ever find them.” Celine grumbled angrily. “So with this new situation at school Michelle was through. She had enough. The next day she packed what she needed and took the train to Paris. She met me in the coffee shop that evening and the rest is history.”

“My god,” you groan. “That is horrible.” Then you look into Celine’s eyes and continue, “but as horrible as it is, she was able to find you. You kept her safe. You kept her strong. You saved her Celine.”

“She saved me too Al.” Celine’s eyes start to well up but before a tear can escape she yells, “Fuck I miss her!” then collapses into your arms.

“I just….I don’t know Celine. It’s just so bad. And to have that experience be your first, it’s just…I don’t know what to say.”

“Well, I was her first girl, so there is at least that happy memory.” Celine smiles for the first time since she started the story. The relief of tension on her face is visible.

“I remember.” you admit laughing. “You two weren’t too quiet about it.”

Celine laughed until her tears of loneliness became tears of laughter. “You always remember your first Alcina, and I wanted to make sure she’d never forget.”

“Hun, I wasn’t even in the room and I’ll never forget.” and you laugh loudly, happy to be happy once more. “I only hope that my first time is so…..memorable.”

“What?” Celine stops laughing abruptly, “You are still….”

“A virgin?…..yes.”

“Oh my sweet Al….we have to change that.”

“I know! I just….I’ve never found the right…it…just…I don’t ….I don’t know. I want it to be right. You know?” you manage to blubber out.

“Al, I must tell you,” Celine says in her best motherly tone, “The first time for a woman, at least with a man, is never good.”



“I don’t believe you.”

“Well it’s not that it’s not good….what I mean is, it’s never going to meet your expectations.”


“Yes. Like, we’re all brought up to think that our first time will be some sort of magical event. Like suddenly we’ll be surrounded with rose petals, candles, soft jazz, on a moonlit night in some romantic place…”

“…like Paris?” you interject with mock confusion.

“Yes like Paris. We think it’s going to be perfect. Everything works beautifully. Nothing goes wrong. You’re with your lover and there will never be another. The stars will shine brighter, the earth will move, and your life is suddenly utterly complete.”

“Well….I don’t think…..I’m….I’m not that silly about it.”

“I’m sure you’re not.” Celine giggles mockingly patting you on the shoulder. “If you want my advice, I’d say get it over with. Have fun. Don’t make it so important and enjoy the moment.”

“Shouldn’t you be in love with the person though?” you ask quite innocently.

“Well I’m sure that helps. It didn’t in my case, but it might for you.” Celine laughed. “You should at least like the person, that’s for sure. But if you put so much emphasis on your first time all you’ll end up with is disappointment I’m afraid.”

“Sometimes…..sometimes I just….want to get it out of the way.”

Celine laughs and nods her head, “I know what you mean.”

“It’s just that where I live, I’m a bit of a rarity.”


“I’m…I’m pretty sure I’m the only virgin left in my grade. Hell, I may be the only virgin left in my high school as far as I can tell.”

“Oooh la la. C’est vrai? Is this true?” Celine says with wide eyes filled with astonishment.

“Well you know it’s a very small town. There isn’t a whole lot to do. So most of the kids my age, that’s what they do for fun.”

“Each other.”

“Ya,” you laugh, “they do each other for fun.” you shake your head.

“Well then. So you are a lamb among wolves then.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well you’re the only pure thing left in your school, n’est pa?” Celine explains.

“I’m…I’m not pure! You make it sound like I’m a prude or something.”

“Non not like that. You are a virgin. Untouched. Pure. Perfect in every way. Fit for sacrifice to the Gods.” Celine’s tone abruptly turning from sincerity to sarcasm mid sentence.

“Oh shut up.” you laugh, “That’s not fair.”

“Non, what’s not fair is that we are expected to keep our legs shut for everyone but the one man that puts a ring on our finger.” Celine scoffs. “If we sleep with someone, my god, we are sluts. If we don’t. We’re frigid. It’s a stupid world.”

“I couldn’t agree more.” you sigh “I really would like to lose my virginity Celine, it does bug me a little bit, but there’s no one where I live that is even close to someone I can love.” you admit sullenly to your french friend.

“No one?”

You shake your head and repeat, “No one.”

“Merd, that is not good.”

“And now that I’m in university, I don’t have any time to even meet anyone.” you sigh once more, irritated at your situation, “it’s like I don’t even know how to act, or what to say or anything.”

“Ha, I know what you mean.” Celine replies cooly. “It can be hard sometimes.”

“You don’t seem to have any trouble at all.”

“Now perhaps. Maybe it doesn’t seem so, but before, it was hard.”

“What about your first time? What was that like for you?”

“It was stupid. I didn’t even like him.” Celine admitted, “But I knew he loved me. I just couldn’t return the attention. I already knew at that point I like girls more.”

“But you did it anyways? Why?”

“Because he was a sweet boy. He treated me well. Looked after me when I left home. His family took care of me too. If I was interested in men, he would be on the top of my list. Well, maybe second on my list. Leon would be first at this point.” she laughed and gave you a wink.

“So it was out of pity?”

“No, not pity. I….it wasn’t that I felt bad. I just…well maybe I did feel bad I’m not sure. It just felt like he deserved it? I’m not sure how else I can explain it.” Celine shrugged her shoulders and winced a little.

“…and it wasn’t that good.”

“Well of course not.” Celine laughed, “I liked him as a person but I wasn’t at all attracted to him. I didn’t let him know that, of course, but he really didn’t get anything right at all.” she laughed again and shook her head, her mind full of the memory, “he was an awkward boy. He got even more awkward when the lights went out.”

“Awww, that’s too bad.”

“It’s ok. He tried. He did his best. I’m sure he’s better now.” she chuckled again.

“See if I was to hook up with someone from my home town, thats what it would be like.”

“You should hook up with Leon.”


“You should be with Leon. Let him be your first.”

“W-w-w-what?” you stammer again.

“Oh shut up Al, you know you want to.” Celine chides you roughly. “When I told you about how we shared the shower I could see the jealousy in your eyes.”

“I…..I…..I wasn’t…jealous.” you blubber, the words feeling foreign to your mouth.

“Yes. Yes you were. It was obvious.” Celine shakes her head and then taps you on the shoulder. “He likes you too you know.”

“He does?”

“I see him everyday Al. I can tell by the look on his face. He’s trying to hide it out of respect, but he’s interested in you.”

“But……you..I…I couldn’t…how could I….I’m only….god…then I leave in…and then I’ll…Jesus Celine” you splutter out another ill formed sentence.

She just laughs at you and gives you a hug, “You’re so cute Al. I’d take you myself if I thought you were into girls.”

“This would be a very memorable vacation then for sure. Check two boxes off my bucket list in less than a week.”

“Oh?” Celine smiles, raising her eyebrow.

“Shit.” you laugh, realizing you let a little too much slip.

Truth #10 – My Greatest Adventure

Describe the greatest adventure you have ever been on?

I always hope the next adventure will always be the greatest adventure but there is a sense of diminishing returns with such things.

To date I would have to say that my greatest adventure was a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

galapagos reminder 3

It was one of those trips that even the journey to the adventure was an adventure. At the time I was to head to Ecuador the flight I was on was to go through Miami by way of Chicago before making its way to Ecuador. When I got to the airport the morning of the flight, O’Hare was even busier than I would have imagined. As it turned out Miami international had fallen victim to a fuel fire. In some airports this would not be a big deal but in Miami the fuel distribution system is entirely underground. So the fuel fire shut down the Miami airport.

As a result I needed to scramble to a phone to call the airline and figure out how to get to South America. My relatively simple two stop flight turned into a journey. The only way I was going to be able to arrive in time to make it to Galapagos required a very round about method.

First I left Chicago to New York landing in LaGuardia. Then I’d take a van transport to JFK. From JFK I took a flight to Santiago Chile. Stay in the airport for a 15hr layover. Then from chile to Guayaquil then on to Quito. I lost a full day in traveling this way, but at least I made it.

The next morning I rented a motorcycle and rode through Quito and onto Mindo Cloud Forest Reserve. Originally I was to take the motorcycle on a 2 day trip through to the mountains to view the spectacular volcanic craters of Ecuador, but the length of the revised flight reduced this to a small day trip. I definitely want to go back just for the ride.

Mindofreedom bike rental

The next day the tour group left for the Galapagos Islands where we spent a week aboard a sailing catamaran. Each night our guide would go over the activities we would do and the animals we were going to see. Most mornings we were up at sunrise and jumping into kayaks. We would kayak from the catamaran off to one of the islands seeing all sorts of wildlife from angles that you never could get if you went with any other tour. Each day when we got back the cook had prepared some light snack, and unique fruit smoothie. The cook was an absolute wizard. After that we jumped on the zodiac to go snorkeling, and then later after lunch hike through unique landscapes that Darwin himself wandered through.

Itinerary for the day

Kayaking Galapagos

galapagos reminder 5

I’d say there were two highlights of the Galapagos portion of this trip. Firstly seeing giant Galapagos tortoises in the wild was awe inspiring. The mammoth size of them was absolutely amazing. Secondly, the Galapagos sea lions. We were able to interact with these curious cuties on several occasions. While we did do the usual thing that most tours do where you can see them on the beach sunning themselves. They have no natural predator and as such you can walk right up to them. But the real gem. The real amazing show, was snorkeling with them. My word they were so playful and curious. I was buzzed on several occasions by teenaged sea lions. They amused themselves by swimming directly at me, only to veer off at the very last moment, mere inches away from me, and blow bubbles at my flipper covered feet.

galapagos sea lion and me

galapagos reminder 2

sea lion pups

Definitely this was an adventure of a lifetime, and my greatest adventure to date.

Midnight Man


I am your midnight man.


The kids are down to sleep

Your husband is snoring

The windows are rattling.

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You want what I have.

Crave what I provide

I am your midnight man,

Your secret rendezvous

If only in your mind

02 21 2013 012

You think of me and you feel aglow

Blush and imagine my hands on your body

My tongue on your skin

My lips on your ear

Whispering all the desperately dirty things,

You wish you could do.

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If only it was real, if only I was real

Midnight approaches, and you run your hands down your own body

You wish they were someone else’s

You wish they were mine.

02 21 2013 002

But in the end, you fall to sleep alone

In this bed of two.

Wishing, and hoping

For one more midnight rendezvous.





For the past week and a bit I’ve been dealing with some sort of nastiness that has been getting progressively worse. I’m irritated beyond comprehension.

As some of you already know I actually do my writing at work. Having missed work for a few days now I’ve fallen behind on both my regular work as well as my writing. Though I already have this weeks chapter I have not put it into a formal post. This is because I don’t have a home computer so creating lengthy posts on my phone is problematic.

I’m at the clinic right now. Tired. Sore. Irritated. I truly hope they can give me some sort of magic elixir that makes everything go away.

Truth #9

Do you like experimenting with new things in life?

At first I thought that the answer to this question was self evident by the maner in which I write, but then I realized that there are far more people writing about things they’ll never do or have never done than those that have actually done what they write about.

Do I like experimenting with new things in life? Good god do I ever!

Of course I’m not restricting this question to simply sex because I don’t think the question was asked with just sex in mind.

For me, life is a game of experience. Not a game of things. While numerous people will sprint through their existance attempting to collect as many tokens as possible I prefer to look around and take in the full breadth and depth of what is to be here.

I enjoy trying new foods, even if it leads to unfortunate disruptive digestive endings. I enjoy meeting new people. Trying new things. Trying to learn new things. Traveling to foreign lands and immersing myself in foreign cultures. It is all about filling up your existance with the most experiences that you could possibly imagine. Till your cup runeth over. Then…when you’re taking your last breath, and your eyes close for the last time you can be at peace knowing you did all you could with what you were given.

So yes, I live to experiment with new things in my life.