“Your body may be gone. I’m gonna carry you in. In my head, in my heart, in my soul. And maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both live again.” Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty
I got the email that Lil had passed at 8:30 yesterday morning. Apparently, I was one of the first to know. But the way it was worded – “I don’t know if anyone told you yet…” – and the fact that it was just to me and not a group, made me think another email had gone out and I’d accidentally gotten skipped. And that would have been understandable.
Another friend wrote mid-morning suggesting Labor Day as a possible weekend for some of us to get together as a type of memorial. I wrote back to say I would be out of town but no one else on the list did until much later in the afternoon. And then it was to say that they hadn’t known.
And here I’d wondered why no one else on Facebook or Fetlife was mentioning it. Maybe the original email was wrong? Maybe I misread? Is it possible? I held off making an announcement thinking maybe we weren’t supposed to make one yet, the original information was wrong, or that I would have been out of place. By the time evening rolled around though, word was getting around. There was no mistake.
Someone Lil and I had a mutual disliking for made the announcement in one group and I found I was angry – how dare they? And then I felt bad for being such a bitch. Until I realized Lil probably wasn’t any happier about it than I was. I could hear her in my head. “She can kiss my ass.”
It was one of the few genuine laughs I’d had all day. And I’d spent most of the day watching season six of Big Bang Theory. I finished watching the season with a big bowl of ice cream – Lil had always supported the idea that there wasn’t a bad time for ice cream, even in the middle of a polar vortex – and found I had stumbled on the perfect way to memorialize her.
Otherwise, I’m stuck in that semi-numb place, where I can laugh with coworkers one minute and feel like sobbing the next. This weight on my chest is fragile and the slightest thing might turn it against me. Every song on the radio is a reminder. Seeing her real first name somewhere is a reminder. I simultaneously want to surround myself with others who knew her so we can remember together, and hide away by myself in a dark place. I only want to talk about her and I want to talk about anything else to get my mind off it.
There’s not a wrong way to react. I know this. And still nothing feels right either.
I don’t say this often – in fact, I never say it – but I’m too young for this shit. Growing up as an only child with few friends, I often got on better with my parent’s friends, or at least people closer to their age. No one told me that would be a disadvantage once I became an adult.
This morning I learned that the second friend in two months has died of cancer. She was 62, not quite my parent’s age but close. This one is different than the last. Last time I was angry and I railed against the universe about the vast unfairness of it all.
This time – this time we’d actually been expecting it for years. That is, we knew it was a possibility. But she’d battled back so many times before that I for one had started to assume that she always would. She was a fighter. Even up to last week, the last time I saw her. We visited her along with another couple and while she was obviously weak, it was clear she hadn’t given up. She was looking forward to getting moved to a nursing facility and even making plans for beyond that. By the time we left, it wasn’t difficult to believe that she might just recover yet again.
So while I’m not entirely surprised, I am saddened and disappointed. I already miss her commenting on my Facebook. I will miss her medical updates. Last year, she helped keep me company at one of my craft shows and I took leftovers to a get together at her house after the season ended. I hate that she won’t be there this year.
She used to have a quote at the end of her emails that said, “Don’t regret getting old. It is a privilege denied to many.” Important words to remember today.
He grabbed my hands and held them against the counter behind me. Finally I looked up at him. “Talk to me – tell me what’s okay here.”
God I hated having to spell it out for him. I spoke quietly, almost in a whisper. “I guess I’d rather it not happen again.”
He stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest. “You guess? Be definitive and don’t be so afraid to speak your mind. This isn’t a deal breaker for me and if you don’t want it repeated, it won’t be.”
“It’s just – I didn’t want this to be awkward and now it is,” I said. “I’m kind of sorry I brought it up.”
Backed Into a Hand
I approached him and knelt between his legs, hands behind my back. “What I need is for you to use me in every possible way” I said. “I want you to grab me by the hair and force your cock down my throat. I want you to fist me until I see stars and fuck me until I pass out from exhaustion.” Yes, it was something I’d rehearsed though I hadn’t imagined I’d actually ever get the words out.
He stared at me for several seconds and smiled. “Where did that come from?”
I stared back at him, speechless. “Never mind,” I said as I got up to walk away. “I knew this was pointless.”
Backed Into a Hand
Chloe is another character who started out based on a real person – but the character quickly moved away in her own direction and, even with the physical description, I doubt anyone will figure out who I had in mind. Even so, she had the real person’s name for a couple of drafts before I changed it.
Justin got up to clear the dishes and started loading a dishwasher. “That was wonderful,” I said. “I’m stuffed.”
“Oh that reminds me,” Chloe said. “Have you ever been fisted?”
I nearly spat my water across the table. “In case you haven’t noticed, she can be a little direct,” Justin called from the kitchen.
“Nobody asked you boy,” Chloe called back playfully. Looking back at me with a sly smile, she said, “Well?”
Backed Into a Hand
Why yes, this is one of those times when I had someone specific in mind for a character.
“Oh my god – it is you!” Gina shrieked as she approached. “I can’t believe it – we’ve always wondered what ever happened to you! God, your hair looks great – did you cut it since I saw you last or was it always that length?” Her voice carried easily over the din of the room. I smiled as widely as I could and hugged her, but I didn’t have a chance to answer her before she was talking excitedly again. She looked up at Seth – her own husband was about his height so she was used to looking up. “I don’t remember this tall drink of water though,” she said.
“Gina, this is my Sir Seth,” I said. I looked at Seth and said, “Gina runs the group I used to go to.”
“Well, we do value all our volunteers,” she said brightly. “I don’t do it alone.”
Backed Into a Hand
“I just keep getting this image of her ‘training me how to please a woman’ and I’m not sure that’s how I want to learn,” I said as quietly as I could. When did all these children move into our neighborhood? Had they always been here and I hadn’t noticed them before? “I’d rather it happened more naturally.”
“Or it won’t be like that at all and you’ll actually enjoy it,” he said. “Why not tell her what you just told me?”
“Because she’ll laugh and think it’s cute or, worse, shun me for not being a better little bi-girl,” I said.
“You really need to give people more credit,” he said.
Backed Into a Hand
A fun one because it was literally the only part of the chapter that didn’t contain some sort of spoiler.
“Hey sis,” I said quietly.
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed. “What the hell? How are you?”
“I was doing pretty well until yesterday,” I said. I held the phone in one hand and rubbed my eyes with the other. It was the truth and if anyone was listening, it could apply to anything.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Nothing I can talk about yet,” I said. “But I need to know some things.”
Backed Into a Hand
So what happens when a Joss Whedon fan has a boring day at work?
Characters die. That’s what. Is that what you want? IS IT?!? Well, it wasn’t what I thought I wanted either. But I’d been toying with whether to kill off a character for some time and it never felt right – every scenario I had thought of felt contrived. Yesterday, however, scenes came to me almost fully formed, right in the middle of the afternoon. I could almost see them unfolding even as I tried to ignore them.
But it would take so much work…and it would break my heart to do it.
But look how well it would work and how much you could do with it.
There have been scenes before that I knew would need special attention, specific time set aside where I wasn’t thinking about anything else because I needed to get into a different headspace. This will be another one. It will suck. But I also think it will be worth it.
I’ve seen other writers comment on what it’s like to kill off characters. Does George R.R. Martin get upset every time one of his dies? Does Whedon? Or do they sit around gleefully rubbing their palms together like villains saying, “wait ‘til they get a load of this!”
Personally, I’m a combination of both. I’m curious to see the reactions. I even imagine my characters hanging out somewhere in the universe, blissfully unaware of their new fates. Even better is imagining characters in horrible books (Fifty Shades of Patooie) begging for release – “Please kill me – kill me now!” All of this makes it easier to do what I’m about to do.
So this is my challenge for the near future. Make it plausible. Make it believable. Make it heartbreaking.
“Seriously, you need to use your words and stand up for yourself,” said a large black woman I’d also never met. “Even if it’s to say ‘I’m just not feeling it tonight’ you have a say.”
“I don’t know if I could talk to a dom like that,” said the first girl. She shook her head and spoke timidly.
My snark meter suddenly hit red. Playing with someone didn’t make them your dominant and you owed them nothing, I thought. But before I could answer, the black woman was saying exactly what I was thinking only much more diplomatically.
“Listen,” she said. “They’re people first. And so are you. I don’t care who the other person is, if they can’t understand that the girls are sometimes more tender than others – ” At this, she took her own bosoms in her hands. “Or that I may not be in the mood for the same things as they are, then they don’t get to touch this. Ever. Because once they start disrespecting you, they know they can do it all the time. And just because they gave themselves some arbitrary title doesn’t mean they automatically deserve all the respect they think they do either.”
Backed Into a Hand – Chapter 17