Corner Time and Follow-Up to the Eye-Punch Confrontation

I’m sure my eight readers would much rather read stories about my job and the kinky clients I run in to at work, but my relationship with The Collector is so bizarre that I felt compelled to write about it again.

Sometimes I’m paranoid about whether he’s reading this.  He would recognize himself immediately.  I tell myself that he would confront me about it right away…but then I remind myself that he’s a crafty individual. A bit of a schemer, in fact, and the blog provides a way for him to spy on me and what I think about him and our relationship, especially things that I might not be sharing with him, or things that I might be doing when I’m working away from him.  If he’s reading it, and that is the way he feels, it is in his best interest to pretend he doesn’t know about it so that I keep writing it…or, at least, about him.

I was supposed to go to hypnotherapy that day and I was a little angry about it.  As you recall, we had a huge, ugly confrontation about this issue previously.

Know what that fight accomplished…?  Absolutely nothing.  The only difference is that now when I’m cranky about anything, he laughs and asks if he’s going to have to wear an eyepatch to work tomorrow.

“Frankly, I feel like a lot of what you’re asking me to do is drudge up bad memories I’ve forgotten about so that you can use them to manipulate me,” I said. “I think maybe I need a little time off.  This is getting intense.”

“You can’t take time off until you’re an expert with it, like any other skill.  You’ll lose momentum.”

“I don’t want to go today.”

He lowered his newspaper to look at me.

“You don’t pay for it.  This is an investment that I make in you.  Go stand in the corner and ruminate on your ungrateful attitude.”

Well, this is a new one, I thought to myself.

“I don’t want to go stand in the corner, either.”

“Fine.  Go kneel in the corner and stay there for a while.  You may use a cushion.”

“Collector, I’m not going to the corner!  It’s humiliating!”

“Of course it is.  That is the point,” he said,  from behind his paper.

“You are a fucking asshole,” I whispered (and, for the record, he often is, by any objective standard.  Doms often are.  What can I say?  That’s just the way the cookie crumbles in my life).

That finally got his attention.  The New York Times was lowered again.

“Are you sure?

“That’s the way you’re acting when I have a perfectly legitimate complaint, yes!”  However, I was already starting to get nervous.

“I guess I need to prove it, then.”  He folded the paper, put it down, and started to get up.  “And I have not even finished my morning coffee.”

Uh-oh, I thought, as he started to nonchalantly remove his belt.  In the right circumstances I find this simple masculine gesture very arousing, but this was not the right circumstance.

“Go bend over the table or your bed and don’t struggle.  It affects my aim.  Your arm looks so much better and I would hate to mark it up again before Friday.”  (We have An Event to go to on Friday and about a week ago I fell down wearing handcuffs and got a YUGE bruise on the inside of my elbow.  I’ve been telling people I fell down while cross-country skiing and hit a rock.)

“Don’t hit me with that!  I’m not ready!”

“What, is it going to eyepatch time?  Fine, go get ready for your hypnotherapy appointment like a good girl and you can stand in the corner while I eat dinner tonight so I can enjoy the view.  You are lucky I don’t do it now and get out the rice.”

And that, my friends, is exactly the way it went down.

I did fool him about one thing, though: since he told me in advance (what a screwup on his part) I was going to bed without supper, I stopped at the deli on the way home and wolfed down a sandwich.  I wasn’t very hungry at all that night.

Corner time, though, was as demoralizing as I’d feared it would be.

Seafood Pasta II

The Collector let me cry for a minute, and then retrieved me and led me by the hand to the sofa.  He left me there and came back with some Valium and a cup of milk.

I drank them down, even though I know I shouldn’t be screwing around with benzos, and then he held me for half an hour until they took effect.

“I took the protein off the fire.  It will not be as good, but it will still be good enough. I’ll boil new pasta so it will be fresh,” he said.

This made me feel guilty, like I ruined dinner, but also oddly grateful.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said.

“We can do anything.  Trust me.”

Let me tell you something I know from years in the sex industry and living life in general as a heterosexual female: any guy who tells you to trust him is probably a scammer.

But I got up, slightly drugged and significantly calmer, and returned to the table.

He served me a plate of seafood pasta in scampi sauce, lit the candles, and then had a seat on my right, at the head of the table.

We pretended as if it was ten years ago.  He asked me questions about my thesis and we talked politics, and he told me how wonderful and exciting it was going to be in New York, and how much he loved it there.

I can’t describe what I felt. I was under a mild Valium haze (God, I love that drug.  Anything that shuts down the emotions is right by me. If I could have my emotions removed like an appendix, I’d have that shit taken out surgically tomorrow).  It felt like my brain was being molested.

The food was delicious, but I didn’t have much of an appetite.

Then I started to get into the role, and perked up.

Hope, my friends, is the cruelest and most dangerous emotion.

I started to speak excitedly about my plans, and how this school was giving me a full-ride scholarship, and how confident that made me feel, and how much I wanted to contribute to society.

He reached out and grasped my hand.

“I am proud of you, and I give you my blessing.”

This is the way that it should have been, except that, obviously, it wasn’t.  My own father was too selfish to be happy about my success, minor as it was.  He only wanted to keep me to him in order to exploit me like some natural resource, like oil or coal.

I wonder to myself if he ever loved me, even though it doesn’t matter now.  He didn’t love me as I understand the meaning of the word.  One of the greatest lies in our society is that all parents love their children.  Newsflash: many don’t. However, children have a primordial psychological need to believe their parents love them, and I find it amazing that my devotion to him stood for so many years against all physical evidence that I was a toy, a meal ticket, a means to torture my mother, or an extension of himself.  I mean, what can you say about a sadist who abandoned his first daughter (my sister) in Germany and wouldn’t even cut a check for child support?

You want it to be true, so you make it true.

Now we are at dinner, as it should have been.  It’s a do-over. And I cannot decide whether it nurtured me or re-traumatized me.

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Seafood Pasta

I finally remembered the last meal I shared with my father.  That shit wasn’t easy to remember.  It was ten years ago and I buried it because it, like my father himself, was hurtful and repulsive.  My hypnotherapist and I had to do some serious excavating.

But we found it.

My father loved seafood, especially bouillabaisse.  Odd, for an inlander–nobody else in my family will eat a bite of fish or anything from the water–but his palate was comparatively cultivated.

I could not cook bouillabaisse, but I knew how to cook a seafood pasta dish.  The ingredients cost me $40 at a time when I was about to move across the continent and had less than a hundred bucks in my checking account.

I spent it because I wanted to make our meal together special.  Because I was going Away.

My father was furious with me for leaving him.  You know why: I was his meal ticket.

He pushed the plate aside and said that it was inedible, even though I’d cooked it just fine and it was the exact same dish he’d eaten with relish on previous occasions.  This is something about Franz Adler: he would find a way to insult every gift or kind gesture or sacrifice you made to him…it was never enough or there was always something wrong.

I told The Collector this memory, after I uncovered it.

“We will do it again.  Do you have any clothing from that period of your life?”

I considered.  “I have the same suit I wore to defend my thesis.  It was my best suit, my very best clothes.”

“Does it still fit you?”

“It does.”  It’s a size 4.  The pants are flare-leg, so it’s out of fashion now, but it really is a great suit.  Navy blue with pinstripes, English-style, satin lined, little pockets everywhere, excellent tailoring. It cost $600 at Macy’s in Union Square, San Francisco. I wore it with a nice translucent blouse with French cuffs and cufflinks.  I looked (and felt) like a boss.

“Wear it to dinner,” the Collector said. “I’ll call for you at 8 (pm).”

I took my best suit out of its plastic container and put it on, and then I sat on my bed and cried, thinking of how much time has gone by and how I never expected to be this way and what happened to me….?

I gathered myself up and refreshed my makeup so it didn’t look like I’d been crying and then walked out to the kitchen (adjacent to the dining room).

He had a pot boiling pasta and a steamer-skillet on the stove.  Delicious cooking smells in the air.  He was making mussels, clams, and prawns.

“Have a seat at the table, Margo! Dinner is almost ready. We are going to have a feast to celebrate your accomplishment.  I am so proud that you are going to get your doctorate.”

I sat down at the table, telling myself It’s okay it’s okay it’s just a game this is just a fantasy game

Then I started to cry.  Right there.  In my suit, at the table.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Puberty and Bra Shopping (shoot me now)

Content Warning: I know this is an extremely personal post and it deals with puberty and women’s menstruation, and if that offends you, don’t read it.  I had to write about it to purge the pain.

*                    *                               *                 *

One thing I will never understand about my mother is how angry she became when I entered puberty.

If I ever have a daughter, I will take her out to her favorite restaurant and buy her a brand-new outfit when she gets her period, and we’ll go bra-shopping together.  She’ll get ones for children and I’ll buy one for adult ladies, but she can see me in them, and know, from seeing me, that this is how adult women look, and how she will eventually look.  I will tell her how beautiful she is.

My mother was tight-lipped and furious when I started growing breasts, and I don’t know why.  Even my father, who was, by far, the worst parent, just accepted it and said “We can’t have naps together anymore. It is not appropriate.” Okay, I was sad, but I knew, on some level, that what he was saying was right.

She took me to Target and I felt so ashamed, like there was something wrong with me. Then she asked the retail lady to put some training bras on me.  The retail lady was more gentle with me than my mother.  She put on some soft cotton white bras without underwire.

Then, when I got my period a year later, I had to confess it to my mother, because I was stealing her sanitary napkins. I had to! I was 14!  I couldn’t buy my own! I didn’t get an allowance, I didn’t get anything!

She said exactly two things:

“I hope you haven’t been flushing them down the toilet.”

also

“This means you can get pregnant now.  I want you to know that I am not interested in raising another baby.”

I didn’t have a boyfriend! I never even kissed a boy! At that age, I was not even interested in boys!  I developed late! I was not out being boy-crazy and giving my parents problems about it!

Even my dad, Franz Adler, said, “Well, I bet those cramps suck. I know it hurts, Liebchen.  Let me go buy some Midol.  This is just a fact of life.”

It really says something when your sociopath gambling addict of a father goes to bat for you before your own mother, especially when this is a woman’s issue that should be taken care of by women in the family.

 

 

Rehab (II): Why Don’t You have a Child?

I can tell you one thing that got me into a ton of trouble when I was in rehab: arguing why I didn’t have a family.

Everyone there–and the group had approximately 25-30 people, always coming and going–had kids.  The only one who didn’t was a 17-year-old, and he had a baby on the way.

We’re all sitting in a circle in group therapy and it was my turn to talk and I started to cry a little bit, saying that I was concerned I might never have a child.

This Mexican guy sitting across from me raised his hand and asked, “But what if it just happened, and you got pregnant?  I mean, sometimes that happens.  It could be an accident.  That’s what happened with my kids, and I love them.”

I blew my nose into a tissue and exploded.

“I’d get an abortion!  I’d get an abortion so fast it would make your head spin!  Look at me!  I’m in rehab for alcoholism!  Do you think there is any room in my life now for an ‘ooops’ pregnancy?  I wouldn’t bring a child into this world unless I could give it a certain standard of living!”

I swear to God, every woman in the room cringed and looked down at her desk, and half the guys got upset, too.

The therapist, who was actually one of the more competent ones, said “Some people have very strong feelings about abortion.”

I was FUCKING FURIOUS.  I slammed my hand down on my desk.

“A third of the women in your life have had at least one, whether you know it or not. I haven’t needed one yet because of my religious use of birth control and Plan B. I admit I had blackout sex several times, but I always got Plan B and was tested for STIs. Do you think I would have a child without the means to give it a stable life, with the opportunity for a father?!”

The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  As Chekhov said, An angel of silence flew over the room.

None of the women talked to me that night in the dorm.  It really frustrated me and made me feel alienated and rejected.  I didn’t mean to be hurtful! Yeah, sorry I was responsible about procreating.  Sorry I never had a baby with a scumbag.  Sorry I coughed up $30/month for the Pill at Planned Parenthood and insisted on condoms when I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship.

I’m telling you: all of these women had kids, and most of them had at least one abortion. Two of them had four abortions (and she voted for Trump. Smooth move). I know because we discussed these things late at night before we went to bed.  I trust that they were being honest.

Do you know why…?  Part of it is, of course, the biological imperative.  The other part is psychological immaturity and the fact that addicts resort to desperate means to fuel their addictions, and, in the case of women, that means trading sex for drugs.  I’ve always been able to afford my booze, but that’s the cheapest drug out there unless you have good insurance and a Dr. Feelgood.

The cold was glacial, even though I wasn’t blaming anyone personally.  I mean, we’re all in this fucked-up rehab boat together.

 

 

 

 

 

I Chucked a High Heel

I wish to report that I hurled a shoe.

The morning started out great (is it just me, or does it seem like every blog post starts out the same way these days?).  The Collector was in an excellent mood, and when he’s in a good mood, he’s wonderful company.  He can be very funny and affectionate.  We were having a fun, sexy morning, frolicking around in his bedroom and laughing.

He told me to go put on my new satin negligee because he wanted to see me in it.  It’s very pretty, a cream color with beading and lace around the bustline and the hem.  I guess it’s a nightgown, but it’s also lingerie.

Every boyfriend I’ve ever had likes to play dress-up with me.  On one hand it’s objectifying, but on the other hand, if it’s done it the right context, it’s very validating and makes me feel beautiful.

He was lying on the bed watching me while I giggled and preened.  When he turns the full force of his attention on you, it’s like standing in the sunshine (or a storm, I guess, if it’s disapproving).

“Put on your heels.  I want to see how your legs look when you wear them,” he said.

I only had two pairs in the bedroom.  “Red or nude?”

“Nude.”

I stepped into them.  For the record–and you’d never believe it, because of my job–I am not so very good at The Heels.  After 3″ I get very clumsy, and, unless shoes are important to a client’s session, I prefer to be barefooted or in flat boots, because I have to move quickly and nothing says “domme fail” like a face-plant.  I’m a huge fan of Dansko lesbian heels, and I don’t care if men don’t like it.

So there I am teetering around.  Things are happy.  Everything is good.

“Go get us some water and fruit out of the refrigerator and come back,” he said.  “I want to have a little fashion show.”

I left the bedroom and sauntered down the hallway, laughing, with a little spring in my step.  I was going to get tied up and laid and he was being adorable.

Well, the hallway opens up into the dining room, and, beyond that, the kitchen.

Guess who was in the dining room?!?!

His kids! Both of them!

I had no idea they were there!  Nobody told me they were coming!  Their flight arrived in the middle of the night when I was asleep!  I found out later that Mantis (short for Preying Mantis) came in to do a college tour of a local university. The TV was not on; there was no music playing.  They were not talking; there were no voices. I had no idea they were there!  Their bedrooms are on the other side of the house!

They were sitting at the table eating some leftovers and playing on their phones.  Including Mantis, eating the steak I was saving, that little jerkola.

I froze in my tracks and we just stood there, staring at each other.

What do you do…?  What do you do in that situation…?

There was no way in hell I was going to walk by them to get to the fridge!  Forget it!  Not okay!

“I’m sorry,” I squeaked. “I didn’t know you were here.”

Then I turned around and beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom.

“Where’s the water?” he asked when I stormed in.

I took off my high heel and chucked it at him.  I have never chucked a shoe, reader.  I have never chucked a shoe in my life.

“You did that ON PURPOSE!” I yelled.

He held up his arm to defend himself against the high-heeled projectory and started laughing.

“Relax!  I’m sure they did not mind!  You look beautiful!”

“Of course they mind!  It’s gross!’

He rolled out of bed and landed on his feet, all one smooth maneuver.  He did gymnastics in college.

“Do I need to give you a spanking to put you back in your place?” he asked, still smiling.

“Mood is dead!  Sorry, but you killed it!”  I said.  What I didn’t say was Want to see me change?  I’ll change INTO SOME JEANS!

That is exactly what I did.

The Collector found the entire thing hilarious and asked me to go on the campus tour with them, but I figured it was Mantis’s special day and he didn’t need me to intrude, so it wouldn’t be right to attend without his specific invitation.

Neither boy said anything to be about the incident, but I still felt very self-conscious and ashamed about the fact that they saw me in my underwear.

Why would The Collector do that…?  I guess he was bragging.

Valentine’s Day: The First Date

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! (I actually hate this stupid holiday, but if it inspires guys to give you flowers and candy–which it never has in MY personal experience–maybe it’s not so bad.)

It was a year ago today that I had the first non-professional date with the Collector, and my first Valentine’s Day date in YEARS…for some reason, I am always single during this stupid holiday.

He called me the day before and said that he was in Los Angeles for business, and he’d like to visit me before he flew back to NYC.

I said, “Sure, let me know when your flight gets in, and I’ll run down to the airport and pick you up and we can visit.”

This put me under pressure, because now I had a houseguest coming at practically the last minute, and I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to entertain unless my apartment is spotless.  I’m not the cleanest person, but I’d rate myself a 7/10 and I hire a professional cleaner to take care of the grunge I can’t be bothered with once a week.  In any event, I can’t be comfortable with a guest if my hamper is out of the closet and there’s even dirty dishes in the sink or Abe debris on the floor!

So, the next morning, I’m waiting for the Collector’s call, scrubbing the dishes, and I hear a knock on the door!

I thought for sure it was UPS with a package from Amazon.  I ran downstairs to answer it.

Well, you know who it was, readers: it was the Collector.  He was carrying shopping bags and a bunch of roses.

I was mortified. I was sweating and my hair was a mess and I was wearing yellow rubber cleaning gloves.

(He had my address because he’d sent me presents in the mail before.  He just took a plane in and got a taxi to get to my apartment, without telling me.)

I was taken aback by being ambushed like that, and apologized for my disheveled appearance.

He assured me that it was fine.  “Finish your chore,” he said.

I returned to my dishes while he walked around my apartment.  My apartment has a window in the wall that allows me to see into my bedroom from the kitchen.

I saw him open up my closet and touch my clothes. I saw him bend over and peek underneath my bed, and look in my jewelry box.

I didn’t say anything, just like I didn’t say anything with the Surgeon would go through my handbag or makeup bags.

I know what the Collector was looking for: evidence of a man and/or cohabitation.

Fortunately–or unfortunately, depending on your perspective–I was completely single in my personal life.  Heinrich dumped my ass over the sex work issue.

I finished the dishes and said that I needed to jump in the shower.

“If you want to go to your hotel, I can pack an overnight bag with my BDSM gear and be there in about an hour,” I said.

“I don’t have a hotel.”

“Well, I can recommend a few.  They’re not anything as fancy as you can find in New York, but some of them are modern and pretty comfortable.”

“I was hoping I would just spend the night at your home, here.”

Well, okay.  Wasn’t expecting that, but okay.

It did put additional pressure on me, however: now I had to entertain an overnight guest as a hostess, and I’d made no plans to do so.

I took a shower and saw him rifling through my medicine cabinet. Later, we had to talk about the Naltrexone and Antabuse.

I got dressed and put on makeup while I schemed about where to take him in my little crappy city.

I decided to take him out to the desert.  He’s traveled the world, but never really seen a desert.

I drove him out about an hour and a half in my Camry and then pulled over and took my guns (open and unloaded, of course) out from the backseat, along with hearing protection.

I taught him how to shoot.  He’s a European; had never handled a gun in his life.  The only thing he knew about it was from watching old cowboy movies, where you place the barrel over your forearm to steady it while you shoot!

We used my .22 bolt-action rifle and my .32 S&W revolver.  That’s all you need, really.  I enjoy shooting, but I’m not a gun nut, and, in my opinion, if you can’t hit something in six shots, you don’t deserve to have the fucking firearm.

We had fun and he was enjoying himself (he wasn’t half bad for a novice, either) and I suggested we go back to an indoor shooting range in town.

“Just telling you: you’re going to get some looks,” I said.

“How do you mean?”

“The way you’re dressed…and you do not look like the people from here.  The people at the gun range do not look like you.”

Which is true.  Most of the white people in this area are Northern European/Scots-Irish mutts, but they do not look or speak like the Collector.  In New York, he’s not particularly exotic.  In my home town, it’s different.

We went to the indoor range and rented a few different guns to try out.  And, yes, he got some looks.  I saw one guy spit on the floor when he knew I was looking.  Let me tell you something about dating older men: it pisses a lot of people off, for reasons I cannot discern because it’s been the historical standard for thousands of years.

(I told my old analyst about this date in our last phone session together.  She told me, “Margo, get those guns out of the house you share with him as soon as possible.”)

Then I asked him what he’d like to eat for dinner.  I was nervous because he has a very cultivated palate and my town has mostly shitty food.  I mean, there are a few notable exceptions, but fine dining is basically considered to be The Olive Garden.

“Do you have a butcher?  I can make dinner,” he said.

We do, indeed, have excellent butchers.  People around here hunt and kill a lot of game.

I drove us to the butcher and he purchased some excellent steaks, and then we went to Whole Foods for some expensive vegetables and cooking supplies.

“You only have one cooking pan?!

“It’s all I need!” I responded.

Back at my apartment, he cooked us dinner, commenting that he could not believe how I managed to cook meals in such a tiny space. Probably why I live on Special-K and meal-replacement shakes and the odd pizza. His kitchen is ginormous.

(For the record, he did not make me feel the slightest bit judged or uncomfortable for living in an attic apartment in an old Victorian house.  Believe me: a lot of rich people would have.)

“Open your presents!” he said, before dinner was served.

It was a cocktail dress and a bunch of super-pretty pink lacy lingerie. I hadn’t had a man buy me lingerie in a long time, so it felt special to get to play dress-up in my private life and not just for clients (which doesn’t count).   I ate dinner, which was, of course, delicious, in a pale pink corset and matching thigh-highs.   While I was wearing handcuffs…which was a bit of a trick (they were clasped in front).  I just have a little wooden table with two chairs, because I don’t have guests very often.

Then he fucked me so energetically that he broke my flimsy Ikea bed.  After it collapsed, we had to move the mattress onto my floor and re-assemble the bedframe later, which was a humorous but loving joke; a way to round out the evening.

He left me some money on my desk before he left in the morning.  I didn’t ask for it.  It was a gift.  But, of course, I did appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

NIGHTMARE

I dreamed that I was swimming in the ocean.  In real life, I don’t like to swim in the ocean unless it’s crystal-clear, like the Caribbean or the Florida Keys.  I’m neurotically afraid of sharks (which I know are crucially important for the ecosystem and almost never hurt anyone) and I don’t like it when something brushes my leg.  I’m also worried that I am going to cut my foot on a sharp rock or some sort of debris.

I dreamed I was swimming in the ocean and felt something brush against my lower leg.

I am a very strong swimmer, but I am not a good diver.  I think I can do about 12 feet..?

I dove down to see what touched me.

There were bodies of women, suspended in the water.  They all looked like me.  There was grass coming out of the sand and women’s bodies above it.

In the murky distance was a monster.  I couldn’t see him, but he had a yellow eye.  I saw that.  He was saving the bodies to eat for later.

I came to the surface and tried hard to swim to shore, but I couldn’t get any closer.  I kept swimming and swimming.  I was scared the monster was coming for me.

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part III)

When he finished his work, he considerately asked if I wanted to put on a little makeup, because he knows that I don’t like to leave the house with at least some mascara and cover-up for any skin imperfections.  Without it I feel ugly and exposed.  Contrary to what most men seem to think, makeup is a mask.

“What about the puzzle?” I asked.  It is challenging, but I’d figured out one of the borders.  I’d hate to dump it back into the box.

“Leave it there.  You can work on it tomorrow,” he said.

I went to my bathroom to put on the 5-minute version of my face and asked him what I ought to change into, clothes-wise.

“You look perfect as you are.”

“Collector, it’s cold outside, and anyway I can’t wear this–” I gestured at my blue cotton gingham dress with a bow, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland–“out in public.”

He went to the coat closet and took out his long quilted parka.  Everyone in the Tri-State area has a puffy coat for the hard winter weather.  It’s basically a sleeping bag with arms.

“Put on socks and your boots and wear this.  Nobody will see.”

So I bundled up and put my boots on.  While I was doing it, I noticed that my arrows were gone from underneath my bed, where I store them.  My bow was there, but the arrows were gone.

I didn’t say anything about that.

We took the elevator down and walked through the lobby and out onto the street.  The parka kept me warm, though I’d get a cold draft from underneath up my bare legs.  I still felt exposed, like everyone had Superman’s x-ray vision.

We got a cab and went to the zoo in Central Park, specifically the Tisch Children’s Zoo, which is a petting zoo full of nubian goats and sheep.  It even has an alpaca!

Who wouldn’t want to pet cute goats…?  You can touch their horns and weird feet!  I love goats!  I wish I could have goats!

He knew it would make me happy.  He knows how much I love animals.

He gave me quarters to buy food from the dispensers to feed the animals.  I didn’t have my purse, so I didn’t have any money.  In fact, he told me “don’t worry about your handbag” because he would “take care of everything” before we left the house.

He took a bunch of photos of me with his cell phone.

There were all of these little children running around the petting zoo and it made me happy, but it also hurt my heart.   Because I don’t get that, and the older I get, the more unlikely it is that it will ever happen.  How is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?

Then we walked to The Strand bookstore, and he told me that I could pick out whatever I wanted.

He’s an avid bookworm (we all love the Kindle, but let’s be frank: nothing compares to a physical book), but he didn’t leave me alone so that he could browse by himself.  He was with me the entire time.  What did he think I would do…?  Run for it?

I feel so much pressure whenever he asks me to pick something for myself because he has such a demanding sense of aesthetics. I feel like I’m being judged on my taste.

I picked out a charming Berlitz “German for Travelers” phrase book from 1954 (when “Mein Herr” was still the default polite way to address a strange man) and a Tim O’Brien fiction book, In The Lake Of The Woods.  O’Brien can turn a phrase.  I also picked a hardbound book about pirates.

Then the Collector took me to the children’s section and said, “Pick out a book for your future daughter.”

And what, o what, am I to make of that…?

Before we went home, we stopped in a Duane Reade close to his place.  He went to the makeup section where all the nail polishes are.

“Are all of these the same?  Or is one brand better superior to the other?” he asked me.

“I dunno.  I guess Essie and OPI are the best,” I said.

He picked out a sky blue one, because it matched my dress.  No man has ever bought a cosmetic for me before.

An hour later, he was painting my toenails.  No man has ever done that for me, either. Not even a client.

“Margo,” he said, bent over my feet while I laid on the sofa with my legs in his lap, “I want you to allow me at least the opportunity to make you happy.  Didn’t we have fun today?”

What could I say to that?

Punching the Collector in His Eye (Part II)

So I fell on the ground and screamed (because I was scared): “You can’t hurt me!  This is not okay!  This is not playtime!  If you touch me, it’s assault!  I’ll call the police! I’m covered in bruises! I’ll show them!

I realize this is hypocritical, given that I just punched the man in the eye (for the record, if he’d called the cops on me, I would have immediately admitted it and taken The Police Cruiser Ride of Shame to the 10th Precinct), but he wasn’t in danger of me fucking killing him.

I was afraid! He could do anything he wanted to me!  I’m naked on the floor!  Without my guns, how could I stop him?

We stared at each other, me on the floor with my arm in front of my face, and him panting.  His eye was tearing and red and his shirt tail had come out of his pants.

I saw the composure drop over his face then, like dropping the blinds.  I did not know whether this meant sanity had been restored, or things had just became even worse.

“The police.”

“Yes!”

He cleared his throat, nodded, and then started to tuck in his shirt.  When he spoke again he was out of breath but his voice was otherwise low and calm, like normal.

“Margo, look at me…and then look at yourself.  You know, Margo…you are a troubled young woman with a documented history of eating disorders and alcoholism.  You have been on medication. Sometimes, when young women are troubled, they do things to themselves.  They mutilate themselves.”

I lay there on the floor, my panic suddenly evaporated.  I could not believe what I was hearing.

He continued: “I’ve seen you do it myself.  I sent you to three therapists in the last year because I am concerned for you, Margo.  I did it because I care, and I am worried.  I sent you to rehab for the same reason.”

Shit is now occurring to me, readers, and it’s not pretty.

All I could do was whisper: “I’m not crazy.”

He shrugged.  “You’re a S&M prostitute.  I don’t hold this against you, of course, but many people might.  They might think you were crazy to do it.  And all I am is a gullible older man with a midlife crisis, who took this unstable, opportunistic girl in off the street into my beautiful home.  I’m a sucker.”

I just lay there, completely gobsmacked.  What blew my mind was that there was nothing factually inaccurate with anything he said (except about him being gullible, hardy har-har, like anyone is going to snooker the Collector…the idea of me taking advantage of him is preposterous.  Nobody takes advantage of his man).  He wasn’t lying.  It was just…the way he would twist it around to make it seem like I am a nutso basket case.  For what, out for what–to get his cash?  Even his own sons don’t worry about that, because, I’m telling you, there is no woman on earth seductive enough to persuade this guy into giving her any money he doesn’t want to!  And I don’t even do that anyway!  I’ve never done it, in my life!  I’ve always supported myself and paid my own bills!  And he knows it!  He knows what sort of person I am!

The dawning realization that this is how he would portray me to other people if we parted on bad terms…and that people would probably believe him!  I felt betrayed.  Like I was sold out, and it hadn’t even happened yet.

And then I thought: This conniving fuck has thought of everything.

He knocked me out.  Knocked…me…out.

I started sobbing, which is extremely rare for me.  I am not a crier.  I don’t even cry in therapy.  It felt like all the strength and fortitude ran out of me like water.

“You don’t care about me!  You’re a liar!”

“I love you, Margo…but do not EVER threaten me.”

He let me cry for a few minutes and then came back with a blanket to cover my nakedness.  He was perfectly calm now.  Why wouldn’t he be?  I’d capitulated and he’d regained control of the situation.

He helped me up and gave me a hug and stroked my hair.  Then he led me to the sink in my bathroom and gently told me to wash my face while he picked out some clothes for me to wear.  While I got dressed, he took out his cell phone.

“I need to call the office.  I’m going to work from home today.  I think we should spend some time together.  We are going to have a good day.”

A good day.  Whatever the hell that could mean in this situation.

“Don’t hurt me,” I sniffled.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Margo.”

Too late for that,  I thought

He called his office.  Then he said that he absolutely had to get some writing done because he was working under a deadline, but it would only take a few hours and then we could spend the rest of the day doing something fun.

He left the room and came back with a bag.

“I bought you something while you were gone!”

It was a puzzle of The Unicorn in Captivity,  (South Netherlandish, ca. 1495–1505)..  He’d bought it for me at the gift shop at The Met.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

“You can work on it while I write,” he said, peeling off the plastic shrink wrap.

We went to his office space and he retrieved this rolling body-pillow thing he lets me use when he wants me to be on the hardwood floor instead of using the furniture (unless I’m being disciplined or punished, of course–then I just get the cold, hard floor).

“Can I play with Abe while you write?”  Abe likes to ‘help me’ when I do anything craft-y like puzzles or wrapping gifts.

A shadow crossed his face: “I think we should focus on each other.”

Behold, the Collector: The Man Jealous of a Little Parrot. 

“He comforts me, though,” I said.  “If he poops on the floor, I’ll clean it up right away.”

“All right.  Go get him.”

I went to get Abe, but Abe did not want to come out of his cage.  Abe and seen (or at least heard) the fight and my crying, and he was upset and just wanted to hide in his little cloth hidy-hut.  It made me feel guilty.

I worked on the puzzle for a few hours while he worked at his desk.  He’d take 10-minute breaks to refresh himself and work on the puzzle with me.

“It’s lunchtime.  What would you like to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Just hot chocolate for you, then.”

He sounded cheerful and pert.  His eye had stopped watering.  It was red, though.  There was no swelling.

“I’m sorry I hit you in the eye,” I said, which might or might not be true…I honestly can’t say.

“It’s okay.  It looks very macho.  I can tell the people at work that I got into a bar fight!”

The joke was kinda funny.  The Collector in a bar fight!

(Actually, he’d probably do just fine.)

“I’ll finish up in an hour, and then we can go out!  We’ll have some fun.”

Oh God, I thought.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

TO BE CONTINUED