Rules Of Engagement

remain, even when challenging as a textbook process
Pic.: my own


Her own family’s particular church bequeathed at birth, she lived and pursued her life with sanctioned obedience, following strict rules and instructions, that included marrying another in-house worshiper at the cuff of sexual maturity not long after they had exchanged childish admiring glances from across the dividing aisles, presenting him later with two boys.
A tall, lithesome woman, endowed with extreme natural beauty, she had a gentle, friendly manner so demurely presented in both word and dress, that it readily belied raging torrents of maturing passion left ominously untapped below.
For, unknown to all who knew her, Nature had left a finely fused thread from eyes still vulnerable to what she might witness beyond their guidance to an explosive charge still slowly developing in an emotional, animalistic heart.

Increasingly curious and excited about all that was on offer in the wider world, after returning to being an architect student, she happened to be holidaying alone as part of a placement in Barcelona, resting in the tranquil coolness and darkness of an ancient church, when the bohemian fine cabinet maker came into her life.
Thinking he was alone too, he had only entered the church to run sensitive fingers up and down a carved nave support in tactile appreciation of thousand-year-old timber, an act which caused instant reciprocal detonation when stunned eyes met, and a week of erotic abandonment, the pair hardly leaving their small bed to eat or sleep.

By chance, a fellow countryman, she had left a desolate family to move in with him on returning home, and had been living with him for several weeks when she came to me for help.
Satisfied directly that suicide was not a considered option, I told her her mental anguish was a healthy response, that I was not a priest, no ease of conscious was possible by confessional forgiveness, by repenting any nagging sins. The decision to resolve the painful dilemma between two loyalties was hers alone. After a long silence, she said “Nature is so unfair”.

Though adamant about remaining objective throughout our short contact, something primal in me, presumably, some difficult to conceal initial aesthetic interest, may have revealed itself and attained deeper meaning from the tense, intimate process while being closely confronted by her physical beauty and alluring personality, and on hearing too, descriptive detail of her recent love-making history, an unfortunate occupational hazard. After all, love is awoken by acceptance and I in return felt strong predilection towards a client struggling with renegade feelings that nevertheless seem so right.

Later, barely a month after our contact had concluded, she rang me in the evening on my work phone. I could hear she had been drinking as she quietly sobbing in soft voice ridiculed all we had talked about over several sessions.
The shunting breaths between strings of words, her phone tapping rhythmically on the frame of her glasses, revealed the activity they were engaged in. He too, was trying to mitigate his suffering, equally guilt-ridden, now free-falling with her. Gasping as she climaxed, her confusion was now resolved and my punishment fully completed. So ended their last day together. “God has won” she said (venting her anger towards His moral shackles through me). “My children will be happy”.

There we have the tragedy of the human condition yet again truly confirmed. While evolution is a series of active interdependent circles layered up from the biologically primitive to the intellectually sublime, there’s no recipe for problem-free living, for the perfect life.

As I presume with most people who met her, my being genuinely, though unintentionally, affected when confronted by such beauty, but unable also to fully conceal it, in circumstances requiring us both to keep feelings fanciful and transient, would appear, nevertheless, to be a contributing factor in helping her arrive at a decision. A parentally responsible decision representing perhaps the most self-sacrificing, less damaging, means of obtaining conscience relief, and emotional peace for all concerned – hopefully too, for those still deeply in love, in the long run….
“How can I ever be sure?”






© Gothicman 2023
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