Lessons Ch. 02

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Chapter Two: Monday Afternoon

The rest of Margaret’s weekend passed uneventfully. The highlight had certainly been the Friday evening she had spent with Josh. Whatever she was doing, she found her thoughts drifting back to him; from his confident manner at the computer, to his boyish uncertainty in all things social; except for that dance. He had seemed really confident on the dance floor. “What’s up with that,” she wondered. “Many older, more experienced men are uneasy dancers.” It was yet another unusual attribute in a very complex young man. As she walked into the English Department offices, she wondered when she’d see Josh again. “I really would like another computer lesson,” she thought, “Another dance would be nice too.”

The day was a blur of classes, papers to review and meetings with students. Unlike last week when she had rushed home after her last class, this Monday she found herself back in her office, reviewing the dissertation of her graduate student. She remembered that she wanted to talk with Josh about his. “I wonder if he’ll call; or should I call him?” It was all too complicated. She didn’t notice the sun setting and the darkness of evening falling until she reached to turn on more lights. When she looked up, she was startled to see Josh standing, again, in her office doorway.

“Hi,” he said quietly. “I didn’t have the heart to disturb you. It looked like you were really concentrating.”

“How long have you been standing there?”

“Oh, a while.”

“Well come in, if you have a minute,” Margaret said. “Would you like to sit down?”

“Are you sure? You don’t have to finish whatever it was that you were working on? You looked pretty intent,” he countered. He was obviously providing her an out, if in fact the invitation was automatic and not really intentional.

“No. It’s my grad student’s latest chapter in her dissertation. I don’t need to get back to her right away. She’s just beginning and has a long way to go. How about you? I’ve been meaning to ask where you’re at in the process. Were you here today to see Professor Butler?”

“Yes,” he said, somewhat dejectedly. “I’m scheduled to submit my paper in two weeks and then defend it two weeks later. I’m trying to finish this up before spring graduation. At least that was my intention. Now, I don’t know.”

“Is something wrong,” Margaret asked.

“Professor Butler wants me to change some things that I am uncomfortable changing. He says I either have to leave them out, change them, or make a stronger case for their inclusion.”

“Well, as I mentioned to you, erotica is a special interest of mine,” Margaret offered. “Is there anything that I might be able to help you with?”

“”Would you really do that?” he asked tentatively.

“Sure. Have you had dinner yet?”

“No, ” he replied.

“Why don’t you follow me home? You can tell me about it while I fix us something to eat. I have a few more computer questions too, that maybe we can get to. That is if this is a good time for you,” she added hesitantly.

“I’d really like that, Margaret,” he said quietly, without ever looking at her.

“So would I, Josh. Let’s go,” Margaret replied gently.

Monday Evening

As she fixed dinner, Josh poured out his concerns about his paper. Professor Butler had never really supported his thesis. And now, in the final stretch, was suggesting that there wasn’t enough evidence to support his position. He was clearly discouraged and frustrated.

Margaret tried to be helpful. She found herself agreeing with most of his conclusions. She was able to make a number of suggestions of literature that would help strengthen Josh’s position. He was taking notes on everything she said. By the time she set dinner on the table, he looked like he was feeling a little better about his situation.

“Thank you so much, Margaret. This has been really helpful. I’ll work on the revisions gaziantep escort bayan sitesi and add this support material and re-present the paper to Professor Butler. I think you’ve successfully helped me to overcome his objections.”

“You’re welcome, Josh. It was a pleasure. I think you are brave to tackle a subject like erotica in a thesis; especially at this small, conservative school. Frankly, I’m surprised they accepted the proposal,” she said.

Throughout their dinner, they continued to talk about the subject of erotica. It was clearly another topic that Josh felt comfortable with. Although, unlike when he was discussing the computer, he seemed unable to look directly at her while he talked. “I wonder if he’s thinking about my stories,” Margaret thought. “I wonder if we will ever share that?”

“He’s certainly an unusual young man,” Margaret found herself thinking again. Then she remember wanting to ask him about the dancing. “Josh,” she said, “the other night at the diner, when I asked you to dance with me, well, I know that you were kind of nervous, but you dance really well. Did you take lessons?”

“Yes,” he said shyly, “My mom insisted. She said I needed to know about etiquette if I ever hoped to make anything of myself.”

“What did she mean, ‘make something of yourself? Will you tell me about it?” she asked gently.

Josh slowly began to tell his story. His parents had gotten married very young when his mom had found out she was pregnant with him. It was apparent early on that they were not well suited for each other. They both came from staunch Catholic families, so divorce was never really considered as an option. They struggled to make the best of it, all the while lonely and disappointed in their lives. His dad worked constantly and when he wasn’t working, was usually asleep in front of the TV with a beer in his hand. His mom did odd jobs around the neighborhood. She devoured books, and through them, dreamed of a better life.

Josh had started to go to the library with her, sometimes twice a week, when he was barely old enough to talk. Soon he found great peace and comfort in the quiet, among the stacks and stacks of books. He read everything he could get his hands on. The head librarian took a liking to him and began to make some suggestions. With her help, he breezed through the small collection of the town library. She ordered books on loan from the bigger libraries in the city.

Meanwhile, his mom had figured out that he was pretty smart and began to dream about his future. She wanted a better life for Josh. It seemed like he might find a way out, with a college scholarship. So with the little extra money she earned from her odd jobs, she sent him to etiquette school and dance lessons. She encouraged his participation in all types of sports, in the debate club, the drama society and student council. She lived her dreams vicariously through Josh.

“Sure enough, when I graduated I received a full scholarship to one of the major east coast universities, ” Josh said, “Only I never made it there. My mom got really sick that summer after I graduated. When September came, I didn’t feel like I could leave her. Dad was no help at all. He dealt with every crisis by drinking harder. There was only me to take care of mom. So I went full time at the computer store in town and stayed put.”

“Oh, Josh,” Margaret sighed.

“Oh, I was OK with it. I knew that it was the right thing to do. I stayed with her for almost two years. She wasted away from a variety of different cancers. Just when we thought she had it beat, another one would pop up. She died almost two years to the day of my high school graduation. Dad never even made it to the funeral. He was too drunk.”

“I stuck around for a while, but dad was drinking so heavily by then, that he really never even knew I was there. gaziantep escort bayan forum One Friday night, after drinking his paycheck at the tavern in town, he wrapped his car around a tree. I left then and have never looked back.”

“But of course, the scholarship was gone. If I wanted to go to school, I had to find another way. I had no money, no resources. So I joined the Air Force.”

“Are you sorry you asked yet?”

“No Josh, please keep going.”

“Well, to end this saga, the military paid for my undergraduate degree in communications and when I got out, I continued on, studying English Literature. I ended up here, partly because they offered me a partial scholarship and partly because it reminds me of the small town that I grew up in.”

“That’s an incredible story, Josh, but what about the erotica? That seems like an unusual interest for a small town boy.”

“No, not really,” he replied. “I was always big for my age and I guess, OK looking. But I was always uncomfortable with girls; all that giggling and silly conversation about nothing important. Instead, I filled my time with sports, my part time computer job, and reading and writing every thing I could get my hands on.”

“I’ll never forget, when I was about 16, the librarian suggested I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It changed my life. I began to understand, if only conceptually, the deep connection that a man and woman can share. It opened a door for me. I began to read everything by Lawrence that I could get my hands on. That was a challenge. Even Lady Chatterley’s Lover had to be ordered from one of the bigger libraries in the system. After Lawrence, I read all the other great classics of erotica. It became a passion of mine.

“Although I am beginning to think it serves as a diversion. I sometimes think that it’s easier to read and write about it, than …” he stopped abruptly, clearly unsure if he had shared too much and if he should continue. He blushed deeply, and stammered, “That’s probably way more than you wanted to know.”

“Josh,” Margaret said gently, “You are an amazing young man. I think I understand what you are saying. I am honored that you have chosen to share it with me. You see,” she continued, ” my story is similar. I too, was introduced to erotica through Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Only I had to hide it among my English Lit books because neither my parents nor the nuns in the Catholic girls school that I attended, felt that Lawrence was appropriate for a young girl. But it struck something deep inside me and I found I could not get enough of his work. Like you, I read everything I could get my hands on and my imagination began to spin.”

“I actually tried my hand at writing erotica while I was still in high school, but I was never satisfied with the results. My stories seemed shallow and superficial. I began to wonder if my lack of experience was responsible.”

“I went off to college and continued to study Literature, but I saved my passion for erotica until late at night, alone in my bedroom. Off and on would try again to write, but I was never satisfied.”

“I graduated, went on for my Masters and then took my first job teaching at a small community college. I met a man there who changed my life. He was everything that I had been dreaming of. He was big and tall and handsome. His eyes danced when he laughed and his smile was warm and friendly. But more than that, he was smart and well educated not only from books and classes in universities, but in the ways of the world, in the knowing and understanding of people. And he loved to talk, to share all that was inside of him. He talked and talked and talked. I listened and I learned. I asked questions and he would talk more. We had this easy, comfortable way between us. We could and did, talk about anything and everything.”

“Inevitably, the topic escort bayan gaziantep of sexuality was raised. We talked about that as easily and freely as we did everything else. I felt so comfortable with him; so accepted. He was the first person that I ever told about my interest in erotica. He was gentle and supportive. I told him about my stories and how dissatisfied I had been with them.”

My sexual experiences had been limited up to then. While I was not a virgin, I had never found myself in a relationship with a committed partner where I could explore all the facets of my sexuality that I sensed were hovering just beneath the surface. Well, that was soon to change! The relationship continued to grow. There had been an immediate sexual attraction between us. As we spent more and more time together, talking and sharing, we both knew that we wanted our relationship to be sexual. It seemed the most natural progression. But we chose it very intentionally. We talked about it; planned the time and place and shared our concerns and expectations.”

“I will never forget the first time we were together…” Margaret’s voice became very soft and Josh watched as her eyes filled with tears. Instinctively, he reached across the table and took her hands in his. She looked up and he met her eyes with his.

“Margaret, you don’t have to tell me this. I can see it is difficult and painful,” he said.

“No, I want you to know. For some reason I think it’s important for you to hear this,” she said wiping away a tear from her cheek

“The very first time was more than I had ever imagined sex could be. I knew at that moment, even if I never saw him again, I would be forever changed. And I was. In the next years that we were together, our relationship continued to deepen. We shared new experiences, fantasies, and together explored all the facets of our sexuality. Each time, I didn’t think it could possibly be more exciting, it was. Each time I thought we had done it all, more appeared.

“I began to write again. This time, there was something very different about my stories. I spilled forth onto the blank pages all the passion that had been pent up inside me. I explored my sexuality, not only with my body every chance that I could, but also with every word that I wrote on the pages. My writing became real, authentic.”

“I was stronger and more powerfully female than ever before in my life. I felt connected to the generations of women who had come before me. I understood, in my soul, the deep spirituality of being the womb of life. The essence of being female came alive in me and I have never been the same.”

Silent tears slide down her cheeks. She didn’t look up, but stared down at their hands, still interlocked together. “I’m sorry, Josh. I think this is the first time that I have spoken those words. Until now they have lived only in my heart, in my soul.”

They sat together silently in the quiet house. The sun had set and the house was dark. Time seemed to stand still. They both seemed to sense that yet again, something had shifted. These new revelations had been deeply personal. In sharing them with each other, they each had stated their willingness to be vulnerable to the other.

Margaret glanced down at her watch. “Oh my gosh, it’s after 10:00 PM. I have an early class on Tuesdays.”

“Well, I’ll be going then,” he said. “Thank you again for the help with my paper, Margaret. I think it will make a real difference. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to your computer questions. I’d be happy to come back…” his voice trailed off.

“We’ll see,” Margaret whispered.

At the door, he set down his backpack and without another word, reached to take her face gently between his large warm hands. He looked directly into her eyes as he said, “Thank you for everything, Margaret.” Then he bent his face to hers and tenderly kissed her.

Margaret reached up and slid her arms around his neck, fully responding to his tentative kiss with an invitation of her own. His arms went around her waist and he drew her body against his. Their shared kiss held the longing that had been buried deep inside each of them and also the promise of all that was to come.

She watched him walk to his car and knew that he’d be back; for far more than computer lessons.

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