Yesterday was kind of a milestone day for me. It had its peaks and valleys. Okay, well, mostly peaks; one lowly valley. But I got to the end of last night really changed. A changed woman.
The day started out just great because I had a noon appointment to chat with MG#2, so I was feeling frisky. And work on the Hurley Falls Mysteries is going so great. I’m just so happy with how my writing is going these days. The Muse is just outdoing himself.
And then, to my surprise, 2 workmen show up to do some serious work on my furnace, and the vents, install a new thermostat. I wasn’t expecting them until September, but here they were. And, lo & behold, the main guy, the guy in charge, could not be sexier or more good-looking if he tried. And he’s my age, to boot. Long curly silver hair in a pony tail. I was floored. He was so my type, it was ridiculous.
I am absolutely not the kind of woman who would ever, in a million years, have sex with a repairman. Not happening in my world, ever. To me, that’s just really tacky. But yesterday, I realized I have an odd definition of what’s tacky. I decided I wouldn’t so much as attempt to initiate anything but if for some weird reason, he asks me to fuck him, I’ll do it in a heart beat.
That’s not tacky at all.
At one point, they had to go to the hardware store to get some parts and I closed the basement door because I don’t want the cats getting down there, and then I realize that, if a person — a furnace repairman, let’s say — is coming up those basement stairs, they can’t help but see the built-in bookcase at the top of the steps and what the hell is sitting there, dead-center, going across instead of up & down, so it’s stupidly easy to notice, but a book that says BONDAGE in big letters and has a vintage b & w photo of a naked girl tied up with rope, right there on the spine of the book.
And I thought, well, that’s clever of me. Jesus. No wonder Gorgeous Furnace Repairman keeps smiling at me… But then I thought that if I moved the book at that point, it would be obvious that I’d moved it and would maybe make it look like I was preoccupied with something. So I just left it and decided to act like I had no clue it was there.
But then my eye caught sight of another book on the top shelf that said EROTICA on its spine, and I thought, what is that book anyway? I knew I had to have stories in it or it wouldn’t be in my collection at this point (I’ve had to purge hundreds and hundreds of books as I’ve kept moving over the past 15 years). All of my own books, or books that I’ve contributed work to over the years, are in bookshelves upstairs, so I wasn’t sure why this one collection was not with the others. I took the book down and looked at it.
It was published 6 years ago, and it was the best of the best early erotica, from a British publisher. And the back cover copy said that these were early stories from “erotic masters” and there was my name, first, at the top of the list. Not alphabetized or anything. And I open the book and the entire 500-page book starts off with my story, Anal, followed by my story, Swingers. Almost as if to say that the sweeping trend of great erotica writing that occurred in the 1990s began with these 2 stories. I was, like, how come I never saw this book before?? How fucking flattering is this?? Was I really that caught up in my “next book sale and the next and the next” that I couldn’t even appreciate what might have been right in front of me??
Clearly, the answer was yes, on all counts. It was a strange feeling. I wished I could go back 6 years and been a little more appreciative to the publisher, for Christ’s sake.
I hadn’t read Anal in years. And my eye just sort of began reading the opening paragraph, and I was, like, oh my god; I forgot how funny this was. So I just kept reading and it was, you know, fucking hot. What a filthy, filthy story, you know? And then comes that totally typical Marilyn Jaye Lewis paragraph — that paragraph that goes for the heart strings and leaves the testosterone alone for one single moment; the paragraph about the first anal sex episode at 14, with the boy, in his father’s den, and skipping school, and then how the boy smells how all boys smelled back then; like mown grass and sweat and tobacco and spearmint gum.
Jesus. That paragraph was so erotic. So pure and sweet; you know, a reminder that sex is also about tender things like trust and love. It blew my mind, you know? I suddenly remembered how hard I had worked on writing that story Anal to get it just write. Over 20 years ago. And I was able to say, kind of with certainty, 20 years down the road, that I had done a good job.
At that point, the workmen were back from the hardware store, so I took the book up to my room and read Swingers, for the first time in, really, just years and years. And years. I knew it was about a young single woman who ends up having sex with 2 older couples in NYC who are swingers. I knew it was funny. But I didn’t recall anything else about it, really.
Well, the opening line: “Friday night I went home with some married people,” suddenly reminded me that I had worked really, really hard on this story, too. You know? These stories didn’t just fly out of my pen or anything. I worked so hard at getting every sentence, every word just right. And as I read Swingers, I was kind of blown away by it, too. It is really funny, but it is also really erotic, in a really human sort of way. The pacing worked so well, and the interweaving of the sex and the humor worked well, too. But then I got to the final pages — a part of the story I’d forgotten completely about — and I literally could not believe how erotic it was. The pacing was spot on, and it was, of course, my own personal fantasy. My own personal, real-life daddy-issues in full flower in the backseat of a car, and after I read it, I was like, wow; I kind of just fucked myself from 20 years ago! You know, wrote something 20 years ago that managed to make me feel like I’d just had incredible sex with my own mind, 20 years later. It was incredible. Thank you!! I said to my 20-years-ago self. You totally nailed my very favorite daddy fantasy.
Then, of course, I immediately wondered if this was a short story my dad would have ever read, and it was such an uncomfortable question that I decided to tell myself: nah, no way would he have ever read this story that was read by thousands of people all over the world, published over and over and over again, and even published for free online… Crap.
Anyway. It was time for my appointed phone call with J. and so I picked up my phone and called him. And he answered right away, and I could tell something was not good. I said, “Can you talk?” and in a clipped, sort of angry way, he said. “No. I can’t talk . I’m busy. We’ll talk later.” Hang up.
Wow, was I pissed. And I immediately thought, yeah, we’ll talk later, pal, like next week later, next lifetime later… And I was just so pissed. I went down to the kitchen table to sit and stew, and there was Gorgeous Furnace Repairman working on installing my new digital thermostat. And even though he was still as good-looking as could be, I couldn’t even see him anymore, couldn’t focus. Because I was that pissed-off.
And then J.’s voice is in my head from a couple weeks ago, where he’s telling me, “Could you not get so pissed-off at me when things don’t always go your way, Marilyn?”
And then my voice was saying, “Yes, I’ll work on that. I don’t want to be that woman anymore. You’re right. I’m always doing that.” And it occurred to me that, even though I was still really angry, it was just me feeling very insecure and that this would be the ideal moment to step in and behave differently and just change my behavior for good — especially since he had no idea I was so angry, sitting there at my kitchen table, 500 miles from New York City. It was the prime moment to change.
And I asked myself, why am I so angry? It’s not like he’s with another woman, because if he were, he would tell me and probably text me a quick photo of whatever was going on. So, clearly, this was “business” stuff upsetting him and I had to just deal with it and trust that he would, indeed, call me later.
And he did. He called me later. We talked for 2 hours and had the best time. And he told me what had been going on when I had called earlier — something that was going to wind up costing him and his partners $50K. Shit. That’s a lot of money to lose in a heartbeat, and I’d been sitting there in that stupid bitch-mode, at my kitchen table, with my feelings hurt because he couldn’t talk to me right at noon.
In fact, I think it was the best conversation we’ve actually ever had. We talked about everything under the sun. Some of it disturbing, because some areas of his life are just disturbing, and some of it just cool and fun, and of course, some of it, really filthy. He told me about a woman he Topped on Monday. Just this past Monday. Just very matter-of-fact telling me all the details of Topping her, and I was just breathless. I couldn’t believe it, you know? I wasn’t even jealous of the girl, I just so wanted it to happen to me. I want to be Topped like that, too. In just that very, very same way. All my daddy issues in full flower again, only times ten.
And I said nothing, because, really, the pictures in my head took my breath away. And then he said, “Don’t worry, Marilyn. I’ll do it to you, too. And when you beg me stop, I’m not gonna.”
GOD, does it pay to not be my bitchy self. My bitchy self would have sent that phone call in a whole other unpleasant direction from the get-go, and I never would have heard him say that to me — something I’ve wanted to hear a man say to me for my whole life. The man really makes me so happy.