at a moss-decked burn

Last weekend we’d gone to an art fair in Chelsea followed by a film – the hard-hitting Ken Loach offering which had wrung its inevitable emotional response from us both so that when we emerged we felt as though we’d been pummelled.  The irony of where we’d come out onto was not lost on us either – we were in one of the richest boroughs of the country.  Alexander had been telling me that at some provincial cinemas the film wasn’t showing this week despite it being its opening week because of the school half-term break.  Not even in Ken Loach’s own town – what a cock up!

As we headed towards South Kensington station we walked past housing originally meant for those with modest means now very obviously housing a different stratum of society – the air of gentrification evident in the neat shrubbery, well-kept facades and expensive modes of transport ready to whisk the occupants to places of leisure and pleasure.  Two American tourists stop to ask for directions and after we’d sent them along the right direction walked hand in comfortable hand homewards.

So it was only yesterday at nearly midday we kissed each other goodbye.  And last night we texted goodnight.  And this morning hello as well as looking forward to seeing you later.  We can’t have enough of each other it seems.  There’s so much to discover and we boldly-ishly reveal some of our secrets – the ones that make us seem cool but not too off-puttingly shocking.  We have judged it about right so far.  During my most recent crisis when my youngest showed animosity at my inviting Alexander back home, he, ie Alexander took the opportunity to tell me the worst of his own domestic circs.  It doesn’t put me off in the slightest that he is still married or that he has children under the age of ten or that his wife still harbours an unhealthy amount of fury and vitriol against him which may be apt to erupt in the foreseeable future.  For my own self-preservation I begged him never to reveal my existence to said termagant.  Of course it is only his side I’m hearing of their breakup but I do recognise that degree of maleficence, lodged in my very own bosom nearly a decade and a half ago now.

All this, far from causing me pause or to flee, in fact offers the assurance that Alexander and I have nearly all the time in the world to conduct our love affair – all that time being the same lenthy time it takes for such complex relations as his to untangle.   My current accord and goodwill shared with the ex seems to offer some hope to Alexander that at some point in the future, he too will enjoy a similar degree of cooperation with his ex.

For a change from our outings I invited him round for dinner this evening.  A few others will also be at home but not the young rebel and I have high hopes for a peaceable meal.

How I feel, at what stage we’re at, it all feels like this:

 not rushing – stopping,
sink down on a verdant bank
sip the moss-decked burn.

kissah

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What Is This Thing With Alexander?

Monday evening came and saw Alexander and me enjoying dinner at Barrafina’s on Adelaide St before crossing the Thames and going on to the National Theatre. It was a short play and we came home to mine by half ten. There was time for some tea afterwhich we went upstairs for bed and more.  He had to leave early in the morning but we still had time to indulge in a little more intimacy before he had a shower, returned me my shirt I’d inadvertently left at his last week and finally, most deliciously, he had kissed me goodbye until Thursday, before he closed the door and descended the stairs and went out the front door.

The previous evening we’d talked frankly about his home circumstances – the depression his wife suffers and how that affects her ability to cope with their children; the involvement of the borough they lived in to ensure that the children’s needs are met, the meetings with council staff to weigh up and consider the instruments for satisfying such outcomes. He clearly has a lot to contend with.  I’d suggested to him that he could just go home at the end of our date if it was easier to negotiate travel, etc for such a meeting the following morning.  He had given me so complete a look of anguish that I felt a mixture of guilt and satisfaction for proposing it.

He also told me about his past girlfriends and how he had always been attracted to strong and independent women. I observed that it didn’t seem as though the women he married had those characteristics. He said that when he first met her, his current wife had come across as such and it was only later on that he realised she was particularly needy and emotionally unstable. Like most marriages they had had good times, she was sexually adventurous and he had been attracted to that – they had enjoyed holidays in Europe at naturist sites.  He blamed his own optimism and hope that things would turn a corner for not leaving earlier.  When the atmosphere at home had reached a certain level of toxicity that saw some physical violence, he had realised then that it was time to walk away.  He had been unfoundedly fearful of outcomes which had actually borne an opposing result – he was more at ease, regained his confidence and ability to parent singly, met and tentatively formed friendships with other women, rediscovered his sexuality, and so on – as such none of the fears that had held him back from walking away had come to fruition.

Before he met his current wife he had been seeing someone based in Europe and the few occasions they’d met had been alluring and exciting until it all went wrong somehow.  I guess the more at arm’s length someone is kept, the greater the danger of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

For now we are on the same page –  this is clearly an arrangement that suits us both – we have dependents and commitments that keep us on our toes, maybe even test our stress levels at times, such that the intimacy and dates we have with each other offer release and a break from reality. That I can be content with. For now this is good enough.

Epiphany

6th September 2016

Bade Julius goodbye today outside the tube station – this was after a date that ended with a sleepover.  He’d invited me to meet his friends on a canal walk last Sunday.  Complications with other things in our life meant that it didn’t end with either of us spending the night together – in my case I had work the next morning and in his he had to untangle himself from a relationship which did not have a promising future.  When we met up the following afternoon he still had not quite completely ended it, treading the fine line between saying no and not wanting to hurt.  I was uncomfortable when he tried to unburden himself as I tend to subscribe to a firmer method of rejection. We went for a ramble around Golders Hill park and supped at Eat Tokyo.  The evening walk with the dog on the golf course saw some al fresco nookie.  It was pitch black in the woods but the golf course itself was lit where a few houses backed onto the links.  We started off kissing there and moved on to a more sheltered area.  In any event the dog stood guard and would have warned us if anyone had happened upon us.  According to Julius it was his second experience of outdoor sex.

9th September 2016

Since the last time we met up in the Scottish Highlands at the beginning of summer, June to be precise, I hadn’t seen Ewan who came down the previous evening.  He was fairly ardent in his approach, claiming a dearth of suitable bedmates and so we had almost a quickie post-prandial, after which we enjoyed a siesta.   Later that evening we tried out the Ab Fab party venue in west London: under a starlit sky we swam in our birthday suits in the pool and made friends.  In a public room, i.e. one where spectators could look through we indulged in a fairly organised orgy with two other couples.  It was my first experience of a woman who squirts during orgasm.  One of Julius’ lovers does that and he claims it is a nuisance.  The woman at the sex party was a lovely friendly warm person as was her partner and post coital, as it were, were both happy to impart some advice for us swinging newbies.  I think Ewan had a lovely time of it and not feeling particularly emotionally attached to him I was able to indulge in the whole experience without any attendant angst.

I fully empathised with Julius’ feelings of insecurity and the following afternoon arranged to meet him at his after work.  I had work the following day and didn’t stay the night.  We discussed further how we felt about each other and confirmed that we were both fairly comfortable with the idea of our dating/sleeping with other people.  He asked me whether I had any opinion about his considering closing his dating profile on the app and I told him that it was his decision to make and I would not presume to ask him to do so.   I added that apart from Tomas, I was not chatting to anyone else.  As someone once said, they were poly-saturated and I felt fairly sated by the choice lovers I am in contact with.

He continued to tell me that I was desirable and earlier this afternoon, after several risqué message exchanges with Tomas, I began to realise that perhaps men really did want to take me to bed.  And perhaps that is all, … and that is really quite enough and almost an epiphany for me.  Perhaps it didn’t matter after all – the aging, the wobbly bits, the less than symmetrical features, the loose skin, the silver strands amongst the ebony.  Some men – Julius, Tomas, Goran (whose own domestic issues continue), Ramon, etc… desired me.  But not Michael anymore it would seem – we had met at a family event with some of our children in tow and our relationship is friendly and warm.

I went to the poly-cafe in Warren Street with Max yesterday evening for a book club meeting, the book being The Ethical Slut.  There was a nice balance of people at different stages of polyamory and we talked about our experiences and relationships.  I recognised one other person I’d met previously when I arranged with Goran to meet there one Saturday afternoon some time in early summer this year.  It felt reassuring to be a part of a group whose chosen relationship lifestyle mirrored mine.  Max was in fragile mood and I gave him a few warm, close embraces when he asked me for a hug.  I am wary of becoming attached to him but am not so unfeeling as to deny him warmth.  He is more than an ex-lover and I feel a strong fondness towards him.  It’s strange how I am no longer giddy over any of my past or even present lovers but continue to feel a bond with some of them.  I still adore Julius but can sense my infatuation passing as he tells me that he is still meeting new women – including one last night and another this evening.  Reluctant to be hurt by someone who has the potential to unsettle me my survival instincts kick in and I take the initiative with Tomas this afternoon, asking him for a preview of his back torso, gambling on the possibility that he would ask for one of mine in return and he did not fail me.

This is the picture Tomas sent me earlier today in a bid to convince me that he was not as curvy as the Felix Vallotton nude who has a coquettish profile.

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Felix Vallotton’s nude

fv

Three little words

Spectacles

Yesterday afternoon we met for a picnic on Primrose Hill before going to a one woman comedy gig – Spectacles with Sue Perkins.  Julius had seen her on QI, I’d heard her on Radio 4 and seen her on TV presenting some show or other in the past and lately she has become the darling of a younger audience due to the Great British Bake Off.  It was fun, light with glimpses of a happy past/childhood and Sue could be side-splitting.  There were free drinks and crisps and nuts and I had some red wine which emboldened me to heckle her from the front row!

Later that evening we came back to mine and between a gentle embrace and intimate, soft kisses, he told me he loved me.  I cannot quite believe that I have become the sort of woman who can excite such a well of feeling and deep tenderness from a man.   He said that what he feels is not mere lust – we’d both experienced that at the beginning and now, with the increased frequency of our dates – one every other day, our mutual attraction has developed into something of greater substance than pure sexual titillation.

Earlier that afternoon, we had talked with simple honesty about our past and current lovers.   He wanted to know if I felt jealous that he might meet anyone new and I took the opportunity to assure him that I didn’t and that I too was in a dalliance with Tomas for example and would probably resume sleeping with Goran again in the future when his marital storm abated.   We both agreed that neither of us subscribed to the notion of ownership of each other.  Although Julius might’ve referred to me as “his girlfriend” to some of his friends, he had merely done so as not to have to go into any great detail the concept of ethical non-monogamy to people whom he knew were more comfortable in orthodox relationships.

This morning my lover continued to marvel at how I had turned his daily routine on its head – with morning intercourse – both social and sexual – before coffee – quite unheard of in all his many years, followed by walks with dog and his getting home before midday.  Having kissed our goodbyes I went to work glowing with warm remembrance of my lover’s considered declaration.  He loves me!

Your feminine ways

Yesterday afternoon I took Julius to see the Kjartansson exhibition at the Barbican.  He too found it magical in its full immersive experience.  We went into the room with the 9 video harmonising installation where the feminine is celebrated in music – the idea of individuality and celebration of togetherness makes the theme of divorce even more poignant. There were other displays but we chose to watch this twice, in all its 64 minutes.  On both occasions it felt right to embrace occasionally.  Although I first saw this with Tomas last week and we enjoyed our first kiss here, I felt a profound sense of closeness experiencing this artwork with Julius.  I was glad that he found it all as enchanting as I did.

There wasn’t a plan for him to stay the night with me but after the exhibition ended at 6pm he showed me where he worked nearby and we spent a contemplative moment in Cardinal Hume’s garden of peace before going around Bunhill Cemetery to pay a visit to William Blake’s memorial.  A quick pint each of Seafarer’s at the pub opposite and I remembered that the cupboard at home was nearly bare, so we nipped into a small supermarket for some supplies.  By the time we got back and I’d made dinner and then we had our cuddle, we were both too exhausted to move and in the end he spent the night.  It was lovely to wake up together, although being the more morning person I was restless at the crack of dawn and had to take the dog out for a walk on my own.  Climbing back into bed later, we had another close and intimate embrace before breakfast.

Julius tells me that he feels very tender towards me – I asked him if this had anything to do with the fact that he is so much taller or older than me but he denied it saying it was more to do with how I am.  I suspect he is from an era where men behaved in a chivalrous manner towards women and I feel very fortunate that we have grown so fond of each other so quickly.  Doubts about how long this is likely to last no longer trouble me.  I told him that Ewan was coming down from Scotland in a few weeks to visit me.  He asked if I’d like to take some time out from him to entertain Ewan but I reassured him that I was only meeting up with Ewan for a day and night.

When we said our goodbyes on the tube platform later we knew that it wasn’t long before our next date.  Somehow we have managed to increase the frequency by one date every couple of days!