In Europe, the equivalent holidays to Labor Day, those that celebrate the worker, are held in the beginning of May, at the start of the Summer. They are still strongly associated with Trade Unions in many countries.
My understanding is that, in the US, Labor Day is seem more as an end to the Summer and has lost most of its links with celebrating workers. It is a time when people start again after the Summer break. I decided that this story should be about endings and beginings, in the same way that the holiday is. Here we get a closer look at Barbara and at the impact of the threesome on Memorial Day on Peter and Helen.
The concern in Peter’s voice makes me smile.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just taking a moment you know?”
His stillness in the doorway calms me.
I stand, check my hair in the mirror and say, “I’ll be out in a minute and I’ll be the life and soul of the party, honest. After all, it’s a holiday right?”
He says, “You’ve done the right thing Barbara,” like it’s not a non-sequitor. Then he leaves.
I hope I’ve done the right thing. I hope it with all my heart.
There has been so much change in my life, in such a short time, that I feel giddy. I sit back down, composing myself, staring at the woman in the mirror, looking for signs that she has changed.
When I was a child I used to love to play blindman’s bluff; to be blindfolded and turned round and round and round until all sense of directions was lost and the only way left was forward, into the arms of whomever I could catch. These past months I’ve been playing that game with my life. Now it’s time to take off the blindfold and seize what I have found.
God, I sound like some New-Ager peddling re-birthing seminars. How Mark would laugh at that. I can imagine the ‘commercial break’ voice in which he would say, “Tired of the old you? Give birth to a new and improved one after only five days at our woodland retreat!”
I’ve always sneered at the idea of such fundamental change. You are who you are. You don’t suddenly become someone else. But maybe, sometimes, we settle for not being all of who we are. We shut down the parts that don’t fit. We grow, but we grow stunted, like plants raised in a too-small pot. At the beginning of the summer it came to me that my life had become pot-bound. So I smashed the pot.
God knows, Mark had already put a few cracks in it, with his serial seductions of silly girls. But in the end it was me, not him, who shattered our marriage beyond hope of repair.
When he abandoned me, in the middle of a Memorial Day BarBQ with our best friends, so that he could go and fuck his latest Barbie, everything suddenly changed. I didn’t get angry. I got cold and still and then I cracked, like an iceberg snapping off from a glacier and sliding into the sea. One moment Mark and I were connected, the next we were separated by an unbridgeable stretch of despair and disappointment.
I think I might have frozen forever on that day. Gone into shock and never come out. But Helen and Peter rescued me, right there and then. They took me into their hearts and, for a while, into their bed. I know that sounds bizarre and weird, but it didn’t feel that way. I’ve known them both forever and I love them in my way. Helen, so brave and fierce and full of energy. Peter, her rock, her keel, always there for her, always calm and true. Being with them felt like coming home. Like rejoining my family. Except, of course, I don’t fuck my family.
But now it’s time to leave. The summer, that started so badly, is coming to an end. It’s Labor Day today. Helen and Peter are having a little party to wish me well in my new job in big bad Chicago. All my friends are waiting out there and yet I can’t bring myself to leave this room which has been my refuge from having to deal with the reality of divorcing Mark and learning to live on my own.
I know I should despise Mark. Everybody else does. But I can’t. He’s weak not wicked. I know all about being weak. I was weak for years. In a way, my whole married life was a result of weakness.
I let Mark marry me because he wanted it so much. He was the first man in a long time to see past the cloak of invisibility I had wrapped myself in. The dowdy clothes, the shyness, the lack of makeup, didn’t put him off. He wanted me and he wanted to please me. That was flattering. He found ways to make me laugh. That was endearing. And he was always there, like a faithful hound waiting to be taken for a walk. All I had to do was look at him for his tail to start to wag. That, in the end, turned out to be irresistible.
It’s not that I didn’t love Mark, I did. I still do. But the thought of him never made me wet. When we kissed it was nice rather than good. When we fucked it was urgent rather than potent. I told myself that things would get better; that we would learn how to please each other; that we had plenty of time. But that isn’t how it worked out. Things got worse, not better. We never talked about it, but it was always with us; an absence of the passion that should have made our marriage grow.
In the end, that absence became the center of our marriage. We walked around the hole it left in our lives every day, until it became our habit to circumnavigate sex, at least with each other. Mark found solace in sport-fucking shallow, undemanding women. I let my fingers release what I couldn’t suppress.
I wonder sometimes if things would have been different if I’d been a virgin when I married Mark. But I wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Todd had seen to that.
“You thinking of Mark?” Helen says, “You look upset.”
I didn’t hear her come in. I knew she would want to see me alone before I left. I have, I realize, been avoiding it. Now she is here, looking at me in the mirror, and I can’t read the expression on her face. She can do that sometimes; just switch her face to neutral. It’s disturbing because she is normally so expressive. Mark christened her ‘Helen, the face that launched a thousand quips.’
“Actually, I was thinking of Todd,” I say.
“Todd the impaler? What brought him to mind?” Helen moves closer to me. Her face has softened a bit. She knows Todd is a difficult subject for me.
“I was wondering if being with him screwed up my marriage.”
My voice sounds like I’m on the edge of crying. I didn’t expect that. I hate that I cry so easily.
Helen is smaller than me. When she hugs me, I have to bend slightly to put my head on her shoulder. She leads me to the bed and we sit for a moment, next to one another. She holds both my hands within hers and suddenly, I see her as she was when we were both in our first year in college.
She was my first adult female friend. She told me everything about herself. No embarrassment. No restraints. It was infectious. And one night, when we were sitting on her bed in her room, I started to tell her about Todd. I hadn’t told anyone about Todd. She let me talk. For hours. I think that Helen performed an exorcism that night.
When I had finished she said to me, “You are a good person.” It felt like a blessing.
If I had been prettier earlier, I would never have gone with Todd. Up to my senior year in high school, I was the invisible girl. The one everyone wrote, “I hope you have a great summer” to when they signed my yearbook, trying to remember who the hell I was.
The summer before my senior year I had a growth spurt. I grew three inches, lost some weight, and acquired a waist and hips. Suddenly I had long legs and a good ass. Barbara the boring became Babs the beautiful over night.
My mother was so pleased, that she bought me outfit after outfit. “I’ve been waiting to take you shopping for such a long time,” she said. In the store I became the center of attention. My legs were applauded and I was encouraged to buy skirts that would display them. I went back to school feeling wonderful.
It didn’t last long. I’d broken one of the prime rules of High School: I’d tried to move out of the slot that my peers had allocated to me. My best friend, Alice, felt slighted by my new look. My studymate, Carl, suddenly became tongue tied and uncomfortable. But the toughest reaction came from the wannabe-prom-queens. They started to call me Babs the Booty. The said I looked like a slut. But I wouldn’t give in. I wouldn’t sacrifice the look of pride on my mother’s face just to fit in in High School.
So now I looked good but no one talked to me. Then the boys found me. They weren’t bad boys. They were polite and nice and muscular and I ached for them. I hadn’t dated much so I wasn’t really sure what to do. I knew enough not to fuck on the first date. But the second seemed reasonable. And the boys wanted it so badly. And they were so nice to me. And besides, the sex was good. Sometimes very good.
I was Barbara the Queen Bee, surrounded by a group of adoring drone-boys. We went everywhere together. We had fun. And at the end of the evening one of them would take me home and on the way we would park and I would find out one more time just how good it felt to ride a fresh strong cock.
Looking back now, I think I went a little crazy for a while. The thinking me was switched off. I stopped being shy and introverted and tried hard to live in the now. The now where I was beautiful and the boys were eager. I was aware that they didn’t love me. I knew I didn’t love them. But it felt so damned good.
I’d been Queen Bee for about a month when Todd Rawlins showed up. Todd was two years older than me and had been the star of our football team in his senior year. If it hadn’t been for a knee injury, Todd would have made it to college on a sports scholarship. Instead he was working at his daddy’s Chrysler dealership.
Every girl in school knew three things about Todd: he drove a brand new LeBaron Convertible, he partied hard and he had the biggest dick in town. One Friday night the drones and I were coming out of the bowling alley and I was teasing them about who would get to drive me home, when Todd pulled up next to us in his killer car. No ‘hello’s. No ‘baby you look good’s. He just said, “Get in,” and I did.
Once we were away from the boys, Todd was nicer to me. He told me how he’d heard that I’d become hot and said he’d decided he had to take a look for himself. I asked him if he liked what he saw. He told me that, he hadn’t seen it all yet and that he’d let me know later.
In a way I was still a virgin until Todd fucked me. I mean, I’d had sex, lots of it, but I’d never been possessed by it. Never had it take over my whole mind until I was just a set of nerve endings surfing on wave after wave of orgasm.
That first time, he took me to woods and we parked. He led me out of the car and made me sit on the hood.
“I got something for you, baby and you’re gonna like it a lot,” he said.
I nearly laughed at that, but realized in time that no joke was intended.
Then Todd unzipped and took out his dick. It wasn’t fully hard yet but it was already bigger than most of the cocks I’d had inside me. My cunt contracted and my mouth went dry. I wanted to see it stand and I wanted to feel it stretch me. That dick of his brought out desires that I didn’t even know I had.
“Told you you’d like it,” he said, “they all do.”
I wasn’t listening. I was spreading my legs and pushing my panties aside and staring at his dick and wondering if it would tear me. There may have been a small voice saying ‘why are you fucking this dick’, but even if I had heard it, my only answer would have been ‘because it’s there! Now shut up bitch and let me fuck.’
The first fuck, he just grabbed me by the back of the knees, spread me so wide that it hurt and rammed it home. Nothing had ever made me feel so full. It hurt but it hurt good. He pounded away at me so hard I thought we’d dent the car. I was breathless and stunned. Not ready to orgasm yet; still amazed at how full I felt; almost afraid to move in case I hurt something.
Then he came and I thought ‘Shit no, not yet!’
I must have said some of that aloud because Todd grinned at me and said, “We ain’t done yet, baby. You feel anything getting smaller down there? All we’ve done is get you nice and lubed.”
It was true. He’d come, but he was still hard. I pushed against him gratefully, eager to chase my orgasm. But he pulled out.
“Time to say hello properly, baby,” he said.
I didn’t know what he meant.
He stepped back from the car and said “On your knees, baby. Come and show Mr. Pecker here your deep appreciation.”
I wish I had laughed then. I wish I had told him and Mr. Pecker to fuck off. But I didn’t. I got on my knees and I took him in my mouth. It was bitter tasting and unpleasant but sort of compelling at the same time. There was just so damned much of it.
I didn’t have a lot of experience with giving head. The drones and I had skipped that part and gone straight for the main course. It must have showed.
Todd said “Jesus girl, mind those teeth,” and took Mr. Pecker away from me.
I thought it was all over then, but Todd wasn’t done. He bent me over his car and took me doggy style. You wouldn’t believe how deep he could get like that. And he was slow now. No hurry at all. It went on and on. He made me come the first time just from the way his cock moved. The second time he got me there by working on my clit while still going with that slow deep stretching in and out movement. My third orgasm was triggered when he spurted inside me.
My legs were shaking when he pulled out. I couldn’t move off the hood of his car, even though I could feel his cum running down my thigh. I’d never come three times one after another like that. My mind had gone away completely, a bit like the way you lose your hearing after a gun goes off. I wanted to sleep right there.
Todd guided me back into the car. We drove to my house in silence. I don’t think I could have talked even if I’d wanted to. When we reached my house, Todd just waited for me to get out.
I struggled onto the curb and he said, “You have a great cunt, baby, but you’ve really gotta learn to give head. See you tomorrow.”
Then he drove off.
I lay on my bed thinking about what had happened. It was shameful. I knew that. Todd was using me and I was letting him. My cunt was sore. My legs ached. My pride wanted to say, ‘Screw you, Todd Rawlins.’ I fell asleep still undecided about whether to see him again.
I was late for school the next day. By the time I got there, everyone seemed to know I was one of Todd’s girls. Not Todd’s girl. Just one of them. The drone-boys all found reasons not to be available that night. My ex-best friend told me I should be ashamed of myself.
After school, Todd was there with his shiny car and his big smile. We did it all again. The only difference was that I nearly threw up on him when he tried to push Mr. Pecker down my throat.
At the time it seemed to me I was out of options. I couldn’t go back and I didn’t know how to go forward so I just let Todd go on fucking me. It lasted a whole month.
My cunt was sore by then. My mind was working loose from the corner I’d tied her up in and was shouting ‘stop this nonsense right now, young lady.’ I gagged her because I didn’t want to hear it.
It ended when Todd called me and asked me to come over to his house. He said his parents were away and he wanted to show me something special.
I went because I couldn’t figure out how to say no.
When I got there the door was open so I went into the family room. Todd was on the big sofa watching a porno movie. Amy Shanks, universally known at school as Amy Skanks, was on her knees sucking his dick. I must have just stood there looking stunned.
Todd said “Hi, baby. This is what I wanted to show you.” Then he turned to Amy and said “Do it, baby.”
Amy looked at me. She held eye-contact while she lowered her mouth on to Todd’s dick. She swallowed it. All of it. It made her throat bulge but it she swallowed it all. Todd placed his hand on the back of her head and started to move her up and down on his dick.
“Amazing isn’t it?” Todd said. “And Amy here is gonna show you how it’s done. Come on over, baby and get a better look.”
My mind finally broke free of her bonds and all I heard was her shouting ‘Run, Barbara and don’t stop until you’re home in bed’.
I don’t remember getting home. I don’t remember anything until I woke up the next day. Then it all hit me. I was a slut. I had been a slut for months. Everybody but me knew that. And my grades. My grades had seemed so unimportant while I was slutting around but now I knew that they were dropping enough to put college at risk. I stayed in bed all day. And the next day.
Finally I told my Mom that there was a problem at school but I didn’t want to talk about it. I think maybe some the neighbors had already been talking about it, because Mom quickly sorted things out without any questions. She arranged private tuition to rescue my grades. I worked hard. I made it to college.
But I still had a secret. The secret was that I had wanted to be fucked like that. I’d enjoyed it. I wanted more of it.
My mind was firmly back in control now and she tried hard to banish Miss Libido. She made me dress in baggy clothes and to stop even talking to boys. I became invisible again. But at night, before I fell asleep, my fingers would find my cunt and I would think of Todd and wonder if I would ever find anyone who could make me come like that ever again.
Helen is waiting for me to tell her what’s on my mind.
I manage a smile.
“Remember when we talked about Todd that night? You were wonderful. And then you introduced me to Mark,” I say.
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Helen says, “He seemed like a nice guy at the time.”
“He was a nice guy at the time.”
We are both smiling now and I can finally say to Helen the thing that needs to be said.
“Helen, about Peter…”
Helen’s smile goes. I feel her stiffen.
“I’m so sorry,” I say.
“It’s over now,” Helen says. She removes her hands from mine but manages a smile that almost reaches her eyes. “No harm done,” she says, moving towards the door. “Now stop moping and come and join the party.”
No harm done. I hope that’s true.
The day Mark left me, the day when I could have shriveled up and nursed my sense of worthlessness, Helen rescued me. She knew that I was attracted to Peter. She’d told me that he was a little in love with me. We’d laughed about that. Imagine quiet Peter harboring a passion for Barbara. That was back when Helen and I would trade stories about our husbands. When I still felt married. Before the lack of passion in my life made me feel dried up and useless and unlovable.
By the time I reached that Memorial Day BarBQ it was painful for me to watch Helen and Peter together. I was like a starving beggar pressing my face against the window of a restaurant, tormented by the sight of food but unable to look away.
When Mark left the BarBQ with some insultingly see-through excuse, I headed back to the cabin to cry and to feel sorry for myself.
Barbara stopped me. She spoke softly. What she said surprised me. “We love you Barbara. You deserve better. Let us care for you. Let me share Peter with you. Be with us for a while.”
I could tell that she was sincere and that what she was saying wasn’t springing spontaneously into head. I knew what ‘share Peter’ meant. Something in the way that Helen said it left no doubt.
Above all else, this felt like an act of friendship. I accepted it, my numb distress starting to be replaced by a sense of dislocation from reality.
The sex was fun.
Helen likes to tie Peter. I’d known that for a long time. Mark was always going on about how odd that was and how Helen ‘had Peter’s Pecker in her pocket.’ I couldn’t quite imagine it.
That night, Helen tied and blindfolded Peter and then we both… played with him. My memory of it is so clear. Time slowed down. I tried not to look at Helen. I was at such a high level of awareness that reality was too vivid to be anything but a dream. Peter surrendered himself to us. We took him in turns, never speaking, always preserving the convention that it could have been just the two of them in the room. But we all knew. And we all wanted it.
My orgasm was like a return to sanity. It sounds an extravagant claim, but it healed me. I felt, for the first time in a very long time, happy.
I moved in with Helen and Peter after that. I had my own room. There was no more sharing. But there was love and support and a space to learn to be me again.
Things might have been fine if the walls had been thicker, or if Helen had been less noisy when she came, or if Peter had not been just a little in love with me. I lay there at night and listened to them having sex. I could tell they were trying to be quiet, but there would always be that last moment in which Helen lost control. I would close my eyes and try to remember Peter being inside me. I would try to come when Helen came.
After a while we all started to become less comfortable with each other in the mornings. We took care to dress before coming down for breakfast. I tried not to watch Peter’s every move. I tried not to yearn for him. I failed.
Later Peter told me that he couldn’t get me out of his head. He said the blindfold had meant that he was never sure when it was me and when it was Helen he was with. He felt like he should have been able to tell. He felt like he wanted to experience the difference.
One evening, Helen went to fix us some drinks. While she was out of the room Peter and I accidentally looked into each other’s eyes. We’d each being trying to sneak a quick look at the other. We were still looking at each other when Helen came back. We broke contact guiltily. Helen just stood there. No one spoke.
I wanted to leave or to apologize. I felt as if she had walked in on us fucking.
Helen handed us both a drink. Then she said “It’s Ok. Really. I’ll sleep in the other room tonight.”
Peter started to rise from his chair to protest. Helen stopped him with a glance that I couldn’t read but which brought him to a complete halt. Then she was gone. She took my room.
I was standing too now, staring at the closed door between Helen and us.
Peter and I turned towards each other. I was uncertain. I wanted Peter. Really wanted him. He was so close and so alive that I thought sparks might jump the small gap between us.
I reached up and stroked the side of his face. He was very still. I kissed him.
It was as I had imagined it. Soft lips. Warm. Accepting. Except that it felt wrong. It felt like betrayal.
Peter didn’t kiss me back but he didn’t resist. I know that if I had continued he would have let me. To please me. To please Helen. But I stopped.
Still we didn’t speak. I took Peter by the hand and led him, quietly, into my room. Helen was curled up in a ball facing the wall. She didn’t hear us come in. I said her name. She turned and looked at both of us. There were tears in her eyes. I held Peter’s hand out to her. She jumped up off the bed and hugged him. When I left, they were kissing fiercely, as if they were sucking in oxygen after almost drowning. I went for a drive. They were in their room when I came back and everything was quiet.
The next morning I declared my intent to look for a job. Here I am, five weeks later, ready to move to one.
“B. Are you in there, B? Come out, come out wherever you are.” It is Mark’s voice calling from the garden. He sounds drunk. I rush out. The last time he and Peter met there was trouble. I expect to see Peter dragging Mark away, but it is Helen, little Helen, who is blocking Mark’s path.
“B. Please, B.”
I put my hand on Helen’s shoulder and she lets me step in front of her. She continues to glare at Mark.
“B, I’m drunk. I’m sorry I’m drunk but I’ve got something important to say to you.”
Mark looks ill. His clothes are dirty and his complexion is pale. I wonder how long he has been drunk this time.
He staggers towards me, reaching for me. I stay still and he stops short.
“I know you’re going away. The lawyer told me. I want to tell you… to say… to let you know that I love you, B. I’ve always loved you.”
He was crying now. He looked lost. I assumed his nympho intern had left him. He looks like he wants me to take him in my arms as I have so many times before.
Everybody at the party is looking at us. I step forward so that I can speak directly into Mark’s ear. His arms fold about me as I say, “I know you love me, Mark. I love you. But it will never be enough will it?”
His face turns towards me. He seems suddenly sober. I wait for the tantrum or the insult. Instead he says quietly, “Good luck in your new job, B.” and walks, a little too precisely, towards his car. Helen sends Peter after him to drive him home.
The party doesn’t last long. Mark has taken the edge off it. By the time Peter gets back people are already leaving. It’s getting dark earlier already. Summer is over and Fall, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is here.
The last of the guests leaves just before sunset. I stand and watch the slow ignition of the sky. Peter and Helen come and stand on either side of me. I take their hands.
I don’t know who Barbara will become in Chicago. I hope Barbara the Bold, ready to make her own future. But right here and right now, she feels like Barbara the Blessed.
© Mike Kimera 2000 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from email@example.com
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