Archive for March 21, 2012

There’s a Light That Never Goes Out

My slave does most of the driving when we are together.  I realize that having the slave drive is atypical but as we travel I prefer to be able to freely observe whatever may catch my eye without all of the unavoidable distractions of driving.

This is especially true whenever we pass an accident.  While most decry the tendency to rubberneck at an accident scene, I think that rubbernecking is as a natural human reaction.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, we want to assess any such situation and determine if we are in any immediate danger.  If we can determine that we are not in jeopardy, people have a natural fascination with carnage that is unlikely to change.

For a long time I have also believed that American television media has only encouraged our tendency to rubberneck at accident scenes.  While it is true that television media devotes an exception amount of airtime to stories that involve death, injury, and mayhem (a tendency captured in the oft-repeated mantra of “If it bleeds, it leads”), the reality is that American television sterilizes any sense of carnage.  While American television media may show up at accident scenes, the images they show are invariably sanitized versions of what actually happened.  For example at a fatal accident scene, the images used in the reporting are typically interviews with law enforcement officials, pictures of traffic delays caused by the accident, images of police and fire vehicles with their lights flashing, and interviews with witnesses who were not seriously injured by the accident.  Conspicuous by their absence are images of the seriously injured or the emotionally overwrought.

While I am sure that American news media would claim that they remove these images to avoid disturbing or frightening viewers, there is little doubt in my mind that viewers crave to see these images. Their absence creates a barrier by which we minimize the severity of all manner of negative things.

Determining whether or not the tendency to censor such images is uniquely an American approach to reporting would require more research than I care to devote to the topic.  However, I have had the opportunity to watch television from Mexico and Latin America that shows this approach is not universal.  When Mexican television news covers such accidents, they broadcast much more direct images of accident victims and show the human toll accidents cause in far greater detail. In fact it is not unusual for Mexican television news to follow ambulances to hospitals and broadcast pictures of victim’s families in various states of grief.  While most Americans might find such reports exploitative, they serve as stark reminders that accidents and grief throw the lives of victims and their families into chaos.  By sterilizing these events, American media tends to remove their impact such that they have little more emotional involvement for the viewer than a sports score.

But I digress.  My mother passed away last month, three days before my fortieth birthday.  That makes me of the age that when I was a baby most people didn’t use seatbelts and no one used car seats.  A baby in a car was either in a baby carrier in the back seat or more likely in his mother’s unbelted arms as dad drove the family sedan down the road with a paper bag wrapped Schlitz tallboy in the hand he used to wave to any passing policemen.

As I grew older, I would sit in the front seat as mom drove to and fro.  I sat there unbuckled and free to roll down the window to feel the air on my face and frighten my mother who pictured me leaping from the Gremlin as we travelled down the road at 70 mph.  Mostly I sat in the front seat reading road signs or babbling about whatever it is that an elementary school-aged me would babble on about.

Despite her claims to the contrary, mom was not the greatest driver in the world – a fact that doubtlessly contributed to the car accident that left her paralyzed 10 years before she passed.  As we were out driving mom would occasionally have to stop the car suddenly for any number of reasons (none of which were ever her fault).  Whenever mom would brake suddenly, she would instinctively reach out her arm to brace me from both the sudden deceleration of braking and the imminent threat that I would become some sort of prepubescent projectile being launched through the windshield.

Even though this act was a virtually pointless endeavor whose end result was a tiny me being whacked in the ribs, I knew then, as I know now, that she did this out of love and concern for my safety.  She dreaded the thought of her little boy being injured in an accident (which one would think would make her buckle me in the seatbelt, but that is another story for another time) so she would use her mom belt to keep me out of harm’s way.

As I grew older and would ride with mom, I could always count on her to use her mom belt anytime the car would brake suddenly.  This was slightly embarrassing to me as a teenager as I was sure that I could take care of myself.  She persisted in this habit as I turned into an adult using a seat belt even though the only likely outcome in an actual crash would be that she would break her arm.

Once after her accident, we were driving in her modified van when she braked suddenly.  Then as always, out came the arm to brace me for the impact.  Even though I was old enough that I should have seen this as a loving act from a mother who still wanted to protect her little boy, I couldn’t help but realize that her modified van required two arms to drive, one to brake/accelerate and the other to steer.  When I saw her arm headed towards my chest, I was terrified as I knew that “Jesus is my co-pilot” went from cheesy metaphor to an excited utterance of, “Jesus get the wheel!”  Thinking back about it, I do find it sweet that no matter what had happened she still wanted to take care of me before herself.

The other day my slave and I were driving home when she had to break quickly.  This wasn’t the sort of stop where one slams on the brakes, but rather the sort where there is less than might be comfortable.  Just as she pressed on the brake to slow the car, my slave instinctively reached out with a mom belt of her own to brace me from whatever might happen.

Afterwards, we both laughed as we discussed how the only likely outcome of her mom belt in a crash would be a broken arm.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of my mother’s love and caring for me.  I was also reminded that I have a slave who loves me that much too and I am grateful that I can count on her to give me a mom belt as we go down the road that is life together.

Death Do Us Part and Green Checks

A few years before he and I met, Master’s mother had a terrible car accident and was paralyzed from the chest down.  Because of this, she used an electric wheelchair to stubbornly barrel through her life doing just exactly what she wanted to do. Master got his dominance and intensity from her. They were peas in a pod though neither of them saw it that way. Mom had chickens, love birds, and yippy dogs because she wanted to. She had a huge garden with prize winning flowers and exotic plants surrounding her home. It did not matter to her that she could not do much of the tending to any these; she just found ways to organize her health care workers into an army of animal wranglers and unintentional gardeners. She lived on her own terms.

The physical condition of someone with her injuries tends to cause a mudslide of other health issues.  She was no exception to this. Over the last year, her various infections, pressure wounds, and cardiac problems began to drag her into a slow downward spiral. Master and I visited her often, he called nearly every day to check on her, and several times we went to stand vigil at the ICU when she seemed to be about to pass way.

Watching her decline and knowing she would not live long weighed on Master all the time. He had a hard time focusing on things and became a bit forgetful. He lost his centered calm way of approaching situations at work.  He found himself unsure of how to handle his mother’s medical situation and somehow that left him unsure about life in general. Mastery was not at the top of the list of things that had his attention. Things slipped away. Rituals stopped. Play became less frequent. His thoughts turned increasingly inward as her condition worsened.

A few weeks ago, mom died. She went out kicking and screaming because despite the long decline she had been in and various advices that she consider hospice, she still insisted that she would get better.  The night before she passed her and Master had an argument because he wanted to talk to her about dying, she was having none of it. “You just want to get rid of me,” she said. “No, no of course not Mom, I’m just trying to talk to you about what is really going on,” he tried to assure her.  A plan was made for Master and I to go the next morning very early and meet with her, her primary care doctor, and her care team to get a group understanding of what was happening.

That morning we arrived before her doctor and while we waited with her for him to arrive, she suffered a ruptured aneurism. She thrashed about in pain for a few minutes, she and Master both equally confused and overwhelmed; the nurses and I understanding what was happening but with no way of comforting either of them. When the doctor walked in a few minutes later, he said she would pass within 24 hours. She never spoke again and died in less than 3 hours.

The last thing she said to Master was, “I just want you to know, this (the pain she was feeling) has never happened before, this is new.”  The reason she said this was because of their disagreements about her not telling Master the whole truth about her medical situation.  He had always been so frustrated when he would eventually find out she had been keeping something from him. Imagine the two most domly Doms you know each trying to run the other’s life, that was how they locked heads over her illnesses; each wanting to maintain control, each wanting to help the other with their burden, each fiery in their determination to be right.

In the end, neither of them felt in control. It was a very dark day. In the hours, days, and weeks since Master has struggled with feeling out of control of things.  Her animals all needed homes, her funeral had to be arranged, her accounts and assets needed to be accounted for.  What to do with her things? How to deal with her collection of dozens of ceramic statues of chickens? Each thing piling onto his shoulders and pressing him down. Sadness at her loss. Fear of doing something wrong. Wanting to honor her. All of it in a tumble has fallen hard on him.

And there I am. How does the slave find center in the Master’s storm?  How does a servant support the Master when things are so grim? Months of distraction take a toll on a relationship and in a Master/slave relationship this effect is intensified. Last weekend Master and I attended South Plains Leather Fest.  We had planned the trip prior to Mom passing and Master decided he wanted to go to take a break from all the hassles of managing her estate. We both hoped the weekend away would allow us time to focus on our dynamic. That did not really happen. Instead, Master did have the chance to spend time being more social.  Spending time with our leather family and visiting with old and new friends in the community was great. We both had a good time but still, there I was a slave at a loss for direction.

All weekend Master would turn to me and ask questions like, “where are we going next?” and, “where do you want to eat?” He planned a scene but got tired and instead we fucked and fell asleep. There was neither Mastery nor joy in him. Both left me exhausted. I had spent the prior months quietly humming in the back ground supporting him. I took leave to visit his mom, washed her face with warm water when she was feeling down, cleaned her bottom and dressed her wounds. I cleaned his home, folded his underwear, cooked his food, sucked his cock, tried to smile and bring him laughter when he was down, lifted him in every way I knew.

During the weekend, things were amplified because of the lack of other distractions and on the ride home I was exhausted. I don’t mean exhausted physically, I mean exhausted in my emotional life. I felt sucked dry like there was nothing left in me to give. As we drove home, Master seemed to notice me for the first time that day.  He said, “What are you thinking about?”  Part of our dynamic is that I am to always be transparent and always answer honestly and completely any question he asks. I knew my thoughts were on this sucked dry feeling and that Master had enough stress on him, so instead of answering fully I said, “Nothing good.  You aren’t in the mood for a deep conversation.”  He answered, “Oh yes well I have been kind of talking about fluff,” and was distracted and began chit chatting about not much again. I was glad to have averted him and we drove another several minutes.  Then he looked over at me again seeming to ‘see’ me and said, “But no really, what are you thinking?”  A second time I answered without really answering and he nodded and began talking about wanting coffee or some such.  After a few more minutes he turned again to me and said, “Wait, I really want to know.  What are you thinking?”  At this third inquiry, I answered that I was thinking that I was drained emotionally and feeling down but that I didn’t think he was up for talking about that.  He assured me that he was ready to listen and so I explained how things had been for me.

I told him about the drift that had happened over the preceding months during his mother’s decline.  I was not angry, wasn’t upset, or really any emotion; I was simply exhausted. I understood that all of his behavior was reasonable given the circumstance but that I had arrived at that emotional point where there felt like there was no more within to put out. Power exchange 101 it would seem but without anything flowing in eventually I had nothing left to give out. I felt empty. Master listened, really listened, and in some odd way seemed I like a man awaking from a long dream. He was surprised because he truly had not been aware of how drained he felt also.  He thanked me for talking to him about it and said he would ponder how to ‘fix’ things.

The next afternoon, we went to a bank to handle some account stuff for Mom’s accounts. As we sat there, the bank associate asked what type of checks we would want.  I asked what types they had and she showed me a book filled with colorful check styles. Wheee!  I love pretty things and so it was fun to flip through.  Master had been sort of distracted, leaving me to do most of the talking as had become his normal custom of late. I started to pick something I found pretty and he turned and said, “We will get the green checks.”    Boring checks that had nothing pretty about them were not making me happy so I pouted and turned to him with a look of confusion. He said to the bank lady and to me, looking me in the eye in a direct sure way that I had not seen in months, “We will get the green checks.”

I knew the sound of my Master’s voice.  It had been quieted by the storm but now I heard it.  There was no grand repair plan.  No apologies needed.  No dramatic flourish.  Simply by turning his focus back to his authority, he had infused my soul with a rush of fresh energy. As we drove away from the bank we both felt the energy flowing. Unstopping the dam was so quick and the center of my world was righted.  Since that moment, there have been no more wishy-washy decisions, no more distracted, confused times.  There has still been stress and sadness, but Master has his feet again and I am filled to overflowing with a sense of purpose.

People often fear failure so much that they bring failure to life. Instead of fear or failure, Master embraced his own humanity.  He accepted that yes he had lost his focus and nothing about that meant he was a ‘bad Master’ or ‘a failure’.  What death had parted, Master’s hand rejoined.