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My name is Erin, I’m thirty-five years old, and I have never slept with my father. It’s good to get that off my chest. I haven’t always told the truth. Have I thought about it? Indeed I have, frequently, and for nearly a decade. If the opportunity arose, would I actually sleep with my own father? A few months ago, despite my years of filial longing, I wouldn’t have known how to answer that question. Today, I know the answer.
About a year ago I found myself travelling frequently on business Seattle. (I’m a divorced Chicago lawyer, working with municipal governments in the West to shape water management policies. Sound fun? It actually is.) For about six months I spent a few days each week in this city, relishing the time to explore the diverse neighborhoods, the museums, the shopping, feeling deliciously invisible and anonymous. One afternoon as I idly read through the “Entre Nous” section of the local alternative weekly magazine, I ran across an unusual ad: “The Sisters: a welcoming community for women who have experienced adult incest. 21+. Wed. nights, 7-8:30.” Intrigued, I emailed Jan, the contact listed in the notice, and over the next few days enjoyed a friendly correspondence with her. As the listing implied, the Sisters turned out to be a small group of women who met once a week to share their experiences and socialize. Each Sister (as they called themselves, suggesting I suppose both the group’s comradeship and possibly their family activities) had explored a sexual relationship with an adult family member, usually an uncle, brother, or father. Because the group was not primarily therapeutic but rather social, they limited their membership only to those women whose experiences were consensual, adult, and essentially positive. And, though I’m not proud to admit it, I lied my way in.
In retrospect the entire episode probably doesn’t reflect well on me, but I have to admit I loved every minute. I began by reinventing myself, a spy in the house of iniquitous love. I dyed my dark hair blond, changed my makeup and wardrobe, and started calling myself Linda. I became a Sister. Each Wednesday night we gathered in a private dining room at an upscale restaurant; each Wednesday night we shared a meal and drinks; and each Wednesday night, in addition to discussing politics, art, and work, we shared our stories of family love. The stories I told about my new relationship with my father were fiction, of course, but the desire and passion I described for him were very real. These meetings had a profound effect on me—here were intelligent, kind women, mostly middle-aged and educated, who were not embarrassed or uneasy about their secret relationships. They felt safe opening up in the group, together acknowledging that what society condemned they could nevertheless accept and even embrace. Each night I went into the group hesitant and a bit guilty, and yet each night I left grateful … and aroused.
One night we (“we”!) were joined by a newcomer, a striking woman in her late forties, fashionable, elegant, and anxious. I gathered that she had come from work, which explained her somewhat imposing business attire, her camel hair overcoat, her dark brunette hair pulled back accentuating her high cheekbones, her suit, stockings and heels. She was welcomed and encouraged to introduce herself. She told her story: she was a widow, she was a successful businesswoman, she was a church-goer, she was normal, she drove a Volvo, she had a masters degree in History, she had a twenty-six year old son. And for the last three years, she told us in a trembling voice, she had been overwhelmed by a desire to sleep with him. I listened to her story in rapt attention, utterly transfixed by her mixture of clandestine desire and profound unhappiness. At a certain point Jan politely interrupted her and explained that this group was only for those who had experienced incest, not for someone who fantasized about it—and it would alter the group’s dynamics to include her. (Of course I kept quiet as all this was happening.) Everyone in the group was very kind to her, offered her all kinds of supportive suggestions without judgment, and wished her the very best. That night I lay in my hotel bed thinking about her, imagining her son, overcome with unsettled excitement. I touched myself, perhaps freed by my assumption that I would never see her again.
But I did. About a week later I went into the city’s branch of my bank and there she was at her desk, the bank manager, visible through the large window that separated her office from the attractive, 19th century lobby. It took me a few seconds to place her; even after our eyes met, the shock was such that I put the pieces together slowly. As I walked out, again I caught her eye and this time I gave a little nod, which she cautiously returned. I gave myself a few days but I went back—of course I went back, I had thought about little else—and this time I checked my makeup and wore my attractive Tiffany-design scarf. Upon kadıköy escort entering, I smiled at her through her office window. When she smiled back, I got chills. The third time I went into the bank I was emboldened by a large vodka martini at lunch, which gave me the nerve to walk past her secretary and into her office. I leaned against her desk and blurted out, “I know this is against the rules of the group, but since you never officially joined … I just have to say to you that your story touched me deeply, and that I thought you were courageous to come … I have thought about you often … and I can completely relate to your story. I mean, completely, completely ….” And then I was stuck. I didn’t know what else to say. She sat there holding a small file of loan applications, blushing, a tense smile frozen on her attractive face, unable to respond. I mumbled an awkward apology, and not knowing what else to do—unable to entirely turn my back on this gorgeous woman but knowing that I had absurdly crossed a line, and had done so in her own private office—I foolishly handed her my business card and left.
It never occurred to me to wait for her call. I spent the next few days feeling stupid and exposed—why had I left her my real name and number? I flew home, and put the whole weird thing behind me. And a couple nights later, when the phone rang and a warm but tentative voice said simply, “This is Helen,” it meant nothing to me. “Helen?” And that’s how our friendship began. That night we talked for three hours, and the next night as well, until it became a bedtime ritual. Over the next few months we talked nightly on the phone. We never actually had phone sex—Helen was very shy about her own sexuality and neither of us had any sexual experience with women—but over time our conversations turned from serious to relaxed, from stressful to intimate, from cordial to, finally, erotic. Because our friendship began with an unqualified trust, we held nothing back. Together we felt safe in our shared secrets, and eventually we came to embrace our forbidden fantasies. They began to take on a different feel. We were no longer ashamed. Instead, we slowly came to see our desires as loving, authentic, and even ideal. At times, as we lay in our beds two thousand miles apart, we wondered together whether the ultimate act—with her son, with my father—might turn out to be the ultimate experience, the ultimate love, and the ultimate union. In fact, we came to embrace the possibility of making these dreams real: of very carefully, very cautiously, very lovingly making them real.
In March her son, Dylan (named for the Welsh poet), who lives in San Jose, told her that he was coming to stay with her for a week while he attended a work-related conference. As the visit approached, Helen and I didn’t back off of our nighttime phone-cuddle. In fact, we talked three and four times each day. We did not explicitly discuss whether she would attempt to seduce Dylan, but that extraordinary possibility was the unspoken subtext to all our conversations.
I knew that Dylan was arriving on Thursday afternoon and would thus have a few days before the conference began. I spoke with Helen late morning on Thursday, a short and breezy conversation. That afternoon I followed his arrival in my mind; knowing his itinerary, I imagined his plane landing, I imagined him getting a cab, and I imagined him giving his mother a big hug and kiss when he got home. I imagined her lips on his cheek, and her arms holding him close. I imagined everything that would happen and everything that might happen. I took the afternoon off from work to be near my phone, and I stayed near the phone all night. Would she dare act on her desires? Probably not–and admittedly maybe that was for the best. Might she nevertheless be aroused by his presence in the house? Yes, I was sure she would be feverish. I couldn’t wait for the night’s phone call.
When the phone did ring, it was well past midnight. Helen was quietly sobbing.
I felt my stomach drop. “Oh, shit,” I thought. This could be bad. The reality of it all suddenly overwhelmed me, and I felt the world crashing down around me.
“Helen, sweetheart, what is it?”
Her weeping subsided when she heard my voice. “Oh, Erin, it wasn’t at all like I thought it would be. Nothing went right.” By now I had too much nervous energy to lie in bed, and I got up and walked around my room, holding the phone.
“Helen, I’m here. What happened?”
“Nothing happened. Nothing will ever happen. Everything that you and I have talked about, that all was real to me, you know? For the first time in years, thanks to you, I accepted what I want. I don’t care if it’s wrong or people say it’s wrong or whatever, I don’t care. When I talk with you, I know that I am being with myself about my love for Dylan. And tonight”—here she caught her breath—”I realized that üsküdar escort it will never happen. I will never even know if he could love me in that way because he will never initiate anything, and after tonight I know that I can’t either. I just can’t show him how I feel. It’s hopeless.”
After I got over my alarm, we talked into the night, coming back over and over to our friendship and how much it had come to mean to both of us. “Helen,” I said after a while, “you know I’d do anything for you. Listen, I need to head up your way sometime soon for work anyway. Why don’t I fly out tomorrow and we can spend a little girl time together?”
And so the next morning I was on a plane, and the next afternoon, after checking into my hotel, I found myself on the doorstep of Helen’s large and attractive suburban home. If there was a weirdness factor—the last time I had seen her was in her office—it evaporated, and she showed me around her house, her garden, her collection of rare books, her art, and her life. Dylan, who had been out doing some shopping, came home around six. At first glance I was just a little disappointed in Dylan’s appearance—he was 5’9″, with short dark hair and Irish blue eyes, very cute but not the superhero of my fantasies. But when I saw his smile, I fell for him completely; it was a charming smile that lit up his face and put a sparkle in his bright eyes. He was not just cute, but absolutely adorable and absolutely sexy.
Dylan and I became fast friends, and we chatted in the living room while Helen took a shower to rinse off the workweek and start the weekend. I found myself really liking the guy. Maybe it was because I was in fact closer to his age than to his mother’s, but our time together felt natural and easy.
When Helen came down the stairs, the sight took my breath away. She was wearing linen harem pants, olive, showing her perfect hips and curves. She had on an elegant sleeveless white blouse, also linen, exposing her tanned, thin arms—and, unless I was mistaken, she was not wearing a bra. Her brunette, shoulder-length hair was down, still wet from the shower and showing some curls as it dropped below her ears, and she wore just the slightest hint of mascara and an earth-tone lipstick. I had known she was an attractive woman but I realized now she was beautiful through and through. Sadly, Dylan didn’t seem to notice a thing, and he soon went out to meet some old friends for drinks, promising to be back around 11:00. Helen and I settled in for a night together on the sofa, some Motown on the stereo, candles, and one—then a second—bottle of sauvignon blanc.
Maybe it was the wine, but I had never felt closer to anyone in my life. I told her I thought Dylan was an amazing young man, and I told her that I could really understand her passion for him. She smiled, mother-proud but also a little blue, remembering the night before. “Do you know what you need,” I said, surprising even myself. “You need someone else to take the lead for a while. Here you are, living alone, running a major bank, serving on the boards of charities, running half of the city it seems—you’re non-stop. But you can’t be in charge of everything; sometimes you need to get by with a little help from your friends. Give up a little control. Don’t you think?”
Helen, sitting on my right on the couch, looked down at her hands. I looked as well. Slender, elegant fingers. Some attractive age lines and a few freckles. French manicure. No rings or jewelry. Finally: “Yes, Erin, that would be nice.” I felt a rush of adrenalin, followed by a deep calm. I was going to be driving this train, and it felt good.
“Helen,” I said, taking her hands in mine, “I want to tell you something. The last two months have been so important to me. I’ve never met anyone like you. To be honest … I’ve developed feelings for you.”
I let that lie there for a few seconds, because frankly I wasn’t sure that I had actually said it. If Helen was surprised, so was I.
“I don’t mean anything romantic exactly,” I continued. “I’ve never thought of a woman like that, either emotionally or, um, physically. But I’m trying to say that you mean a lot to me.”
She looked up into my eyes, and she squeezed my hands in hers. We held each other that way, our hands locked in her lap, and when I leaned in to kiss her, she didn’t pull away. Our lips parted, I leaned back, and I smiled at her. “Okay?” I asked gently. “Okay” she replied, and leaned toward me for another.
This time our tongues met, first tentatively then eagerly. My hands moved to her shoulders, and she responded by cautiously placing her own hands on my upper arms, holding on to me for reassurance. “This is all new to me,” she whispered. “Me, too,” I said, “we’ll figure it out together.” I eased her back against the sofa’s soft cushions, holding her there with my right hand as my left started to massage her right shoulder, moving guardedly down toward tuzla escort her breasts. When I cupped her right breast, I could feel her erect nipple against my palm through her blouse, and I rubbed it in a circular swirl of skin and linen.
Helen’s subtle sighs turned to subtle moans, and her body started to vibrate under my touch. When I moved my hand down over her stomach and then up under her blouse, she held my wrist for a second. I looked into her eyes and could see both desire and hesitation. “Resistance is futile, Helen.” She smiled, let go of my wrist, stretched her lean body back against the sofa, and murmured, “make it so.” My hand moved over her breasts, holding each one with just enough pressure to feel their smooth softness give way to my touch, each nipple rising between my thumb and forefinger as I gave a slight tug.
At this point I needed more, and, keeping one hand on her shoulder to hold her against the sofa, I swiveled over her and kneeled over her lap, facing her, kissing her passionately. I sat up, held her cheeks in my hands, and then started to unbutton her blouse, finally revealing her gorgeous c-cup breasts. My mouth literally started watering at the sight. “Damn,” I thought. “Forty-nine years old and perfect.”
Helen, though, stopped me before I could pull the blouse off her shoulders. “What if Dylan comes back?” It was a loaded question, for sure. The thought had crossed my mind.
“It’s only ten,” I said. “He won’t be back for at least an hour.”
She relented and the blouse came off. I pulled off my own shirt and sat over her lap facing her, letting her hands massage my breasts while I ran my fingers through her hair. Finally, I moved my right hand between our legs, under her pants, and found her wet, warm lips ready for my fingers. At first touch I leaned forward, pinning my own hand between our legs, and our breasts met in a soft cushion of sexual heat. Using two fingers to open and enter her, I arched my hips and started to rub my own wetness against the back of my hand, touching us both, holding her there, bringing us closer to ecstasy.
Neither of us heard the key in the lock. Neither of us heard the door open. But we both heard Dylan as he dropped his keys on the shelf near the door and unsuspectingly walked into the living room. Helen shrieked and we both jumped. I threw myself off her lap and onto the sofa next to her. She fumbled around until she found her blouse and drew it up to cover her breasts, holding it awkwardly. We sat there idiotically. The lights were low but I could see the blush on her face, and on Dylan’s, too. He was holding his jacket in his left hand, and had frozen mid-step. But this guy never lost his cool, and said simply, in a perfect Steve Martin voice, “Well, excuuuuse me.”
My laugh was genuine, and even Helen’s lips broke into a smile. By this time I also had covered my breasts with my shirt, and I realized that as long as Dylan wasn’t upset, there was no reason for me to be.
“Dylan,” I said, “Yikes! Double yikes! We didn’t think you’d be home for a while. We were just ….” I didn’t know how to finish the sentence.
Dylan smiled at me. “Listen, no need to explain. I’ll just head back out and come back at eleven, as promised.” He paused and flashed a grin. “Just hang a tie on the front door if you need more time,” he joked, as he started to back out of the room.
“Don’t be silly, dear,” Helen said, all motherly. “You certainly don’t have to leave. We were just ….” She also got stuck. “Erin, what exactly were we doing?!”
By now the mood in the room had lightened and we could all relax just a bit. “Well, hmm,” I said with a playful touch of exaggerated uncertainty. “I remember putting on the music, and I remember opening the bottle of wine, and then I remember opening a second bottle of wine … after that things get a bit hazy ….” I smiled at Helen and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “Dylan,” I said, turning to her son, “seriously, I think we just let our affection for each other run a bit wild. I don’t want you to think ….” Again I was at a loss for words.
“Listen, whatever you two do is your business,” he said kindly. “Frankly, I’m glad. As far as I can tell, mom, it’s been a while since you’ve been with anyone.”
“Dylan,” Helen said, with a subtly stern tone in her voice. “Erin and I are good friends, but I’m not ‘with her’ in the sense you mean.” She looked over at me, suddenly confused.
“I didn’t mean it that way, mom. I just meant that I’m glad to see you having a good time, letting loose. You’ve been so stressed out for so long.” (If he only knew, I thought.)
I wasn’t interested in letting the conversation go too far in this direction. I was interested in a different kind of family therapy.
“Dylan,” I said. “Does this bother you?” I left the referent to “this” vague.
“Jesus, no!” he said. “Two hot women making out? That’s every man’s dream.” He caught himself. “Except, of course, that one is my mother.”
“What if she weren’t your mom?” I asked quickly, not letting the moment go. “Forget your mom. Have you ever seen two women kiss?” If this fazed him, he didn’t show it.
“Not in person.” He had grown quieter, and I thought I could make out a slight bulge growing in his pants.
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