Remember how you once asked me how I felt about the blog you wrote about your ill husband and I wasn’t sure?
Something like this. The idea of fucking you all the way down the Mekong made me green with envy. It just sounds like heaven. I was really envious. Very straightforward.
But what affected me more was you visiting him in hospital and opening your shirt for him to fondle your breasts. Wasn’t sure why at that time, but now I know. You were offering him comfort, succour, pleasure, when he was ill and in need. And you have done the same for me, offering your whole wonderful body to make me feel better, make me feel fed, I guess. Mentally, emotionally, sensually in my case, not physically yet, but you opening yourself to me, so generously giving of yourself, has been the most wonderful gift. I want to feed from your beauty, make myself well again. Love.
What women do. Why?
The counsellor says when I tell her of this correspondence: Don’t be ashamed of your compassion.
At this point I need to hold myself. I don’t want anyone else to touch me. I want to wrap my arms around me, so I do.
What has been lost, I realise, is the woman who gave her body to comfort and succour. She is gone and I grieve her passing.
I think, I’m glad I had her while my husband was alive.
But the other one. The one who read the story of my love and wanted it for himself. Who didn’t ask it from his own wife but from me. Who took when I did not want to give. Him I spit on.
2 thoughts on “FOUR: What women do”
I find the idea of offering your body to someone else, selflessly frightening in and of itself. As a woman I think I have too often thought of other people’s comfort at the cost of my own right to feel comfort, desire or even to know or name what I feel. I am not trying to argue with you, because each person’s experience is her own but I can validate how invasive it must have been when that man came to you inappropriately for comfort. But I am not sure he should have looked for it in his own wife? Maybe men are not automatically entitled to comfort. Maybe sometimes comfort can’t be had.
Certainly only you can decide to give comfort and not to give comfort is not even a with-holding because it was never by implication his to begin with. Which I guess you said when you said you spit on him.
I hadn’t deeply thought, before this man singled me out, of how different relationships are. In mine with Arnie, my husband, physical comfort, sensual comfort, was a central part of how we loved one another for over thirty years, and when he became so ill, couldn’t move, couldn’t speak after a massive stroke, I knew if anything could comfort him it would be my body loving him as much as ever, despite his inability to respond.
When this man sought the same comfort from me I guessed it wasn’t part of his relationship, otherwise he would not have come to me. It’s difficult to explain, but I was in the zone, the zone of comforting with my body, it was a most extraordinary experience, and my boundaries, normally secure, were dissolved.
Perhaps no one is entitled to comfort. Perhaps it is a gift. He had no right to seek such comfort from me, and perhaps not from his wife either. Perhaps, given his circumstances, the most honest thing he could have done was to do without.
And perhaps the most sensible thing I could have done was to refuse him from the start.
But we are flawed, us humans. And the heart has its reasons that may not always be apparent till long after the tumult has subsided.