I'm taking the unusual step of putting this in the other info area. How come? Well, the responses have generally been of the type: "Yes, there are parts in there that describe how I felt when I told my lover, friend, wife, whatever..." If you are too close to having done something like this, then maybe you should wait before reading it. There are other chapters in the works. The story that follows is intense. Painful at times. Frustrating in the blindness displayed. Irritating in that you want to grab them and say, "Can't you see??" For all of us, zoo and non-zoo, perhaps it will give some insight into how the other person looks at things in a situation like this. For Weasel and I, writing this has given us some very painul insight into how easy it is to misunderstand one another in a situation like this The assumptions we unconsciously make about what words mean. Not for us persoanlly (most of the time), but Mark and Helen are slowly teaching the two of us just where things can go wrong. How to start to bridge those gaps in understanding. The biggest one is the use of the word 'honesty' I am starting to think this is the one that causes all the pain. As a zoo, to me, honesty means accepting only what is given in a relationship. An acceptance that neither of us will ever know everything about the other. To trust in spite of knowing I won't know everything that made my partner what and who they are. They will have experiences in their past they don't want to trust me with. That's OK. It's what we've built now, together that is what matters. Helen has told me that to a non-zoo, honesty means telling everything. No matter the consequences. It doesn't matter that hiding is done from fear of loss Fear of hurting your partner. To a non-zoo, not telling is nothing more than a lie. A huge lack of trust. There is where a lot of problems arise. One simple word with such two different meanings. Maybe this story will, in it's way, help to brdge that huge gap of understanding. Here then, is the story as posted to alt.sex.bestiality. ================================ Hello neighbors.... This is the first collaboration Weasel and I started. It came about as the result of a semi-serious discussion of collaborating together. In a burst of inspiration, I typed most of the first part directly into the message. It has changed in only minor details since. The rest? Well, let's just say that she and I need a break from Mark and Helen. The title says 'By Stasya and Weasel' It should be 'By Mark and Helen as told to...' It's a work of fiction folks. But, Stasya/Mark and Weasel/Helen have gone through emotional hell at times while writing it.
That said, the premise is simple. "A zoo decides to admit his zoophilia to his non-zoo wife of many years." The result, as you'll discover, is anything but simple. Oh, yes, the dedication. To 'G' and his wife. The *other* zoo/non-zoo couple. May you spend many more years together. ====================================================== Confession by Stasya and Weasel (or, by Weasel and Stasya Take your pick. ) ---------------------------- Well, as soon as I get home, I'm going to do it. Go for broke. Risk everything we have. I take a deep shuddering breath then let it out in a long frustrated sigh. If only I knew for certain... I just can't go on lying to HER. I'm finally going to tell Helen I was a zoophile before I met and married her. That suddenly, now that we have Jasmine, I find myself no longer able to deny my past. Even though Helen and I have a wonderful relationship, with Jazz I find a completion that Helen has never been able to give me. A completion I hadn't realized I missed. All those years of denial. Wasted now that we have Jasmine. I must admit to Helen that in spite of what she and I share, I can't walk away from my feelings any more. If not with Jasmine, then with another bitch, I will find my completion again. I know this could cost me Helen's love. I am what I am and I can no longer deny it. Will she realize the act of trust this takes? Will she be able to accept that I'll never love her less but *more* if she can accept that part of me? Will she understand that if she decides to still accept me, she will give me a gift whose full value to me she will probably never understand? Can I handle what her rejection would do to me after all these years together? Oh, if there is a God, please help her deal with this. Help us find a way to stay together. Tonight is the night I lay my soul bare. Tonight I place myself on the altar of her judgement. No matter what happens, there will be an end to the lies between us. -------------------------- What's happening to us? What happened to the Mark that I married? When did he get replaced by the stranger? I just don't understand him any more. We used to be so close, and now everything's falling apart. Maybe it's something *I've* done? I keep racking my brains for anything that I could have said. Something that caused this terrible rift. There's nothing. Yet, I still search. Guilt and fear nag at me constantly. It's those horrible silences. They close in and almost strangle me at times. I find myself struggling for breath. Then, when I finally try and talk to him, my words die before reaching my lips. His eyes are so distant, so closed off from me. Nothing that I say gets through to him. Now, finally, I'm losing the courage to try to reach him. A few months ago, he at least had the decency to make excuses. There was always a bad day at work, a friend in trouble, he was tired, he had a headache .... He's even stopped making that small effort now. Does he love me at all? Has he found someone else? I'm beginning to think that *anything* would be better than the hell he's putting me through right now. Every day, when he's not here, I say, 'Tonight's the night. *This* is the day when we begin to talk again. Today, I'll find out what's bothering him'. Every day, my courage fails me. Every day, it worsens. I hate myself for that, but sometimes - sometimes, I hate him more. He's beginning to *make* me hate him. I'm starting to wonder if it's worth going on..... ---------------------- Odd. I never noticed how quiet Helen has been lately. Now that I look back, I see that we've both been drifting apart. Did she start drifting away because *I* was drifting away? Action on my part, reaction on hers. As I sat at the kitchen table and we idly talked while she was finshing up making dinner, her movements were short, jerky. Not the flowing ones that seduced me those many years ago. Me, well, yeah, I've been looking for an opening. The mutual silence after eating and before we clean off the table seems to be the best (ironic hidden smile) time to tell her. * * * "Helen. "Honey. "Wait a moment." (Did I really leave out 'Love'?) I wince to myself at that realization. "We need to talk." I turn bright red. "Rather, *I* need to talk to *you*. "About me." Silence. What is she thinking? I start to tremble in fear. I find I have to force myself to get the words out. OhMyGod-I-never-thought-these-words-would-be-so-hard-to-say-to-her. Before I can start, there is a chilly but neutral, "Go on." I look at the walls, the table, anywhere but her as my voice trembles and I speak through my tears. "I'm a zoophile. I have had sex with animals. I've gone through months of hell trying to figure out a way to tell you. "Finally, today, I decided to do it. I still don't have all the words right but..." Now, finally, I look at her. "I hope you can understand that I still love you. "I don't want to lose you. "Don't ask me to change. I can't. I won't. No matter how much I love you, there is something in me that is only satisfied when I have sex with an animal. With a bitch. "I gave it up after I met and married you. I've spent all of the years we've been together denying that part of myself. "I *was* successsful in my denials. I allow myself a sigh of resignation. "Until we got Jazz. "Even if it means losing you, I can't give it up. "Jazz won't let me hide from myself any more." With that, I clench my hands together on the table, rest my head on them and weep long racking sobs. The ordeal of telling Helen is over. Or, with that little bit of hope that remains to me, I think, 'Maybe it is just beginning and we can work together to get through this and remain together'. Part of me hopes but a lot of me fears. This not giving up my zoophilia is the first ultimatum I've ever delivered the entire time we've been together. How will she handle it? ------------------------------ I sit, frozen in my seat, watching my husband cry uncontrollably. He is only at the other side of the table, but it might as well be miles away. So many feelings, so much confusion...... I want to reach out and comfort him. At the same time, I want to push him away and scream, "Why are you doing this to me?!!" I feel relief. The stranger has disappeared and Mark has returned. Yet he has returned only to tell me that Mark has been a stranger all along. An actor. I have an insane desire to start laughing, although there's nothing funny about this. To think I was worried about him having another woman! A *woman* I could begin to understand. But a (my mind hesitates in confused agony and bewilderment).... *dog*?...... There is an overwhelming urge within me to ask a million questions. I want to understand. But the questions are so difficult. So very difficult...... That phrase keeps repeating in my head: "I have had sex with animals...... I have had sex with animals...." It is only when I taste salt on my lips that I realise I have begun to cry as well. So many questions...... Somehow, I force myself to speak through the aching emptiness of my pain. "Have you....." I stop for a moment and swallow. I still don't want to hear myself say the words but I try again. "Have you fu..... had sex with ...... Jazz?" At the sound of her name, Jasmine's head rises up from her basket and she looks soulfully at the two of us. After a second's pause, she silently pads over to where Mark is slumped and inquiringly nudges her nose against his leg. I see him tense for a moment and then one hand reaches down to stroke her fur. More confusion. If he *has* forced sex upon our pet, then how can she still love him so much? She's still so young, such an innocent soul, and I fear for her now. Yet, (my heart shrieks in pain) she went to *him*. We both needed the comfort that she brings and she chose his needs above mine....... "Mark? Answer me!" The words come out harsher than I intended, and I am both gratified and pained to see the flinching hurt that I inflict. He still can't - won't - look at me, but I see him shake his head. The next question is more difficult still. "Do you want to?" A longer pause this time. I sit there, silent, angry, *hurt* and wait for his answer. Eventually, a hesitant, jerky and barely visible nod. That nod cuts through my numbed senses like a knife. Crawling, horrified pain encompasses me, overwhelming everything else. As I submit totally to my tears, there is one question embedded in my brain like a swiftly-growing cancer. But I can't ask him - I can't!! What have I done wrong?? Why can't I satisfy you? We cry, together but so very alone........ ----------------- Gods above, she hurts. What have I done? She's done nothing to deserve this from me. She's Helen. My wife. The woman I love more deeply than anyone else. How could I do this to her? Yet, I must. Better to do it now. Before my desires break free again and destroy us both. My heart is screaming inside. "I love her!!!" But... There are awakening within me desires I thought I had left behind when I met her. I can feel them again. Insiduous. Devouring. Returning again. After all these years, I am rediscovering myself. Jazz completes me in a way Helen never could or will be able to. 'My God!' My mind screams into the darkness. 'I don't love Helen any less!' There is an endless time as we are lost to each other. Finally, I raise my head and look steadily at my wife. "Helen?" It is a whisper. I see her head shake from side to side. I sigh deeply. "My love." I am rewarded with a jerk of her head. She stares at me. I don't need to hear her thoughts. I can read them starting to form on her lips. I raise a hand and silently ask her to stop before she asks. I can hear her silent "Love??? How can you say that to me now?!!" "Yes. "I still love you. "Wait. "Please. "Give me a chance to tell you of a part of my past that no one knows. "I thought I had left it behind when I met you and we married. "Jazz..." I glance at Jazz and gently reassure her as she stands with her head in my lap, "Jazz has reminded me of something I once shared with another bitch. I hear a frozen "Which was?..." Weeping quiet tears I try to continue. "When I was a teenager, we had this bitch. "I... "She..." Finally, I force the words out. "She-taught-me-how-to-love-sex-was-a-big-part-of-that-teaching." Once again, my head falls into my hands and I cry. Dimly, I feel Jazz place her front feet in my lap and nuzzle my face. Gently and worriedly, she is trying to lick away my tears. Blinded by my tears, I hug her tightly and let myself go. With racking sobs, I bury my face in her fur and lose myself in my agony. ------------------- 'I still love you....' An answer to the question that I didn't have the strength to ask. Curiously, the answer fails to provide the comfort I need. There is a gnawing pain within me that refuses to be numbed. Now, with my lingering confusion, comes anger. Anger at *him*. He says he loves me, and yet in the next sentence, he speaks of his 'love' for Jazz. How can *both* be true? Maybe it would have been better if he had said he didn't love me anymore. At least *then* I would have known what to think. I don't know what he expects from me..... Not any more. Anger at *me*. How could I have been so stupid? So blind? Looking back, I can see it all with frightening clarity. The way that he would gaze at Jazz with haunted eyes..... The way that he would notice me watching the two of them and suddenly look guilty..... The way that the distance between Mark and I began to form at the time when Jazz came into her first season..... when she started to pay so much more attention to Mark's affectionate pettings..... Why couldn't I have seen it back then? It was so obvious..... So obvious in retrospect. My brain refuses to confront this head-on. It edges skittishly around the blackness of the problem..... Mark. So sensitive. So compassionate. *Is* he the same man I knew? Has everything been a lie? How can I reconcile the two separate truths? When the two of us make love, it is full of gentleness and sharing. Within the passion, within the wealth of intensity, there is also a trust. A knowledge that he will not hurt me. Now, he admits to having such.... such *abnormal* urges towards Jazz. What can he get from her that he can't get from me? Doesn't he understand that she's just an *animal*? I love him still. I can't help it. But I don't know the man I married. He could be a monster. He could be insane. He could be my Mark still. I just don't know any more..... I want to understand. No. I *need* to understand. I need to know the truth, no matter how much it hurts. After an immeasurable period of time, I finally speak again. "Mark?" My voice is unnaturally calm now. I feel strangely detached from the whole situation. Our eyes meet for an instant, before his gaze drops guiltily down towards the table again. "Yes?" he asks in a low voice. "Tell me. Tell me about the first one. The dog that you...... "The dog before Jazz. The dog before *us*." I wait for the truth. Whatever he says, whatever blows he deals out, things can't look any blacker than they do now...... ----------------------------- "Tell me." Does she realize the visions that evokes? No. Impossible. I've heard that calm voice before. When I've been emotionaly shattered by the day's events. Or, the same calmness when she is ready to sit in judgement. "Tell me." Which Helen am I dealing with this time? At least, after all these years, I know she is trying to understand before she decides. I had hoped and prayed for that much. "Tell me." Already, I am drifting back to my past. To the day when a 15 year old's life had been shattered on the anvil of spurned love... I look at Helen... I barely whisper the words... "Tell me..." I sigh and stare past her. I allow my voice to echo the pain of that fateful day. * * * "Carrie. "She was eighteen. I was fifteen. Tall and gangly. "Cocky because I knew about sex. Had actually 'gone all the way' with a girl my age. "Never mind that we both fumbled at it. We'd actually screwed. "Our friends had looked at us with awe. "15 and we'd done *it*. "You can't imagine what that does to a 15 year old's ego. " *I* was a *man*. "My god, looking back, I don't see how people could stand to be around me after that." I refocused long enough to give Helen a wry, lopsided smile. "Be patient with me. All this has a purpose. I need to give you the background first." Gazing into the past, I continue. "Just after school started, this mixed breed bitch wandered into our yard and adopted us. Someone named her Beth. We seldom called her that. It was usually 'Hey! Dog!' "Silken hair like a collie. Built like a damn tank. Rottweiler? Mastiff? I have no idea. "Heavy though. Now that I think about it, about two feet tall at her shoulders. Weight? Heavy. 150 lbs? Maybe more? "We never knew her weight. It took everything I had to lift her. Carry her any distance? Forget it. "She played with everyone in the family. I can't say she favored any of us. Not then anyway. "Halloween came. My class and one other class were selected to do the annual 'Fright Parlor'. "That was when I met Carrie. "Red hair. Built. Aristocratic face. Tits that all the guys fantasized about. Pefect 10? Hell, as far as I was concerned, she was a fifty. One hundred. "Well, She was going to be a witch. I managed to get the part as her familiar. A walking skeleton." I smiled wryly. "I was a lot thinner then. "Carrie knew I lusted after her. "Of course at that time, I thought it was love. My first love. "We went out of our way to cop feels when no one was around us. "I was in heaven. This went on for several weeks until the last night we did our show. "Hugs, feels, captured kisses and soft giggles. Moves that promised me the world. "Her world." "Whispered hints. Hints that led me to dream the impossible. I paused. Looked down. Realized my hands were clenched so tightly they were white. I held them up between us. "12 years ago. I thought I could remember without the anger. Without the pain." I unclenched them. Set my elbows on the table, intertwined my fingers, raised my hands, rested my chin on them and gazed off again. With a deep sigh, I returned to my past. "It was after the inevitable cast party. " 'Let's go Carrie. We can have our private party like we planned...' "As in 'let's go to lovers lane and fuck for a while'." My eyes close in remembered agony. "I can still hear her voice. The mockery that tinged it... " 'With you???' " 'Me go out with a fifteen year old *skeleton*?!!' "And then she laughed. Ringing laughter that echoed throughout the room. "Mocking laughter. "Laughter that told me what a fool I had been. That she had led me around by my balls. "That she had used my hormone haze to amuse herself. Eyes haunted, I allow my voice to drop to a bare whisper... "I left the party and went home. I couldn't stay after that. "As I walked out in a daze, all I could hear was the roars of laughter from all the older kids. "None of my friends tried to stop me. They too were laughing at the wonderful joke I had fallen for. Jazz was resting with her body across my lap by now. I had let her assume that position when I started my tale. Now, I bent down and hugged her fiercely. Voice muffled by her fur and my tears, I continued. "It was all I could do to force myself to go back to school. "I turned inward. Became surly. I wanted nothing to do with any of my friends. "Especially the girls. I hated them. *Loathed* them. "For the next month and a half, my best and truest friend was my right hand. *She* never turned me down. *She* never mocked me for my ignorance about love. "It was during that time I started spending my time with Beth. "What had once been an unwelcome chore slowly became my only escape from the harsh, mocking laughter I remembered. "I took Beth for walks. We'd wander the streets for hours. Sometimes I'd catch hell because we wouldn't get back until one or two am. Or later. "A lot of times, I would take her to the park after I knew all my classmates would be gone and we'd just sit together. Or, I'd turn her loose and watch her play in the shadows and chase the falling leaves. "Beth became the center of my life. "She never took anything from me without returning even more. "If I was angry and raised my hand to strike her, she would whine and cringe away. "Then she would sit just out of reach and wait for me to cool down and apologise to her and all would be right between us again. "Slowly, without realizing it, I learned to control myself. If I accidentally did something to cause her pain, it would tear me up inside. "Finally, in December, it happened. "It was late. Past midnight. I had turned her loose to run. "From somewhere, this male dog ran up to her and started screwing her. Before I could do anything, they were locked together and I couldn't get them apart. "All I could do was stand there and watch them. "She was whining and trying to get away from him. By then, they were butt to butt and all she was doing was dragging him around. "After an eternity, she pulled free and ran to me for comfort. "The other dog ran off. I never saw him again. "God, I felt guilty about that. I've never felt so helpless. "Beth was my friend and this dog had *raped* her. "We sat together and comforted each other for a while and then went home." I looked up at my wife. "Yes, I thought of it as rape. Oh, I knew she was in season. But the way that damn dog just ran up and fucked her made me angry. In my mind, there was no room for any other thought but *rape*. "I can still hear her cries of pain and bewilderment. "I guess it was her first time. "For about a week, I was afraid to take her anywhere. We stayed home instead of taking our walks together. She was always near me when I was home. "She started sleeping on my bed at night. "I had my own room and slept in the nude. "We got into the habit of cuddling and I would comb her before we went to sleep. "Finally, one night, I was brushing her and thinking about girls and I got hard. For some reason, I didn't want to jerk off that night. I guess I was bored by using my hand all the time. "Why should I have to use my hand when I'd really screwed a girl? "Then I remembered Beth being fucked in the park. "I remembered what it had been like to get laid. "Hell, it had felt damn good. "I looked at Beth lying there on her back. "She had a pussy. I was horny. What the hell. Why not fuck her? "All I could think of was something besides my hand wrapped around my dick. "That hormone driven *lust* I was feeling overrode any thoughts of right or wrong. I was horny and there was a pussy in front of me. Maybe a willing one. Beth could have been anything right then. I didn't care who or what was attached to that pussy. Warm cunt was all that mattered to me right then. "So, without even thinking about what she would do, I managed to screw her. "Yes, it felt good. "Damn good. "I pulled out and went to sleep. "Fucking Beth became an almost nightly ritual. Sometimes, I'd unzip and screw her while we were at the park. "I lived to satisfy my lust in her. "Who needed girls? " *I* had my Beth. It became secretly amusing to watch my friends fumble and try to get laid and talk about *it*. "Love? It never entered my mind. Not then anyway. How the hell could you fall in love with a dog? Impossible. "Beth followed me everywhere. She became *my* dog. If I had to be gone for a weekend, I would hear how dispirited she had been until I got back. "Eventually, during the next year or so, I started doing more than just screw her. I experimented with cuddling and petting her. I slowly learned about foreplay. How to please her and make her happy. Our sex together started taking longer. I learned to hold back and not just pump away until I came. "We started staying coupled after sex. Sharing the warm afterglow and falling asleep together. I smile a soft smile of rememberence. "Those are my best memories of those years. Making love to Beth and falling asleep with my arms wrapped around her. "Waking up and nuzzling each other and going back to sleep." I look at Helen. Give her a quizical, lopsided smile. "Didn't you ever wonder where I had learned to be so good at cuddling? "Thank Beth. She took a disenchanted teenager and taught him what love was really all about. "Later, if I was too demanding in my attentions, she started refusing me until I was politer. I learned still more control. For her. Never for anyone else, just for Beth. "Since I didn't need girls for sex, I started talking to them again. I still liked to look at them and dream but I didn't care if we fucked or not. "Three years later, we were walking home. She ran off to chase something and just as she did, a car turned the corner and hit her. "Somehow, I carried her broken, whimpering body home. "By the time we managed to find a vet to take her to, it was too late. "She died in my arms. "That was when I realized I had loved her. "I couldn't bring myself to stay romantic with anyone until I met you. I'd meet a girl, we'd get as far as a couple of times in bed together and then she'd do something to turn me off. "A word or two. A subtle body movement while we were in bed together... Something would drive me away. "Then I met you. You reminded me of Beth in so many ways. "Your independence. How you stayed by me and helped work past any problems we had. "Your open honesty. "Beth had spoiled me. I had to have honesty in a relationship before I could love. "The kind of pure honesty Beth had given me. "The honesty she taught me to give in return. "With you, I'd found that again. "How could I *not* fall in love with you? I sighed and gazed off again. Softly. "Beth became someone I could finally lay to rest. My time with her was in the past. "With you, my new love, I could finally look to the future again. "All that sex and love was history. A temporary thing I could put behind me. I need never worry about it because I had found my sweet, loving, Helen." I paused. Sighed deeply. Then I bent down and buried my face in fur again. In a barely audible voice filled with mingled love and pain, "And then we got Jasmine." I let my tears flow again. --------------- Honesty? He talks of honesty. To me. Yet, he has lived with this deep, festering wound of a secret for so long. Until today, I have been locked out. I thought I knew him. I thought we were so close. Now, it's like he's just introduced the *real* Mark to me. Now I begin to truly understand. I wish I didn't. The pain he felt...... I'd have to be blind not to see it, even now. All those years of growing-up, and the rejection might as well have been yesterday. For the first time, I realise that *he* hurts as well. Again, a sudden flash of anger. He hurts. Yes. But does he seek *me* for comfort? Of course not. Why should he? He has Jasmine. Dammit, *I* hurt too! For a moment, all of the pain within me turns to hate. Cold, venomous hate for the dog who has stolen my husband from me. The feeling is intense. My hands clench and my fingernails dig into the soft flesh of my palms, leaving angry red marks there. One brief flash of fury, and it is gone again. I am horrified at myself for being weak enough to blame Jazz. Whatever happens between Mark and I, she is not to blame. She didn't ask for his love. How could she? She doesn't even understand what the word means! But *he* does. He loves her - I don't doubt it any more. This is wrong! Every fibre of my being cries out that this isn't the way things should be! Dogs desire dogs and humans desire humans. That's the way society works. That's the way *love* works. It's unnatural. God, why am I even trying to justify this to myself? *I'm* not the one on trial here. Everything I believed in, everything I've been taught....... it all tells me that Mark is a freak. An aberration. Always though, I come back to the fact that I still love him. Whatever he is, I can't stop myself from feeling that love. But I don't trust him any more. How can I? He has unlocked rooms within him that I didn't even know existed. How much more is there, lurking unexplored beyond my reach? Has he told me everything? How will I ever know the answer to that? There is a distance between us, and I don't know how to bridge it. *His* words, and *our* dog bar the way, blocking all my attempts to get closer to him. I can sense Mark's gaze on me, but I deliberately avoid looking at him. He wants me to say something, maybe to pronounce judgement on him, but I can't think of anything to say. Oh yes, the questions are all there, but so are the answers. Why didn't you tell me before? Because I was scared. Because you wouldn't understand. What happens now? That's up to you. What if I make you choose between us? I can't deny who I am. I know the answers. They don't make the hurt go away. What can I say to him? Gradually, I realize that my mind is thinking in circles. I'm dropping into a daze, and getting no closer to a solution. Fleeting relief flits through my mind. If I sleep, I won't have to think about this mess for a while. I can escape, even if only briefly. At last, I turn my head to look in Mark's direction again. My words sound flat. Dead. "It's late. We've talked enough." I can see his uncertainty. He wanted answers from me. He wanted to know what and who he was to me. I can't tell him. I don't know. Instead, I add: "I'm going to bed now. Come on, Jazz." She glances over in my direction, but makes no move to follow me. Brief bitterness followed by the familiar death of numbness again. I go over to where he sits, hating the strange nervousness that accompanies my approach. My hand circles Jasmine's collar and I insistently tug her away from my husband. She resists slightly for a moment. Although Mark makes no move to stop me, his face twists into an expression of unmistakable pain. Again, a shared gaze. A message imparted, through the silence Tonight, we will not sleep together. And *he* will not sleep with Jazz..... ------------------------------------- "It's late. We've talked enough." Does Helen realize how cold she sounds? The door she's slammed in my face? I am filled with a mind-clouding despair. I can't help my obvious display of pain as she comes over and pulls Jasmine away. Still numb from the shock of her cold words, I watch Helen maintain her firm grip on Jasmine's collar and walk towards the bedroom. Jazz struggles a bit. Then, with with a last look at me, goes with Helen with no more protests. The soft 'click' as Helen closes the bedroom door sounds like a cannon shot. Then, for the first time ever, I hear the lock turn. She wouldn't tell me. She *did* tell me. Does she realize? Will I ever get a chance to explain? Finally, I have found hurt worse than that I suffered 12 years ago. The all encompassing, soul-searing hurt of silence. The raw pain of rejection from someone you truly love. My mind is frozen. Barely able to think. I want to go over to the door. Ask for a chance to explain. I was afraid this would happen. 'Fool.' I chastise myself. How could you be so blind to not realize how much pain you would feel if she turned away from you? Or the pain from having Jasmine taken away. Why didn't she rage? She's not like most women. Did she really reject you or does she just want time to think? I don't know. Does she trust you? Hell no! Taking Jasmine with her *shouted* that. I shudder. The walls have closed in. There is no happiness here anymore. No warmth. This is no longer a home. It is nothing more than a house. I look at the leavings from dinner. Maybe the mindless routine of cleaning up will help. I pack away the leftovers, fill the sink and try to forget as I wash and stack the dishes. Wrong. The routine gives me *too* much time to think. As I dry my hands, I fall back on a solution I have seldom used since meeting Helen. I need to escape. I need time for my thoughts to settle. I decide to take a walk. Maybe that will relax me. As I turn the doorknob, I freeze in shock. I look at my left hand. I stare at it. I have automatically reached for Jazz's leash. I feel the texture of leather. I jerk away as though the handle burned me. I stare some more. Numbly, I turn my hand this way and that as I study it and the emotions that have surfaced. I hadn't let myself know how much a part of my life Jasmine already is. I look towards the closed bedroom door. No. Helen would never understand. Best to just go for now. Finally, letting out the breath I hadn't realized I was holding, I let my hand fall limply to my side and I go out into the cold, bitter night. * * * As I wander the streets, I try to let go of what has happened. I come back to that final scene. Helen *took* Jasmine away from me. Against Jasmine's will. Doesn't she realize Jazz has feelings as deep as ours? Do Jasmine's desires mean nothing? I've never forced Jasmine to love me. She made the first moves. She 'told' me she viewed me as something more than her human master. Surely Helen knows me well enough to realize I've always let the other person set the terms of a relationship. Jasmine made the same requests for kinship to Helen. After she was ignored so many times, she turned to me and gave *me* that affection exclusively. Now, Jasmine wants me to complete that bond. She wants me to be her mate for real. She wants sexual attention from me as her pack leader. Helen couldn't have shown me her lack of trust any clearer if she'd shouted it at me. "I don't trust you, I don't trust *you*, with Jasmine." All those years are as nothing. How little she understands. All she sees is that I lied to her. Not that I let her see what made me as I am. What happened to the promises we made to each other? "I know there are things in your past I'll never know. I don't care. Whatever they were, they are part of you now." I find myself at the park. I lean on the railing and look out over the waters of the pond. I hear the sleepy murmurs of the waterfowl. I look down. There's a solution to my pain. Do I have the courage to take it? No one would find me until it was too late. Can I do that to Helen? Maybe. She's strong enough to go on. Could I do it to Jasmine? She'd never understand. It would take away a part of her life. No. I will endure for a while. Hope that we reach a solution. I make a decision. I find the nearest phone and call home. I enter the code that allows me to use our answering machine. "Helen? "I'm going to rent a hotel room. "I'm more or less OK right now. I just need to think. "I'll be back at the house in a couple of days. Maybe sooner." Then softly, "No matter what happens, I still love you. I hang up and walk away. I rent my room and go through the routine of preparing for sleep. As I finally drift into oblivion, all I know for sure is that once again, my life has changed because of a bitch. --------------------------- A strange feeling of unreality washes over me, as I close the door on my husband. Alone. Apart for the first time since we made our vows to each other. Jazz looks reproachfully at me. She whimpers softly. She looks pointedly at the barrier that lies between her and Mark. I need to sleep. I undress and climb into bed. Every action, every movement reminds me of Mark's absence. The bed is cold. *I'm* cold - inside and out. Physical and emotional exhaustion start to compete in a running battle with my thoughts..... I can't shut the thoughts out. I can't turn them off. I can't escape so easily. I wriggle and turn in a bed that is too spacious for me. Sleep is still far away. Maybe if I read something. Force my mind away from the pain..... I open a book - I don't know which one - and start to read. It's useless. My eyes skim over the opening paragraph again and again. Looking but not seeing. As if *that* isn't bad enough, Jazz is an added distraction. Every couple of minutes, she wanders over to the bed and nudges my elbow plaintively. Pad pad pad. To the door and look back at me. Soft breathy whines, then pad pad pad back to the bed. Even with speech, her meaning could not be plainer. The book slips unnoticed from my fingers. Haunting phrases...... 'If I accidentally did something to cause her pain, it would tear me up inside..' The depth in Mark's voice when he said those words. Intensity that, before now, I had only heard him use with me. However wrong it was, he *loved* Beth. Loved her in a way that I just *can't* understand...... 'And then we got Jasmine.' How can I admit his love for one and not the other? The tones were the same. Unmistakable. I hear a plaintive child's whine within my head - "I don't understand!" Finally, the ice within me thaws. I begin to weep. Not the empty tears of shock and denial any more. Tears of grief, tears for what we had. Tears for what has been taken away from me. Tears of acknowledgement. These heartfelt sobs hurt so much.... Yet, they make me feel cleaner. Gradually, my weeping eases off. Sleep no longer threatens me. I'm tired, but I can think again. I look at Jasmine. See her suffering. My god! What am I doing? Isn't there enough pain here? Why should *she* suffer too! Despite my fears, I know that he won't hurt Jasmine. Any more than he would have hurt Beth. Any more than he'd hurt *me*! He loves....... He loves... Both of us? It doesn't make sense to me, but I believe it. The child's voice again: "I'm angry. I'm scared. I'm hurt. I *want* Mark to hurt too!" The child is selfish and spoilt. I already *know* that he hurts. By keeping Jazz away from him, I'm just punishing myself and her. Slowly, reluctantly, I slide out of bed and find my robe. Putting it on, I walk to the bedroom door and unlock it. Jazz regards me with eager eyes. She slips through and bounds off as soon as the crack is wide enough. As for myself, I haven't decided whether to talk to him or not. Will he want to talk? Or does he just want Jazz? Do *I* want to talk, or is the damage simply too great for us? As I follow Jazz into the dining room, I am immediately struck by two things: First, the room is tidy. Clear of dishes. Second, the room is empty. Achingly empty. Jazz has dashed through to the hallway, and is pawing meaningfully at the front door. Mark's gone! He's cleared up, and he's left! For a moment, I see the symbolism behind this, and my heart leaps into my throat. Has he cleared up the loose ends and simply walked away? No. Of course not. Even if he wouldn't stay for *me*, he wouldn't leave without saying goodbye to Jazz. The thought sends fresh pain through me. Is it possible that Jazz means more to him than I do? If I knew the answer to that question, I might be able to reorder my life again. If Mark was around, I'd ask him. But he isn't. I'm too late...... At this point, I notice the flashing light of the answering machine. Slowly, I walk over, hit the button and listen to his message. He's renting a room? Gone for a few days? But I wanted to talk! I'm *ready* now..... Alone! Now the concept beats at me like a hammer. Separation.....divorce........ Could I live with losing him? The renewed agony at that thought tells me the answer more clearly than my logic can. I still want him. I still love him. Sweet Jesus, let that be enough....... ================ Weasel December 3, 1996