Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Devo Diary Chapter 54

Wheelchair Basketball

July 2005
When I reconnect with Lee and check out the Paradevo website after falling out of touch for over four years, I'm pleased to notice that he's attached a message board to the website. I remember back when he first put the site up there were a bunch of people posting messages on the guest book, some of them more than once, using the guest book as a kind of impromptu bulletin board, trying to connect with each other. I'm glad to see a few names from the guest book show up on the new message board as well.
As I'm scrolling through the posts on the new message board, I'm stunned to see a thread titled, Devo Girl?
Someone asks,
Just wondering about this elusive individual. I've read and re-read and re-re-read "Devo Diary" and I was wondering if I was getting my hopes up in thinking that there might be something new to come.
Way back when I first posted that chapter about hooking up with the blind guy, I had intended to write more Devo Diary, but somehow never got around to it. Now there's so much more I hardly even know where to start. But it's so nice to know that even that one short bit was appreciated. I make an account on the message board and say hi to the group.
I also confirm with The Mantis over email that he's ok with me posting his photos on Paradevo. He writes,
Ahhh... such sweet memories, makes me pine for the days when I would grovel before you and drag myself about your apartment. If you want to photoshop my tattoos out of any where they're showing and do the same with my face, I don't have a problem with you posting them so deranged perverts can get their jollies jerking off to the sight of atrophied legs.
He also has some suggestions for captions:
The Mantis loves to be called disgusting and vile. He also likes long walks on the beach, jogging and pole vaulting, but he can't do any of those because he's paralyzed from the waist down.
I have to laugh when I read his message. Always the comedian.
I pick out a few photos where his face is covered or out of the frame, ones of him handcuffed to his chair, tied to my bed, with a bandage over his eyes, and with needles stuck all over his chest. Lee puts them up on the website, but the response is not, I think, what The Mantis was hoping for. No one really comments on the photos. I try to get him to make his own account and join the conversation on the message board, but he doesn't want to. I think he's slightly disappointed that devs aren't flinging themselves at him, although he doesn't say anything. Anyway, between Titania and the Sub Rosa Society BDSM events, he gets plenty of action.
Weirdly, though, he's not the only guy on his wheelchair basketball team with a photo on Paradevo. As The Mantis is checking out his own photos, he mentions to me that there is a picture of his teammate, who just left to train for the Paralympics. It's an action shot of the guy playing basketball. I ask Lee about it but he doesn't know; someone just shared the link with him. Even stranger, the link points to a domain that has nothing to do with wheelchair basketball. What was that photo doing there? It's like someone working for that domain just parked the photo there because there wasn't a better place to store it. It's so strange to run across the photo of someone I've met in person, but I guess the world of wheelchair basketball is not that big.

Aug 2005
The run of La Traviata is lots of fun. I love the music, the costumes, and I love how much the chorus has to do. The backstage drama has settled down for the moment, and we all just enjoy hanging out and joking around together. I'm slowly getting over my heartbreak with Sean, and trying to accept that whatever his deal is, I won't be hearing from him again.
Lulu is dating some new guy, although honestly she doesn't seem that invested in him. She agrees to accompany me to a matinee screening of this new documentary about wheelchair rugby called Murderball. It's so nice to be able to go with someone who knows that I'm a devotee, so I don't have to hide my reactions. The movie is incredible. I love how badass all the guys are, and they are all so hot. It's so exciting to watch these guys portrayed on the big screen as real, desirable people, not as objects of pity or inspiration porn.
But at the same time, watching it increases my frustration. I want a guy like this so much it hurts. With their tattoos and trash talk and stupid stunts, they remind me a lot of Sean. Dammit, why did he have to disappear on me like that?
Watching Murderball also reminds me of Rollerboy to an almost painful degree. He was on a rugby team, and I watched him play just like in the film. But it's more than that. the way they move, the way their arms look, with the skinny flat forearm, the limp hands, the way they cock their hands back to hold a bottle of water, brings me back to that feeling when I was with him. It's a weird sort of nostalgia tinged with regret for how bad that relationship was.
After the movie, Lulu agrees with me that the guys are hot, even though she's not at all a devotee.
"The movie does such a good job of overturning stereotypes about quadriplegics," I say as we exit the movie theater into the late afternoon sun.
"They're quadriplegic?!" Lulu looks confused. "But they can move their arms...?"
Oh my god, I thought the movie explained this so clearly, but if she didn't get it after two hours, also after knowing me and having met Rollerboy, what chance is there of anyone in the general public ever understanding SCI? I try to explain about injury levels but she continues to look blank. I give up.
I go back to see Murderball a few more times on my own, just to have the full dev experience. I also look up every review and interview I can find and watch the guys guest star on Jackass. I know they all have girlfriends but man I am crushing so hard on all of them.

Sept 2005
In an effort to forget about Sean, I spend more time on Craigslist and other online personals sites looking for submissive guys into BDSM. Dan Savage always says kinky people have to advertise if you want to find someone into the same kink as you, so here I am. There are plenty of sub guys advertising online and I message a lot of them, but our email exchanges go nowhere. Either their photos are not attractive to me, or they stop writing back, or whatever, but nothing leads to even a phone call, never mind actually meeting in person.
Anyway I can't get too excited for these lukewarm dudes on the internet when I'm meeting so many real life wheeler guys through wheelchair basketball. Since The Mantis introduced me to the coach, I've been going to the practices for the Lester State University team which meets in a gym just a few blocks from my house. I also drive the two hours south to The Mantis' games when he invites me. Everyone is very friendly and no one questions why I'm there. They seem glad that anyone is taking an interest in their team.
Hanging out with all these guys is like an object lesson in everything your mother ever told you. Yes, you will fall off the roof and break your back if you're not careful. Also the racial divide is stark: the white guys were in motorcycle accidents, and the black guys got shot.
There's this one guy in particular on the Lester State team who I develop a serious crush on. His name is Eitan. Obviously he's Jewish like me. He seems much younger than I am but he's so beautiful I can't help myself. He has a mop of dark curly hair and big brown eyes. I think he looks like Judah Maccabee. Is it too weird to find that attractive? Lulu always teases me for only dating goyim, but now I have finally found one Jew I'm attracted to. He's lean and wiry. I don't know anything about his injury but it must be low because I see him turn all the way around to look behind him during practice one day. The Mantis couldn't do that. You need abs to turn yourself like that.
Titania helps me out, making sure to invite me when the two teams are playing each other, talking me up to him, helping me to find time to chat with him during time outs. It takes me over two hours to decide what to wear to practice. The weather is turning chilly but I don't want to cover up in a bulky sweater. Dammit, why don't I have any sexy clothes that aren't fetish gear? In the end I decide on jeans and a tank top with a low plunging v neck, covered by a down jacket I leave unzipped. There--warm but lots of cleavage.
I must be doing something right because Eitan seems happy to talk to me. The game is in the afternoon, and afterwards a bunch of the guys go out for burgers and ask me to go with them. As we walk through the parking lot to the restaurant, I'm surrounded by eight sporty paras in their low-slung chairs, all wheeling around me. I feel so fucking sexy it's like I'm walking on air. How did I ever get so lucky?
I spend the meal chatting with Eitan, and he agrees to meet me for dinner before his next practice, although I can't really say it's a date since two more of his teammates will be there.
We meet a week later at an Italian restaurant near the gym. It's an old school type of place, with red checkered tablecloths, half curtains in the windows, and nothing on the menu but spaghetti and meatballs in serving sizes from large to gargantuan. When we come in the door, there's a flurry of activity as the servers leap forward to clear the chairs away from the table. It seems they come here often before practice, because the servers know them. I have no idea how they can put away so much heavy food then go to practice but they are all young guys.
Actually Eitan is even younger than I suspected, it turns out he's only twenty-three. Shit! That's ten years younger than I am. But he seems mature for his age, not like the average frat boy at Lester State. He has this very serious, soft-spoken way about him, like he's always thinking deeply about everything.
After practice that night, I ask Eitan if he ever wants to come to my place for a visit, and to my delight he says yes. He lives about an hour north of the city, in a fancy rich suburb, but we agree that he'll drive into town a few hours before the next practice to meet up with me. I give him directions to my house.
Eitan has no trouble getting himself up the three red painted concrete steps to my front door. Unlike Sean, who dragged himself up ass first until his pants fell down, Eitan is downright elegant. He takes one look at the stairs, then grabs the metal railing along the side of the house and hoists himself chair and all up the steps, casters first, like it's nothing. I gape at him in amazement.
"Wow, that's so cool!" I say, inviting him to sit next to me on the couch.
He shrugs modestly, then transfers in one smooth motion onto my tiny couch. "They taught me in rehab."
I seize on this opportunity to ask him about his injury, and it turns out it was just over a year ago. Shit shit shit!! Not only his he way too young for me, but his injury is much too recent. I have a personal policy not to mess with guys so soon after SCI. They are still adjusting, and psychologically it's just too intense--most of them are not ready for a serious relationship until at least a few more years out. I was correct though that his injury is very low, L4. Not only was his injury very recent, but the story is so tragic. He was riding his bicycle on a road near his house and was hit by a truck. Most of the SCI guys I know were injured doing stupid shit like drunk driving, and some like Rollerboy have only themselves to blame. This was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But I don't dwell on any of this. I try to just listen and nod politely. I also don't let on to being a devotee. Something tells me he wouldn't be too into the idea. Anyway he knows I'm friend with The Mantis so that's enough reason why I am more knowledgeable than average about SCI. Anyway despite being injured so recently, Eitan seems pretty accepting, not sunk into depression or holding out futile hope for recovery or a cure. The accident happened just after he graduated from college, though, so now he's still living at home and hasn't got a job yet.
We talk for a while about our families. I thought that might be a point in common between us, both being Jewish, but I realize as he talks that our families could not be more different. What's up with these West Coast Jews? Like Lulu, I come from a long line of New York Jews--Manischewitz drinking, endlessly kvetching, Seinfieldian stereotypes all. At our synagogue every Saturday morning, the old ladies would fill up their handbags with the stale rugelach and butter cookies purchased the day before at the kosher deli. But as Eitan describes his parents, they seem like hippies, or back to the land hipsters. His father bakes challah for Shabbat dinner every single Friday afternoon. Who even does that? When I was a kid I tried baking challah once and it came out like a braided rock.
But it's not just the wholesome family activities. Eitan does not have the same sarcastic, cynical worldview that I do. Even Lulu, who is much sweeter than I am, is always quick with a one-liner. But Eitan is completely, one hundred percent earnest and serious about everything, but in a laid-back kind of way. It makes talking to him faintly exhausting.
I also start to realize, as he's sitting there on my couch, that he's deeply uncomfortable, and not just because of my crappy Ikea furniture. I desperately want to kiss him, but he seems so much like he doesn't want to be here that I don't even try. It's getting close to practice time, so I suggest getting dinner. We go together to the same Italian restaurant, but conversation is even more awkward there. At the restaurant, he chides me for putting my elbows on the table. What the hell is that about?
Ok, I get it. Eitan is not interested in me. So then why did he even agree to come over to my house in the first place? Why not just say no from the start? I hate to feel like the creepy stalker dev, forcing my attentions on guys. But honestly, this kind of situation hasn't happened since I met Tim, the museum volunteer with arthrogryposis. Every other guy who I have met has no problem saying no to a come on if he isn't interested. Unlike women, most guys just say what they want, yes or no.
Maybe Eitan is just fatally polite. But really, saying yes to everything then expecting the other person to pick up on your lack of enthusiasm is its own kind of rudeness.
The next time I see Titania, she asks me, "How's Eitan?"
"I'm done with him," I tell her. "I'm going to leave him alone."
"That's for the best," she replies. "You two are too different, personality-wise." Well, it would have been nice if she had shared that insight earlier rather than encouraging me, but I guess she was trying to help.
A few weeks later, I see Eitan again at another basketball game, and this time he's there with a girlfriend his own age. She is objectively hot: tall, thin, very stylish. She doesn't seem like his type either--too mainstream, not intellectual or hippie-ish at all, but whatever. I say hello and make some small talk just to let him know there's no hard feelings. He smiles politely. But that's it, I don't see him again after that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Devo Diary Chapter 55

Trip, part 1

Oct 2005

It's time to get serious about my career. I've extended completing my grad degree beyond all reason, now I've got to finish by the end of this semester and start applying for jobs. At the same time, I'm still working on campus and singing in the Raser City Lyric Opera. I'm not in an opera at the moment, but the Gala is coming up, the yearly fundraiser concert. Even though the performances are silly parodies, the staging and costuming are the same as for a full production. Between work, school and rehearsals, I feel like I'm going flat out all the time.
"Eyes on the prize," Lulu tells me every time I call her up to procrastinate, then she tells me to get back to work on that degree.
I feel even more intensely that sensation of looming over a bottomless pit, like I'm about to fall into the abyss.
I still stay up way too late every night combing the internet for personal ads of guys with disabilities. Despite what happened with Sean, I keep going back to Craigslist, not just the personals but also the missed connections. What if someone saw me?
As I'm scrolling through the Craigslist missed connections, I stumble across the strangest ad.
Hot girl with her wheelchair on eastbound train, 10pm - w4w - 24 - m4w
To the blue-eyed hottie in a wheelchair with a girl on your lap. The two of you were making out like crazy. Interested in a three way? I'm the same...
I read the ad over and over, trying to figure it out. So there was a lesbian couple making out on the train, and a guy saw them and asked to join in? Does the 24 mean that he's 24 years old? It has to, there's no way he would know the exact age of the women. And when he says he's the same, does that mean he's also in a wheelchair? I can't stop thinking about this ad. I have to know something more about the person who placed it. What do I have to lose?
I write a reply:
So does that mean you're a hot young single guy in a wheelchair? Looking for some fun? I'm not either of those MC women, but I am single so I at least have something up on them. And I'm a cute girl. Interested?
Twenty minutes later, I get a reply from a guy name Trip. The first line of his reply is a link to his blog on Geocities with a photo of himself. Oh my god, he is a gorgeous para. He's in a rugged manual chair with knobby mountain bike wheels, sitting on what looks like a hiking trail. He's definitely not twenty-four though. He seems a little older than I am, maybe fortyish, but so handsome. He's got honey blond curly hair flying everywhere in a big halo over a tanned face with sharp features and the most beautiful blue eyes. After the link, he writes, That's me. But you are a figment of my imagination.
I reply,
So if I'm a figment of your imagination, how come we're not having mad
sex right now? Oh wait, that's my imagination. Man, you are hot hot hot. Here's a pic of me in case your mental image needs a little prodding.
I send the photo of me ass forward in the black vinyl fetish pants, looking over my shoulder, with my Betty Page haircut.
He writes,
Yes, that's her, the fantasy-girl, I'd recognize that butt, the lovely face and the not undersized bowchaser, though it is a side view. She and I did have hot sex last night, actually. Wish I knew where are they keeping fantasies these days?
Seriously, who is this?
I decide it's time to be a bit more serious. I attach one of my personal ad close up photos and write,
I suppose with Craigslist being the haunt of mental midgets, scam artists, and the criminally deranged, you might be suspicious, but I assure you I am quite real and mostly harmless. I live in the Bayfront neighborhood, and I'm a grad student at Lester State.
Since I'm what you might call a fan of guys in wheelchairs, I thought I might contact you. But seriously, I was blown away by your photos. You are a total stud. I'd love to meet you. Here's another photo of me, sorry you can't see my bowchaser, ha ha.
Ask me anything, and please tell me a little about your fine self.
He writes,
Well...I heard a rumor that women such as you, fans of wheelchair guys, existed back when I was first injured but always assumed it was wishful thinking. I know I've thought wishfully of it many times. You're really lovely and it pains me to have to say so, but I have a girlfriend.
That aside, I'm a writer and am often near Bayfront if you wanted to get together some time. Thanks for the compliments, by the way.
Dammit! I'm disappointed but I can't stop writing to this guy. If he has a girlfriend, why is he flirting and sending me photos? I dial back the sexiness and write a more measured reply.
Alas, I thought you were too good to be true. We fans do exist, but our numbers are very small.
So what kind of writer are you? I might have known, your emails betray a level of literacy rarely seen anywhere on the internet, especially not on Craigslist. Once in the distant past, I considered becoming a novelist, but then I realized I could be even more underpaid and underappreciated as a grad student.
I would still like to meet you, if you are interested. When is your next trip to Bayfront?
He replies,
Very small numbers indeed, in fact, I suspect that it is just you. If that's the case, girl, you're famous amongst us chairistos!
Smart career-move with grad school, but you made a serious error: hour-to-hour, pound-for-pound, you can't get more underpaid than a novelist. I am not a novelist, a mere humble essayist, also a highly underpaid job. I do get to read a lot, though, and pretty much do what I want to when I want to. For better or worse.
Yes, I certainly would like to meet you, though you have to promise not to
try to seduce me...I'm in Bayfront tomorrow, probably.
I am definitely up for meeting. I send him another photo, a more recent one since I no longer have the Betty Page look. This is one of me in a cheongsam with my hair pulled back in a bun, rolling my eyes at the ceiling and laughing. I tell him,
We can compete in person over who is more undeservingly ignored by an uncaring utilitarian society. I understand your warning that you are not available; our meeting will be strictly platonic.
He writes,
The warning wasn't to you, believe me, it was to myself ;-)
We arrange to meet for lunch at one of the nicer sandwich places next to the Lester State campus. He'll be taking the train, so I confirm which exit we'll meet by. He replies,
I'll be the guy in the wheelchair...
At twelve noon, I'm lurking nervously by the elevator to the subway, not really sure what I'm doing. Why am I meeting him when he said he has a girlfriend? I shouldn't be doing this. But I have realized the value of making friends with guys with disabilities. It doesn't always have to only be about sex. I vow that I won't come on to him. I meant what I said about being platonic. As a sign of my intentions, I don't wear anything special, just the same boring clothes I wore to work in the morning--brown polyester pants and a white button down shirt with little embroidered flowers.
The minutes tick by, many people go in and out of the subway station but no one in a wheelchair. I continue wait, feeling increasingly sure that I've been stood up. I mean after all, I messaged him literally out of the blue and he is not single. It wouldn't be the slightest bit surprising if he just didn't show up.
Finally, thirty minutes late and just as I've completely given up hope, he emerges from the elevator, the same big knobby wheels and curly hair as in the photo.
"Sorry I'm so late, there was a delay on the train. Did you get my message?" he asks as he wheels up to me.
"What message?" After a moment of confusion, I realize that I gave him my home land line phone number instead of my cell phone, that's why I didn't get it. He thought I was standing him up, or gave a fake number. There are apologies on both sides for the confusion, but it's kind of an awkward start to an already awkward meeting.
We head off to the restaurant down the block. I try not to stare too hard at his nicely muscled shoulders and skinny legs tucked up under him. He has a Quickie, which I now appreciate as the sexiest of chairs, and properly fitted and set up too so he's sitting at a good angle with his back straight. Platonic meeting, I remind myself, as I open the door of the restaurant for him and watch him bump over the threshold, then again as I move aside a chair at the table for him to pull up.
We trade the standard getting to know you spiel. As I suspected, he's forty-two years old. He's from a WASPy patrician New England family, going sailing in the summer and skiing in the winter and would rather die than talk about their feelings. Trip is a nickname of course, because he's the Third, sharing the same double-barreled patrician name with his father and grandfather. I grew up with people like that but of course never went either skiing or sailing because they are dangerous and also uncomfortable. He wasn't injured doing either of those things, but in a mountain biking accident, another sporty outdoor activity I will never try. It was twelve years ago, and his injury is at the T12 level, so relatively low, but complete, no sensation or movement. He still goes sailing and hiking in his chair.
"I'm trying out racing too, in fact I have a lesson next week, although I'm honestly a little nervous about those racing chairs."
"Oh, you mean the kind with the third wheel way out in front?"
"Yeah, it's really easy to tip over backwards if you're not careful. You've got to keep your weight forward."
"Huh, I never thought of that."
"But you've dated other guys in chairs before, right?"
"Yeah, but they were into rugby and basketball. I never met anyone who raced."
"So you've been with, like, a ton of disabled guys."
"Hey, what are you implying! I reject the implicit judgment in that comment."
He backs down apologetically. "I didn't mean it like that. I've just never met anyone who's a, um..."
"Devotee," I supply the word for him since he seems to be having trouble saying it out loud. Even for me I admit it's weird to say aloud, since most of my discussions about it are online. Ever since Rollerboy, I've given up the pretentious (but technically correct) "day-vo-tay" pronunciation and gone for the thoroughly American "dee-vo-tee."
"Yeah, that. So what's that all about," he challenges me.
I give him my standard line about how it's something that's always been part of me, since my earliest memories, but it wasn't caused by anything specific in my childhood. He's still looking skeptical, like he's not sure if I'm some kind of predator or what, so I step up my game.
"Look," I say, "It's not easy to be a sexual minority. I always felt like an outcast, like I didn't fit in anywhere. I never see myself in any romance stories. There's no pop culture narrative that I fit into, no role models anywhere. I just have to make it up for myself as I go along. But I have just as much a right as anyone else to be happy, and to pursue my own sexual desires. Even when society is telling me 'That's weird' or 'You're not allowed.' Because fuck that. I didn't choose to be this way, but I just have to make the best of it."
Trip listens thoughtfully, furrowing his brow. "So you're saying that devotees and us wheelchair users have that in common?"
"Yes, exactly!" I smile at him. "I mean, of course our experiences are different in a lot of other ways. But I think we share that one thing, of having to accept the hand we're dealt."
"Hm, I guess that makes sense. Sexuality is a complex thing."
"Yeah, right? Just think, we don't even know why some people are gay, never mind understanding why some people have kinks or what causes specific kinks to arise."
"I never thought of it like that. I guess I just assumed that devotees were, like, into taking care of guys."
"I know, people always assume that I'm looking for someone to control or take advantage of, or that I have no self-esteem and think I can't do better. It's so insulting."
He nods. "Yeah, I thought after I was injured that my sex life might be over, but actually it wasn't that much different. The only women who rejected me outright were the kind of empty-headed bimbos looking for a quick lay, but I'm not interested in them either anymore. The smarter, more thoughtful women were always willing to give me a chance."
I'm sure that's true. I don't say anything, but I get the feeling Trip is a player. He's a sporty low para, of course the women are into him. I don't ask about his girlfriend, but he volunteers a few details. Her name is Shruthi, and she's an artist. Like, actually has paintings in galleries artist, and she's only in her twenties.
"So if you have a girlfriend, why are you posting a missed connections ad on Craigslist?" I ask.
"I didn't post that ad," he says sincerely, looking a bit surprised I would even think that.
"But I replied to the ad and the system sent my message to you. If that wasn't your ad, how did you get my message?"
"No idea."
I give him a skeptical look. "Seriously, how did you get my message?"
"I really don't know! I posted a reply to the ad making a sarcastic comment about it, but I swear it wasn't my ad."
"That's so weird." I'm not sure what to think. Maybe there was a reply to that ad. That would explain the age difference--he wasn't pretending to be twenty-four. Was there some kind of crossed wires situation? Did I accidentally message the reply instead of the original ad? Now it feels even stranger that we ended up meeting in person.
We've both finished eating, and as we're talking I'm toying with the things on the table--my empty water glass, the little container of sugar packets, my unused butter knife. It's really time to go, but he seems interested in hanging out a little longer.
"Have you ever been down to the pier?" he asks as we split the bill.
"The what?" I had no idea there was a pier with a public park right near my house. It's on the other side of a big parking lot in kind of an industrial area that I have never bothered to check out. But apparently Trip has been sailing there often. At his suggestion, I drive us both down to the pier in my car.
We wander about on the public walkway for a few minutes, me walking and him pushing beside me. It's quite pretty with the green trees and grass, and the bay right beside us, filled with moored sailboats. I can't believe I've never been over here when I live so close by. There's something so appealing about walking along with him pushing next to me, the different pace of his arms pushing the wheels forward contrasted with my steps. This is such a weird situation. I'm trying very hard not to flirt with him. I'm starting to like the idea of just being friends. He's a smart guy, and easy to talk to.
As we approach the end of the walkway, he points out the yacht club, a single story, unassuming building at the end.
"Wanna get a drink?" he suggests.
"Don't you have to be a member to get in?"
"Nah, anyone can order at the bar."
We go in and sit down by the big picture window with a stunning view of the bay. I order a gin and tonic. As I sit there demurely sipping my drink and thinking I've been very virtuous in not coming on to him, Trip leans forward and whispers in my ear,
"I want to watch you masturbate."
Well. That was not the direction I thought things were going in, but if that's what he wants to do, I'm not going to say no. I put my drink down slowly, smirking at him.
"That could be arranged."
We toss back our drinks and depart for my place. When we reach my house with the three cement steps, Trip opts to scoot up on his butt while I place his chair inside, but unlike Sean, he manages to do it without losing his pants in the process.
I don't even bother with the tour, but just lead him straight back to the bedroom where we immediately tear off our clothes. I stare openly as he transfers onto my bed. My god, those arms.
"You like that?" he growls as he rolls over on top of me.
"Oh yeah." I smile up at him. It feels good not to have to hide my interest.
He kisses me hard and grabs at me with his big callused hands.
"God, I've been wanting to see you naked since you sent me those photos."
I pinch his nipple and he lets out a loud groan. Good, he's sensitized. I roll him over and kiss his nipples, first one then the other, enjoying his hard, smooth chest and the way he writhes under me. Then I move up to his ears, licking and nipping at each one, and he likes that even more. I like that he didn't have to tell me what to do. I feel like an expert in SCI sex.
"Now I did promise you a show," I say, reaching for my cache of sex toys on a shelf by the bed. I go for my current favorite, a pocket rocket with a silicone bunny head on top, with long rounded ears. Trip nods approvingly, his eyes huge.
I lean back and get comfortable, while he takes up a viewing position at the end of the bed. The bunny is good, and within five minutes I've come three times.
"Now it's my turn," Trip says, and he wraps his arms around my thighs and plants his face in my crotch. Goddamn, he is talented with his tongue. I lay back and surrender myself to him, and it's like nothing else in the world exists. I'm already sensitized from the vibrator but he makes me come three more times in a row.
"I did warn you not to seduce me," he says, leaning back and wiping his mouth.
"Oh please, I wasn't the one who started talking about masturbation. This was all your idea."
"What are you talking about?" he teases. "Your exact words to me were, 'I want to
masturbate for you.' I was shocked!" He makes a fake surprised face.
I laugh. "No, my exact words were 'I have a master class this afternoon.' You seemed to have misconstrued my intentions somehow."
"Oh! How embarrassing. Just a little misunderstanding then. Glad we got that cleared up. Would have been touch and go if you had gotten naked and spread your legs wide for me and I was thinking it was something other than a master class."
"Yes, good thing that's cleared up."
"The bunny at least seems to have played its role satisfactorily."
"Actually, there's a dolphin attachment I've had my eye on lately. The bunny ears seemed like a good idea but in practice they're too long and floppy. I need something more, ah, rigid."
"I'd like to see your dolphin show," he growls, kissing me again.
"Any time, just let me know when."
"You ever free in the day time, hottie?"
"Sure thing, just let me know when." I grin at him as I zip up my jeans. There's no time for romantic lingering in bed though, he has to get back home.
Trip lets me bump him down the stairs backwards, then I give him a ride to the train station. We promise to meet up again soon.
I drive home and make myself dinner in a haze. The past few hours feel almost unreal. Did I really just hook up with a hot para through a Craigslist missed connections ad that had nothing to do with either of us? And why am I getting involved with yet another guy who is not single?
Now I really can't say I'm a good person anymore. With K, I could give the excuse that he was in an open relationship. His girlfriend knew about me and gave her consent, even if somewhat unwillingly, and I didn't treat her very well. With The Mantis, well, he was cheating on his wife, but we had a six month no-strings contract between the two of us, and he was looking for the BDSM experience he wasn't getting from her. It seems to have worked out ok in the end. He came clean after the fact and they both moved on.
But with Trip, what am I even doing? We didn't discuss anything. He's just cheating, plain and simple, no extenuating circumstances. And I don't even care. Maybe I should, but damn, he's so freaking sexy. Hooking up with him was nasty, dirty fun. This isn't even the first time I've done something like this. There was Tim the blind guitarist with the pregnant girlfriend. This is starting to look like a pattern. But it's not that I want to be with a guy who's cheating or otherwise not totally single. Just the opposite, I would so much prefer to be monogamous. It's just that there are so few guys with disabilities, and even fewer with whom I share a mutual attraction. I'll do just about anything when I meet one.
With K, not being able to have the relationship with him that I wanted was torture. But I don't feel at all in danger of falling in love with Trip. I like talking to him but I don't want to date him. He seems just a little too into himself. I've learned from William, these guys in their forties who have never been married are single for a reason. Also he's the kind of guy who calls himself a feminist but not so secretly gets off on degrading women.  An occasional hook up is just about right.
I email him the next day.
I'm really glad we met up. Let me know when you're free again. Oh and definitely let me know about your racing lesson. I want details on that.
He replies that the racing didn't work out because the woman who was going to give him a lesson was busy, but he's much more interested in hearing if I went to the lesbian-owned sex positive adult store to purchase a dolphin attachment.
I reply,
I just went there today. Now the bunny can enjoy a well-deserved retirement. I have
already tested the dolphin and found it quite satisfactory. I suggest you book your ticket now for Wednesday afternoon.
Now that is really a shame about the racing. Next time be sure to take your camera and get some pictures.
He writes,
Wheelchair slut! I don't think this girlie is into other women, but she is very toned from the wheelchair athlete standpoint: huge shoulders and very little leg. She is innocent of your perverted ways, though, so I wouldn't  want to subject her to your lustful uses now that you are riding the waves with your dolphin.
I will see if I'm free on Wednesday. I'd like to see your dolphin show...maybe see it
jumping through rings...splashing around in the deep....leaping for a fish...;) Will the batteries still be working by then?
I let him know that he has misconstrued my intention, I am not at all interested in his female trainer. We flirt and tease some more but we can't find a time to meet in the next week because my schedule is packed and he has to sneak around.

As I'm in the middle of this exchange with Trip, an email arrives from the last person I ever expected to hear from: Sean. The super hot para who does half-pipe stunts and who disappeared after going to the emergency room for a urinary tract infection. It's now been three months since I heard from him. After I saw he reposted his personal ad on Craigslist, I decided he was just a player who didn't mean all the things he said about wanting to get married and have kids with me. I really thought I would never hear from him again, but now here he is in my inbox.
i know i disappeared off the face the earth and you are very upset. rightfully so. there's no easy way to put this. i dug you so much it freaked me. let me tell u why. in the last year i have come to realize something very difficult and i didn't know how to bring it up and tell you. i haven't told anyone. i decided for my own sanity last new years to check out what it would be like to explore my sexuality beyond women. what i found was simple. i can never dig a man like i do a woman, soft touch snuggling, baby kisses, the entire package...but i do dig some kink. you are the first woman i had ever met into kink. i felt i should tell u but was so damn afraid at the same time...so i folded...clammed up and treated you inappropriately. i am sorry for that and hope you can forgive me. now the truth is out...i am naked as it gets. i know what i lost in not being str8 up...and so you know every thing i told you was true...you are a beautiful woman and any man would be lucky to have you. i owed you this much and so much more. i hope everything is going great for you.
I reply immediately.
Well I am very surprised to hear from you, I really thought I would never hear anything more from you again. When you disappeared at first I didn't know what to think, except maybe that you were very sick or even dead, after all the last I heard was you were in the hospital. Then when I saw you put your ad back up on Craiglist I figured you had just played me, that you were just looking for a one night stand and all that sweet talk was just BS.
Anyway I am glad you wrote to me, although I'm still not totally sure what to think. I remember you told me you had messed around with guys, which isn't a big deal to me, in fact I think it's cool. And yeah, I'm seriously kinky. I don't remember how much we talked about it, but there isn't much that can shock me. What was it exactly that you wanted to tell me? And what were you scared of? That I would freak out and say "You're sick!" or that I would say, "Ok, let's try it" ?
Anyway I was disappointed that we didn't even make it to a second date, and I still think about you sometimes. I felt like we really connected, and that doesn't happen very often. Also you're seriously one of the sexiest guys I have ever met.
He writes back a few minutes later.
well in response...you're an extremely sexy woman yourself...to be honest i felt you were the kinda woman that was above me...i know i know that's self sabotage but i didn't have the best self confidence in the world...i am truly sorry i hurt you...your an awesome person and i feel like we really connected too. i would kill for the chance of a second date...though i know i truly don't deserve one. anyways i would love to talk again sometime at the very least. gimme a call.. i am sorry i freaked over the me being a bi. thanks for writing me back.

Ugh, I hate this "you're above me" crap so much! Come on, pull yourself together, dude! And I am still angry at him for bailing then reposting his ad. But on the other hand, I am grateful that he's apologized. Against my better judgment, I call him on the phone and we talk for over an hour, mostly just repeating what we already said in the emails. He tells me more detail about his time in the hospital and his recovery, which took a few weeks. I tell him about struggling to finish my degree, work and applying for jobs.
When I finally hang up the phone, I feel exhausted but also somewhat lighter. We don't make a plan to meet up again. I'm not giving him a second date. I'm definitely not thinking of him as boyfriend material. But maybe we can be friends, or at least on good terms. It feels ok, like I finally got some closure with him.