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.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Devo Diary Chapter 56

Trip part 2

November 2005
I'm standing at a major intersection near my house in the Bayfront neighborhood, waiting to cross the street, when a hot para drives by. He's in a green Dodge Dart convertible, so I can clearly see the sporty wheelchair tossed in the passenger seat, the hand controls, and the skinny legs. This guy is amazingly handsome--tall and lean, long smooth face, brown wiry hair cut short on the sides, kind of standing up a bit on top. I clock all this within seconds as he drives by, my dev instincts in high gear. As he turns the corner, I see his legs flop limply to the side. I feel an intense rush over my entire body just watching him.
He drives away while I stand there and gape after him, wishing there was some way to get to know him. I can't stop thinking about him the entire rest of the day, so late that night, I post a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist, describing him in as non-creepy a way as I can. Why not, right? It worked with the blind guy years ago.
Ok, actually I only met the blind guy after months of staking out his neighborhood, but he later told me that someone told him about the missed connections ad. He could have answered the ad. It was at least a possibility. And I met Trip through the missed connections, however improbably, given that we were neither the person seen nor the person placing the ad.
But sadly no one ever answers my ad and the hipster para in the Dodge Dart convertible remains a mystery.

Speaking of Trip, it's been a few weeks and we still haven't found time to meet again. I'm really just in it for the sex with him, but oh lord the sex was good that first time. I email him again to see if we can find some time in the middle of the day to meet.
At last the stars align and our schedules match up. He writes,
You have to promise not to seduce me and not to kiss my nipples like you do, ok...
I reply,
I promise not to make any effort to seduce you ;) Any kissing that takes place will be purely accidental as the result of an involuntary reflex response.
Even though we make a plan for him to pick me up on campus in his car at lunchtime, I try to manage my expectations by assuming that there's a good chance he will cancel at the last minute. I don't realize until I'm already at work in the morning that I'm wearing the same outfit as when we first met, the brown polyester pants and white oxford shirt with rosebud embroidery. Maybe there is something to this bland but lucky officewear, because our tryst goes as planned.
I loiter at the roundabout at the edge of campus, praying that I won't run into anyone I know, until I see him drive up. As I hop in his car, he gives me a knowing smirk. I grin back at him.
There's no reason to waste time on social niceties like going to a café. We only have a few hours anyway. I give him directions straight back to my house. As he negotiates the maze of crowded one-way streets around campus, he keeps sliding his eyes over to me hungrily.
"I'm glad we promised not to surrender to our baser instincts today," he jokes.
I reply in a mock serious tone, "Forbearance is indeed the watchword of the day. I feel exceedingly virtuous for keeping my vulgar urges in check."
"Slut!" he whispers, like he's hesitant to even use that word as a joke. Whatever, if he gets off on dirty talk, I don't mind it.
As I watch him drag his butt up the steps to my house, I consider that I should really get a ramp. It would be easy to get a big piece of plywood and just lay it down over the steps. Would it be weird to buy a ramp to facilitate his cheating? What if I buy it and he never comes back? I feel like buying a ramp would jinx it somehow.
Once inside, he transfers back up into his chair, and we head straight back to the bedroom. Immediately, I'm all over him before he can even get out of the chair again, kissing him and running my hands through his wild curly hair. I can't straddle his chair because my legs are so short, and his knobby mountain bike tires are so big, so I'm just kind of awkwardly perched over him, sort of half sitting, half leaning. I nip at his ear and he groans loudly, grabbing my ass with his strong callused hands.
Last time was an impulsive tryst, but this time Trip is prepared. Before he transfers out of his chair, he pulls a bottle of water from the backpack on the back of his chair and downs a little blue pill while leering at me.
I watch as he takes his feet off the footrest and places them on the floor one at a time, then places one hand on the side of the bed and swings his butt over. I pull off his shoes for him and help lift his legs onto the bed. Not that he needs my help, but I like to do it, to feel the heavy weight of his legs.
While we're waiting for the pill to take effect, I show him the dolphin. It's a sleek little light blue silicone sleeve that fits over the pocket rocket. I let Trip pull my clothes off, and he positions himself at the end of the bed while I sprawl out in front of him. He watches with huge eyes while I twist the dolphin on and press it up against my pussy. Just having him here in my bed is such a turn on that I'm ready to go within seconds. I lock eyes with him while I'm coming, and he stares at me with a sort of scientific intensity.
When I'm done with the vibrator, he leans forward, pushing my legs apart and up in a balletic, athletic pose that I am in no way capable of achieving. I feel the tendons between my legs seize up. For the first time, I get a hint of his girlfriend--she must be a dancer or gymnast or something.
"Uh, I'm not that flexible," I say apologetically, bringing my feet back down to the mattress and bending my knees.
"Oh, sorry." He plants his face between my legs and makes me come a few more times.
I could let him stay down there all day but it seems a shame to waste his erection since he went to the trouble of chemically inducing it. I push him back gently, and he rocks back on his hands and knees, then back onto his folded legs. I grab a condom and some lube from the shelf behind my headboard and put it on him since he needs to use his arms to stay upright.
I assumed that I would have to be on top, but no, he would rather be on top. I didn't even think that was possible, but now I'm intrigued to see his technique. I lie down in front of him, and he rocks forward onto his hands and knees, walks his hands forward so he's right over me, then slowly lowers on top of me. Once he's in position, I guide his cock inside me, pulling on his hips to get better leverage. He lifts himself up with his arms and rocks forward and back. I don't know how he does it, but somehow his lower body also stays rigidly in place, so he's balancing on his feet and arms. As he's pulling himself forward and back, the muscles on his rock-hard arms and shoulders pop out right beside my face.
"You're so strong," I murmur appreciatively.
"I have to be," he grunts in the most manly way. I'm in dev heaven.
But as impressive as this feat is, I have to admit that like most women this will not make me come, and what we did earlier was far more satisfying. Since he can't come at all, how do we know when to stop?
The answer is, when his arms get tired and the pill starts to wear off. He rolls off me, his legs following along as lays beside me. I tangle my legs up in his and give his nipples and ears some more attention, gently nipping and licking, enjoying his groans as I find the most sensitive spots.
He grabs the dolphin again hands it to me, so I give him one more show until I really am done.
I flop down next to him, exhausted.
"Good thing you didn't seduce me," he says. "We rose above base corporeal desires and re-affirmed my belief that humans are basically good."
"I agree, you were quite good," I reply, pinching his nipple.
"I would like to spank you though."
"I believe that counts as an elevated, rather than a base corporeal desire. Maybe next time," I suggest.
"So there is to be a next time?"
"My ass awaits your hand."

The next time is just ten days later. I wear the same outfit to work again, which is now starting to feel downright superstitious. Sure enough, by mid-morning Trip is emailing to ask if I can meet later in the afternoon. Yes, I certainly can.
Like before, he picks me up on campus while I again pray that I'm not spotted by any friends who might ask where I'm going.
We're back at my place and naked in bed together in record time. We start the same way--the vibrator, him going down on me, but somehow neither of us is totally feeling it. Usually I can come in under a minute if I'm with a hot para, and keep going on and on, but today it feels like forever to even achieve the first orgasm, and I start to worry that his jaw is getting tired. Finally, I manage to come, but it's kind of lackluster.
"Sorry," I say as he pulls himself up to lie next to me on the pillows. "I don't know why I'm not my usual self today. I think I'm just tired and stressed."
This is not just a line. My life is insane right now. I have less than a month to finish my degree. At the same time, I'm working on campus, applying for jobs like crazy, and rehearsing for another show that opens in a few weeks. So far my job search is feeling even more desperate and futile than before. That feeling I described to Uri as I ran down my car battery, of standing at the edge of an abyss--it's only increasing with every passing day. Even my oblivious and self-absorbed advisor comments that I look like I have lost a lot of weight.
"I have a lean and hungry look," I tell him.
On top of all this, my dating life is even more of a slow-motion train wreck than usual. I'm still talking to Sean on the phone every few weeks, slowly warming up to him again, although I'm still careful not to get too attached. I've been posting on the new Paradevo message board and chatting a lot with the guys there. And I've been messaging even more with other devs. So even when I'm running around like crazy all day, I'm staying up until one or two every morning on the internet or talking on the phone. Even when I try to sleep, I wake up in the early morning hours, gripped with anxiety.
And here I am now getting fucked by some other girl's boyfriend. Well, to be honest Trip is the least of my worries and actually today we decide not to try for insertion, which is a lot of work for not much result.
When I apologize for being too tired, he says no, he's the one who's really tired and off his game. It's him, not me. We chat for a little while in bed, agreeing to try again next time.
He pulls his pants back on lying in the bed, then transfers to his chair. As he's pulling on his shirt, I notice that while we were lying there chatting, he peed in the bed. And not just a little, there's a sizeable wet spot. I stare at it, wondering what to do. I don't want to shame him over a minor annoyance, but then again, I am a little annoyed.
Apparently Trip's strategy is to pretend it hasn't happened. I see him glance at it but he doesn't say anything. He just grabs his things and wheels out the door. I'm so stunned I don't say anything either.
After he leaves, as I'm stripping the bed and sponging the wet spot on the mattress, I regret not commenting on it. Yes, as I keep reminding myself, if you want to be with a SCI guy, you have to be ok with pee. There will be accidents. He's not the first guy to pee in my bed. But to be fair, when it happened with Rollerboy, it was because I carelessly kicked open the valve on his leg bag. He was mortified and apologized profusely. The time before that was Buttboy, when he was drunk. He also apologized over and over, and he cleaned it up himself. What makes Trip think it's ok to pretend like it didn't happen? What an asshole. Why does he have to be so freaking sexy?
And yet the next day, I'm the one to email him and say I want to meet him again. I apologize for my less than stellar performance. He writes back right away, also apologizing for being too tired (although he doesn't mention the pee incident), and brainstorms some ways to spice things up:
Here's an idea...we spoke of it briefly once, women who can ejaculate. You're the fetish queen, with all kinds of perverse behaviors, but I've never done any formal, black-tie and top hat kind of BDSM. I was thinking maybe you and I could find some ejac girl, tie her up and abuse her with toys, make her do you while my tiny manhood is inside you, etc. If that doesn't sound attractive, than we can cogitate...;-)
Honestly this does not really excite me. I reply,
Your manhood is far from tiny :P But I think I'm not ready yet to bring in a third person. At the very least I need to get past that sophomore slump. But if you are interested in some kind of formal SM thing, I'm sure we can think of something.

The next adventure with Trip will have to be postponed until after my show is over. I'm in the Gala concert, a fundraiser for the opera company. I once again descend into the all-consuming routine of rehearsals every night and all weekend, then a week of performances at various theaters. The Gala is always a parody written by people in the company, riffing on well-known musicals. The theme this year is "Hooray for Hollywood" and everyone in the chorus is dressed up like a famous actor, subject to the whims of the costumers, what costumes they have on hand, and what they think might suit us. If they had asked me, I would have requested to dress up like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, but they didn't so I am to be 1960s era Liz Taylor. I'm certain they chose this because of my thick eyebrows. I have a very diva-like cry over the ugly short wig. I'm certain the dress and shoes will never fit me, and no one will ever guess who I'm supposed to be.
But I should have had more faith in the costumers, because the ensemble does actually look nice enough. I apologize to the costumers, and they take it in stride. I assume they've seen much worse from some of the leads.
The only problem is the shoes, which are missing the plastic tread at the bottom of the terrifyingly high heel, so I'm teetering around on bare metal spikes. I think back on how Uri saved me when I slipped during Tales of Hoffmann, and that was only in character shoes.
Uri and Suzanna are the leads again in the Gala. Everyone finds it so sweet how they kiss on stage. Whatever. At least he's being good to her. But since he's the lead if I slip this time he won't be in the chorus to catch me. I take very careful steps, even during the dancing.
The show goes ok, and during the meet-and-greet afterwards, more than one audience member correctly guesses that I'm supposed to be Liz Taylor. They're all over sixty, but that's fine.

At the same time, I'm spending more and more time on the Paradevo message board. This is not the first devotee group I've participated in, but the lack of straight male devs means it is a much nicer group. Also there are a lot more guys with disabilities participating. I start emailing a few of them, even ones who live far away, although I have decided not to get into a long distance relationship. But I'll probably have to move if I ever manage to find a job, and who knows where I'll end up. Maybe it will even be near one of those guys I'm chatting with online. Who knows.
I start emailing with a quad in Philadelphia who goes by the username Cripster. I write to him because I actually remember him from a different dev egroup a few years back. He remembers me too, and sends me a bunch of photos. Oh my god, he is so hot. He's got long blond hair and blue eyes, a few tattoos and a little goatee. What can I say, I have a type--blond hair and a flat ass. He's in his mid-thirties like me.
Cripster is a C7 quad like Rollerboy, and also like him seems self-unemployed. Before his accident (diving) he was a mechanic but he can't handle tools now. He types with one thumb, and keeps saying how hard it is, but that doesn't stop him from sending me endless long-winded emails that somehow don't say much of anything. Mainly he's into cars and hot chicks. I get the feeling we don't have much in common but I can't help flirting with him anyway. I send him my Betty Page vinyl pants photo, and suddenly he's sending me multiple long emails before I have a chance to even write back.
That Betty Page photo is a few years old now and I've grown my hair out, so I decide to send him some more recent ones sans bangs. As I'm in the middle of composing an email to him with two recent photos attached, I get a phone call from my mother. She wants to confirm that I will not be flying home for either Thanksgiving or winter break. I explain that I need to stay here in case I get a last minute request for a job interview. Thank goodness she's ok with all that; the holidays have never been a big deal for us. But she wants to chat about my job search, and suddenly an hour goes by.
Rather than saving the email like an idiot I leave the message open, then after I hang up the phone I send it to Cripster. Strangely, the email takes forever to send. To my horror, I realize that for some reason while I left the message open for an hour, gmail in an attempt to autosave copied my two attached photos over fifty times and sent them all.
I hastily send an apology to Cripster, but he just laughs it off.
man, i was steaming like a bleeding witch's cauldron as i waited and watched some freaking enormously long e-mail that was downloading for like half hour or something.. i was thinking all kind of deadly thoughts and how i'm gonna go off on some silly bastard who dared to send me such a crash 'bomb'...
then it finally loaded and i saw it was from the chica to whom i have quickly taken a real shine to and i calmed down ;)..and then i read it and i freakin' bloody loved all you wrote... so even the 50 or whatever that number was, copies of the same 2 pix don't bother me hehe... and i looove these photos btw... damn baby you are so sexy...opposites do often attract i think, and i love dark eyed/haired women...
ah shit bambina, how i wish i could meet ya and spend time with  ;((((((
Well, there's no way I can go to Philly right now, between job interviews, finishing up my degree, and regular work. But my family is on the East Coast so presumably I will be going back there at some point. I hint that I can probably find a way to meet him in person someday, and he latches onto that idea. Now for every one message I send, he sends me three or four, all super long.
But I don't mind--the attention is like a bright spot in an otherwise miserable day. My life feels like one long slog right now. My job search is going nowhere. I am so ready to be done with school, every minute I have to spend on schoolwork is like torture. The weather is getting colder, and the heater in my apartment is malfunctioning worse than ever. As I'm sitting in front of my computer, I have to keep jumping up every five minutes to turn it back on. It's freezing in here.
Cripster gives me his phone number, but I'm so busy I can't find a time to call, and the time difference means that evening for me is the middle of the night for him. I give him my number too, then promptly forget.
A few days later, I get a phone call from an unknown number. My heart skips a beat, thinking it might be about a job interview.
"Hello?" I say uncertainly.
"Hi, is this Devo Girl?" a man asks in a German accent.
Oh shit! For a second I panic, wondering who has found out my secret identity. Then a moment later I remember. "This must be Cripster."
"The very same," he says, laughing. He's from Germany and moved to the US as a teenager, so his accent is light but still noticeable. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a nice accent. I know German isn't high on most people's lists, but I like it.
We talk for over three hours the first night. It's true, we have almost nothing in common, but between Paradevo gossip, SCI talk, and movies/TV, we somehow find more than enough to talk about. The conversation ends abruptly when he suddenly realizes he has to go cath immediately. I don't mind; disreflexia is no joke.
Over the next few weeks, suddenly I'm hearing from Cripster a lot--long rambling emails, endless phone conversations. He just never stops talking. I cradle the phone against my ear and do housework, cooking, even schoolwork as I let his delicious accent wash over me, barely even paying attention to the content of his words.
Mostly he talks about his life, all the crazy shit he did in his twenties--drugs, drinking, partying. He also talks about his injury, and current health problems with neuropathic pain, bone loss, spasms. The more he talks, the less I feel like he is someone I should get involved with. The bad boy thing is fun at first but not material for a stable long term relationship, and we really have nothing in common, although I do enjoy chatting with him. I even call him sometimes.
Eventually I start to realize that maybe things have gone a bit too far. He seems to have it in his head that I am definitely coming to visit him, not at any unspecified time, but for one particular car show he wants to go to in June. He sent me a flier, and I told him I can't go that weekend because it's the exact date of my graduation ceremony. I don't care so much about graduation but it's a big deal for my parents. They have already booked a hotel. I explain all this but he still keeps talking about what we will do together at the car show.
Then one day he calls me up saying over and over how I'm going to be disappointed in him, how he's let me down. He rambles on this way for a long time, and I have no idea what he's talking about. I don't expect anything from him at all. How could he possibly disappoint me?
"I started using again," he says.
"Using what?" I'm totally clueless.
"I was clean for almost a year but then I found some cocaine in a drawer that I didn't even know was there, and the next day I was shooting heroin again. I'm so sorry I let you down."
Oh. Using drugs. Duh. Now I know I really have let things go too far with him. He's clearly built up this fantasy version of me that is way more present in his life than I really am. It makes me very uncomfortable that he's using this fantasy version of me as a crutch for his sobriety. I can't take that role for him, and he needs a lot more than I can give him. I let him talk for a while, then gently suggest he needs serious help, but he's clearly high at this very moment and probably won't remember whatever I say right now anyway.
After that very unnerving conversation, I don't hear from him again. He stops posting on Paradevo, and stops calling and emailing. I feel guilty for not following up with him, but there isn't much I can realistically do to help. From how he described his life to me, it sounds like he has a lot of friends and family nearby, so I just hope someone is taking care of him. 
But that's how it is with these online friendships. You sometimes share an intense emotional intimacy but often it's in a fleeting and incomplete way.
Cripster is not the only SCI guy from Paradevo I have been corresponding with. Before I know it I'm regularly emailing back and forth with three or four, exchanging pictures and mild flirtation, sometimes talking on the phone. None of them live nearby, but hey, I'm applying for jobs all over so I could end up anywhere. There's the accountant in the Midwest, the pothead in the Southwest, and the French Canadian who makes custom wheelchairs. His name is Thibault (pronounced Tibo) and I like him the best. He's got dark hair and a handsome face, and an incomplete L1 injury. Around the time I stop hearing from Cripster, things with Tibo start getting more flirty. He likes the Betty Page look. I start talking on the phone more with him, and we discuss me possibly going to visit him someday. Although that won't happen soon, since I'm too busy and have no money.
Not for the first time, I feel like I'm patching together a real boyfriend experience from interactions with all these various guys. Trip shows up for sex but we never talk on the phone and only email to set up a time to meet. Instead, I talk on the phone with Tibo and other guys, sharing what I did that day, what I've been thinking about. Sometimes we flirt a little but mostly it's just getting to know each other. I can't tell if I'm wasting my time or making important connections. All this emailing and chatting takes a ton of time, but surely it would take just as long to maintain a relationship if I had one.
It's a weirdly hollow sort of emotional intimacy though. I try to be sincere and present, but keeping up with all these emails is exhausting. I find myself cutting and pasting the updates on my personal life.

December 2005
After a final panicked rush to get all the paperwork filed by the deadline, I at last finish my grad degree. It's weirdly anticlimactic. All this time and effort, and for what? I still don't have a job. I've been sending out dozens of applications, and the rejection notices are starting to trickle in. I ride the bus home after filing the last documents, watching the world go by with a feeling of detached unreality. The graduation ceremony won't even be until June, so I don't actually celebrate.
Even though the degree is finished, I'm still working nearly full time on campus. I take three days off work to fly back east for a job interview, but on the way back I get delayed by a snowstorm and have to stay overnight in a hotel. When I get back my boss bitches at me for missing an extra day. Sheesh, you'd think she'd be a little more understanding. Does she really want grad students hanging around campus forever?
Once that interview is done, it's close enough to the holidays that things start winding down. Work lets up, I have no more shows or rehearsals, and most likely no more interviews for a few weeks. As I finally relax just a little, my sex drive kicks back into high gear, and I start trying to meet up with Trip again.
I know I shouldn't, but he's like a drug I don't want to give up. We email back and forth but he's going back to New England to see his family for the holidays. We finally realize that the soonest we can see each other is after he gets back, on January 5th. That's ok, we fix a date with delicious anticipation.
He writes,  
Would it be too rude to say I look forward to violating you?
I reply,
You have offended my delicate sensibilities. Let us have no discussion of violating, or ravishing, or defiling, or other such debauchery. Nor am I in any way anticipating such an event, were it to occur. But if such a thing were to come to pass, for instance on Jan. 5, approximately what time did you have in mind?
Trip responds,
I would like to visit, say, 12 noon. It would be best if I was inside of you shortly thereafter and for the duration of the afternoon period. Oh, wait! I would also like to spank you and see your bum jiggle a bit...oh and please to tickle your little spot with my tongue is also desirable. Wait wait wait! Forgot, I need to see you in many nasty positions. If it's at all possible I would like to see you grimace and pant and several times to lose yourself in shattering orgasms. Of course, all this is platonic.
I write,
Yes, I understand, strictly platonic. Are you sure you covered everything? It would be a shame if you left something out. For instance, your nipples, I would be remiss if they were neglected.
I try to distract myself with thoughts of what we will do together on January 5th. The dolphin gets a thorough workout while I anticipate our next appointment. I spend a quiet Christmas alone. It's ok; after being buried in work for so long it's nice to have time to unwind, clean up the house, cook some real food, and watch tv. I'm also trying to put my social life back together, but all my friends are out of town or busy for the week. I prepare myself to be a hermit for a few days until they return.
Then three days after Christmas, Sean calls and asks if I want to come over. I know I should say no. Part of me is still has not forgiven him. But the bigger, hornier part of me says why not. I tell him yes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Devo Diary Chapter 57

Sean part 2

December 2005
On December 28th in the morning I receive the following email from Sean:
hey what's up here's my addy. ... so your bringing a bag huh...hope that bag has a strap-on or a double sided... never tried neither but would love to learn...if i am gonna try being a bit sub for once i bet u can make it happen...like the idea of catching me with a guy? i have never done that. my ass is virgin and i mean virgin. few lucky guy had me only got head u got my libido spinning...i feel so kinked out i can't contain it in words...your fault!!! wink wink
I type in his address to Google maps and print it out. Oh man, it's going to take me two hours to drive to his place south of Raser City. I hate that southern stretch of highway so much. It's like in the Cake song, the land of race car ya-yas, where you can't change lanes.
As I grit my teeth and grip the steering wheel, surrounded by four lanes of nearly bumper to bumper traffic zooming along at seventy and above, I wonder what the hell I am doing. Fucking Sean. I swore I was done with him. It's been five months since our one and only meeting in person. I feel stupid for how hard I fell for him. After years of dating lukewarm idiots who get nervous whenever I breath the words "boyfriend" or "I like you," it was so wonderful to meet someone who said he wanted to get married. I should have known it was a huge red flag that he was already talking about marriage and kids on the first date. He's clearly someone who doesn't think things through, who only acts on impulse. Exhibit A: the fact that he has a spinal cord injury from a stupid stunt.
And yet I still have kind of a soft spot for him. As we've been talking on the phone and emailing lately, he's opened up to some of his issues about being bi and being ashamed of being kinky, and I have a lot of sympathy for him. While it's clear he's in no shape for a serious relationship, I still like him. And god damn but he is so fucking sexy. So I'm not anticipating that this is the start of anything serious, but I can't say no to a booty call from a hot para.
After a terrifying drive down through late afternoon traffic, the first surge before rush hour gridlock, and after a few wrong turns, I finally pull up in front of Sean's house. I know I have the right place because of the wooden wheelchair ramp out in front, a long slope with a turn, bounded by railings. The house a white bungalow he shares with two or three other dudes.
I ring the doorbell and he lets me in, smiling awkwardly as he wheels backward to reveal a living room littered with red Solo cups, ashtrays with cigarette butts, and several bongs. It looks and smells like a dudebro kind of house. I say hello just as awkwardly, feeling too weird to greet him with a hug and a kiss as if nothing ever happened between us. Two of his roommates drift through the living room and Sean introduces us but they just stare at me incuriously. I know that look. It says, we are not bothering to get to know you. Whatever, I don't want to talk to them either.
Sean hustles me into his bedroom at the far left corner of the house. His room is crammed with junk--more bongs, clothes everywhere, dumbbells, CDs, cardboard boxes and milk crates with more stuff. The walls are decorated with glossy, high-res close up photos of marijuana plants.
I toss my overnight bag in a corner and perch on the edge of the bed, because there isn't anywhere else to sit. He pulls up next to the bed in his chair.
"Thanks for coming over," he says shyly. "I mean, thanks for giving me a second chance. I know I don't deserve it."
"No," I say evenly, staring him in the eye, "you really don't."
"I'm sorry. I know I fucked up."
I kind of want to maintain this attitude of righteous indignation but I didn't drive all this way just to bitch at him. If I didn't want to get over it, I could have stayed home.
Instead of answering, I lean forward and kiss him, gripping one wheel to balance. He puts his huge arms around me, gripping me in a tight embrace against his chest. His stubble tickles my lips as we kiss hungrily. I can hardly even believe I'm here again, with him, after thinking and dreaming and crying over him for so many months.
I scoot back, giving him room to transfer onto the bed. After sliding his butt over, he grasps his pants to swing his legs up onto the bed, one after the other. We kiss some more on the bed, and right away he has my bra off and his hands up under my shirt.
I can hear his roommates moving around in the living room. "Uh, did you lock the door?" I ask.
"Nah, don't worry, they won't come in," he assures me. I guess they know what's going on, but that thought does not put me at ease. I kiss him again, trying not to think about the dudes on the other side of the door.
We lay next to each other, kissing and pressing closer. This is so nice. Honestly often I feel like this is all I ever want to do, just being close, feeling like our bodies are melting into one another. I love the feeling of his arms around me, his rock-hard chest, and wrapping my legs around his, pushing his feet with mine. I put my hand on his hip, rubbing down toward his waist, and encounter the round outline of the baclofen pump. Even as we're  lying here, he's still having occasional spasms, his foot twitching up and down.
I think about what Rollerboy once said to me, clearly echoing what he heard in rehab, that every SCI is different. You can, like The Mantis, spend a decade or more as an alcoholic, treat your body like crap, and come out at the other end pretty ok, with no major health issues, only some impressive scars as reminders that you were careless enough to get pressure sores on your heels. Or you can be unlucky like Sean and have endless UTIs and crazy spasms, or other complications right from the beginning.
Another thing Rollerboy said is that it sucks to have an incomplete injury. Sure, he's less likely to get pressure sores, but he's always uncomfortable. I can see it with Sean--those spasms can be painful. He can feel his dick but he can't come, and he doesn't even get the benefit of extra sensitive ears or nipples.
 So if vanilla sex isn't doing much for him, why not try something kinkier? Sean kept talking over email and on the phone about how he wanted to try kink with me, since he never had before. Although he seems to think kink means me pegging him, which I am not going to do. SCI and ass play do not go together. If he's sitting on his ass all day long, he has to be extra careful with it. Also I know the main way many paras poop is by sticking something up in there to stimulate the muscles, so there's no way I'm going to replicate that with a sex toy and risk inadvertently making him shit the bed.
My idea is to start with something less risky. I brought my best flogger, which is a cat-o'nine-tails made of thick latex, also a small riding crop, and a set of leather wrist restraints fastened with a d-ring (much safer than handcuffs). This is like the SM starter package--looks impressive but very easy to use.
I hop off the bed and show Sean my gear, but after all that talk about kink, in person suddenly he's nervous about actually trying it for real. I put on the Mistress voice and order him to take his shirt off, then give him a few very light strokes with the flogger, just so he can see what it's like, but he just sits there stone-faced.
I change gears and offer to let him spank me with the riding crop, but after a few half-hearted whacks he's still making awkward jokes and seeming uncomfortable, so I tell him it's ok, we don't have to do any of this if he doesn't want to. I shove all the gear back in my bag.
It's not like vanilla sex is a consolation prize. It's still pretty great to be having sex with a hot para, and oh man is Sean good at oral. He buries his face in my pussy, his callused hands gripping my ass, and his legs tangled up at the end of the bed, spasming regularly like a ticking clock. He knows exactly how to move his tongue, when to go fast or slow, licking or sucking. I come over and over again until I feel like I'm being turned inside out.
Finally I have to push him off, when I'm feeling spent and worn out. He lays next to me, and again we're just cuddling. I ask what he wants me to do for him and he says, nothing, it's ok. There's something deliciously, sinfully selfish about not be expected to reciprocate. I feel a twinge of guilt for being so happy that he just wants to lie there with me, like a cuddly bear in a warm little cave.
As much as I'm enjoying just lying there, though, it's getting to be dinnertime and we're both hungry. Sean orders some pizza and I reluctantly put my clothes back on and follow him out into the living room.
I really really don't want to hang out and make small talk with his bro-y roommates, but when the pizza arrives we share with them. They ask me a few questions about work and school, which I answer in the vaguest way possible, then they ask what I'm doing with a loser pothead like Sean. He laughs and they trade insults in that way that guys have.
As soon as we're done eating I retreat to Sean's bedroom again. It's bad enough that I'm here for a booty call--do I have to watch his roommates laughing about it too? Even though it's not that late, I stretch out on the bed, feeling exhausted.
Sean putters around the room, complaining about the mess which he himself created. He grabs a shoebox full of papers and starts rifling through it.
"Last week I went to a fifth grade class as a motivational speaker, to, like, talk to them about disability and living up to your potential and shit," he explains. "The teacher made them write thank you notes after. Man, these kids crack me up. I want to put some of these on my wall." He flips the pages, reading out loud from the childish scrawl.
Apparently his version of motivational speaking includes lots of stories of his drunk or high escapades because the kids say things like, "You are a badass mofo I want to be like you when I grow up." I have to wonder what the teacher made of this. It reminds me of my driver's ed class in high school, when they brought in a reformed alcoholic, supposedly as a cautionary example. But instead the other kids just wanted to know what her favorite drinks were, how she got booze as a minor, her craziest stories, and she was happy to oblige. It didn't exactly set the tone the teacher had hoped.
Sean thinks this is all hilarious. He cackles about setting a bad example for the kids.
By this point, it's getting pretty late and I'm feeling sleepy. I confirm with him that he's ok with me sleeping over, and he says yes, so I start to get ready for bed. Luckily, Sean has the master bedroom so there's a small bathroom connected and I don't have to venture out to brush my teeth and wash up.  He wants to take a shower before bed, so I sit on the toilet lid and watch as he transfers to the shower bench then tucks the plastic curtain under his ass to keep the water from going all over the floor.
This is one of the great advantages to being out as a dev, I can watch these everyday things to my heart's content without trying to hide my interest. Sean knows why I'm watching him but he's cool with it. He chatters away about shampoo, conditioner and such, and which are the best to use. He's surprisingly passionate and well-informed about hair care products. This must be the work of an ex-girlfriend. He lectures me at length about how I'm using the wrong products for my long hair and need to switch brands. I just smile and nod, watching as he transfers back into his chair without putting a towel down on the seat first, which seems like a bad idea, but hey, it's his routine.
After a cursory rub down with a towel, he wheels back into the bedroom and pulls on a t-shirt and sweat pants, squirming around in his chair to slowly work each leg up over his hips. I lay down in the bed, thinking we might have sex again, but no, he keeps pushing around the room, looking through papers, putting things here and there.
Eventually he cracks open his laptop, as if an afterthought, and opens up Craigslist.
"Gotta see if I got any replies," he mutters.
I sit up sharply on the bed. "Replies to what?"
"Oh nothing. I put up joke personal ads with the most messed up shit I can think of and see if anyone writes back. Look, here's one: 'M for F: Donkey punch, felching, cream pie. Whatever you're into I will make your fantasies come true.' Hey I got a reply, it says, 'Dude there's something wrong with you. Get help!'" He barks with laughter then starts speaking his reply out loud as he types, "Thanks for the reply. I'm in love with you. I want to come all over your face. Give me your number so we can make your donkey punch fantasies come true." He hits send.
"What the hell are you doing?" I've seen those ads. It makes me queasy to realize he's the one posting that vile bullshit.
"What?" He looks up at me with wide-eyed innocence. "I'm just messing. There's some crazy shit on Craigslist."
I can't believe I have to spell it out for him. "You met ME on Craigslist!"
Ugh, I give up. I fling myself back down on the bed, while he continues to troll anyone foolish enough to reply to him, then posts a few more new ads in the same vein for good measure. By the time he closes the laptop and transfers into bed, I'm so disgusted and exhausted that I just roll over and go to sleep.
Or try to sleep. Sean lays on his back and snores away, while his legs spasm the entire night, his feet jerking as regularly as a metronome. The movement makes the entire mattress shake. It's like trying to sleep while someone is jostling your shoulder, trying to wake you up.
Also his mattress is the worst. He has one of those thick foam rubber things but it must be a cheap knockoff because it doesn't breathe at all. My back is covered in sweat. It's like sleeping on a sheet of plastic. I toss and turn, trying not to disturb him, until the gray morning light starts to filter in through the blinds.
After dozing fitfully through the early morning, I carefully stretch my stiff legs. When I was with Rollerboy, I used to cuddle up to him in the bed when I woke up in the morning, rubbing my legs along his affectionately. I somehow didn't make the connection that my touch was triggering spasms, stronger than usual after his legs lay mostly immobile all night long.
"You've been doing that on purpose?!" Rollerboy asked in frustrated disbelief when I wondered aloud if there was some connection between my embrace and his spasms. I learned my lesson and tried not to touch his legs until he woke up and stretched first.
I try not to touch Sean for this same reason, but it's no good, his double bed is just too small. My shifting around wakes him up. A second later, he's doubled over with spasms, not just in his legs but in his belly as well. He curls up on his side, his knees drawn to his chest and head down, grunting and moaning. 
He's in serious pain, maybe worse than I have ever observed in another person. No wonder he has the baclofen pump, if he has to go through this every morning. How much worse would the spasms be without it?
As his grunting goes on and on, I feel intensely guilty. Not just for triggering the spasms, but for being a dev in general. Is this what I find so fucking sexy? I hate seeing him suffer, and I wish he wasn't in pain. But this is part of his reality of SCI, and his injury is the whole reason I'm here right now in this bed with a guy I really should not be sleeping with.
After about five minutes, Sean slowly relaxes.
"Are you ok?" I ask hesitantly.
"Every fucking morning!" he grunts, dragging himself into his chair and off to the bathroom to cath. He pushes back a few minutes later and flings himself back onto the bed with a sigh.
His legs are still spasming like crazy, so he goes through a slow stretching routine. As he has an incomplete injury, he still has enough muscle tone to lift his right leg a couple inches off the bed and slowly flex his knee a few degrees.
"Wow!" I had no idea he could do that. He lifts the left leg and does the same thing. "That's amazing!"
He flicks his gaze over to me for a second then rolls his eyes with a snort. "Whatever. It's just a leg."
Once again I'm stricken with guilt. I've gone too far with my dev gaze, showed him too much of my weird desires and it creeped him out.
We don't try to have morning sex, or even kiss or cuddle. As I get dressed, Sean comments that he has a lot to do today, people coming over, errands to run, etc etc. Whatever. I get it. I don't want to stick around either. I am so done with him.
"Yeah, I gotta get home too," I say as I grab my things and throw them in my duffel bag.
Luckily there is leftover pizza from the night before in the fridge, because I am starving. I wrap two cold slices in a paper towel to eat on the drive home.
Sean follows me to the door as I leave and sits at the top of the wheelchair ramp, watching as I get in my car. I wave goodbye, and he doesn't even wait until I turn the car on and pull out of his driveway before he's turned to go back in the house.
I turn the key in the ignition, staring at the back of his chair as he vanishes inside. I will never see him again, never talk on the phone or email him anymore.
During the long drive back home, I feel a complicated mixture of regret and relief. Coming down here was a mistake. But at the same time, it's given me the closure I so desperately wanted when he disappeared. Now I know one hundred percent for certain I do not want to be with him, not even as a friend. If it took a disastrous, embarrassing hookup and a night of sleep deprivation to realize that, so be it.

Jan 2006
The sleepless night with Sean takes its toll, because by the next day I have yet another cold, and by New Years Eve I'm feeling super sick. But I still have to go out because I have this superstitious belief that whatever I do on the exact stroke of midnight will be what I do for the entire year, and because I promised Lulu, who is also between boyfriends at the moment, that I would be her date for the night.
We hit the downtown clubs, me trailing behind Lulu in a haze of cold medicine and tissues, feeling kind of gross and exhausted. Right before midnight we find ourselves in a small basement club with a low ceiling and a tiny dance floor. I turn around and there's an attractive young para woman in a manual chair, her girlfriend straddling her lap, with her tongue down her throat. Watching them going to town on each other like that, not caring what anyone else thinks of them, I silently cheer them on. I elbow Lulu and she laughs appreciatively. As omens go, spotting a hot lesbian wheeler making out with her girlfriend seems encouraging. Maybe the coming year will be better for me than the last.

January 5th is the date that Trip and I set for our next meeting. It's been weeks since I saw him last, because he traveled back east to see his family over the holidays. I've been trying not to expect anything from him or get too excited to see him again, but the flirty emails we send back and forth in anticipation of the date have got my imagination going.
The morning of the 5th Trip sends me an email with one word in the subject line:             Disaster.
Girl, I hate to say this, but I think our meeting of the minds today is not going to work. My car will not start. I've got to bring it in and fix it this morning and there's no way I can get it towed and repaired and make it there in time. Looks like we will have to postpone this until I come back. Damn it. Sorry a thousand times, for you and for me too.
Despite my best efforts to moderate my expectations, I'm disappointed. Not just for this one day, but because he's leaving in a few days for China, some writing project or something, and he'll be gone for a month. Oh well, I tell him it's ok and to contact me when he gets back.
Two weeks later, I get an email from someone whose name I don't recognize. Shruthi, why does that name sound familiar? Oh right. It's Trip's girlfriend. While he's in China, she looked through his email and saw our steamy correspondence. Of course. What an ass he is. I can't believe he wasn't more careful. Her message is short and pleading. She's so confused and wants to know what is going on between us.
I think it's pretty obvious what is going on, but I am not going to be drawn into a fight with her. They have to work out their relationship themselves. I forward Shruthi's message to Trip without comment. I don't answer her.

February 2006
The first email I receive from Trip has the subject line "Returned," with just one line of text under it:
I'm back.
That fucker. Is that really all he has to say?
I write back,
Your girlfriend totally busted you.
He responds,
Yes, that's what I was going to say.
I have had it with him. If he wants to talk to me, why won't he say more? If he doesn't want to talk, why write anything at all? I'm ready to break it off with him. I write,
Uh, ok, so then what's going on? And please be clear--these cryptic one-line emails are meaningless.
Trip replies,
She left me, if that's what you mean. I'm not happy about it and don't feel like doing much. Nothing cryptic about that. Nice to have met you and sorry for getting you into this drama. I wish you well.
Ok then. I write,
I'm sorry to hear it. I wish you well too.
After that I assume I won't ever hear back from Trip again, but it's always the ones I least expect who keep hanging around, messaging me out of nowhere with their regrets. At the end of March, I get another email from Trip with the subject line, "she hate me." He writes,
I don't blame you. That was a fucked up thing and I'm sorry I visited it on you. She's gone for good now, for better or worse. Probably better when I think about it, but it ended harshly.
Again, sorry for that. I'm not really so messed up.
Well. Maybe I should feel more bad about it, but I don't care what happens to him. Shruthi is better off without him, that's for sure. He claims he's not so messed up, but I think this is exactly who he is--a player whose main regret is that he got caught. I'm not proud of sleeping with him. I know I shouldn't have done it. And I'm not sad it's over. But I also don't feel that guilty over it. Maybe I should, I don't know.
I don't write back to him.