Came across this story, it's an interesting story and makes for a nice share.
This story is dedicated to Maria.
* * * * * *
Paul left me months ago.
Six long, lonely, dreary months of endless darkness and
gloom. The weeks of crying, the days of yearning for a
phone call, the nights of empty wine bottles and morn-
ing headaches were all behind me.
I was healthy now, ready for a chance at a new begin-
ning. Life was looking fresh again. The sun was
bright, the air was clean. I was finally whole without
him. I had loved him so deeply. It had been unnatural,
unsettling, and uncontrolled. Now I could find the
paper and pen before me through the fog. I could see
the vision and the words. I was writing again.
Looking back, I realized the bad times were barely
lingering, whereas the good times were painted like a
portrait in my mind. But a portrait painted by a clown,
not an artist. All that time, what did we talk about?
I remembered the drinking, the parties, his friends,
the football games. All of it was one big celebration.
We laughed, we had sex, and we laughed some more. I
could not single out one time we had a serious con-
versation other than an in-depth analysis of his team’s
fortunes on the field.
Paul left me the night my sister was tragically killed
in a car accident.
He couldn't handle the intensity, my emotions, and the
horror of it all. He was gone when I needed him the
most. My memories of that night are vague: a dinner
party at my parent’s house, the phone call, and guests
leaving quickly. Lying in the grass and vomiting. The
sounds of shattered glass. Shattered pieces of my
heart. Shattered pieces of my sister.
After six months of therapy, I was finally able to talk
about him, but not Gina. My therapist told me this was
my way of shutting down - something about misplaced
emotions, the loss of my baby sister, substitution, and
obsessing over a man that never really loved me.
But today, the sun was shining and I was doing this for
her, and for myself. I was joining a local poetry
critique group and writing again. Gina would be proud.
There were about sixteen people in the group, ten women
and six men. The group leader was an older woman named
Kira. Kira had fled the Communist regime of Soviet
Russia many years ago, and her poems had been published
many, many times. She was a kind, older woman with
sparkling gray eyes, and obviously had experienced life
to its fullest.
I took my seat next to a woman who looked about my own
age, perhaps a few years younger. It was hard not to
notice her because of her striking features: unruly
black hair, porcelain white skin, and big, green
Kira led the group in an icebreaker game. We took
turns introducing ourselves, which was fun and awkward
at the same time. Most of the people there were
insecure amateur poets, who were simply looking for
something to do with their spare time.
When it was "her" turn, she spoke with a bold confi-
dence and radiating energy I immediately envied.
"Hello, my name is Cassandra. I am here for a one-year
appointment because of my husband’s job. I am from
Her accent revealed she was obviously not from this
country. But it was more than that. It was the way
she said it. She sounded so exotic, so mysterious. So
"I have written over twenty poems, mainly dealing with
passion, desire and courage -- in particular, sexual
courage," she continued. Sexual courage, I thought.
That’s a familiar concept.
"The poem I am working on currently is called, 'En-
twined.' It is about female bonding, intimacy and
friendship in today’s world. I am very proud of it
and I hope you like it as well. I look forward to
sharing it with all of you."
She sat down and looked right at me. I assumed it was
because I was next. But I couldn’t help but feel an
attraction, the feeling that she and I would become
very close friends. I needed a best friend about now.
Mine were both gone.
It was my turn. I didn’t like speaking in front of
even small crowds, and I was acutely aware that my
hands were trembling. I miraculously found my voice.
"Hi. My name is Jessica Preston. I am from here. I. . .
I . . . started writing poetry when I was seventeen.
Most of it is of course, unpublished, but I hope to
learn some things from being here." I quickly took my
seat. However, Kira was not done with me.
"Jus-ik-aa," she said in her Russian accent, "what is
your, ah, latest? Hum? Or perhaps a current project
you’d like to share with the others?"
"Well, I. . . I haven’t written anything in six months,
although I was published last year in The Poet’s Haven.
A small literary journal."
"That’s wonderful!" Cassandra blurted out. "What a
great magazine! Wow! I have never been published. What
was it called? The piece, I mean?"
"Oh, it was just a little piece called, 'Unconditional'
It is about, well, unconditional love," I stammered
and blushed. I sounded like an idiot.
"Splendid! Will you read it to the class?" Her face
was lit up like a Christmas tree.
"I don’t see why not. Sure, I guess I will." I felt
so self-conscious, though a part of me was eager to
Kira cut in, reasserting her leadership status. "What
is your next piece?"
Cassandra eagerly looked at me, her eyes shining with
interest. I paused for what seemed like eternity. Then
I said it and sat down.
* * * * *
She made me forget the loss. Over the weeks, we be-
came the dearest of friends. Cassandra was married to
a successful financial consultant named Simon, who was
assigned to spend one year in the United States. She
had been suddenly uprooted from her country and found
herself here. Since her husband traveled frequently,
she was alone much of the time, just her and her poetry.
And now, she had me.
We began our relationship at the coffee shops, reading
and critiquing each other's work. Slowly, more per-
sonal topics began to emerge, such as relations with
the men in our lives. She loved her husband very deep-
ly - something else I admired and envied tremendously.
"Simon is such a wonderful husband," she once said. "He
allows me to do my own thing. We got married quite
young, too young I must say. But I am very, very
I told her about Paul, but never Gina. I found myself
so relaxed, so open around Cassandra that I could talk
about anything, everything but my sister's untimely and
clouded death. I was too ashamed to reveal the details
of what really happened that night. Even to Cassandra.
Anything but the secret, the truth.
On the many nights Simon was out of town, we went to
dinner, had a few drinks, and talked for hours.
Cassandra grew to hate Paul and everything he stood
"My dear little Jessica," Cassie would coo. "What an
absolute oaf of a man. My precious angel, you can do
so much better. If you ever come visit us, there are
a few sexy little devils I could introduce you to in
my country." The thought delighted me! Handsome, sexy
devils from a far away place who spoke and sounded as
exotic and mysterious as my Cassandra!
"Besides, was Paul ever really good in bed? Really?"
She smiled. I giggled. Cassie had such a cute, infec-
tious way of saying things. I tried to remember what
it was like. Sex with Paul had been a roller coaster.
Hurried, fumbling, hardly a word spoken in passion. It
was animal lust. I remember longing for sweet words
spoken in whispers, a gentle caress that would’ve made
the difference. I found myself telling Cassandra all
this. I had never told anyone. Why was I telling her?
"And," I giggled again, "He had a crooked penis." We
burst out laughing. I thought beer was going to come
through my nose.
"There was a crooked man and he had a crooked smile,
had a crooked penis and he walked a crooked mile!" she
began to sing. We laughed and laughed. She was holding
my hand under the table. It felt like high school all
* * * * *
I had a date! For the first time in eight months, I had
a date! I met Joshua one night, while out having cock-
tails with Cassandra. He was of Syrian descent, with a
smooth, olive complexion and long, dark hair worn in a
sleek ponytail. Joshua was a professional musician.
He taught classical guitar at the local university. A
Greek god. A male muse. For the first time since Paul,
I was attracted to another man.
Excitedly, I went to Casandra’s to get dressed. We
drank champagne and I borrowed her sexiest little black
dress. It was made of a clingy fabric that went so
well with our hourglass figures and ripe cleavage.
Cassie and I both shared these attributes, and although
she was a few inches taller than me, the dress fit per-
fectly. We arranged to have him pick me up at her
house. Since I met him in a bar, I was a little
cautious, but Cassandra didn't mind.
So I planned to spend the night there. She had given
me the key, even told me to invite him in and said to
feel free to use the guestroom as "I pleased."
Joshua arrived in all his exotic glory. We were both
flabbergasted. He was wearing dark pants and an
expensive crisp, white shirt with a charcoal tailored
jacket. I winked at her as I left, and she gestured
back. Simon was on a business trip and I hated to
leave her alone.
She would never have thought of coming along with us,
but nonetheless, I felt terrible about leaving her
The evening was exquisite. Joshua proved to be a
charming, cultured, artistic man. We had a romantic
dinner at a quaint Greek restaurant, dancing at a local
jazz club, and sipped on expresso afterwards until the
wee hours of the morning. Our conversation was very
natural. We talked about everything: fascinating
stories of his parent’s native homeland, Paul, his
ex-girlfriend, even our views on sex. Joshua was very
open about this topic and I realized he was a very
passionate person. It was starting to intrigue me more
and more. We went on and on, about everything but my
sister, of course. What would he think if he knew?
"So, Jessica, do you have any brothers or sisters?" he
asked politely, but sincerely interested.
"I have one sister, well had." I stopped. I still
wasn’t used to speaking in that tense.
"Had?" He look a bit confused, but not pushy.
"Well, she died in a car accident about six months
He never used the worn phrase "I am so sorry." He
simply took it matter-of-factly, as thought it was as
simple as, "She is a senior in high school."
"What was her name?"
"Ah, Gina. A pretty name. Any other siblings?"
His ease at accepting the topic was unexpected and a
"No, just Gina. She was the only one."
"I am an only child," he casually added. It’s just me
and my uncle. My parents were killed in a terrorist
bombing while visiting friends in Beruit, Lebanon."
"Oh, Joshua, I am so sorry . . ." I caught myself. Now
I was doing it.
He never paused. "My uncle is an amazing man. He came
to this country shortly after I was born. He and his
wife, Alla, were taking care of me while my parents
were vacationing. I was ten. They raised me." I sat
speechless. Despite my loss of words, I felt bonded in
ways beyond my comprehension. Losing both your parents
at age ten. Joshua had offered details of his story
but never asked for mine.
He never mentioned Gina again.
At the door, he leaned forward to kiss me good night.
It was light, faint on the lips. His lips were warm,
as warm as the Mediterranean Sea.
"Thank you for a lovely evening," he said.
I must have snapped at that particular moment, because
I leaned forward and began to kiss him hard on his
full, inviting mouth. The fire in his eyes matched the
fire on my lips. He responded eagerly, and I could
feel the passion unleashing rapidly through his hot,
We kissed for what seemed like an hour. I was well
aware of the familiar longing, aching and desire I had
not experienced in a very long time. The well was no
As he lightly fondled my breasts through my dress, he
whispered something in a very low voice. I was gently
pinned against Cassie's front door. I knew I could’ve
easily moved if I’d wished. Before I could speak, he
abruptly pulled away. Had I offended him?
He took my hand and stared so deep into my eyes, I felt
he could see the secrets I tried so hard to bury within
"What?" I whispered.
"I want you to know something, before this goes any
further. Let me preface this by saying that I am very
attracted to you, Jessica. I can see a future in this,
if you are willing and interested." I could hear my-
"But in order to be completely honest with you, there
is something you need to know. We talked a lot about
sexual intimacy tonight and I was so comfortable with
you. You are truly sensuous. I desire you. But, I
have had some experiences that you may or may not be
I knew what was coming. I felt in it my stomach. My
hands began to shake.
"I have had sex with a man. Several times, the same
man. It was for my girlfriend, a couple’s thing,
"Are you gay?" I found myself blurting out a blunt,
rude and forthright question. My voice was like a
"No, I am not a homosexual. I love women. I love men.
But I am not saying it will never happen again, I
enjoyed the experience. I take it you have a problem
Silence. I was flabbergasted. My Mr.Wonderful, Mr.
Right, was bi-sexual? He was so manly, so handsome, so
. . . how could this be? I felt something else too. My
guilt came flooding back. The half open door, watching
them in the soft glow of the night-light. Knowing what
was happening, feeling aroused. I knew what he was
going to ask.
"You’ve never been with a woman?"
"Yes, I mean, yes it does bother me, Joshua. And no,
I have never been with a woman."
My answer came more defensively than I expected. I
paused. "I am sorry."
"I am not ashamed of my experiences. If they repulse
you, then we must move on," he said. His big, gorgeous
brown, disappointed eyes stared deep into mine. I felt
angry, confused, and most of all -- guilty. I wanted to
explain it wasn’t him - or was it?
"Friends?" He offered his hand. A muscular, brown
hand that I would have loved to have touching the
inside of my thighs at that very moment, bringing me
to the destination I’d desired for so long.
"Friends." I managed to barely whisper.
I took his hand and squeezed it. Then he was gone.
* * * * *
I never intended to wake her.
She walked in on me unexpectedly. I was changing into
my satin nightgown. It had been a gift from Paul. For
some reason, I became aware that she had caught a
glimpse of my naked breasts. It gave me goose bumps.
She was so cool, so relaxed, so beautiful and so brave.
She came and sat on the edge of the bed. Her short,
dark hair was a bit rumpled from sleep, yet still sleek
and shiny. Her complexion glowed without make-up, her
green eyes were alive as lightening on a hot, summer
night. I noticed how naturally feminine and lovely she
was in one of Simon’s old cotton shirts. Cassandra.
What a provocative, erotic name, I thought. Cassandra.
She was asking me in her endearing accent about Joshua,
the evening, the details. I couldn't concentrate any-
more. The zombie feeling was taking over. She finally
asked me if I was okay. She was strong. Courageous.
I was a coward.
At first, I told her about Joshua. But it wasn’t really
him I wanted to talk about. It was Gina. Joshua had
stirred up something deep with in me. Something he said
reminded me of Gina. My darling, baby sister whose
death - I was convinced - was my fault. The guilt was
overwhelming. I had to confess to someone.
I began to tell her the story, as tears flooded down my
face and into lap. She never flinched. She just sat
there and listened, stroked my hair and held me.
I told her about Joshua and what he had told me. How I
hated myself for being shocked at his bisexuality. I
wasn’t a bigot. But somehow what he told me brought it
all back. About Gina and Cindy. About me.
She held me close and whispered it was all right.
* * * * *
It was a stormy night. The Gulf Coast fog was as thick
as molasses. My parents were having a small, elite
dinner party at their home for several important
friends including Paul’s parents. Paul and I were
there, putting on our usual act, masquerading as "the
perfect couple," with our polite, witty, and charming
My younger sister, Gina, who was only seventeen, had
invited her best friend over to spend the night. Cindy
was a pretty, delicate girl. They were inseparable.
The party was dull, but Paul was in typical form with
a scotch in one hand, talking about the stock market
and sports, while impressing my parents and everyone
else as usual.
My father, who was a stern, conservative man, had gone
upstairs to check on the girls. They were in Gina’s
room watching television. Looking back, I'm not quite
sure why he went up there. Surely a good host would
not abandon his guests so abruptly. Perhaps he sus-
pected what I was certain of?
Suddenly, he came down the stairs and asked to speak to
my mother in private. His face was white as the color
of her fine linen. After a few moments, the yelling
began. My father’s protests rang out, loud and furious.
I heard my mother’s muffled crying. The guests were
Then the back door slammed and I could hear the sound
of a car speeding down the street. After what seemed
like an eternity later, my mother and father descended
from the stairwell as though nothing had happened. My
father addressed the crowd in his most composed speak-
"I apologize to everyone present. My youngest daughter
needed a little discipline. Please excuse the fuss."
The party continued. Quietly, I slipped upstairs.
Both Gina and Cindy were gone. I figured my father had
punished her for something, and she and Cindy had fled
the house. What could have been so awful?
The hospital phoned about an hour later. The news was
surreal. Both Gina and Cindy had been killed when
their car spun off the highway and into a tree. The
guests left quickly. My mother became hysterical. My
father approached me, tears streaming down his face.
I had never seen him cry before.
"Did you know about this? Did you know your sister was
having sexual relations with her little friend?" The
shock of my father’s brutal words were too much to bear.
I had known, watched in silence. It aroused both my
curiosity and sexual desires. I never confronted Gina.
I never told anyone. I just didn't know what to think
or feel about them. Somehow they made me terrified
about my own sexuality. It made me run to a "man’s man"
like Paul, as if to reassure myself that I was normal.
I ran upstairs to Gina’s room. Surely she was still
there, perhaps just asleep in her bed? This was all a
terrible mistake! Her room looked the same as it
always did. Cotton candy pink walls, Winona Ryder
posters, pictures of her favorite rock bands, school
banners, cute little framed pictures of her and Cindy
holding hands and smiling. Teddy bears and lace pil-
lows, nothing unusual about it.
As I was leaving the room I noticed a small pair of
white lace panties lying on the floor. Cindy’s panties?
I was overcome with a feeling of entrapment, confusion,
and frenzied emotions. As my head swirled like a whirl-
wind, I ran down the stairs, tripped down two and
nearly fell. The pain unnoticed, I managed to throw
the heavy wooden front door wide open and run out into
the blinding rain.
I vomited in the azalea bushes as my guts tried to
expel the grief, the shame, and the guilt from my body.
Wrenching violent sobbing seized my body as I fell, a
limp heap onto the muddy ground. My legs were no
longer capable of holding me up.
After a few minutes I heard Paul’s voice. He hadn’t
left earlier with the other guests. I looked up at
him from my pathetic fetal position in the wet grass.
I wanted so badly for him to hold me, just hold me
until the pain went away, if it ever would. Instead
he spoke with an indifference that shot through my
veins like an icy needle.
"Look, I need to go. I am sorry about your sister."
"What?" I managed to speak. "Now? Paul, I need you.
Don’t leave me now, Paul. Please."
His eyes were cold, lifeless, and ashamed. His lips
curled as he said his final heartless words.
"You knew didn’t you? You knew your sister was gay. God
what a family! I suppose you will be tempted too. My
Dad always told me it was genetic. It’s bad enough if
your girl goes with another man. Imagine what it will
do to me if you end up with another woman. I’ll be the
laughing stock of the locker room."
I curled up even more, each word a blow to my heart. I
"I said I was sorry. But I cannot stay. Goodbye,
"Paul, please . . . please come back. Paul?"
* * * * *
Cassandra spoke gently, comfortingly. She understood
the guilt and fear. She understood my confusion.
"Sex is beautiful, Jessica. It gets ugly if tinged with
guilt. It is to be free and natural. Sexuality is a
preference. Like everything else. If it gives you plea-
sure and happiness, comfort and understanding -- then
you take it with your heart and body, just as you give
these things to your partner."
It had been a long time. I finally felt safe, secure,
and loved. I must have looked awful with swollen,
puffy eyes, tear-streaked face and dry, chapped lips.
I couldn’t help but notice that she was erect through
her thin, cotton shirt. I stared at her nipples. They
were a work of art. I was again jealous.
Most of all, I wanted them. In my mouth.
I'm not sure how it started exactly. I was crying, she
was stroking me, holding me. Then I felt her lips on
mine. They were soft, lush, like tiny pillows. She
tenderly kissed my check, my mouth, my neck. Friend-
ship had turned to driving fire -- a burning sexuality
neither of us could harness. Not tonight.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I heard a little
voice begging me to stop. This was Cassandra. My best
friend. She’s a woman. Stop. Paul was right!
But I ignored that little voice and I gave in to my
desires, my fantasies. I knew this was natural. So what
if this happens? I liked men, but should that stop me
from liking this?
I knew all along, I had wanted her -- from that first
day in the poetry group. She began to lead, for which
I was grateful. Cassandra touched my breasts in only
the way a woman would know. Not like Joshua and not
like Paul. Her touch was tender, soft, and sensuous
-- and was as wonderfully exciting as anything I have
ever experienced before. Ever. Cassandra, the lovely
There was something I could see in her eyes. She pos-
sessed a mysterious, burning hunger. Indistinguishable,
unnamed, deep within her, a persistent need calling out
to be heard.
Did she genuinely desire me? Did my eyes reflect my
wanting? Does she sense how I feel?
I realized I hadn’t had sex for more than six months.
This was more that sex. My pulse began to race. I
wanted to embrace her, to feel her body, to caress her
skin, to encircle her gently and passionately in my
arms. I gazed hungrily, longing to seize her and kiss
her fully on those red lips -- to explore her lips
with mine, to explore her mouth with my tongue.
Then she smiled. I knew it was right. I grinned back,
and she knew I was ready for her. She stood and un-
dressed before me while my eyes took her in. She was
so smooth and soft, so very much like me. Cassandra
reached over and carefully lifted my champagne colored
nightgown. She did it so delicately, as though it
were made of fine bone china. The satin gown I would
never wear again.
She sat next to me on the bed, and I touched her cheek.
Looking into her eyes, I kissed her nose, then her
chin. I moved down and kissed her breastbone. I felt
her shiver as I licked her stomach. As I moved down her
body, my kisses became more passionate, more willing.
I was no longer afraid.
I heard the rhythm of her breathing, soft and fast. I
pulled her close, and her arms surrounded me. We kissed
again, this time more feverishly than ever. Our mouths
were starved for each other. I felt her tongue in my
mouth, and I sucked it gently as I heard her groan.
Then Cassandra took one of my erect nipples into her
moist inviting mouth. I gasped at the sensation. Why
does this feel so good? Her lips were like home for
me, a warm, cozy abode. I wanted more. Cassandra’s
hands began to move up my legs, which I could feel
slowly parting as she teased me with her fingers.
I could not believe this was happening. I was making
love to a woman. And it was wonderful, so very
delicious. I found myself whimpering softly. She
seductively ran her warm hand between my legs to
experience my precious secretions. To see if I was
ready. I was. She lightly coaxed my legs wider apart,
and they fell open effortlessly.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined a woman going
down on me. Cassandra did so -- willingly, wantonly,
eagerly. Her tongue was more skillful than any man's
had ever been, she seemed more patient, more deter-
mined, more at ease. I could feel her breath lightly
on my blooming garden, now exposed to her, no secrets
held back. No more secrets.
I wanted her inside me, deep inside my body, my heart
and my soul. I wanted her to consume me. It was
different from the desire I felt for a man. Chills of
pleasure racked my body as her tongue found my pearl.
To my vast astonishment and delight, I reached my des-
After a while, my breathing calmed, and she gazed at
me and smiled again. I knew what to do, itwas her turn.
I wanted to know. I wanted to know what Gina knew.
I ran my hands up her soft, silky smooth thighs. She
eagerly spread her gorgeous milk white legs wide as I
explored the unknown. It took courage, but I found it.
Her special little spot, her secret treasure, her sex-
ual joy. Cassandra felt as soft as expensive velvet.
It was not frightening or foreign, merely an extension
of myself. She felt just like me.
I briefly thought of all those dreadfully empty nights
when I thought of Paul and touched myself. After my
climax, I always cried. I cried for Paul. Most of
all, I cried for Gina.
I caressed her with every ounce of passion, love and
tenderness I had within me. I caressed her for the
beautiful gift she had given me. I caressed her as
though it were my own. It was. I gently probed her
mouth with my tongue and Cassandra exploded in my hand.
The same tongue that read my work. The same hand that
produced my art. Cassandra in my hands and in my mouth
was a climatic chorus sung in poetry. Poetry in motion.
But most of all, I was at peace with myself.
I had accepted Gina.
* * * * *
It is April. The weather is cooler now, not as harsh.
The one-year anniversary of Gina’s death has come and
Cassandra and Simon are moving back home to Tasmania.
Drake and I have an open invitation to visit, one we
plan to take advantage of as soon as we get the money.
Drake is my new lover. He is a wonderful man who loves
me dearly and treats me with more respect than I ever
imagined. Most of all, Drake accepts Gina. No questions
ever asked. He loves her memory as much as I do. We
talk about her every day. We smile and laugh. Gina
would have liked him.
I heard through the grapevine that Paul is getting
married to his much younger secretary.
Cassandra and I kiss each other goodbye. We kiss light-
ly on the lips. Drake and Simon shake hands.
We have our secret. We both love our men with equal
intensity and we love each other. We are friends
forever. Poetry in motion.
* * * * *
by Jessica Marie Preston
My guardian angel watches over me
From the heavens,
My soul mate, my mentor, my guide.
I feel her presence
Surrounding me like a soft glow,
A misty haze,
She is my light.
I look in the mirror
I see her behind me,
Wings spread wide, ethereal.
I open my hands,
As she reaches for me.
Her touch, a rush
Of unconditional love, courage, acceptance.
I feel her through me
Consuming my soul
A loving force, a flame.
She is with me always,
I am in her hands.