I’m here in an office with an attorney I can’t afford seated on one side of a glossy oak wooden table, likely costing more than I’ll see in my next six months of salary before taxes and believe me, my salary isn’t all that bad. It’s respectable, as is my husbands, seated opposite me with his attorney and I’m actually struggling to keep from laughing because we’ve finally agreed on something and how does that happen? After years of disagreeing, we finally agree? Oh we agreed in the beginning just like everyone else does. In the beginning we stood before Our Father, who art in Heaven vowing to honor and obey, to love and to cherish; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health; all the way through ‘til death do us part. I think this is what is meant by the term: legal loophole. It doesn’t really specify whether it’s the death of one of us, or, just the death of our marriage. Lord knows, our marriage died years ago.
I guess it doesn’t hold the stigma it once did.
I watch him sign in all the right places with the same stupid grin he wore when signing the marriage certificate and find myself thinking of our honeymoon. We went to a beautiful resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon. It was once an old fort overlooking a sky blue ocean. It was our first time out of the Country and only our second time out of Ohio. We went to Pittsburgh once, because we won tickets to a Pirates game through the local radio station. I’m not even sure why we called in. We don’t even like baseball, but we won and decided to go see Pittsburgh which was about a gazillion times the size of our town, which is a nice town, a good town; a nice place to raise kids and be with family.
We both grew up in Murphy, Ohio in the North Eastern corner of the Buckeye state. We attended the same schools and our families were members of the same church. We took a real liking to one another in our junior year and married at 19. We didn’t take our honeymoon then though, because he had just started his computer business and I was a waitress at Laverne’s Family Restaurant, just outside of town and they couldn’t let me go. I think I might have been the only girl there who took the job seriously. Laverne just said it was a bad time of the year and when things slowed down and all.
Our wedding night, however, was memorable enough, but it was also the first time for each of us so that probably says it all. Of course once we started we couldn’t stop in spite of the fact we both had to work the next day. It just seemed to go on and on and listen to me. If Father Flannighan heard me talking like this, I’d be reciting bible passages for a year.
We flew into Montego Bay, from Pittsburgh. We had to ride a resort bus all the way to Ocho Rios and the bus ride was unsettling. Jamaica is a poor country. We, at home, who struggle day to day to make ends meet should get down on our knees and praise the lord for every little thing we have. The towns we went through in Jamaica gave us glimpses of tin structures huddled together with more people than I even saw in Pittsburgh.
The few Cities we passed through were small with soldiers on street corners holding M-16’s at the ready. There were stores, but I didn’t notice any grocery stores, or, movie stores where one can go in and rent a movie and relax for the evening with the dreams of Hollywood sifting through the house. These stores were barbershops, gift shops, smoke shops and banks. I don’t think I saw a single grocery store.
There were more army people at the gates of the resort, which was a palace of blinding wealth over looking a cesspool of poverty. There were many people outside the gates, selling goods and waving to all of us on the bus, although there were very few people, beside my husband and I.
As we pulled into the gates, Joe reached over and squeezed my hand because there were tears in my eyes. Joey. That’s my husband’s name. I remember repeating Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dillon, over and over again. I couldn’t get over how lucky I was. Joe is a solid man, six feet tall. He’s a handsome man. He is the kind of man a lot of women looked at when we got to the Pittsburgh Airport. He’s the sort of man who inspires you to look your best, though I’m barely five feet tall. I do keep my weight down though and my body firm. You have to do these things to keep a man from going astray. Father Flannighan was always reminding us of this. “The love of your man is a gift of God. His job is to care for you; to provide for you and you provide for him, through the holy temple that is your body. You stay firm and remain in shape, for you are the vessel through which Gods children must come.”
Our church had the healthiest and slimmest women in the entire county and I knew we had Father Flannighan to thank for that. No junk food binging in Murphy. Those of us in our twenties were up at the crack of dawn for our one-hour run.
We were greeted in the lobby of the resort and given a tour of the premises, before being taken to our room. There were bars everywhere and a mineral pool, in addition to a regular pool. There were several jacuzzis and of course, there was the ocean. The ocean was fascinating. It was crystal clear and bath water warm. We must have spent the rest of the afternoon in the Ocean. We don’t have an Ocean in Ohio. We go swimming in a lake, which is a big lake, but you can’t see anything in the lake and the water is always refrigerator cold.
We ate in the dining area that night and the food was unreal. There were steaks and lobsters and all sorts of fruits and vegetables. It was all buffet style and you could eat as much of anything as you wanted. Joey and I ate the lobster tails. We never had Lobster before and it was amazing. It melted in your mouth like a piece of chocolate on a hot August day. I stuffed myself so bad, I didn’t think I’d ever get up. I was so satisfied with the meal I wanted to know if I could have it for breakfast.
Joey just laughed. We sat in the dining room for an hour drinking coffee and something called Banana Boats. Those were something. I didn’t know if I would ever leave this place and was amazed at how few people were there, but Joe was quick to point out it was out of season and the economy back home was not so good. I guess people just didn’t travel like they once did. Still, as bad as things were back home, I kept thinking of the bus ride here and how everyone back home ought to drop to their knees and praise the Lord. People in Jamaica don’t know from the things we have, never mind the things we cry for.
We left the dining area and took a walk along the beach. We walked to see how far the shore stretched before we came upon a fence, marking the end of the property. The fence must have stretched forever out into the ocean because neither Joey, nor I, could see the end of it and we could see pretty well. The moon was a bright light bulb staring down at us and there were millions of stars dotting the sky. We found a nice spot up a little ways from the water and lay down amongst some tall grass to gaze at the sky and listen to the oceans lullaby as it lapped the shore.
I rested my head on Joe’s lap and he stroked my hair. We were both still in our bathing suits and considered a midnight swim, but had decided against it. The ocean was home to a lot of critters and seeing them at night might not come easy, so we just lay there staring up at the sky and enjoying the quiet of the land.
We weren’t there for very long when my resting place suddenly wasn’t so soft and cozy, anymore. I kind of grinned. I think the Banana Boats had me feeling a bit like Joey, but we were outdoors and people shouldn’t be doing those things outside of the bedroom. Ever since I can remember, Father Flannighan always lectured on the sacred unification between a man and a woman. He always reminded the men and the women about their vows before the Lord and how they should never stray from their loved ones. Still, there wasn’t a living soul around. Joey and I never did anything out of the ordinary. We’re what you might call good god fearing folk who obey all the rules. There was just something about that night, though.
I sat up, looked around and then turned, pulling Joseph’s bathing suit down.
He nearly jumped out of his skin.
“What are you doing?”
“Hush,” I said bending forward. It always fascinated me how easily Joe’s will and resolve melted when engulfed by my mouth. It was like throwing a stick of butter into a campfire. I absolutely loved the power and control it brought me. I don’t know whether it was the drinks, or, being outside but on that night I was going to be slow and deliberate. I was determined to hear him beg before finishing him off.
For his part Joey fell back in the sand. He stroked the back of my head with one hand and rubbed my shoulder with the other. Every time I stopped he would sit up a little and say the nicest things. I’d grin and go back to my slow torture waiting for him to beg me to finish.
I was shocked when he sat bolt upright and tried pushing me away.
I nearly died when I heard a woman’s voice come up from behind me.
“Oh please. Don’t stop. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful before.”
I turned, looked and wanted to bury myself in the sand. She was standing just a few feet from us. She was much older than either one of us. Her white hair was tied back in a bun. Her breasts were spilling out of her top piece while resting almost on her belly. She could have been my granny for pities sake. I didn’t know what to do.
“I’m Ruth,” she said and came even closer, extending her hand to Joey and I as if we were seated at the church picnic table and she was coming along to join us.
I’d never been so embarrassed in all my life.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should leave. I’m old and single. My husband died a few years ago. You brought back the warmest memories of our love. I couldn’t tear myself away. You’ll forgive the melancholy of a tired old woman.”
Joey relaxed. He wasn’t trying to hide himself, anymore. We looked at each other, unsure of what to do. I looked down at him and he certainly hadn’t lost anything.
“I’m Joe Dillon,” he said. “This is my wife Vicki.”
I laughed with embarrassment, but I was still clutching him with one hand. I felt my grip tighten. I didn’t want to lose him and I wasn’t sure I wanted her to go away. This was different than anything I had ever done before and the thought of doing it drove my excitement to a whole new level.
I turned back to Joey and continued. He collapsed back onto the sand and it didn’t matter how slow I moved Joey was so turned on, when I lifted up to glance at her, he went off like Mount Saint Helen and the three of us were laughing like a bunch of school kids.
“Argh!” He said, looking down at himself. “What a mess.”
I considered cleaning him, but I was afraid Ruth would be disgusted by my technique. I suppose he could have just run into the water. I was shocked when she reached around, undid her top piece, bunched it up in her hand and began to dab at him.
“This should help,” she said.
I stared down at her hand in disbelief. She wasn’t really touching him. She was cleaning him up and he was obviously enjoying every little dab.
“You should be doing this,” Ruth said handing me her bunched up bathing top. “I don’t mean any disrespect. I hope you’ll forgive me.”
I looked at her and looked at him. He had this stupid grin on his face and she; she looked like an angel. Her face was white, smooth and her eyes were sparkling green.
“It’s okay.” I said. “You’re doing just fine.”
I was dying inside. I just wanted to climb on top of him.
Ruth became more deliberate in her cleaning, using her other hand to move him this way and that. I watched growing drunk on lust and then I couldn’t help myself. I stripped off my suit and Joey was remarkable. He kept coming back. Times when I thought we were done and wished we weren’t, Ruth would caress his cheeks, or, chest, or she would hug me, show me affection and Joey would come to life all over again. She never joined us. She never invited us to explore her own being. She merely watched as we went on and on. Not since our honeymoon was he so useful.
It was truly an incredible night. An unforgettable night, prompting us both to look for Ruth at breakfast the next morning and through out the day, but we couldn’t seem to find her. The following morning I described her to one of the maids.
“Oh yah,” she said. “Nice woman. Use to always come with the husband, this time of year. He die, poor man. She still come though. Say her best memories are here.”
“Do you know where we can find her?”
“She check out early morning, missy. She go home. She be back. First week of the month, every year.”
We went back to Ohio. Life in Murphy never seemed quite the same. We both signed up at the local University and earned our teaching degrees. We took jobs in Portland, Maine. I returned to Jamaica the first of the month that following year and for four more after that, but I never saw Ruth again. I wanted to see her again.
Joey went back to Murphy, to Father Flannighan like he did right after the honeymoon to confess his sin. He kept insisting we talk to Father Flannighan. I just wanted to talk to Ruth. I thought Ruth could make Joey see, it wasn’t sinful. It was terribly enjoyable. There was nothing to be afraid of. There was nothing wrong with wanting to do it again. It didn’t have to tear two people apart. Being in front of Ruth made it so much better; made him so much better. I just wanted it to be better. Is there really anything wrong with wanting it to be better?
I looked at the papers slid in front of me. I wondered if Ruth was still alive. I think I might go back to Jamaica, again. I looked up at Joey and wondered if he would ever go again? I didn’t think he would ever go again. He made it clear he was going back to Murphy, back to church and back to Father Flannighan. The church in Portland, for me, just wasn’t the same.
I looked for a pen. I thought I might visit New York City. I met a couple from Brooklyn Heights a few nights ago and they made it sound so special. They made it sound so big. I bet a lot of different things happen in New York City. I bet in New York City, life is real good.