This short story by O. Henry, though not erotic at all, is one of the most powerful tales of love. It is also the perfect response to a comment that I received this morning on how rough Bjorn was with Kirsty at the end of Chapter 9 of Ægir’s Bride. In particular, this anon pointed out how difficult deep throating can be and how it can require as much or more training than anal sex. She (or I think it was a she…forgive me if I assumed wrong) spoke of how traumatic just such an event had been for her, even using the term ‘rape.’ I began a response to her at Lit, but then I realized that it could go on and on…I will share this bit of it with you before continuing that story here…
I shall take what you said under advisement. In fact, re-reading it, I shall instead finish this chapter not from his perspective, which may seem harsh, but from hers. I will also add that I would agree with you had it been Sven or perhaps even Mikael, but what these two share transcends the basic bonds of safe/sane/consensual.
This is about more even than submission…that she does with Sven. This is about an intense need to give solace, safety and unconditional acceptance to someone you love. This is the point where BDSM is not a game but an integral part of who you are as a couple.
And that is where the O. Henry short story comes in. It is about a young couple, who love one another desperately. Like many newlyweds their first Christmas is to be sparse, but each needs to express that love with some grand gift. I won’t do a spoiler since it is a short read and free.
I will though talk about how it pertains to Bjorn and Kirsty…and most importantly how it relates to real life, which is all that fucking matters anyway. This chapter saw everything that Bjorn had known and believed shaken, his world turned on its head and his whole paradigm brought into question. It also saw Kirsty for the first time find her sea legs (no apologies for the bad pun) and stand up for her self. But not to him.
Because with him, there is no need. These two have in what may seem a relatively short period of time established a trust that is unrealistic…until you consider the hundreds of messages that they have shared over the past few months. The secrets that they know of one another. The bonds that his ‘little challenges’ like not wearing knickers while she shopped or buying that bullet (and more importantly using it…oh, yes, this man began her orgasm training even before they met).
One thing I know…and argue if you want…but
gets it… You CAN love someone even before you meet them. And these two did.
But the challenge becomes to translate that love from cyber to real life. And as I said the other day…that is a daily decision. To do what that short story and what my writing (and hopefully my life) teaches…to put someone else’s needs before your own fucking ones.
That is NOT a popular view these days, especially when it comes to love and relationships. These days we are free to cut our losses at the least little thing. And don’t get me wrong…sometimes we should. In the case of abuse, drugs, or cheating, we have a right to have certain boundaries respected.
I have watched silently the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, not because I disagree with it. I do not, everyone should be free to love whom they choose. I am silent because the truth is that marriage is no longer is what Justice Kennedy claims it to be when he says:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.
But our modern world of me, Me, ME…and my right to be happy, my rights to my body have undermined and eroded all of that. We do not form that highest ideals anymore…instead we make temporary and non-binding contracts for as long as you are good for me. As long as the pros of loving you outweigh the cons.
This came to head with me a few weeks ago when I saw a FaceBook post from the founder of an organization that I supported and believed in. This woman, who I once believed understood the redemptive power of love to overcome every fucking thing this world can throw at us, was advocating leaving a partner in crisis. I could nod my head when she talked of abuse and your right to safety for yourself and especially the children. But when she started in with drivel about ‘toxic’ relationships…she lost my respect.
I guess what I am saying is that the difference between the rape that Anon spoke of and what Kirsty gives to Bjorn is as simple as four little letters…L-O-V-E. That love which truly is…for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Yes, theirs may be an unconventional relationship, but in their minds and hearts their ‘marriage’ is as real as all those gay couples, who have been fighting for decades for that right. And it is far more real than most of what passes as marriage in the world we live in today. A love that says…”you need this from me right now, more than any of my ‘rights’ to withhold it. So I give it…freely…and out of my love for you.”