“What are YOU doing here?!”

Christine’s excitement couldn’t be contained as she leaped across the LAX ticket counter and embraced me with a delirious mix of surprise and hidden anticipation.

She was still on duty but a call to her girlfriend in the back office quickly remedied that.

I only had a 3 hour layover but in a few minutes we found ourselves at the local Denny’s with two 7am grand slam specials being delivered to our booth.

Christine was still wearing her stunning two piece baby blue airline uniform with her hair in a sexy retro-style bun.

Our reunion was just one happy blur to me since it was always great to be in the company of such a beautiful woman..

Especially one who was so attentive to my every word.

I guess for that reason Christine was always a paradox.

Because one moment she was an explosive package of dark sensuality highlighted with a look that could kill.

And in the next moment her sweetness could surpass the maple syrup that slowly worked it’s way down her freshly buttered pancakes.

Halfway through our exercise in shared gluttony her eyes took a serious tone.

“Hey I need to tell you something.” 

My posture straightens as I gave the “all clear” facial signal that she needed to see in order to start her latest confessional.

“I’ve hooked up with a strange crowd and I don’t understand why”

“How strange?” I inquired.

“Well I don’t know how to say this…”  she hesitated for a moment and glanced at the traffic outside our window.

“…but I’m hanging out with a group that likes to be tied up and beaten black and blue with horse whips in a very secret little club downtown.”

Part of me wanted to let my lower jaw free fall to the table while the other part just keep a poker face and continued to keep quiet.

“Its a form of play I’ve tried a few times and for some weird reason I really like it because it gives me a big release.”

In the back of my head the phrase “be careful what you wish for” was floating to the surface as I was unsure as to what to do with this latest bit of “honesty”.

On one hand Christine’s frankness was always appreciated.. but on the other hand.. well just what the HELL did this mean?

The passive side to our relationship started to kick in again as I realized that I was going to continue my role as a silent sentinel to the unknown path of a young woman’s soul…

A path that was increasingly headed towards the dark side of the moon.

My concern finally started to show.

“Seriously Chris what’s going on with you girl?”

She pulled out her favorite pack of menthol slims, sparked one up, took a long reflective drag, and carefully exhaled out of the far corner of her mouth opposite of me.

“I really don’t know..  I just know that I’m starting to like this type of pain because my life has always been so frustrating and this let’s me get it all out.”

“Are you dating anyone right now?” I asked.

“You know that’s the funny thing.. I’ve been living in LA for over a year and I get hit on all the time. And many of these guys are really nice and successful but I just don’t see the point.. I don’t really let them get close like I do with you.”    

Just as the warmth of her accolade started to touch me.. she continued.

“But then again the man I like the most right now is the guy who runs this club and he’s the one who ties me up.  He’s really sweet to me when he’s doing the knots and he’s always asking for my permission but when he gets into character he totally goes all out and screams ‘YOU DIRTY BITCH!’ and then just whips the living hell out of me.”

Christine’s words carried a shock wave that was permanently being etched into my memory but somehow my response to her was still even keel.

“Chris this doesn’t make any sense.. why are you into this?”

She took another slow hazy drag on her menthol.

“I know this sounds weird.. but when I’m being whipped it makes me feel like I’m actually the one who’s in control…”

“…I get real hardened and confrontational in my mind and I think..  oh yeah is this all you can do!?!  I’m tougher than you.. ”

A tear was starting to well up in her eye..

“I think I get it from my mother.” she softly added.

“How?” I asked.

I couldn’t finish eating and just sat on the edge of my seat instead.

“My mother was a pretty hard core feminist in the 70’s..  and I never really knew my dad growing up because my mother basically chased him away and kept him away from me. It wasn’t until much later that I connected with him and found out that he was really a cool guy…” 

“But all my life my mother used to scream at me..”

Christine you must NEVER TRUST A MAN!’

You HEAR ME?!!! You must NEVER DEPEND ON ANY MAN!’ 

They will BETRAY and HURT YOU!

You must be STRONG, INDEPENDENT and ALWAYS IN CONTROL!!

I recall how helpless I felt watching an old ghost from Christine’s past coming forward to torment her as she sat in front of me.

I recall being taken back by the painful anguish in her words and by the venom that transformed Christine’s face as she imitated her mother’s punishing indoctrinations.  

My friend Christine was deep in the middle of a solitary fight for her very identity.

A fight which was mercilessly waged on one side by the masculine forces of power and control..

.. and the only thing opposing this..

was a vulnerable lady who was lost in the woods.

 (end of part 2)

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