Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 8 • Winter 2003 • Fiction


Maria Benevento

I met Cat my first night in the room. She lives in Australia and says she is content to live in that most beautiful of places. I could tell she was a spitfire but knew nothing about her personal life. So I did what most of us do and checked her profile. There she was, as butch as I had ever seen. Her eyes, her jaw line, and the masculinity that is Cat captivated me. So much was I attracted that I almost forgot to read the rest of her profile. "Atheist, Socialist... fisting???" Now I could get past the atheist socialist thing, but the fisting, well, that was foreign territory. All I could muster was the visual of someone's fist doing some very nasty thing I was unfamiliar with. "Is this person crazy?" was my thought. Immediately Cat and I were at odds. As quickly as my questions were asked was as sharply as the answers came back. Cat and I were going to have problems.

It wasn't easy coming out and my introduction to Cat had not made it any easier. But I knew there was truth in some of her words. For this woman is the one who forced me to take a look inside myself. This woman, though she is my chat room foe, had an impact on me not soon to be forgotten. Though time heals all wounds, we are sure to be at odds for quite some time. But we cheat as we are in private conversations. Yes, Cat and I listen to each other whether we like it or not. And someday, God willing, one of us will say something to change the others' mind. One of us will humble ourselves and say, "I am sorry, for everything!"

The chatter goes on and someone starts a game of twenty questions. You can imagine the questions that get asked in a lesbian room. It is no holds barred. There are no co-workers around invading your privacy, no children, and no offline lovers, just the girls. The game begins. "Who has had sex on an airplane and joined the mile-high club?" You would be surprised how many are actually in that club! "I have and had water splash up on me bum," comes an answer from a British chatter. "How many of you have put crunchy peanut butter on your tongue before you have gone down on your lover?" This is beyond foreign territory for me. I visualize what expressions are on the faces of the chatters as most of us type, "eewwww!" "Who likes anal sex?" I don't have to tell you the responses from the more "butch" crowd. It is the end of the game and we switch to Jeopardy.

Reb came in around my third or fourth week chatting. She is beautiful, this lady of mine. She will always be my friend, and with any luck, my lover. I have more in common with Reb than any other woman in the room. We are both adventurous and have even been to some of the same places in Portugal. She is feisty and righteous, spiritual and loving. This woman deserves the best of everything. We talk about everything under the sun and yes we have "cybered!" How could we not? We are in "care" with each other. We have dreams of traveling the world together and maybe settling down with each other. We will be meeting soon, Reb and I, and I suspect we will get along like a house on fire!

Bondage, discipline, sado-masochism are the names it is given. The words hit like something from a horror movie or seedy porno flick. Why would anyone involve himself or herself in this type of stylized sexual arrangement? It is dominant and submissive. It is the watching and foreplay of some lesbian sex. It is the buildup of pleasure, the stimuli that reaches to the core of one's sexual being and allows them to be what they would like to be in the bedroom. "Safe, sane, and consensual," are the catchphrases here. For no one really "wants" to be hurt. And no one wants to hurt. This would be beyond the realm of pleasure associated with the butch/femme dynamic. Tripper is the "top" and I am the "bottom." I am allowed to learn and be myself. I am safe. I am here, in the room, where no one else can see. No one else can be allowed to enjoy this watching, this learning. I have never felt this way. I have never said the things I do here, in this private conversation. My fantasies and desires are safe here and I like this.

There is my Catholicism. What do I make of this? I am living outside of the church and apparently outside of God's will. The very word "lesbian" suggests perversion; in some circles. It is an act that is considered unnatural, as opposed to the laws of heterosexuality. Where do I go from here? Do I continue year number seven in celibacy or do I take on a lover or lovers of the same sex and live out some of my fantasies? How do I find peace in the fact that I have been so privileged in the spiritual life and have seemingly thrown it all away? Do I resolve myself to the ideology that I am, in fact, on a collision course with hell or do I see this as a journey that will take me to other people, places, and adventures?

"My girlfriend passed away after we were together for thirteen years." "Flower has changed her mind. I have quit my job for nothing, Chava! She told me she wanted me!" "Verena, Teddy, and I will live happily together for the rest of our lives, if she likes me!" "I was with my lover for twenty-five years after being ex-communicated from the Mormon church. It's what happens when you mess around with the Bishop's wife!" "Chava, can I tell you something?" "Hammpy, get off the bottle, gurl!" "Vallie, don't worry. She is a nutt-job, anyway. Thank God you found out now!" "Storm, I tell you, don't mess with a married woman. There is only pain to come from this for you, her, and her lover." "Chava, I am not perfect, I have made mistakes." "OMG, I can't believe you said that!" "I spent the night with her. She has been called to duty in Iraq. I told her I love her, but I am not ready for a long-term relationship." "Do you want to pvt?" "I don't cyber!" "I just need someone to talk to, I don't want to cyber." "It's a guy, I tell you, there is a guy in here!" "Shall we continue in pvt, or would you like to call me and finish me off?"

Maria Benevento lives in Milton Keynes, England. In addition to being a single parent, she is the author of Metamorphosis and is working on her second literary work, titled Diary Of A Women's Chat Room, which was inspired by the original short story appearing in Issue 8 of Lodestar Quarterly. Ms. Benevento also studies media, design, and journalism at the University College of Northampton, England.

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