CM and I are keeping company quite a bit lately – as co-creatives, as companions, and as close friends. We text frequently and call when the texting becomes too complex. And we cultivate and play little games of “what do I need to get rid of that I can palm off on you?” and “look at this amazing/interesting/intolerable information I’ve just seen on the internet”. We now celebrate each other’s successes and help with problems, both minor (did a load of washing) and major (got an exhibition/I have macular), mindful of how far we have both come in the last 12 months on the mental health front.
In important ways we are now acting like an established couple, or close friends of long duration. For example he picked me up from the eye clinic the other day because I wasn’t supposed to drive after my treatment, we went to the supermarket (same trolley, separate shopping bags) then back to his house for lunch and a cuppa, took some photos I needed for an art project, then he drove me home. As I’ve gone on a low carb diet to stabilise and lower my blood sugar and lose some weight, when I cleaned out my pantry last week he ‘inherited’ 80% of the contents (feature photo above). In return he’s spent hours fixing my computer so its optimal for my current use and going forward with deteriorating vision. He also ensures I have secure and private internet use, software I can use effectively for my photos and artwork, and today spent an hour on phone and remote computer setting up my printer.
The much prized hugs that were the original foundation of our companionship continue and have been further supplemented by close contact as we sit at his computer working on our joint artistic endeavours. Twice now (yes I am counting) brief platonic kisses of appreciation have been exchanged. I’ve expressed my love for him a number of times and he has expressed loving appreciation of me for my understanding and presence in his life. We are two wounded people doing our best to find our way through a tricky landscape with each other’s wellbeing, and our own, in mind.
There’s a level of naughty frankness between us – unsurprising given our sexual/kink backgrounds – as well as a surprising domestic ease that mostly comes, in my experience, with years of living together. We are both physical people who can laugh at our aging bodies (fart jokes) and sexual foibles without getting too hung up on them. So massages, salacious remarks and casual touches all have their place. Sex however, remains off the menu and I am learning, thanks to his steadfastness, there are other ways of being with someone you care about.
In his own words, he’s a ‘slow burn’ while I remain volatile and given to tangents. I’ve learned to be more patient and to back off and he’s learning there is no need to startle and retreat. I am his ‘Rust Whore’ (for my love of rusted objects) and now his ‘Devious Wench’ as he’s also recognised I am capable of and do manipulate situations with his creativity or wellbeing in mind. From within the security of our friendship I am enjoying working in the garden again for the first time since Mum died. In turn CM is taking slow steps toward making music again after a hiatus of twenty years or so, and is pushing his photography in new and interesting directions.
Yesterday I called around in the mid afternoon to collect my computer and ended up staying until after 10. Together we found containers for some of the dry goods I’d given him on Sunday, managing to whittle down four boxes to two and reclaiming sufficient table space to dine on the minestrone he’d cooked the day before.
As we waited for files to be reinstalled on my computer, we watched a moving Canadian art documentary ‘Spring and Arnaud’** on his big screen computer. Then when it became evident that it would take longer to complete the reinstall we repaired to the upstairs lounge where we and one of his cats snuggled together to watch a second art documentary on street photography in New York. Fifteen minutes after I left I sent a text message to let him know I was home safely, and an hour later we had a flurry of texts which ended with us saying goodnight. My night ended with a long slow satisfying wank, fuelled by a sense of wellbeing and pleasure rather than the angst and need of four months ago.
It’s taken a year and four months to reach this point, and next month it will be a year since CM asked me to be his companion. There have been a number of times when I have questioned the viability of our companionship, our joint creative endeavours, and even our friendship, though I’ve never questioned my understanding that he will be my last love if not my lover. To be in this place of mutual warmth and supportiveness, this rich, rewarding friendship, is such an unexpected gift. It’s taken a while to see the wisdom in CM’s insistence on not bringing sex into the equation, but now I am glad we took this route rather than the familiar one.
**For all my arty mates especially: @kisungura @MPBjulie @TabithaErotica @more_matters @FireandHoney @LexyExperiment @5ubmissy if you haven’t seen this doco its a must see!
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