The first time I really met her, last winter, she wore a tiny red shirt under over-sized engineer overalls, her wild hair disheveled and her giant eyes shadowed by black smudges, likely leftover from a previous night on the town. I’d seen pictures of her on facebook before I moved to Asheville and wondered if she was a foreigner. Somehow, she didn’t look like English should be her native language.
I pretended not to pay too much attention to the small talk she and Brad made in the dining room, while she did some artwork for him on her computer and I took my time rewashing clean dishes. She seemed to open up to us right away, laying what seemed to be her deepest secrets and troubles out on the table. I looked for any sign of flirtation between her and Brad and psychically tried to encourage it.
“Don’t be ashamed… we are polyamorous too, we just haven’t told anyone yet,” I sent my telepathic messages, as she told us her own tragic polyamorous tale. “I would love nothing more than for you to be Brad’s first lover,” I assured her in my thoughts.
Despite my fantasies about her, I was frozen in sheer panic when he went out dancing with her and some other new friends on New Year’s Eve. Home alone with my breastfeeding daughter, I couldn’t breathe from midnight to 12:04, imagining they were sharing a New Year’s kiss.
Journaling about it, I realized I wasn’t jealous – in that I didn’t NOT want them to be together. I was envious – in that I wanted what I dreamed they were having for myself. But what did I want? Did I want Brad to feel the same passion for me as he did for her? Did I want to be her? Or did I want her? I didn’t know. Maybe all three.
When they came home from dancing, and I watched her stumble to the floor with another man, I was relieved… at first… but then again, part of me wished it were Brad she was rolling around laughing with.
Over the next couple of months, June became my first friend in Asheville. Actually, I felt that she and her best friend – we’ll call her Jean – were quickly becoming my two new best friends. They took me shopping, dressed me up, put make up on me, and took me out dancing. They invited me over for tea and breakfast and late-night adventures and helped me break out of my shell. They encouraged me to start writing again and not to lose my identity in the role of mother and housewife.
Brad’s attraction and desire for June grew, and her “games” drove him crazy. I tried my damndest to push them together, but failed. Jean advised that we just be friends with June and find some “easy, college girl” to test our feelings about free love with. She said June cared about my friendship and didn’t want to mess it up by having sex with my boyfriend.
Despite Jean’s warnings, the attraction between Brad and June seemed to grow. When I went to California in the spring, I begged June to keep Brad company while I was gone, or at least take him on a date. When I came home, I was anxious listening to Brad’s story of his first polyamorous date with an old crush he’d had, before he met me, in Raleigh – we’ll call her Francesca. Francesca was clearly monogamous and only interested in dating Brad if his and my relationship were on the outs.
“Whew,” I thought when he said nothing happened between them.
“But… the next night I kissed June,” he said.
The heart-pounding-fluttering, I-can’t-breathe-and-I don’t-know-if-it’s-in-a-good-way-or-bad-way feeling came back into my chest.
“And???” I asked, dying from the suspense.
He showed me a picture of it. He’d been at a bar with Jean and June. They’d been teasing Brad, and he called their bluff. “Oh yeah?” he said. “Jean, you better get your camera ready for this.” He dipped June back in her chair and gave her an Oscar-winning kiss, and Jean caught it on her cell phone.
A million emotions ran through my heart and stomach as I stared at the glorious picture. I wish it were me, I thought again, but I didn’t know which of them I wanted to be.
She spent the night that night. Brad was ready to consumate their lust, but June stopped him. “No, it’s not right,” she said. “Not without Sara here. We have to wait for Sara.” I never understood how much those words really meant to me, until now.
They just cuddled that night and he gave her a quick kiss on the lips when he dropped her off at home the next morning.
All was well between us until things got ugly one beautiful early summer day. We all had the day off and were lying in the sun in the front yard drinking beer. Brad and June were getting cozy on a blanket on the grass together, her in a flowery yellow skirt and cowboy boots, me admiring them from my lounge chair.
Later, I found out that would’ve been the night June finally opened herself to Brad, had he and I not screwed it up. We ran out of refreshments and walked up to the corner store/bar. Brad and I got in a fight over my insistence on buying sparkling water and beer on tap, when we had beer at home.
Feeling embarrassed – and drunk – I screamed, ranted and raved at him when we got back home, and blamed him for making me feel like a child. I unleashed five years worth of pent up anger and resentment on him, while June quietly packed her things to leave. “Don’t leave, June,” I instructed. “Don’t let Brad ruin our day.” But, she hugged me and gracefully made her way to the door.
I think somewhere along the line, Brad took June’s hesitance to get involved with a tumultuous, newly polyamorous couple as rejection, and eventually he grew hard and cold toward her. I also suspect as June and her kids started spending more time at our house, Brad started feeling that romance with her, a single mother, might equal more financial responsibility and obligation, which he already resented having for me and our daughter.
Like Anais did with June Mansfield Miller, I eventually started questioning my June’s motives in befriending me. Did she really like me for me? Or did she see me as an asset. Because her warmth and affection could quickly turn to what seemed like cool indifference and back again, I started to wonder if she’d ever really cared about me or if she was just using me… for what, I wasn’t sure.
After a series of misunderstandings, I convinced myself Jean and June had never really wanted to be my friends, and that all their compliments and kind gestures were insincere – that at most I was a toy for them, at worst, someone to exploit. I can’t even remember all of the imaginings that led me to this belief – and I don’t want to get into them now – but by midsummer I wrote them off.
When I saw June at a party about a month ago, I couldn’t help but hug her and apologize. She hugged me back, but I could tell she still didn’t trust me.
Then, a couple of nights ago, when a mutual friend of ours was in town, we decided to have a fire in our backyard. I told our mutual friend – we’ll call him Juan – about my falling out with June. After talking about her, I decided to invite her and Jean to our fire. “Juan, Bill, Brad and I are having a fire in our backyard. I miss you and love you. You should come.” I wrote, not expecting a response.
But sure enough, after an hour or so, June and Jean appeared out of the darkness, into the light of the fire. June was dressed to kill in a long black dress, cut short in the front, her tall black boots, her black choker necklace, and her wild hair in a low, loose bun.
The girls and I took a walk to the corner store to catch up and get more wine. We cleared the air and straightened out past misunderstandings. I told them it was so good to have them back.
By the time we got back, Brad had fallen asleep and Bill had gone home. Juan, Jean, June and I drank wine and talked late into the night around the embers, adding kindling, which June had gathered from our walk, from time to time.
Jean and June talked about their polyamorous experiences – how they’d felt about their husbands being with other women, whether or not it was advisable to have sex with friends, and so on. They asked how mine and Brad’s polyamorous adventures had been going, and if I was nervous about Brad having more-than-casual sex with other women. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “I am DYING for Brad to have any kind of sex with other women! I want it more than he does! I dream about it! The hard part is finding a willing woman!” (Not because Brad’s not extremely attractive, but because women are reluctant to love men without strings attached).
Almost instantaneously June seemed to fly out of her seat and up the back stairs. “Where’s she going?” I asked. Jean didn’t know either. After a few minutes, it became clear she was making more than a trip to the bathroom. My heart started racing. “Wait… you don’t think she’s…?” I looked at Jean and Juan.
I ran up the hill and stood beneath the open bedroom windows. I heard Brad’s voice – “Where should we go? In here?” he asked. June had woken him from our bed, where he’d been sleeping next to our daughter, and they were moving into to the spare room.
“It’s happening! It’s happening!” I almost screamed, running back down the hill to Juan and Jean. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” I paced back and forth and fidgeted frantically. Jean gave some advice, but I didn’t hear her. “I have to go to them,” I burst. “I can’t stand it!”
I ran up the stairs, through the kitchen and down the hall. They’d left the door open, so I took it as an invitation. I stood in the doorway breathless, heart stopped for a moment, before falling to my knees.
There they were, engaging in my wildest fantasy. It was not a dream. It was real. It was really happening. Brad lying on his back, sideways across the bed, feet on the floor, and her, in only her black lace bra and black boots, riding him like a wild animal in heat. It was as if time stopped. I’d been waiting for this for six months.
I crawled toward them and sat on my knees at the foot of the bed, watching them in silence for a few moments. She glided up and down his body, so rhythmically, so feverishly. It was too beautiful. It was too much. The rolling of her hips, the way she crawled up and down his chest like a cat, her wild hair all around, their heavy breathing. I thought I would explode. It was the passion I’d been dying for.
How long should I watch in silence, I thought? I didn’t want to be a creepy voyeur. I leaned over, lay my cheek on the bed, and slowly reached my hand out toward them, as if worshiping at an altar. “Should I announce myself?” I thought. Instead, I put my hand between Brad’s ribs and her belly and began to caress them.
I told them how beautiful I thought it was and how it was a dream come true for me. June grabbed my hand and pulled me onto the bed. I lay beside them and rubbed her lower back as they continued the rhythmic rocking. She rolled over, and I tried to touch any part of her body I could reach as Brad repeatedly thrust into her from behind.
What happened after that is a little foggy, I just remember her writhing around the bed as if being ecstatically “tortured” by Brad and simultaneously comforted and consoled by me. At some point, she rolled me onto my back and started kissing me ravenously.
Brad continued pleasuring her from behind, while she rocked and rolled her body over mine. “Give it to her Brad!” I almost screamed.” Give her whatever she wants!” The frenzied fever continued to heighten until finally, she and I almost simultaneously reached orgasm. It was too intense. We all fell apart, and I ran into the kitchen to get us water. I came back with a second condom, begging them to continue, but they both seemed a little shy. By the time we all started warming up again, we heard Jean and Juan coming up the back stairs. We threw our clothes on and scattered.
I begged everyone to stay the night, but they insisted they had to go. I don’t remember saying good bye.
I’ve been living the last 48 hours as if in a dream – an unfinished dream. It’s as if I’m just waiting to fall asleep again so I can finish it, so we can have another chance, without the fogginess of wine and without being in a rush. I want Brad to take her to places she’s never been before. I want to give her all I have.
Like Anais’ June – “Her beauty has drowned me. As I sit in front of her, I feel I would do anything mad for her, anything she asked of me.”