You can find the beginning of the story here.
How could I have been so stupid? I had told no one I had had an extra boat key made at the beginning of the summer. I hadn’t even used it before that day because Tom had been very relaxed about the boat this summer. It was this past summer he had taken the keys away after one of my solitary jaunts. This was more than just not telling him something. I know Tom, in his mind this was pure defiance and lying, two things of which he is the least tolerant. My mind went numb seeing them in his hand. I was still staring at Tom, not saying anything.
“Cassie, I asked you a question. Where did this key come from?”
My knees felt a little weak and I abruptly sat in the chair, feeling, with dread, the recent round with the wooden spoon. We’ve been married for decades – I can always come up with a somewhat convincing ‘it’s not my fault’ story, but nothing was coming. Nothing. The only thing running through my mind was ‘stupid, stupid, stupid’. I’m no angel but I’m usually pretty good at covering my tracks. In my rush to get Allie I saw the boat key wasn’t hanging in its usual spot and I grabbed my secret key and went. When I got home I hung it in the normal spot not giving it another thought. I continued to stare at Tom without answering.
“Did you have another key made without telling me?” Tom’s eyes and tone demanded an answer.
I guess that wasn’t much of an answer but it was all I could come up with at the moment.
“When did you have it made?”
“Early this summer.”
My complete lack of defense seemed to be throwing Tom off. He waited another minute then asked, “Did you have this key made so you could sneak off in the boat anytime you felt like it? In case I locked the key away you could just defy me and take it out?”
I couldn’t answer. Tom waited for me to say something else and when I didn’t he picked up the ivory brush from the dresser. I closed my eyes. I felt deep remorse for what I’d done. To many of you it might seem like a very little thing in the long run. But it wasn’t a little thing to Tom. I do things to irritant Tom all the time, often on purpose – more teasing than anything else. But I knew things like this really hurt him. This was the type activities that damaged, however slightly, the true bond of love and trust we have with one another. Maybe that was why I offered no defense.
Tom removed my shorts and panties at the same time. I still offered no protest; I only reached out to hug a pillow to my face as Tom put me over his lap. Tom began spanking hard. It hurt. I know that sounds like stating the obvious but there are many ways to lessen the pain, mentally and physically. I wasn’t trying to use any of them. I was just accepting, I wanted it to hurt. I had hurt Tom and I hate myself when I do that. Tom paused; I knew he couldn’t be finished. He hadn’t even starting talking yet. But Tom stood me up; I brought the pillow with me still sobbing into it.
“Cassie, talk to me.” I wouldn’t look at Tom. He took the pillow and hugged me to his chest. “Talk to me.” he repeated.
I just cried as he held me. I finally go out a gasping “I’m sorry.”
Tom tried to get me to look at him but I just couldn’t. “Girl, what is wrong with you? I know you’re sorry. But this isn’t like you. Tell me what’s going on.” He was right, I wasn’t myself but I really didn’t understand what I was feeling.
“Come on,” he said helping me redress, “I still what to go out on the boat.” I came with him silently as he grabbed the picnic basket. In the boat I took a seat near the front, the farthest from Tom. Willow kept nudging me as we headed out but I was too wrapped up in my thought to ever pet her. During the ride I was digging in my mind. I was trying to grasp what was really bothering me. It certainly wasn’t the spanking – which should have been worse. Tom was acting more concerned than angry, why was I feeling overwhelming sadness?
Giving me time, I think, to gather my thoughts, Tom drove a long way. Eventually I turned to look at him driving the boat and it hit me. The reason I was so upset. As it hit me I began crying again. Tom stopped and secured the boat before coming back to me. He didn’t say anything, he just waited.
“I want to keep my boat key.” I blurted out. Tom’s eyes widened in surprise. I don’t think that was what he’d been expecting to hear. “Tom I shouldn’t have gone behind your back. I feel terrible, but when I did it I wasn’t feeling rebellious or sneaky, I felt… I felt young.”
I went on before I lost my nerve. “Tom I’ve taken the boat out alone several times this summer.”
Well that surprised him! Confession may be good for the soul but it’s not something he hears from me very often. He opened his mouth to say something but I rushed on, not really wanting to hear what he had to say. “Let me tell you how it happened then you can have your say.” I took a deep breath and went on. One morning early this summer I got up, ate, read the paper and then headed back to get ready for the day. I walked into the bathroom and there, out of nowhere, was this old, old woman staring at me from the mirror. Oh Tom, it was horrible. I just stared at her wondering how she had snuck up on me so completely unaware.”
“I began putting on my make-up, trying to cover her up. But all I was thinking was ‘that’s what Tom has to wake up to each morning.”
“Cassie, you are…” Tom began.
“Stop.” I told him, “I’m not looking for reassurance I just wanted you to know what happened.” I went on with my story. “I was feeling so bad I went out in the yard to sit with Willow and suddenly I want to go out on the boat – alone. And I just went, well with Willow too. Tom I can’t tell you what it did for me! It was wonderful. I felt young! When I got to back to the house my mood had changed completely. Tom, I felt like ‘me’ on that boat ride, I feel like I did when I was 30. There are no wrinkles on my mind!
“And honey,” I went on, “I know what you’re picturing when you think of me alone out there. You see me giving it full throttle with one hand and a wine bottle in the other going 90 miles an hour while doing figure 8s! And that’s not how it is. I always wear my life vest, not just on, but clipped closed. I take my phone in that little neon, water proof bag that floats and I clip it to my live vest – I even have a spare ID and phone numbers in there.”
I could tell Tom was somewhat surprised by my safety measures but this was still something he was dead set against and I wasn’t sure what he would do. I went on trying to make him understand.
“Tom the freedom I feel on the boat when I take it out does more for my mental health than all the antidepressants taken by all those women at the club combined. It’s the best thing I know to keep that ugly, old woman in the mirror from jumping out and yelling ‘gotch ya’ every time I walk past.”
Tom finally stopped my rambling explanation with a stern “That enough, Cassie. I’m trying to understand what you’re telling me about the boat. But, so help me, if you insult my wife one more time you’ll get your third spanking of the day and it will be way worse than the other two combined. You are the most beautiful thing in my life and you should know that. I’ve never seen a woman who has aged more beautifully than you. I won’t let you talk like that.”
My sweet Tom. He’s sincere. Sometimes I think if his eye sight is that poor he shouldn’t be driving. I would give anything to have a bit of attention from a plastic surgeon on my face and neck – and several other places could used a hand too, but honestly I’d have better luck talking Tom into letting me have my chest tattooed. I said no more about the face in the mirror. I just sat in silence with Tom’s arm around me wondering what he was thinking about all I’d told him.
He wasn’t letting me know anything at the moment. He gave me a brief ‘hmmm…’ and then opened the picnic basket and we ate our bread and cheese and drank our wine and watched the sunset. It was a beautiful ride back home. Tom seemed calm and relaxed as we came in and I felt reasonable certain that my bottom was safe for the evening. After he had slept on all I’d told him, I wasn’t sure what his attitude would be.
I was heading to the bedroom when Tom said from behind me “Here, I think these are yours.” I whirled around. Tom was holding my boat key out to me. I couldn’t believe it. “Honey, you have to know I worry about you all the time, but if those boat rides are doing you that much good I can’t take them from you. Please keep taking all the precautions you were telling me about and one more thing, leave a note in the house letting me know if you are going up or down river and what time you left. Will you promise me that?”
“I… you…”I was nearly speechless. “Yes, of course, you have my word Tom. I can’t believe this.”
Tom hugged me and gave me a kiss. “You are beautiful Cassie, you have to know that. You’re beautiful when we dress up and go out and you’re beautiful when you come in covered in dirt and sweat from your flowers and you’re beautiful when you first wake up each morning. And if you were any younger acting there’s no way I could possible keep up with you. No more talk of mirrors or you won’t be pleased with the results, I promise you.”
I love Tom. I don’t give him enough credit. When I talk to him and really explain myself I can get farther than when I try to sneak around him. Old habits die hard I guess.
I had a message on the machine when we got back. It was from Allie. “I’m coming for coffee in the morning. I’ll tell you about my day. Let’s use the cushion chairs.’”
I had forgotten about poor Allie! But she sounded fine. I was anxious to clear up the mystery of what Sue and I had that she didn’t and why she was upset about it.
I’ll tell you about Allie's story one day soon.
Learning Every Day
5 hours ago