3rd degree Arician Priestess of Stregheria... thoughts, insights, wonderings.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Chapter 48 – 2nd Degree Hedonist
Nola drove into the gate and pulled all the way forward
under the grape arbor. Owen met her at the back gate to the pool, with a towel
wrapped around him. He had said in a
phone call to her earlier in the week that since it was July they should have
lessons in the pool.When she made a
comment about packing her suit, he had teased that suits were optional, just
come straight from work, they could skinny dip.
“Evening Big Man.”
And as she walked through the gate he said, “Evening Ma’am.
Come here, take your clothes off and swim in my pool.”
“Now how does any woman resist such an invitation?”
So she dropped her purse on the chair and pulled the light
dress she had on over her head and walked naked to the pool.
“You… You… You drove here with nothing on?!”
“I had a dress on.” And she stepped into the pool until the
water lapped her breasts and gasped, “Why is it always colder than I think it
should be?” And she turned around to get out of the pool and into the Jacuzzi.
Owen dropped the towel and met her on the stairs and slid them both deeper into
He held on to her and said, “Just when I think that I know
you, you surprise me with something else.”
“It’s very important for good teachers to keep their students
guessing.” And she smiled thinking he didn’t have to know that she had stopped
around the corner to remove her underwear. Driving braless on New Orleans
streets would be for her an act of torture and insanity.
He held her buoyant with his left hand, her bottom leaning
against his raised right thigh and ran his right hand over her breast because
she was cold and her nipples were erect.“You know it’s 80 something degrees out here.”
“Not in the water. I’ll give you 80 something air
temperature but it’s 70 something in the water. Maybe even 60. That afternoon
thundershower cooled things off.”
“About the cold? Guilty.”She leaned into his left hand and relaxed more fully into the water. He
rubbed his hand over her other breast and nipple, and she said, “hmmmmm,”
“I heard somewhere that all acts of love and pleasure are acts of worship.”
“I heard that too.
Thank you for reminding me.”
“You really are a
“Shhhh, not too loud
you’ll ruin my reputation.” And she floated off and moving leisurely through
the water on her back. “I’ve been thinking.”
“About taking you to
He stood up and
walked toward her, “Really?”
“Well, yes, Really.I know you haven’t been around the wheel yet
but there is nothing more I need to know about your capacity that hasn’t
already been tested.” And she laughed mischievously.
“Ok what do I have to
“You don’t have to do
anything.I have to do all the work.”
“I like this already.
“Soon… and she
stopped floating and stood up, "maybe in July.”
And he slid up to her
put his hands around her waist so they were face to face and chest to chest and
pulled her to him and gave her a slippery hug as he spun her around in the
laughed."Glad you're on board with
the idea. Now I would like very much to get out of this cold water and into
"Wimp. But I
figured as much and it's all heated up for you."
She smiled at him and
made her way up the steps and into the Jacuzzi. He had been swimming laps for
the past 30 minutes so a soak sounded like a good idea and he followed.
As she settled on the
bench seat that allowed the water to come up to her chin she said, "Ah,
warmth." And smiled.
"You know if
pool designers were more strategic in their placement of the jets, we woman
might be able to live totally without you men."
"Damn, but you
are saucy tonight. And there is no way you could live without me."
"You are a
significant commitment of my very limited time, student.Do you want to go to 2nd or not?"
"Saucy and Sassy."
"Guilty. I'm in
a particularly good mood today."
"I need a
"Well I guess
She had closed her
eyes to enjoy the Jacuzzi, "Maybe it's because I feel like I've worked out
a plan for the rest of your training."
"Well I think
that I can take you to 2nd in July and then 3rd sometime in November after
you've done all the rituals on the wheel and then you're done."
And Owen got a cold hard feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Bellaria looked at Meana
who, confused, looked at Tago, who shook his head and nodded that Settrano had
better get in there and change the energy. Nola was being stubborn again.
She had been thinking
about this a lot.His training was going
really well and she loved having someone to do the rituals with but she figured
one of the ways to stop having him mess with her head and confuse her thinking was
to complete his basic training and then ease off on the lessons and let him
find a new toy.And she heard Meana say
loudly, "Nola that is cold and wrong headed and you know it!" And she
sighed and mentally transmitted back, "This is too hard."And Meana thought back, "And you are
resisting the lessons we know you need." But Nola had blocked her out.
He heard and saw her
sigh and asked again, "What does that mean, I'm done?"
"It means that I
will have provided you with your basic training. It means that now it will be
up to you to work the ways into how you live. It means that you will have more
time to live your life." And she didn't add without me because she didn't
want to say it. But, damn it, the line they kept walking was making her crazy.
"Damn it Nola
open your eyes and talk to me."
She opened her eyes,
"I am talking to you."
"You told me
when we first met that you had been working with your teacher for 13
years!Why would I 'be done'?"
"How do you
"13 is a very
witchy number; it's not hard. Why would I be done?"
"Well... it took
me a long time to get to 3rd degree. I trained via email and rare personal visits.
My initiations took place in 3 different states over a decade.You've had the luxury of one on one teaching
practically every week and your progress has been, to say the very least, accelerated."
"So? Why would I
And she sighed. And
Bellaria said to Meana, "No way is she getting out of this one. You had
better help her find her heart."
"Don't you have
a response to that, woman?"
She didn't. So she
said honestly, "No."
"No, I don't
have a response to that." And she stood up and got out of the Jacuzzi and
dove into the pool.
Owen thought to
himself this is ridiculous. I've never seen her behave this way. And he got up
and dove into the pool and met her as she was coming up out of the water on the
He took her by the
arm and turned her to him and said, "What the hell is wrong with
And Meana pushed her
over the edge.
"You. You are
wrong with me. You are a joy as a student. You are great as a friend. You are
fabulous as a ritual partner. I try to keep it light and playful with you but
we are always so close to the edge. You need to spend your time with someone
other than me. You need a real girlfriend, another toy to play with. I am
married. I have responsibilities. My daughter and husband need me to provide
for them.The intensity level between us
is making me crazy."
And Owen completely
relaxed and said, "Finally."
"Finally? Finally? What the hell does that mean?"
And he thought what
does that mean? What he said was, "I think I've been waiting for this."
What he realized was that he was glad that she seemed a little frazzled by
their relationship.She had always
seemed to manage to keep an emotional distance.
"What?Waiting…? What are you talking about?"
He put his other arm
around her, bent his knees and pulled her with him into the deeper water. She
put her hand on his chest to create some distance. "Owen, please. Let me
"No. No woman I
am not letting you go. I am happy with things exactly as they are."
You..." and she sighed and then said sharply, "Well good for
you." And she tried to wiggle out of his arms with no success.
"That is exactly
what I have been trying to say. It's no good. This whole situation is
I never expected that."
"I know I used
the word correctly.We can't defend or
maintain this situation."
"Did you not hear
me say that the intensity level between us is making me crazy?"
And she sighed and
became liquid with exasperation and he loosened his grip and smiled, more than
a little pleased with himself. She took the opportunity to get to the stairs on
the far side and climb out.
He waited watched her
before he pushed across to the other side. She was slipping her dress over her
head as he walked up the pool steps. She was headed for the gate when he
stepped in front of her.
embarrassing myself. I think it best for me to leave now."
ridiculous." And she turned her back to him and looked to the heavens. But
there was no help for her there.
"See, now there
we agree. This is ridiculous." And he wrapped the towel around himself.
"Sit down and
tell me what exactly you think is wrong with this situation."
"Owen I don't
know where to start."
"Ok, start by
telling me why you think I need a ‘real’ girlfriend.”
And she breathed
deeply in and out. "Well... I understand that the truth is crazier than
the fiction we’ve created.But I guess
that I feel that if you had a girlfriend then.... then... then I wouldn't end
up masquerading as your girlfriend and I could just be your friend who happens
to be female."
"Hmmm, Is it so
bad when people think we are a couple?"
And she didn't answer
"Well, is it?"
married. Do you understand that? Married?I have a husband. People know I'm married. Eventually, and especially in
this town, someone who knows someone who knows someone is going to put the
pieces together and my husband is going to ask me why so-and-so thinks that I
am your girlfriend."
"I see. So it's
not that being with me or even having people think we're a couple bothers you.
It's that you don't want your husband, to be what? Embarrassed… upset?"
"Well, yes in
part.Look I know what it felt like when
he left me emotionally and was seeing and having sex with another woman. I know
what it felt like when one or two of our friends knew. It was no fun for me. It
was humiliating. I don't want to hurt
him. In point of fact I am having sex with you. Granted ritual sex but never
the less it's sex."
"Right. And he
knows that you are a 3rd degree priestess and he shook my hand and he knows
that I am your student."
And she sat back
because she hadn't thought about it quite like that before. And Bellaria smiled.
Very good Owen. Back her solidly into that corner.
And she rubbed her temples,
"Owen do you remember when I said that you always had to be honest with
"Be honest with
me. Don't you think our relationship is a little strange? We are closer than I
imagined being with a ritual partner. It's confusing to me. Isn't it confusing
"No. Just no?
Can you please elaborate beyond, just no?"
And he heard Papa
Eric say, "Say exactly how you really feel."
"Nola, I am
happy, really content and happy for the first time in my life and I have you to
thank for that. This path we're walking is good for me. It feels right.Being with you makes me happy. Having people
think we are a couple makes me happy. Working with you on landscaping projects and
other business ideas makes me happy. Hugging you and kissing you makes me happy.
I don't care that you are married. This relationship is a blessing for me. I'm
doing just fine."
And she sighed
because she couldn't think of a response.
He continued."Here's what I know. You love your
husband. You care about your husband. You feel you need to provide for him and
your daughter. But I don't think that you've been in love with your husband for
a long time and I think that is the problem. I think that is why being with me
is making you crazy."
And she couldn’t stop
the tears from silently running down her face. What could she say to that?
Except...finally... "You're right. That is the problem and it makes me
crazy and it makes me sad. Every time I am with you or we pretend to be a
couple I want to know why I can't have, haven’t had in a long time, maybe not
ever, that same ease and happiness with the man I married." And she wiped
her cheek and she stood up and grabbed her purse and walked silently to the
He tried to stop her
and she resisted. He put his hand on the gate and there was no way that she
could open it with him leaning against it. She turned to go the other way and
he physically scooped her up and took her through the kitchen door. She
couldn't see for her tears. She was beside herself with hurt, confusion and
embarrassment. She had solidly hit the wall and she crumpled against it. Meana looked at Tago and shook her head. They
knew it would be hard.They had to wait
and see just how hard.
He took her into the
library, sat her down on the sofa and wrapped her up in a blanket knowing she
had next to nothing on and a wet head.He sat holding her, but she was blank and numb with tears running down
her face. Nola was overcome with the exhaustion of holding that truth from
herself. She was exhausted by the release of the truth. She was exhausted from
pushing Owen away. She had rolled onto to her side and was facing away from
Owen wanted to hold
her and take care of her but he knew that sitting next to her in just a towel
was a bad idea at this point. He said softly, “Nola I’m going to get some
clothes on and get you something to drink.”
Nola did what she had
always done whenever the world overwhelmed her.She rolled herself up in the blanket and collapsed into sleep.
Owen went into the
downstairs bathroom to pull his clothes back on, all the while thinking very
loudly to Papa Eric. Now what?
“I hear you son.”
Well, now what?
“I don’t know, son.”
Meana said, “Tell him
not to push her any further. She needs time.
“Don’t push her son.
Just be there for her and let her figure out what to do next.”
Owen pulled on his
jeans and a Tshirt.He fixed himself a
beer and some San Pellegrino for Nola. He took a deep breath and went back to the
library, half expecting her to be gone. What he found surprised him more.She was curled up in a fetal position on the
sofa, wrapped up in the blanket and looked like she was asleep.
He whispered very
And she didn’t move
but, looking carefully, he could see that she was breathing.He sat down in the other corner of the large
sectional nearest the French doors and turned on a reading lamp, picked up the
Diana at Aricia book and started to read.And hour, a beer and 2 chapters later she stirred, pushed her hair out
of her face and looked at him. “I’m sorry.”
“And she turned her
back to him and said almost under her breath. “Damn it, Owen do you have to be
“I am naturally
And he saw her laugh.
At least he hoped she was laughing. She turned around to face him again and she
was smiling as she got up.He took that
as a good sign, but needed to make sure. “Where are you going?”
“To rinse the salt
water out of my hair and to put on the rest of my clothes."
She didn’t take long
in the shower and came out with a towel wrapped around her head like a
turban.She sat down next to him and he
thought ‘Uh Oh’.
“I’m sorry for
crashing like that on you.I’m kind of
like a possum when I get really upset. I shut myself off as a self defense
“Interesting. I can’t
say I’ve ever seen anyone do that before.”
“Well, I usually
manage to hold it together until I get home. But you wouldn’t let me go home.
“I also want to thank
“You’re welcome. For
“For being the only
one I have that I have been able to be truthful with regarding how I feel about
my husband. I’ve been carrying it around all by myself for years and it is feels
better to be able to say it out loud to someone else. Thank you.”
“Come here woman. You
need a hug.”
And she melted into
his arms and felt safe. And Meana smiled and said, “Nicely done Owen. Very
He finally said, “I
think that this is a teaching movie night.”
She smiled at him.
“Under the Tuscan
Sun. It’s not too challenging. I use it because it's set in Italy and
because I think it shows the value of non-traditional family and initiates are
“Under the Tuscan Sun
“Let me get this
towel off my head.”
He smiled and went
into the kitchen to get another beer and while he was at it refreshed her San
Pellegrino water.He had the movie ready
when she returned. And without being asked she snuggled under his arm and Owen
smiled 'thank you' to the universe.
And Papa Eric said,
And Meana said, “For
the both of them.”
The movie ended and
Nola moved.“There is something about
that movie that always makes me feel better. I think I like the way the difficulties
are worked through rather than worked out.I know I like the idea of friends as family.” and she got up and held
her hand out to Owen. “I have to leave now.”
He looked up at her
and wished again that she didn’t have to leave.
“Don’t look at me
like that; it makes it hard to go.”
He smiled, “Then
And she managed to
laugh “Didn’t you hear what I said before I collapsed on your sofa? I like
spending time with you. It is a gift from the Gods as far as I can see. I am
glad that I have you in my life. But I need to maintain the boundary between
friend and teacher and …. and… well more than that. My family needs me to go
home.I need to go home to maintain my
grip on my life. It can’t all blur together.”
“Why not?” and she
thought about that and then answered as honestly as she could, “because I’m not
strong enough, because the world I have to live in wouldn’t understand.
Because… because… while it works for you
today, it won’t one day. One day you are going to want more for your life, a
wife, a family. Whatever you think we have in addition to being ritual partners
won’t be enough.One day you won’t be
satisfied with a pretend girlfriend. One day you will want the real thing. So I
have to leave.” And she felt her throat constrict as she said it.Phases in her life always ended. But unlike
moon phases they didn’t repeat with any consistency. She had to flow with the
passage of time and that would mean that she would end up somewhere else.
And he realized that
she was right. Part of him already wanted more. But as he watched her face he
realized that she was thinking about something else, “What are you thinking
“Phases… how we all
pass through phases in our lives…”
“And you think this
is just a phase?”
“I know it is just a
phase.I know from personal experience
that things will change. I can’t see exactly how, but Nature assures me that
things will grow and change and decay and … change.” And she shook off her
melancholy, breathed deeply and said, “Thank you again.I’ll just make my way out.”
But he got up and
took her by the hand and walked her to her truck. He gave her a hug and kissed
her because he couldn't help himself.
She just let him
because it was easier than struggling and damn it she did like it. “I will see
you next week. Night Owen.”
“Night Nola.Let’s try lessons in the pool next week. Ok?”
She smiled, “Ok.”
As he watched her
open the gate and leave his driveway the questions his grandfather had asked
him floated back into his head: So what are you going to do about changing the
situation?What next? These thoughts combined
with Nola’s pronouncement that one day he would not be satisfied with how his
life worked.What she didn’t realize is
that there had always been a part of him that had not been satisfied. Maybe
that wasn’t the right word, maybe it was content. He had been satisfied with
his life, but he had never felt, and he remembered what he said in the pool,
content and happy.He was content and
satisfied and happy. Hadn't his grandfather said that Nola was part of the
answer? He didn’t care or need to care what the rest of the world thought. What
he wanted was for Nola to be happy.That
was what he wanted next.
I'm a wife, mother, postKatrina recovery activist and the breadwinner for my family. I live in New Orleans and have all my life. But I've also traveled quite extensively. In all my travels I have never found a place as wonderfully interesting as my hometown. It's the most European city in America and definitely has a unique energy.
My college training is in the sciences and the scientific approach colors the way I look at things and learn. When I look at what quantum physics tells us today, I have to work really hard not to see the metaphysical connections. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
I've practiced Stregheria since 1995 and became a 3rd Degree Priestess in October 2007.