Unraveling – Part 12

by Elizabeth

“I just need to talk, Paul.”  

“I love you, Lib.”

“Love you, too.” 

How was she going to make Paul understand?  She was afraid and she felt other things, too – things she didn’t recognize; a strange connection to a man she didn’t even know, and a need to understand a part of herself she’d kept locked away all of her life.  

Her fears had never made sense until she read the results of the university’s research on deviant sexuality.  Masks, clowns, dolls and horses, all known to induce fear in those who repress a dark sexuality, had been part of her for as long as she could remember.  Her fear of these things was not ordinary, they could induce panic that led to irrational behaviour if she was forced to confront them.  

She was seven the summer Darby arrived in the stables – jet black and gangley; that horse was not the beautiful, gentle creature her parents believed him to be. She had not asked for a horse, in fact she was probably the only little girl in the world who didn’t want one.  

The problem was, “All proper young ladies learn to ride, Elizabeth.” Her mother was insistent.  Her father was patient – “Give her time to get to know Darby first, she’ll learn to ride when she’s ready.”   Thankfully her mother wasn’t home much.  

Summer passed, school began and her mother returned from a summer tour of Europe to learn that she had not yet even made friends with Darby …

She forced the recollection of that particular chain of events from her mind; she’d not be taking this stroll down Memory Lane, not today.  

She logged in to her anonymous email account, she needed to reply to his last, only to find two new messages.  Excited, she opened the first; a short and simple note in which his wit and intelligence dazzled with the brilliance of diamonds – she laughed so hard tears streamed down her cheeks.  

The second was more serious; “I want always to act in honor with you, I want always to BE honorable. In many ways you are innocent and young – though your experience and years should make this impossible – and that complicates my position tremendously.  I feel at once your teacher, your trusted confidante and your therapist; three roles that should be filled by three different people.  I don’t want to take advantage of you, E … I want you to understand I would NEVER do that.  By definition you should think of me as your guide, a friend who is helping you to find your own answers …”

No longer provoked by his humor, her tears were real now …

But they still belonged to him.