The slender brunette looked lovingly at the blonde in bed next to her, and said: “the question of ‘what should I wear today’ used to be a non-question. The answer was always ‘sweatpants.’”
The blonde smiled back at her, in acknowledgement.
The brunette continued, “They were more than something comfortable to wear: they symbolized my way of thinking about myself. I might not have been happy but I was comfortable in my unhappiness. Your friendship and its likely effects seemed likely to be disruptive and unwelcome, like letting loose a dozen rowdy young kids at an art museum. Some might consider that sort of experience fun, exciting, and charming. I would not. I just wanted to be left alone. It took me a while to notice you, and initially your writing had all the warming effect as sunlight reflected off the cold surface of the moon. I was so dismissive of you that at most I observed your efforts with a bland and detached appreciation.”
The blonde looked at her, prompting her silently to continue. She did: “I felt hope rarely. I had good reason to be wary. The last time I’d been excited about starting a whole new way of life, of getting what I thought I’d wanted, the emotional effects on me were negative instead of positive. So why would I want to try a new paradigm yet again, this time with you? Even if you did everything perfectly, I’d just sabotage that, too — somehow. At my core, I have a hollow emptiness that often overwhelms me, and nobody can help me with that, so why bother — that’s how I felt.”
“You were most reluctant and resistant, both before and after we met,” the blonde agreed.
“I felt so naive at trying one more time. It all seemed so ridiculous, even had it not felt too late. Yet, somehow, things clicked, and it was neither ridiculous nor too late. I’m amazed.”
The blonde’s look was like a comforting touch.
“What shocked me was that even with you in the picture, I still felt overwhelmed and yet somehow that was acceptable for you and I both. Right from the start, you understood me as such so deeply. Instead of me trying to explain my mental state to you, you explained the fundamentals to me instead. You helped me understand why a bad day doesn’t have to be the start of a downward spiral, and that I don’t have to punish myself with these prolonged negative spirals.”
The blonde nodded, her eyes gentle. The brunette smiled, and said, “So much is better, though. I hope you’re clear on how much hopelessness you have inspired me to dissolve. I already felt old and unattractive 25 years ago. So, by now … you had a seemingly impossible task. Yet, somehow you persisted and prevailed. I still don’t feel young or pretty but I almost feel as if I’ve transcended that, which might be just as good — or better. It’s also huge development that I no longer think you’re crazy for liking my body.”
The blonde smiled pointedly, pushed herself up on one arm, and looked down at the brunette’s calves, then her thighs. The brunette laughed and rolled onto her front and said, “I still feel self-conscious when you look at me like that.” She wasn’t covered by a bed sheet and she no longer wore a peignoir to bed, so this change of position made her back and butt visible to the blonde’s appreciative eyes.
The brunette laughed again and playfully reached for the bed sheet, then pulled it over her butt. The blonde threw it aside. The brunette lay there with her face down and quietly said, “I love how you’re assertive toward me in just the right way. I’m not accustomed to that. I’ve craved that so much. You don’t treat me like I’m on a pedestal or as if I’m fragile or as if I’m a cartoon character.”
She gave a slight start as she felt the blonde’s gentle fingers on her upper back, and then she relaxed. Her mass of long, dark hair covered her face. The only feedback the blonde got, a few seconds later, was a quiet “mhm” of pleasure – and then another visual cue, as the brunette arched her back.
“You look SO sexy when you do that,” the blonde mused.
“It’s not intentional – it’s sort of primal,” the brunette protested.
“That’s much of the reason why it’s so sexy to me when I see you do that,” the blonde smiled.
The blonde’s fingers were lightly trailing over the brunette’s sensitive back, butt and the backs of her thighs. The brunette alternated between expressing her delight at experiencing this pleasure — and reminiscing. “I’m thinking back at our burn-the-sweatpants ceremony,” she said, her face still hidden by her hair. “Burning one’s bra used to be the symbol of emancipation, but for me it was burning my sweatpants. And then, because I still like to go on my daily walks, you and I chose something else for me to wear.”
“I remember you protesting the first two dozen suggestions I’d made. We had been to five different clothing stores before we found something you agreed to wear in public,” the blonde recalled.
“I now love that outfit, but I used to feel so exposed and inappropriate, wearing that on my first post-sweatpants day. Of course, it helped that you were there next to me all the time. I’m not used to going for my daily walks with someone like … well, like you … next to me, and certainly not someone who looks like a warrior queen so that nobody dares to mess with me. I feel so safe when I’m with you – safe and cozy at a soul-deep level. I’m trying to find the right word …it’s whatever the opposite is of feeling lonely.” Then, in a more playful tone, she added, “I was surprised you could keep up with the long distances and the pace that I like.”
“I used to go on multi-day hikes in the wilderness when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, carrying a thirty-pound backpack with the food for the entire trip, plus my sleeping bag – and not on level ground but up and down mountains and steep hills. Also, when I was trying to figure myself out, and where I fit in as to the rest of the planet, if at all … thinking about that somehow worked better for me while I was walking.”
The brunette mused, “I wonder if I was drawn to walking so much, for that same reason. Even so, I never came back from a walk with any of the insights I needed to change things enough, for me. That came to me during our many conversations, starting with that first long road trip. I love how you didn’t, and still don’t, hand me the conclusions on a silver platter. Instead, you arrange the pieces of the puzzle in such a way that I can take the last few steps on my own, and piece together the final answer, so that I feel ownership and pride at whatever I learn. You’re a good teacher … mhm, higher a little, please, and to the left … mhm, you have magical fingertips,” she said, the happy smile clearly discernible in her voice.
“I recall how strongly you reacted to my analogy of the lighthouse on Kauai.”
The skin tone of the brunette’s thighs changed to goose bumps. “Wow, that story still gives me the chills.” The blonde placed the palm of her hand on the back of the brunette’s left thigh, and stroked it vigorously as if she were cold, until she heard another moan from the brunette, emphasizing that she was feeling intense pleasure. The blonde kept up the motion for half a minute longer after that, and then gradually slowed down and lightened her touch, until two minutes later she was once again touching the brunette lightly. “Tell it to me again, please, just like you did the first time,” said the brunette.
“The first time, I didn’t have you moaning and happily in the nude in bed next to me, so it’s going to be hard for me to concentrate,” the blonde pointed out.
The brunette wiggled a little, as she lay face down, then felt self-conscious and said, “that’s something I had not expected to do – that motion. I feel like I’m eighteen again, a second time around – and instead of feeling self-conscious about sexuality, I’m nowadays happily immersed in it, as if I’m taking a warm bath. The “new me” is night-and-day different as such, and yet fundamentally I feel like I’m being more true to my core self, and my deepest values, than I’ve ever felt. I used to feel so self-conscious and socially anxious, sort of like I were personifying the story of the ugly duckling. And now, thanks to you, I’m in swan mode.”
“Not thanks to me – you drew your healing conclusions yourself. I was just the catalyst. Anyway: the story …”
“Wait, I want to lie right next to you when you tell it, “ the brunette said, and turned onto her side, facing away. She snuggled closer, then pushed her naked butt against the blonde so that they were essentially spooning. “And yes, that’s something else that used to totally not be my style, moving and lying like this. Being a sex kitten wasn’t something to which I aspired as to my public persona, but somehow that’s how people responded. Privately, I used to feel so very much the opposite. And yet, nowadays, I feel sexual and playful whenever I’m with you – and really even when I’m not — though I try to tone it down in public. It’s a whole new way of life, for me,” the brunette said, and shot the blonde a playful and sexy over-the-shoulder look right then.
“The island chain of Hawaii is the most geographically isolated place on the planet, in the middle of the Pacific … “
“Just like I was. I used to feel as if I were the most lonely, isolated person on the planet,” the brunette interjected.
“Good point,” the blonde smiled. “Anyway, on the northernmost shore of the northernmost inhabited island, there was a massive light-house atop a cliff, with its lens designed to create a rare sort of double-flash when seen from afar.”
“… on Kauai. That name is easy to remember — but it took me a while to remember and pronounce Kilauea, where the light-house is, exactly. I love that you and I went there to visit it – and what I wore for that. I used to dislike focusing on clothes even beyond the sweatpants aspect, just due to the way the music industry executives had focused on dressing us girls up with an emphasis on our looks instead of our music and message.”
“I remember that eloquent commentary you wrote about girls in the music being treated as clothes horses,” the blonde mused. “Anyway, as to the story: about a hundred years ago, long-distance airplane flights were non-viable and extremely dangerous, especially over the ocean. Flying from the mainland to Hawaii had never been done. It was easy to never find the destination, and to fly on with less and less hope, then eventually die alone after running out of fuel somewhere over the vast emptiness of the Pacific, perhaps with nobody else really even knowing what was happening while the crisis was occurring.”
“Wait, stop,” the brunette said. She was suddenly choked up. She tried to speak but her voice cracked. She felt the blonde’s arm enveloping her, pulling her closer in a comforting embrace, and she stopped trying to fight back the tears. She simply lay there and cried, taking comfort in being held by someone who cared and understood. “I’m sorry,” she managed to get out.
The blonde hugged her a bit more closely and said, “I’m not. This is long overdue. Accept how you feel and experience it fully.” She felt the slender body tense more in rebellion, and then soften in resistance, and finally go limp as the brunette simply lay there and cried for a long time. When the brunette finally spoke, she said: “the parallels are just so numerous between that flight and my life. The first time, you didn’t even point them out to me, just hinted — and when I realized it, it hit me hard. I was crying then too, the first time, though I turned away, and I tried to hide that from you.”
The blonde kissed the top of the brunette’s head, in reply. The brunette continued, “I’d started out my young life so well-prepared, with so much hope and with everything I needed to succeed – just like the pilot had prepared for that flight.”
The blonde nodded, and the brunette continued, “if being loved, understood, and cherished romantically was the destination, that was a good analogy for Hawaii too – something warm, lovely, wonderful, exotic, exciting, colorful, vibrant … “ her voice broke again. After regaining her composure, she continued: “What a long and lonely journey it turned out to be. My first serious romance, early on, might be likened to someone seeing the islands off the coast of Southern California, after taking off from LA … sort of a simple, limited-scope, early preview of what Hawaii would be like. At the time, I enjoyed that romance in a limited way, but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did in retrospect. I was focused on something more yet, bigger and better and nicer. I wasn’t willing to settle for the relationship equivalent of Catalina Island. I wanted Hawaii. And then, for what felt like the longest time, I had neither. I felt so lonely and alone, pushing on yet getting ever less hopeful and ever more sad. Wow, the parallels are SO stark.”
The blonde nodded in agreement, as the brunette continued. “After much loneliness, bordering on desperation, I thought I found what I was looking for, and I was so happy and relieved. Islands are often surrounded by clouds, and here was someone who was like a massive cloudbank that seemed certain to contain what I’d been seeking: my Hawaii. And then, when the essence I sought wasn’t there, just the cloudbank … I was so sad. So on I flew, sad and alone.”
“The parallels are indeed numerous,” the blonde said. “for example, how at some point you decided you would be only too happy to settle for Catalina Island if that were an option again. You even formally turned around for a while to try to go back …”
“Yes, I’d overlooked that parallel, the first time around,” the brunette said. “But … yes.”
“… and then you realized that going back wasn’t viable, so you decided to abandon that possibility, and you kept on flying, alone and sad, even though you had a massive cloud bank to keep you company during your flight. It was better than an empty ocean but it didn’t contain the island chain you’d wanted to find when you set out,” said the blonde.
“… another stark parallel, I like how you phrased that, though it makes me feel guilty too,” the brunette said. “But … yes. The cloudbank was comforting but didn’t have what I’d set out to find at the start of my flight — and what I craved. I needed more. Please tell the part of the story where the lonely little airplane flies right by.”
“The little airplane was close to running out of fuel after its long flight…”
“…. which describes me so well, at the time,” the brunette said. “So does the real specter of running out of fuel, and dying alone in a psychological sense, never having reached what I’d set out to find.”
“What wasn’t clear to the pilot was how close he was to Kauai. In fact, he’d flown right past it.”
“That’s so apt a parallel too,” said the brunette. “You had been there, welcoming me, and waiting, yet I didn’t come to you. I just kept on going, continuing alone, moving along in my by-then-hopeless-seeming quest, ever more lonely — ironically, so near you and yet not noticing you, in the sense that I needed.”
“Meanwhile, on Kauai, the lighthouse remained firmly standing on top of a cliff, steadily sending out its beam of light, intended for you. Not a flare; not fireworks, nothing dramatic — just a steady, welcoming warm light, flashing out to the lonely ocean with steady regularity …”
“Just like the patient, comforting and welcoming things you wrote me at regular intervals. You were my Kauai lighthouse,” the brunette smiled.
“… and then, when hope was almost gone, the pilot saw the flash, realized he’d overflown, turned around, and landed safely on Kauai.”
“… and lived happily ever after,” the brunette said, “having found the most delightful, exotic, welcoming, warm, amazing of destinations.” She turned and looked up at the blonde earnestly. “Thank you for being my patient, welcoming, comforting lighthouse in the middle of a dark, scary, overwhelming, vast and lonely ocean. Thank you for helping me find you before I ran out of fuel. Thank you for … wait, there’s one more parallel. The lighthouse didn’t come to the airplane. By the nature of the lighthouse and the nature of the airplane, that wasn’t viable. The airplane had to come to the lighthouse, just as I needed to come to you. I’m so glad I did, and that it wasn’t too late for me after all.”
“I’m proud of you for setting out on this journey, and I’m so glad you came to me. I also think it’s endearing that you bought me a dozen pretty t-shirts that all say ‘Kilauea Lighthouse.’”
“You are my lighthouse. You saved me.”
“You saved yourself, by seeing me and coming to me. I was just there, welcoming you. You did all the actual work of setting out to find what I offer, and for finding me, and coming to me.”
“That’s interesting. Until you just said that, I felt so passive a participant. And yet – I was indeed not. I did enact the cause that had the effect of me being here in bed with you, happy to be me, and happy to be alive, happy to be a sexual being.”
“I’m proud of you,” the blonde said, and bent down to gently kiss the brunette on the lips. The brunette squirmed until she was lying flat on her back, and reached up with her slender arms, putting them around the blonde’s neck, and pulling her closer while kissing her back passionately.