I RemainbyMany Feathers©
Quite some time ago I received an inquiry from another writer as to why I signed off on my posts with the words: I remain.
I was a little surprised by that as in all the time I'd been posting on the bulletin boards, no one had ever questioned me as to why I did that. Or for that matter, what it meant until she asked me.
It has been nearly four years now since I started writing stories and a few poems calling myself "Thesandman". As that anniversary draws near once again, so does another that I still remember fondly to this day. And though her name shall remain anonymous, know that I speak fondly of her in this writing and shall call her "Karen". It is neither a clue to her identity, nor in anyway even close to her actual name. I have in fact used her personality and character in many of the stories I have written, solely because she became for me a plethora of invaluable insight, intrigue, as well as being one of the most sensual women I have ever known.
And sadly for me, I never met her beyond our email communications.
Long before I ever started posting stories or writing for Literotica, I had spent my time in the relatively new world of 'cyber-space', discovering the mystery and excitement of what was only then coming to be known as "chat-rooms". It was through that that I met "Karen", though at the time I knew her only as "HOL". Back then, long before I became "Thesandman", I was known by another moniker, though like Karen, I had used simple initials to abbreviate my chosen name. "TDOM", which most easily deciphered, even back then as "The Dirty Old Man."
Like most who at first ventured into those chat-rooms, the topics generally turned to sex; the new form of 'safe-sex'. This new form of sexual exploration suddenly exploding into an almost surreal reality as people were discussing and enjoying things with near-perfect strangers that they couldn't, or wouldn't discuss with even their best friend or partner.
Initially, it was like that to a large degree between "HOL" and I. We spent what seemed like hours well into the night just sharing fantasies, thoughts and desires. It wasn't so much having "cyber-sex" as many now called it, actually going through the word motions as though they were actually "doing it" together. But it was exciting as Karen and I over time began sharing intimate thoughts and secrets that as I eventually learned, she had never shared or discussed with anyone.
In time, I eventually learned that she was considerably older than I was. A fact that surprised me to some extent as her openness, uninhibited insight regarding sexuality, sensuality, was not something I'd honestly given much consideration towards. "Oh hypocrite I," as 'The Dirty Old Man', was conversing, enjoying, and incredibly turned on by "Horny Old Lady", who turned out to be considerably older than I would have ever guessed her to be.
Upon discovery of that, I made one of the worst mistakes of my life. I fell silent and briefly turned away. For a time, I refrained from even going to that particular web site, not wanting to face the embarrassment of my own insecurities, judgments, and bias. I soon after discovered however, that most everyone else I met in many of the other chat-rooms I frequented, that most didn't care or appreciate the deeper communications, however erotic or sensual they could be. Most, plainly and simply wanted to have anonymous sex over the Internet with one another. A point that was lost on me to one degree or another as there never was the intimacy of shared thought or opinion that stimulated the mind.
And as a side note, I was most recently reminded of that very fact by another good friend, both author and reader herself who again reiterated that very point. She has often asked those of whom she meets, what they feel to be the most erotic part of the body. It's surprising how many do not answer that question with what I believe to be the obvious, which is of course, "The mind!"
A month went by. What I had excitedly hoped to discover became for me a major disillusionment. I met strangers who preferred to remain so. Admittedly, not even sure at times if the 'women' I was speaking with, were in fact really women. Any attempt at familiarity, wanting to get to know that person on a more intimate, non-sexual level, was usually met with sudden disappearance, sometimes outright hostility. I found myself longing for the deeper communication and friendship that I had just started to appreciate and enjoy with Karen.
Nervously I made my way back to the other web site were we'd first met. Several days passed where I neither saw her on-line identity, nor knew if she even still got on line any more after my sudden abrupt, unexplained disappearance. I knew then that I had treated her no differently than I had been treated myself. A heavy weight of guilt fell upon my shoulders. There was no other way to reach her, no way to send her a note in some half-assed attempt to explain myself.
I had nearly given up even trying as several days had passed. Then suddenly, I had no sooner signed on to the site when I received an instant message from her. I remember to this very day what she then said to me.
"So, was I too horny? Or just too old for your tastes?" she'd asked me point blank.
She had left out the third letter 'L'. "She was also a lady," I reminded myself. I had disrespected that, disrespected her, and regretted it deeply.
We'd been openly frank and honest with one another before. I saw no point in dancing around that, telling her succinctly what I had first thought, envisioned, and formed within my own mind about her.
To my surprise she laughed. "LOL", she typed. "It appears you and I have a lot to discuss." And so we did.
From that point forward we came to know one another better. She shared with me her true name, and I shared mine with her. Besides sharing what we'd initially done in the beginning, we came to know one another as only friends can. I learned much about her life, the loss of her husband years earlier. And the sadness of how she had had to keep her few 'lovers' secret and away from her family after that. They would never have accepted 'Grandma' having, or experiencing sexual desires or thoughts with anyone else. For the most part Karen lived a celibate life aside from her secret ventures out into cyber-space. But until I had come along, even she was beginning to find it as I had, to be a hollow adventure without promise, and certainly without companionship.
Having built a foundation of trust and understanding, we soon after exchanged email addresses. Something I had been reluctant to give out to anyone other than friends and family. Likewise, she too had been hesitant as the delicacy of her own situation demanded that she be discrete, not wanting to hurt other family members who might one day discover or stumble across her most intimate secrets.
From that point forward we spoke in a more time delayed format perhaps. But our communications became far more intoxicating to share with one another. There was time to think, digest, and respond back and forth. I devoured her words to me, as she devoured mine.
Over time, Karen began to share with me the more intimate details of her life with her husband. She treasured them, sharing them with me in small bits and pieces. Not that she couldn't remember them clearly and succinctly within her mind, she just couldn't adequately form into words the images that she remembered and so deeply cherished.
Gradually I formed a pretty clear picture of some of those times. It had been years since I had written anything short of trying to tell an actual story. I'd written adventure, fantasy stories for friends and family in years past. But I'd never attempted to write anything erotic, wanting to express not only the sensation of sensuality, but the emotional along with it. When I mentioned to Karen that I wanted to do that for her, she was surprised that I would actually be willing to do that for her.
We actually spent the next several days "collaborating" on her story, getting the facts write, the description of events as best she could see them in her mind well enough to relate them to me. Only then did I make the attempt to write her a story as seen through her very own eyes.
When it was finished, I emailed it off to her and waited. Expectantly, I felt assured to hear from her that evening, or the next day at the very latest. It had gotten to the point between us that barely a day went by where we didn't at least say "hello". I had also discovered through that, that Karen was ill. To what extent I didn't know, only knowing that she periodically had to be treated for whatever it was, requiring several days stay in the hospital. Though Karen hadn't said anything to me, I could only assume that she must be doing that now as several days passed without a word from her. Naturally, I began to wonder if I had gone too far, gotten too personal, too intimate with my writing.
Finally, nearing a week she wrote back to me. Relieved to learn that she was first "ok", and that there had been no hospitalization (then) she confessed that my story had touched places within her that had been too powerful for her to respond to at the time. She had spent nearly a week reminiscing, going back in time, and reliving those long lost precious moments with her husband. Respectfully, and only now understandably, I had ceased to exist.
Sure, Karen had stroked my ego in telling me all this. She'd given birth not only to the desire to write to her, but to the desire to share with her my own personal feelings of intimacy, life and love.
And so it began.
Periodically I wrote her short simple "love-stories" as she called them. Each one getting a little more intimate perhaps, a little more erotic than those I had written in the beginning. She urged me to do so, giving hints along the way of her most secret thoughts and desires, which I gradually began to include in my writing to her. Over the course of the next few months, I wrote her often until I found myself writing her short simple paragraphs each and every night. There were of course days that I might not hear from her at all. But still I wrote. I learned in those days of silence that she was indeed in need of extended medical care, her illness, condition, whatever it was obviously worsening. I once wrote, asking her because of that if she'd prefer it if I stopped. Karen wrote back telling me that my stories, the fantasies I gave her to see and dream about were better than any pain medication she was currently taking. I had become for her, "Her Sandman", someone that tucked her into bed each night, gave her a measure of joy and comfort that surpassed anything any doctor's were able to do or give to her.
Soon after I began ending my stories to her signing them as "Your Sandman", or simply "Sandman".
I knew her condition was increasingly worsening. Our communications grew infrequent, even when she did respond; I could tell it was with a great deal of effort that she even did so. But always telling me, always urging me to keep writing, keep sharing with her my thoughts, my dreams. Something she could take comfortably with her whenever she went to bed and slept at night. She told me towards the end to forever remain her Sandman.
I continued to write, ending my thoughts and words most nights as: I remain, Your Sandman
The last time I spoke with her, I knew within my heart that it probably was the last time I would. Neither of us made mention of it, or discussed it in any way other than her last words to me to always remain The Sandman.
As I feared, several days passed nearing well over a week when I finally wrote her, a simple email, a simple question.
"Karen? Are you ok? I remain, The Sandman."
Days passed. Then to my surprise I saw an email waiting for me from Karen. Relieved, I opened it and began to read. To my shock, I soon discovered it was from one of her daughters. She confirmed of course what I had feared. Karen had passed away from her long illness with cancer. But what really surprised me, was that Karen had during her last final days shared with this one daughter at least, our relationship and what we had shared and experienced together. Her daughter informed me that Karen had wanted her to tell me thank you for making a "HOL" feel special and happy again. Her daughter had no idea what that meant of course, and out of respect, I didn't enlighten her either.
As I mentioned in the beginning, it was nearly a year to the day after Karen's passing that I discovered Literotica, and eventually posted my first story, "A Night to Remember". The story itself obviously had nothing to do with Karen's life or described it in any way. More of an allegory perhaps, but towards the end, the kind of story she enjoyed receiving from me. A chance to dream, fantasize and imagine perhaps the improbable.
Admittedly, I cringe now whenever I read some of my earlier works. So many glaring errors, grammatical structure etc. that I wish I'd had a better understanding of back then. Thankfully to so many of you who've helped me improve, I hope you see the differences between now and then.
I never kept a copy of that first story I wrote to Karen. After all, it really wasn't mine to keep. But I have sprinkled a little bit of her personality and character throughout many of my stories. Perhaps a bit like spreading her ashes in memory of the person that created me, gave me a push and told me to never quit writing.
As my writing anniversary approaches, I thank each and every one of you who've helped me to grow and improve. I thank you for the incredible feedback and support throughout these past years. I appreciate the constructive criticism I've been given in helping me to improve my writing ability. It's still far from perfect. But I'm slowly getting there.
But finally, I thank you all for the friendships that have grown. For the enjoyment and entertainment of sharing, discussing, but more importantly, not in remaining strangers (at least impart anyway).
And thank you for allowing me to share with you a little about myself in my writing.
For I will always remain, The Sandman.