Man and Womanbyhoo_hoo_boo©
I was in the garden grafting the roses. I always do more than I need so I have plenty to give away. It's thoughtful to give away a rose bush for Valentine's Day and not just a miserable flower. It's how I've always done it but I'm wondering. How many rose bushes, all the same, can one have?
There was a little discomfort, nothing really, I'm always nursing a football injury and I thought it was something related to that. My hand stole down to make the adjustment. For some reason my fingers lingered and there was some thing, some thing I couldn't quite put my finger on. I looked around to confirm I was alone. Reassured, I carefully checked.
My attention to the roses quickly became unimportant. I was concerned and small whips of worry began to hit me. I went inside and called Alison. She responded after a while, she was having a break from study, in front of the TV watching a soap. I explained my problem.
"You'd better make an appointment then," she said, as she sipped her coffee and momentarily looked at me. I was a little surprised by her lack of concern and her not wanting to look.
I went to the land line. The receptionist said the doctor was booked up for the next 3 days. I almost breathed a sigh of relief. She asked if that was okay. I said I didn't really know but I thought so. The appointment was made for Thursday at 4.15 PM.
Alison called to ask when the appointment was. She said it wasn't good enough. She picked up her cell phone and snarled at the receptionist.
I barely had time to shower. I was in the car and driving before I could think. At the surgery I was quickly in the doctor's room. He was the study of tranquility as he asked how he could help. I was soon on his examination table, minus my pants and he had his gloved hands at the problem. I was surprised when he started feeling in my groin. He wasn't just interested in the testicle.
"Mmmm." I felt like asking if that was his diagnosis but kept quiet. "You can get dressed ," he said, as he ripped off the gloves and went to the desk. While I sat beside the desk he made a phone call.
"Yes," I heard him say, "A testicular ultrasound." There was a pause. "Can you do it now? Good. Okay. Thank you." A shiver went up my spine. I kind of realized I'd hit the big time. It's strange how quickly I dispensed with the big worry and inserted another more manageable. I worried what would happen on Valentine's Day. What was strange was we hadn't really celebrated Valentine's Day for ages. There was no reason to think it would be any different.
I soon had an appointment and was driving to the Radiology rooms.
It was an experience having the ultrasound. With me on my back, on a hard plinth, a small, cold, hand held device was pushed into my scrotum to trap each testicle, while every so often a picture was taken. Pictures of my groin were taken too. The radiographer said nothing more than being polite.
Back at the General Practitioners, he opened the envelope and took out the film. He looked at it for a while, his chin in his hand as he did. Then he found the report. I didn't realize the report was in there and would have read it if I'd known.
He quickly wrote a letter and put it in an envelope. I read it later and it referred to the testicular lump. In the waiting room the receptionist made an appointment for me to see the urologist next day. He suggested I not drive to the appointment. The receptionist used the word "urgent" when making the appointment. Another shiver scraped its way up my spine.
That night I didn't sleep. Alison snored gently beside me as I thought, wondered and worried. It was so real and frightening.
Next day, I said goodbye to Alison as she went to her college tutorial. An hour later I called a taxi and went to the urologist.
The waiting room was packed and I waited my turn. I was last on the list it seemed. Eventually I was called and looked at him behind a palatial desk. He stood and shook my hand. Then we sat and he looked at what I guessed was my ultrasound film. I was quickly minus my pants and on his examination table.
He had his hands around my testicles as he investigated. When done he told me the lump was strongly suggestive of carcinoma and he wanted to biopsy it. I felt some what vulnerable as he spoke with me, undressed and exposed on his table. Some how I wasn't taking it all in.
I had a decision to make and I simply acquiesced. I had no idea of what options I had. Underneath though, I knew I had none. My head was playing tricks. It selected the things it wanted to hear and amplified them. Other things were drowned before they got to me. Stupidly, I kept thinking about Valentine's Day.
The receptionist came in with a cloth covered tray and he immediately started. He pushed a thick needle into my testicle and aspirated a specimen. It hurt. I gripped the receptionist's proffered hand and squeezed. When done, he told me the results would probably be positive for carcinoma. As he was operating at The Royal in three hours time, I should present myself there and wait. They would be able to admit me in time for the surgery and by then the biopsy results should be available.
He told me of my planned orchidectomy and explained that the removal of the testicle was the only treatment. It has a very high success rate and the sooner it's done the better. I felt numb with being told and didn't hear everything. It was moving so fast.
I tried to ring Alison but her phone was turned off and I left a message. I tried lots of times but she didn't ring back. I just wanted to talk to her. I felt so miserable and desperately wanted someone's company. The only company available was the doctor's. I was still hoping the biopsy results would show it was something other than cancer.
I took a taxi to The Royal and there I was admitted. The surgery was going to be quick- if it was needed. I'd be home in my own bed with Alison tonight. I wasn't sure that was a good thing, but it had to be better than losing testicles.
The Urologist came and saw me. The results confirmed testicular cancer. He left me saying, "See you soon." Everything was a blur after that. Small grabs of discordant memory remain.
I was shaved. The nurse kept referring to the brave soldier, who, embarrassingly, kept raising his head. She held it, moved it around and gave it surreptitious strokes. Her uniform was buttoned down the center and gaped between the buttons. I could see the rounded flesh of her breast where it swelled around her bra as she bent to her task. My soldier throbbed as she held it and carefully shaved. She checked the quality of the shave with her fingers and ran them around my testicles to hunt them in their sack. Her mouth was open, she frequently licked her lips and I could feel her eyes watching as she slowly wielded the razor.
With the shaving done she dunked a flannel in the bowl and carefully washed off the residual shaving cream. She stroked my soldier to wash him. With a towel she dried and again stroked, many times to ensure I was dry. She gave a final check, ran her fingers over the area and with a stroke I suddenly started to cum. She was quick and held a specimen jar to catch it. I watched as she stroked a few more times to catch the last, with a broad, satisfied smile. Strangely, with the anticipated trauma, every thing else was acceptable.
The anaesthetist checked me over. A clock ticked, loud and remorseless. My skin felt cold and clammy with sweat. The weird gown I was given with no underwear kept gaping as though to give everyone last looks. I kept raising my knees, forgetting how short the hospital gown was.
I put messages on Alison's phone, I don't know how many but there must have been a lot, more than I remember. The loneliness of the wait. The crippling fear as I tried to read- to justify my reaction of hiding my head in a book. The shivers. There was more, and there were words, they spring at me, but I'm too embarrassed to admit them to myself.
Eventually I climbed onto a barouche and, fast, I was on my way. The jocularity of those accompanying me was disturbing. The guy pushing the barouche was singing, just for me.
"Hitler only had one ball, And Goebbels had no balls at all."
After the surgery I called Alison. Thankfully she answered. She agreed to pick me up. I had a look at what had been done and saw the parking space, now vacant, and a line of black sutures that closed the wound tight. I didn't think about it then. I simply felt numb as I climbed into my clothes and waited.
Alison was late but I was so pleased to see her. I leaned forward to give her a kiss and somehow she moved and I missed. In the car, as she drove, it was silent. A presage of the coming weeks when she spoke to me only when needed and then, only in monosyllables. I thought she was having trouble with her studies and tried to talk about it. She wasn't receptive.
I had to go back to the urologist after two weeks. Alison had an important lecture and I drove myself. He was pleased with what he saw. The sutures were dissolvable and most had been absorbed. He sat at the desk and told me in a short time the one testicle would take over the functions of two. He also said, if I wished, I could resume sexual relations. I wanted to, but had strange forebodings.
Chemotherapy was difficult. In spite of the antiemetics I vomited endlessly. With a bucket beside me I sat and watched soaps. There was nothing else I could do. I initially thought Alison would be good company but the demands of her studies meant she was rarely there. When she was she went to bed telling me the study was exhausting.
Christmas was terrible. I was the only one at the table with a bucket. While we were at my sister's Alison accepted all the solicitations and sympathy. No one wanted to be near me. I knew things would get better and was hanging a lot on Valentine's Day. I decided to depart from tradition and ordered a big bunch of red roses. With it I had a note.
"For my beautiful wife, Alison. I am so lucky and treasure our time together. Thank you for being my wife, With all my love, Jim." I knew it was important to do it early. I thought the price exorbitant but was pleased to pay it.
I told the urologist it had all been a big surprise. He told me the faster the surgery was done the better and it was unlikely I'd have any more problems. I was told I should check my remaining testicle for lumps at least every month. He asked if I would like counseling. I said I didn't think so.
At home, when the chemo had been completed, I started to feel better. I wondered about trying my modified apparatus. When I told Alison she turned away and went to the sun room to do more study. That night, in bed, I touched her and she moved away. She avoided me for another week before I asked what was going on. She got out of her seat and walked to the door. There she turned and said with a loud, angry voice,
"I married a man, not half a man!"
That night I slept on the lounge chair. She didn't want me with her. In the morning she went to college very early. It was Valentine's Day. I'd been planning to take Alison to a restaurant, but at the last moment, knowing all wasn't well with our marriage, I had a feeling it would only make things worse. I suddenly realized many of the lectures and tutorials she had been attending hadn't happened. She was avoiding me.
I also finally understood there was some one else. I don't know why but I knew. With some reflective thought , in my mind, it was confirmed. She had become increasingly secretive, particularly in the bedroom. A few days before I'd been looking at the clothes line and noticed the long line of panties hanging on it. Every thing suddenly made sense. including her unexplained need for a lot more money.
The roses arrived at mid morning. I had no idea what to do with them. I was embarrassed. I put them in the kitchen sink.
At about mid day, a pantechnicon pulled into the drive. Armed with a list, signed at the bottom by Alison, two large men got out and menaced me at the door. They pushed their way into the house and proceeded to get everything mentioned on the comprehensive list. There was no mention that most of the things she was taking were mine.
When they promised they'd take only what was on the list and would lock up after, I went to the pub. I rarely drink alcohol but was determined to drink plenty. Perhaps it would be happier than home.
At the pub I ordered my poison and took it to a table in a darker corner of the bar. I think I was their only customer. I quickly returned for another and changed my seat to a stool where I could lean on a counter and look out through a window. It was near the route to the toilets.
I knew if I didn't have something to do I'd probably burst into tears. Watching the passage of people outside the tinted window was just enough. The world had been going so fast and I was pleased to be able to do something that wasn't too complex or fast.
"Hello," The voice behind me was tentative and quiet. "You look lonely and it's Valentine's Day. I'm alone too and I want company. May I join you?" I turned in my seat to look. A woman stood there, a cocktail in hand and she looked back at me. Her eyes were a piercing blue, framed by blonde hair that curled loosely. She seemed a little older than me.
"Mind if I join you?" she asked. I leaned over and pulled out the chair next to me for her. I didn't bother to stand and immediately regretted my decision. Some how, I didn't have the energy.
"Carol," she said, as she held out her hand for me to take. I held her hand for a moment and responded with,
"Jim". She sat beside me. I could feel her energy.
"Tough day?" she asked.
Suddenly we were talking, sharing the tough day, tough week, tough month. For both of us, it seemed to have been tough for ever. She was attractive and I watched her drop her high heeled shoes to the floor as she rested her feet on the rung of the stool. I told her of Alison, how she was leaving me and the precipitating events.
Carol listened intently and as she did she told me of her experience, which began with the diagnosis of breast cancer about three months ago. She too had problems at home and her husband had left two weeks ago, apparently jealous of the attention her mastectomy wound was getting. We shared the experience of feeling like freaks and the rejection by our partners. We both wanted to get back into the saddle and feel whole as sexual beings.
I got up to get more drinks. She chose an orange juice and I chose the same. We agreed that alcohol wouldn't help.
The bar staff were busy with housekeeping around the bar. They were taking advantage of the interlude before patrons started to arrive for Valentine's Day. I went back to her with my hands laden. She took the drinks and change and put them on the counter. Her eyes never left me as she held out her arms.
"Hug me," she said, "it's Valentine's Day." I moved in front of her. She spread her knees and pulled me into her. We kissed, a short kiss on the lips. I didn't want this moment to end and wanted her so desperately. For the first time in ages some one was interested in me. I felt something was happening that was meant to be. I stepped back, worried my enthusiasm was excessive.
My soldier was sufficiently erect that it was almost a show, its shape was clearly visible as it stretched up my belly and twitched under my pants.
Her eyes were on my soldier, then they looked at me, they drew me to her as I stepped up again and this time, with open mouths, we kissed, a long, deep, breathless kiss. I felt myself touching her and wondered which breast was real. I could feel the fabric of her skirt move up her thighs and her bum moved closer to me on the stool. I had my arms around her and pulled her to me. Neither of us said anything. We squeezed each other, her breasts were crushed against me and through the fabrics, I could feel my upstanding soldier touch the softness between her thighs.
She pushed me away, looked around the room and got down from the stool.
"Excuse me," she said and quickly made for the toilet. I sat and waited as I studied her shoes. She returned, sat on her stool and held out her arms. Between her legs, I was soon against her and with arms around each other we eliminated the space between us. We kissed. Against my chest I could feel her breasts, I didn't care which was real. Her hand moved down between us, I felt her fingers slide down my zip and hunt inside.
Quickly, she found my soldier and it responded well to its exposure. Under our kiss she pulled me forward and guided me into her soft, wet, warmth.
"Mmm, Don't move," she whispered. "I need you." We stayed there for some time, still, with our hearts beating, our chests heaving and murmurs that weren't words but said everything. We rocked slowly against each other, both aware of where we were and unable to stop, our bodies welded into one, so blissfully complete. We held each other and kissed.
"Excuse me." A voice. Not far away. "Excuse me." The voice again. We looked. He was very proper. "I have to ask you to leave," he said, his face betrayed some humor but with it an attitude of no compromise. As we slowly separated Carol pulled her skirt into place. I moved away while awkwardly stuffing my hard and uncooperative penis into my pants.
Outside we looked at each other and laughed. It was all we could do for a while.
We were soon at my place. My soldier was out again by the time we arrived, still damp from the immersion it had received in the pub. It twitched in her hand as she held and gently stroked it.
I'd forgotten about the removalists and Carol wanted to know what was going on. I told her and she took charge. She took a pen from her hand bag and wrote down the van's registration number. Then she went round to the front of the van and copied down the details of the registration disc. She asked me to lift the hood and get the leads from the spark plugs. I was quick, it was all so simple.
Soon they were coming out of the house carrying my computer. She strode up to them and demanded they put it down. They told her to piss off. She held up the phone, took photos and threatened them with the police. One moved towards her and I stood in his way. He was going to hit me when she held the phone up again.
"We can do this sensibly or I'll get the police," she told them . "Give me the list." There was an impasse. She started a countdown and on zero started to dial. With that one of them got the list from his pocket and gave it to her. The other rang Alison. We negotiated.
Together, we went through the list as we looked inside the van and the house. We worked out what would be her half as fairly as we could. The removalists seemed relieved it was done. They smiled when Carol made sure the bed from the guest room remained but gave Alison the matrimonial bed and all the linen, apart from a brand new set of sheets.
They were a long time returning things to the house. We went for a walk to the bank and closed the joint account as they worked. Carol rang her work to say she wouldn't be in for the rest of today and tomorrow.
We sat on a swing in the playground nearby, where we kissed and held each other while we waited. I watched as she took something from her handbag and stuffed it into my pocket. I took it out and saw it was her panties. She giggled, lifted her skirt and spread her legs to show me. With her hands she smoothed her hair away and pulled her sex open for me to see. I lowered my hand and slid a finger into her sex. She whispered we'd soon test our machinery. I said we could compare scars. We hugged each other. I had a feeling it was only a small part of what we would soon think of as "us".