Tarotica 14: Temperance
Moderation. Self-restraint. Blending. Fruitful combination. Artistic creation. Compatibility. A balanced expression of sexuality. Nothing in excess. Issues of prudence versus excesses in behavior, including sexual activity, may be on your mind.
Anthony Louis, Tarot: Plain and Simple
Possibly too temperate and moderate to achieve a goal presently out of reach and requiring considerable aggressiveness.
Stuart R. Kaplan, Tarot Classic
When I think of him – of Wesley – I think of his oddities: his height, for one. He was 6’8” and rail-thing gaunt. He loved kittens. Somewhere, I still have a picture of him, a litter of kittens gathered against his bare, concave chest. Wes gathered odd sayings in leather-bound books he made himself. He collected quotes from everywhere – newspapers, literature, every-day conversations (I contributed a few myself). His sense of humor was bare-toast dry. There was something quixotic about him – eventually, I believe, he became a social worker, fully aware of the long hours, low pay, and eventual burn-out. For some reason, what doesn’t occur to me right away – only after I think or talk about him for a few minutes – is the fact that Wesley had one sexual quirk. Temperate in all things – I never knew him to drink nor take drugs – Wes’s sexual credo allowed him to do “everything but.” This meant heavy petting, passionate kissing, oral stimulation, and finger-fucking – but Wesley drew the line at penetration and ejaculation. For Wesley, there was absolutely no p and e.
I met Wes at the mall, of all places – so cliché, for teenage rendezvous. I didn’t mean to, though – didn’t mean to meet anyone. I was hanging out with friends – for us, going to the local “big” town (population 70,000) was a treat, a day out in the rarified, cosmopolitan air of the real world. The three of us were huddled over an arcade-game – I can see us – I was wearing my letter-jacket, a recently earned trophy. Diane was wearing no coat, just an over-sized sweater and tight-fitting jeans (narrow at the ankle, 80’s style), and Suzanne was wearing a sweater and a loose windbreaker. We were awed and excited, huddled over a video game, which (innovative at the time and not without its technical glitches) actually used video – with actors and everything. It was a Western-theme game, with girls in petticoats, dusty towns, and mean gunslingers. Our voices ringing in high-school-girl key, we pumped continual quarters into the ever-hungry slot. We attracted some attention, I guess – at any rate, there were Wes and his friend, standing behind us, laughing too, but looking not at the video screen, but at us.
I remember, from that first time, Wes’s height and his cleft chin. He was handsome ataşehir escort in a rugged way, a way hard for a teenage girl to recognize. I know I didn’t, anyway. At the time, I was in an “on” period with my on-again, off-again boyfriend – I had to feign indifference. Somehow, though, we all talked and laughed. Somehow, we exchanged phone numbers and addresses. Somehow, Wes and I started a correspondence that would probably have sent my proper Catholic mother into cardiac arrest.
I was always sexual – my friends and I were open and tolerant, telling each other everything, judging nothing – we talked about feeling horny and fucking in cornfields. (One day, we drove by a field that lay in direct proximity to the house where Suzanne’s boyfriend lived. Dreamily, she looked out the car window and muttered, “There’s a lot in that field – used condoms – tampons – dirty underwear.”) Perhaps it was that shared sexual honesty that led to Wes and I –flirting – in our correspondence. Oh, perhaps “flirting” is not the correct term. I probably still have those letters – sometime, I should dig them up. Perhaps it was growing up in the frozen Minnesota north that made us all so randy – perhaps it was a revolt against the repression and violent conformity for which the Midwest is notorious – but those letters – those letters –
I can’t remember the contents entire, though I do remember something about sucking jelly off each other’s toes – and something about eating crackers off each other’s bellies – we tried to trump each other with new sexual absurdities. I shared these letters with Suzanne and Diane, and we would laugh and try to top the latest kink that came through the mail. Honey? Well – how about bathtubs of Jello? Nudity? How about oral sex with a German Shepherd? Got excited watching your cats fuck? Let me tell you about how I felt when the pigs were getting it on . . and so it went. I did not see Wes – we didn’t date – but, through the postal service, we spiraled together in this mutual, crazed, linguistic orgy. I was surprised to learn that Diane found Wes sexy. I would send each letter out, hopped up with a wonderful, heady mix of guilt, excitement, and dizzying adolescent almost-sex. When Wes’s letters came, I would retreat to my room, trying not to run. Behind a closed door, I would smother my guffaws. Here was fun, here was danger, here was something new. Here was something my mother, my sisters, my father, could never, ever read. And here was my cunt, getting wet and smelling oh so good.
Finally, one summer, Wes and I did start to date. Funny – how we exchanged such letters, and yet we were not embarrassed nor ashamed when we did go out. In part, it may have been – as odd as it sounds – the innocence kadıköy escort bayan of youth. In part, it may have been that there was no guessing. We knew what we were. We were kinky bastards.
But we were Midwestern. And, hanging like a palpable cloud, there was always, always, that damned, incessant demand for conformity.
My mother loved Wes. To her, he was a gentleman. He brought her gifts and sometimes kissed her on the cheek. He was, too, a perfect gentleman to me. It was while we were dating that I discovered his true quirks – his sexual limits, for one. I tried to ask him about that – it was, he indicated, part of his religious code. It puzzled me – Wes could do, as I’ve said, everything but. But somehow that didn’t count – somehow, that didn’t violate his own religious creed, his own set limits. He was saving himself, he said, for marriage. And, thinking back, I am almost certain that Wes wanted to marry me.
Perhaps that’s, as it were, jumping the gun.
Wes was insatiably curious about women’s bodies – a fact I only appreciated in retrospect. At the time, his almost-clinical examinations of me sometimes made me cringe. I remember one date -– we actually did romantic things on our dates – I think that day we’d gone for a walk on a local hiking trail, and then lay by a creek and watched the clouds (and I’m not making that up). After, we went to Wes’s home – a denizen of a zillion cats and his patient, tolerant mom. No one was home. We went down to the basement – I sat on his lap. It was wet-moist, Midwestern humid hot, and I was wearing shorts and the briefest of tops. I remember the distant whirring sound of late summer cicadas and the damp, mildewed smell of the basement. We were kissing, and Wes was running his hands inside my shirt, over my small breasts, which rose, eager, to his fingertips. Eventually, his hands were down my shorts. Then the shorts were off. Then, I was sitting on the chair and Wes was in front of me, licking, licking – and then he stopped. He was prying me open with his long fingers, looking intently inside my vagina, running his fingers over my labia, up to my clit. “Where do you pee?” he said.
As I said, it took me a while to appreciate his interest.
Still, that summer dragged on – there were other guys, other “dates,”, but Wes was the most consistent, the most prominent, the most interesting. We went camping with his brother, who vaguely disapproved of Wes and I sleeping together in our own little tent. I don’t remember what I told my mother, but I do remember Wes’s feet, cartoon-like, sticking out of the end our pup tent, too small to contain Wes’s tall. It rained, but he didn’t care. I remember a wedding dance, and the mashing that followed escort maltepe – passionate necking, passionate caressing, passionate fondling – but no passionate p and e. I remember driving home together – from somewhere – and Wes, never shy about his requests, unzipped his pants and asked for a hand job. Though I’d had substantial sexual experience by that time, its diversity was quite limited – I think that was the first time I ever gave anyone a hand job. I remember my hand pumping on Wes’s long, skinny member, watching it, amazed, get purple and engorged as Wes moaned, but kept both a steady eye and a steady path. The flat, summery Midwestern landscape moved by – Wes moaned loudly – once – and then there was white froth all over my hands and the top of his pants. Before that, I had taken cum in either my cunt or my mouth – I’d never seen the silly stuff.
Silently, I watched Wes, one hand still on the steering wheel, adjust his pants and ask me to pass him some tissues from the glove compartment. Wes was nothing if not prepared. He turned to me, smiled, and said, “Thanks.” I nodded, feeling cheated somehow – I felt, once again, as if I was an experiment – a prelude to an experience I would never get to realize.
Still, it was a good summer – full of Wes and sex and weird comic moments. I don’t remember how we broke up – I think I returned to an “on again” phase with the boyfriend who kept popping up. Anyway, Wes’s kisses were starting to taste a bit like wash-rags, and his bones were starting to feel a bit too thin under my teenage hands. Besides, I wanted fuck – and I wasn’t getting it. I went to school. Wes began to date someone else.
One day, very late in my last semester as a senior in college, I got a letter. It was from Wes. In it, he said he thought, somehow, that we would always get back together. He asked me if we could see each other, when I returned home. I wrote back, said yes – and then, just a few months later, had to call Wes and tell him that no, no we couldn’t – I wouldn’t be home this last summer, but rather – well, rather – married. I’d met the man of my dreams, I said, and would be marrying him in just a few weeks. Wes’s tone changed. “I’d still like to see you,” I said, “As friends.” “Yeah,” he answered, and I knew it would never happen.
And it didn’t.
In four short years, I divorced the man of my dreams. I hear from my mother – it’s a small town, and somehow or another we are related to Wes by marriage – that he is married now, and living somewhere in Nebraska.
When I think about Wes, I think about that sticky, sweltering summer and his insatiable curiosity and curious temperance. I wonder if he still loves leather-bound, homemade quote books – I wonder if he still loves kittens – I wonder about his final, fulfilling experience – what happened to Wes, after that long-awaited charge, leading up to the ultimate sexual explosion. Did he lose himself? Did he want it? Or did he watch, bemused, at the final culmination of his own grand experiment?