It was a Saturday, and as he awoke that morning, Ted thought about how he used to love the arrival of the weekend after a long, tedious, and stressful week at work. But that was his former life; Saturdays were now just like every other day of the week, slow and still. Absolutely still. Such had life become after the car accident that left Ted a quadriplegic almost six months earlier, unable to move or feel anything from the neck down.
As he lay in bed that morning waiting for his caretaker to help him get out of bed and get ready for the day, Ted reminisced about how things had changed since his accident and how different his life was now. He was a relatively handsome, very active single guy in his early 30’s, doing very well as an accountant and financial advisor. People often wondered why someone like him had not yet settled down and gotten married, but Ted relished his independence and often joked that he didn’t need a “ball-and-chain.” He wasn’t lonely; he had several friends, his many outdoor hobbies like camping and hiking, and his work was very fulfilling. Most of that was essentially gone now; things like hiking were obviously out of the question and he hardly saw his friends any more. They became more distant and withdrawn as time went on, and Ted understood how uncomfortable they felt around him. He knew he could still do his job, with the proper technology, of course, technology that was designed to accommodate his new disability. Eventually he planned to do that, but for now, he was still adjusting to life as a quadriplegic.
“Good morning, Ted. How do we feel today?” Mary, Ted’s caretaker since he came home from the hospital a few months ago, said as she entered his bedroom. She caught him by surprise; he was deep in thought reminiscing and was a bit startled by her sudden entrance.
“Fine,” he said with a hint of dejection in his voice.
“Did you sleep well?” asked Mary.
“Yeah, I made it through the whole night,” he replied.
“Good, you look like you slept well too. That’s a big step!” she said. Mary was a middle-aged woman in her late 40’s who the hospital had found to be his caretaker. Ted liked her a lot, he felt very lucky to have found such a committed caretaker. She was always cheerful and never complained about anything, especially when it came to meeting his never-ending needs.
She could also sense when something was wrong, she had quickly come to know Ted very well. “What’s the matter, Ted?” she asked with a concerned tone in her voice. Ted had come to expect her to be able to sense when something was wrong with him, and did not try to hide anything from her.
“Oh, I was just thinking about, well you know,” he said.
She quickly interrupted, “I understand. I know it’s very hard for you to adjust to everything that has happened to you and that is new in your life. I will help whenever I can, even if it’s just to listen.”
“Thanks, Mary. I’m lucky you’re here,” he answered back.
Since he was unable to move himself, a system of devices had been set up in his bedroom to assist in moving him from bed to his wheelchair, or turn him every couple hours during the night. He was too heavy for Mary to move by herself, but with the aid of the hoisting system, she could very easily move him to his chair and strap him in to keep him from sliding out of it. “There you go,” Mary said as she fastened the strap across his chest that kept him upright. His legs were also strapped in to keep them from bouncing out of their places should he have one of his occasional spasms. Finally, she placed his arms on the armrests.
She wheeled him into the bathroom. Getting “ready for the day” usually took a good hour or so. She bathed him, shaved him, did his hair, and took care of his “other” bathroom needs. He was still uncomfortable having someone else, let alone a woman, clean up after him due to the loss of his bladder and bowel functions, but he had no choice. He hated this part of his day, and tried to focus all his attention somewhere else and ignore it.
“All set,” said Mary as she placed his arms back on the armrests. “How do we look?” she asked as she turned him toward the mirror.
“Good, thanks Mary,” he said, pleased with his appearance.
She turned the chair toward the bathroom door and pushed him back out into his bedroom. She then connected the blow controls to the chair and moved the straw to his mouth, leaving him free to wheel about the house on his own. He appreciated this little remaining bit of independence. Although the accident had essentially severed his spinal cord, it happened just below the nerves connected to his diaphragm, leaving him able to breath on his own, but with absolutely no feeling or movement below his neck. The doctors were very frank with Ted when discussing his condition, saying that there was no chance, beyond a miracle cure, of him ever regaining feeling or movement below his neck, but that he was very lucky to not be dependant on a ventilator. At first, he disagreed, but over time, and as he learned to use his wheelchair, he began to accept it.
“Are you hungry? Would you like some breakfast?” Mary asked.
“Sure,” he answered and wheeled himself into the kitchen, stopping at the table.
“So what do you want to do today?” she asked as she cooked.
“Oh I don’t know, maybe just watch a couple movies,” he answered.
“Ok, you just let me know,” she said back.
As she fed him his breakfast, he tried to think of what he wanted to spend the rest of his day watching. He tried, but couldn’t stop thinking about how today was going to be just another boring day trapped inside his own body. He had already seen just about every movie he was ever interested in seeing, and did not feel like reading anything that day. So after breakfast, he wheeled himself into the living room and asked Mary to put CNN on for him so he could at least catch up with the news. “Thanks,” he said to her as she left the room.
“You just holler if you need anything,” she said.
He wasn’t really watching, he just wanted to make it seem like it. Moreover, he was having this overwhelming feeling that today, he just had to do something different. The thought of spending all day in front of the TV or reading a book just wasn’t going to do it, and it made him feel especially depressed at the loss of his independence. He began again to think about how he used to look forward to the upcoming weekend when he was at work, even though he loved his job. Saturdays were always his favorite; he could sleep in if he wanted to and stay out late if he wanted to. He longed for this Saturday to be like the ones he used to know, except, of course for one particular Saturday a little over six months ago.
His accident had actually taken place on a Saturday as he drove home from one of his favorite places. He was a regular patron of a club called Kittens, a local adult establishment. He would visit the club every couple weeks, sometimes more often if he received a big commission or signed on a new client in his job. He liked it because it was a very upscale place, classy, not sleazy at all. In fact, local ordinances allowed the club to operate as a topless-only establishment. Most importantly, almost all the women that danced there were very beautiful and friendly and loved getting to know the club’s many customers. Ted especially loved this aspect of the club, and had come to know a handful of the girls very well, jokingly thinking of them as his “girlfriends.” He didn’t mind this aspect of his single life. Such an atmosphere came at a price, but Ted was doing more than well enough with his job that he could afford such a guilty pleasure.
As he sat in front of the TV, he thought back to how he used to look forward to the Saturdays when he would visit Kittens. He had become very friendly with one dancer in particular, a very beautiful and sexy blonde named Katrina. The first time she danced for him, he sensed that there was something different about her. Everything about her turned him on; her beautiful smile, her perfect body, her sweet voice, and her friendly personality. Even though the club rules forbade patrons from touching the dancers, as she got to know him better, it was clear that she liked him as she began making more subtle contact with him and eventually letting him touch her. Her dances quickly became full contact lap dances, with Katrina grinding her perfect hips and butt into his lap, rubbing his shoulders and running her fingers through his hair. Eventually, she began letting him touch her. The contact progressed from at first just brushing his hands against her breasts, hips, or butt, to her allowing him to put his hands on her hips as she ground them into his lap, and even gently squeezing her firm, round, and perfectly-sized breasts. This was his absolute favorite thing about any dance; he LOVED her breasts. He thought she had the most perfect breasts he had ever seen. Not too big, and obviously not too small. They were perfectly round and very firm, but still bounced when she danced, which nearly drove him to orgasm right there in front of her several times.
Not surprisingly, he came to spend most of his time, and money, on her. He didn’t just appreciate her for her perfect body, he really enjoyed her company when she would just hang out with him at the club. They would talk sports often, both being very big football and baseball fans, and fans of the same teams. She genuinely seemed interested in him and in being friends with him. He loved this about the club; the fact that they would let their dancers be friendly with and get to know customers and not just push dances on them all the time. In fact, she would email Ted to let him know if she was working on a particular Saturday since her schedule varied, and they became very good friends. He tried to remember all the times he had visited her there and was surprised at how much he did remember. He replayed numerous times in his head over and over again. He realized then how much he missed it.
He didn’t notice Mary walk back into the room, but she did notice him staring blankly out the window, and not at the TV. “Ted? What’s wrong? You’ve watched the same news for over two hours and not made a sound. I know something’s wrong,” she said. “I’m really bored, Mary. I need to do something else,” he said to her, “I just can’t sit here in front of the TV again.”
“I know,” she said, “So what did you have in mind?”
“I want to do something… well, something fun,” he said. He did not want to reveal what he was just thinking about because he was afraid she would think less of him, or think of him as some kind of degenerate for once being a regular at an adult club.
“Ok, what did you have in mind?” she asked again.
“Not sure yet,” he replied, thinking that there was no way he could ask her to take him there. And on top of that, he wasn’t sure if he was ready to go out in public yet, especially to a place like that. He dreaded the thought of people staring at him, helpless and paralyzed in his wheelchair. “Could you set up my computer for me? Maybe I’ll get some ideas if I surf the Web for a while,” he said as he wheeled himself over to the computer desk.
“Ok,” she said, sounding a bit perplexed, but never the less helping him set up the mouth-operated controls so he could begin using his PC.
During the nearly six months he was in the hospital, his email inbox eventually filled up to the point where his email server would not accept any additional messages, even though most of the spam and junk email was automatically filtered out and deleted. Still though, there were hundreds of messages waiting to be read. Get well messages from friends, former coworkers, and relatives, most of who had been too busy or uncomfortable to visit him in his condition. There were also many other emails pertaining to work or to business he had at home. When he first learned to operate his computer using his mouth controls, he noticed the hundreds of emails and thought to himself that even though he could read them all and even respond to them, it would take him forever to do so. Even though he literally had all the time in the world to clean out his inbox, he only deleted enough messages to allow him to begin receiving email again
But now he had an idea: he wanted to find out about Katrina. He managed to open a search window and enter her name. As the computer searched through the hundreds of messages, he thought to himself, “I wonder if she even still dances there? I wonder if she ever heard about my accident?” Finally, the search ended. There were only three messages from her, the most recent one over four months ago. He realized that at that time, he was still in the hospital and had no way of contacting anyone, let alone her, and hadn’t been to the club for almost two months since the day of his accident. She probably thought he had found a new club, or gotten married or something. He wasn’t surprised that after two months it looked like she had given up on him. Her last email read, “Hey Ted, haven’t seen you in a while! Where have you been? I’ll be in this Saturday if you want to come visit me, hope to see you! –K”
He thought of emailing her back, telling her what happened and why he hadn’t been in the club in so long. But then he thought that if she found out he was a quadriplegic, she wouldn’t want see him again, just like all his friends. Maybe she already knew, maybe she read about his accident in the paper, and that’s why she stopped emailing. He was really faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, he dreaded going out into public; he just wasn’t ready for that yet emotionally. But on the other, seeing her emails and thinking back to all the good times he had with her and that he really considered her to be a friend made him want to see her again very badly, despite his condition. He just sat there for several minutes going over and over this in his head, trying to envision what would happen and trying to quell the fear of being in public as well as the fear that she would reject him.
It took him a while to build up the courage to call for Mary; this was part of the fear that he had to overcome. But the desire to “do something different today” had built up to the point where it was just boiling over inside him. “Mary?” he called out, “Could you come here, please?”
After a few seconds, she walked into the room. “What’s up?” she asked.
“Well, I… I think I’ve decided what I want to do today,” he said nervously.
“Okay,” she said, “What can I do to help?”
“Ummm… I’m not sure… Uh, well…” he stammered.
“Ted, what is it?” she asked again.
He suddenly lost all courage, “Forget it, I can’t ask you this.”
“Ted, try me,” she insisted.
“No, even though you have been so kind and understanding with everything, I’m afraid you would really not like this,” he replied.
Mary suddenly took the blow controls away from his mouth, and turned his chair away from the table so that he could not move away while she faced him directly. “Ted, when I first met you I told you that not only would I do my best to understand everything you’re going through, but that I wouldn’t pass judgment on you about anything,” she said firmly, “and I mean that.”
He got a little courage back. “Okay, here goes. I want you to take me to visit a friend,” he said, thinking his secret was still safe, at least until she pulled his wheelchair compatible van into Kittens’ parking lot.
“Is that it?” she asked, “Come on, Ted. It’s got to be more than that.”
There’s no fooling her, he thought, might as well just spit it out. “Umm, well, she works at a club a few miles from here,” he said.
“Okay,” Mary said, still not believing he was telling her everything.
“Alright, I’ll tell you,” he finally said. “She’s a dancer at an ‘adult establishment.’ We met because I was one of her regular customers. She’s not a hooker or anything, the place is very classy and kind of exclusive. I was actually coming home from there when I had my accident. She and I became good friends, if you can believe it, and I’d really like to see her again.”
Mary looked a bit caught off guard, but only for a second. She quickly regained her composure and smiled at Ted. “Sure, I understand,” she said. “When do you want to leave?”
To be continued...