Regina had been briefed about me before we’d even met. She knew of my unconventional arrangement with her friend Brenda the dominatrix. She knew about my ill-fated relationship with Mira. Because of the way girls talk, she even knew everything I liked, everything I loved, and just how far I would go.
It didn’t take long for Regina and I to fall into bed, and because she knew so much, it didn’t take long for us to reveal our true colours. Regina has several fetishes, I quickly found out. She already knew all of mine.
One day, I got home to find her atop a rickety ladder, putting a sturdy o-ring into the slanted ceiling of my living room. I silently began to regret giving her a key to my apartment.
“What are you doing?” I asked her. “..And where’d you get that ladder?”
“The super gave it to me,” She said. “I told him I was hanging a plant as a surprise for you.”
Regina didn’t have a nurturing bone in her body. Her apartment, unlike mine, was devoid of life forms.
“What’s it really for?” I asked, smiling.
“It’s a surprise,” she said.
Apparently, Regina had been reading about asphyxiation, and now considered herself an expert. In no time, she’d constructed a sketchy rig of ropes that she said would allow both of us to experience it at the same time. Basically, she’d sit on my telephone bench, and I’d kneel in front of her and enter her as we both hung from the same stretched rope. Very simple, she said, and if anything went wrong, all I’d have to do is stand up.
As I returned the ladder to the building super, I felt somewhat sheepish; it was nearly 9 pm, and it was slightly suspicious that anyone would be hanging plants. I was worried, too. Regina had no medical training at all. Was she crazy? If we tried that, where would we stop? I had the feeling that we were opening the door to something dangerous.
It took her hours to talk me into it. At one point, I flatly refused. I tried to distract her by taking her out for dinner, but as soon as we got back, she resumed her efforts to convince me. One bottle of wine, four shots of vodka, two bonghits, and an hour of heavy petting later, my doubts were gone. I was ready to do something foolish.
A fuzziness crept into my field of vision and large spots swam before my eyes. My hearing started to go. Almost in the distance, I could hear Regina choking – a sickening rattle that sent shivers down to my cold feet. She rasped and managed a scratchy scream that chilled me to the bone. I clawed at the wall, struggling to bring myself to my feet.
Regina saw what I was doing and shifted her weight. Panicked, I grabbed her to stop her from tumbling backward and to the floor. Regina wasn’t heavy, but I knew that if she slipped from my grasp, the rope might snap her neck.
Regina leaned forward and wrapped her legs around me. She locked her ankles behind my back and took me deeper. I heard the crash as the flimsy bench fell backwards. Still thrusting her hips, she took hold of my end of the rope and pulled as hard as she could. My hands instantly went numb, and I heard that rattle as I struggled to pull air into my lungs.
Amazingly, I got calmer. Maybe I had started to trust her with the rope. Maybe my concentration was gone. Either way, my arousal was undiminished. Regina’s beautiful brown eyes were rolling back in her head. Her face was nearly crimson.
All you have to do is stand up, she had said. Both my legs had turned to jelly. I couldn’t move.
I didn’t hear the tearing as the wall anchor exploded from the ceiling. I didn’t hear the snap as we hit the floor. I didn’t see the cloud of plaster debris that rained down on us. I only felt the pain of the sprained muscles in my thighs, the wrenching in my left ankle, Regina’s cold breasts against my chest, and the intense shivers of our mutual orgasm.
Everything seemed quiet for a long time after it all subsided. My body rang with exhilaration and fear. My hearing returned slowly, and I realized that we were both coughing uncontrollably.
Regina was elated and glowing. She had tears in her eyes. We lay there for a time, staring at each other, unable to move or speak.
As my adrenaline rush began to subside, I remembered that I was in intense pain. My legs were strained and my elbow was very sore because I’d landed on it when we fell. Regina sat up suddenly, and stared straight ahead, as if seeing something arriving in the distance.
“Are you all right?” I asked her.
She stared at me suddenly, still smiling. “You okay?” she asked distractedly.
“Yeah,” I said. All of a sudden, something about her was making me very uncomfortable.
“Can you move?” she asked somewhat urgently. I nodded slowly, not taking my eyes off her face.
“Good,” she said bubbly, “I think I’ll need a ride to the hospital; my arm is broken.”
I was speechless as we drove to the hospital. It was only five minutes away, but it had taken nearly twenty minutes for us to get her dressed. Between winces of pain, all she could manage to say was “that was really good.” She said it over and over.
Since it was 2:30 on a Wednesday morning, and I lived in the suburbs, we didn’t have long to wait to see a doctor. The attending doctor, a plump redhead in her early twenties, checked Regina’s mobility as I looked on.
“So, how did this happen?” the doctor asked.
“I fell,” Regina answered. “We both did.”
“Uh-huh,” muttered the doctor as she helped Regina out of her shirt and into a gown. She said little further to us as they x-rayed Regina’s arm. By now, our adrenaline buzz was long gone and we were both fairly groggy from lack of sleep.
We returned to the exam room, and the doctor told us that Regina had broken her radius. Saying little further, the doctor and a nurse then cleaned and prepped her arm for a splint.
Another woman entered while Regina’s splint was being set. She was a tall, slender woman with thick dreadlocks styled into a severe bun. She surveyed the room very quickly without addressing anyone. Her gaze lingered on Regina at length, then she looked over to me.
“Sir, may I speak with you?” She asked.
I nodded. I was very tired, but for some reason, this woman made me very apprehensive. Unlike her peers, she was professionally overdressed and her demeanor was noticeably frosty.
I got up from the chair and followed her down the hallway. We walked without speaking, and were almost in another section of the hospital before we got to an empty office. She asked me to take a seat, and then went to her own behind a desk piled with paperwork.
“Mr. Ferguson,” she began simply, not giving me the chance to correct her on my last name, “My name is Ms. Berry. I’m the hospital’s resident counselor.” She pulled a clipboard from under a tower of documents.
I responded inaudibly. I wasn’t sure where this was going, and I was barely lucid by now.
Straight to the point, she continued. “Hospital policy is quite clear in cases like these. I’m required to ask you a few questions.”
“Cases like these?” I asked. That really got my attention.
“Well,” she said simply, “When a woman is brought to our hospital at 2 am with bruises and broken bones, the cause is usually domestic violence.”
“Domestic..” I couldn’t even say it. I was appalled. All I could think of at that point was all I wanted to do was go to sleep. “Well,” I said defensively, “It’s definitely not what you think.”
“Well, how do you explain the marks around your girlfriend’s neck?” Ms. Berry asked accusingly.
I was cornered. “Those are rope burns,” I explained, digging myself in deeper, “and I have them too.” I moved my shirt collar and showed her my neck. Ms. Berry leaned forward for a closer look, and then returned to her normal, stern, upright position. She looked very confused.
“Mr. Ferguson, why don’t you tell me what really happened?”
I sighed and covered my face with my hands. “It wasn’t my idea,” I began.
How do you explain to a total stranger that you and your girlfriend nearly died in a quest for edgier sex? I don’t think there’s a formula, but I believe I successfully walked the tightrope—er—tightwire between sincere embarrassment and proud accomplishment. At any rate, I left out some of the more indelicate details and kept my recount as succinct as possible.
When I was done, Ms. Berry was aghast. She’d had a pen in her hand, but had not taken any notes. She felt the need to advise me that what we’d done was extremely dangerous (duh) and I told her that I did realize that and would never do it again.
Ms. Berry escorted me back to the examination room. Regina was already done, and she was laughing and giggling with the nurse. As I helped her gather her things, I noticed her hair was speckled with plaster dust.
As we walked out to the parking lot, I could feel that Ms. Berry and the nurse were still watching us. I looked at Regina. She was barely stifling a laugh.
“Uh-oh. What’s so funny?” I asked her.
She burst into full laughter, cradling her sling in her right arm. “Do you know what they asked me?” She asked.
“They asked you if I was beating you,” I said dryly, trying to douse Regina’s amusement.
She stopped in her tracks. “What?! How do you know that? They asked you too, right?”
I told Regina that the stern Ms. Berry was a very concerned hospital psychiatrist and I was compelled to recount to her the events at my apartment.
Regina laughed again. She’d told her doctor and nurse as well. Apparently her encounter wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as my run-in with Ms. Berry. I resumed my course to the car, fully aware that we were still being watched.
“C’mon, it’s funny,” she said, catching up with me. “You know it’s funny. You’ll probably end up writing about it. I know how you are.”
“Never,” I responded. “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to forget this experience.”
Regina didn’t believe me. She simply threw her good arm around my neck as we walked along.
“Maybe,” she half-whispered into my ear, “but you have to admit it was really good!”
I put my arm around her waist. Above us, I couldn’t tell if the glow in the sky was city lights or sunrise. She felt perfect next to me. We were bruised and tired, and we had another secret and another broken boundary.
“Yeah,” I said, smiling back at her.