By Karen Singer
Chapter 63 (Friday – week 9 Part 3 of 3)
As soon as the first load of clothes had been removed from the dryer and he had gotten the next batch running, he took everything that had just come out of the dryer back to his apartment – without bothering to iron or even fold any of it. He figured he could do that later, after he left her apartment for the day. But his real reason for going back to his apartment as soon as he could, was to change his soaking wet diapers out for fresh ones.
Mel watched the door the entire time he was gone. And she watched… and watched. How long did it take to carry a little laundry right next door and come back again? What could be taking him so long? There wasn’t anything at his place to keep him there… except… The door finally opened and he came back inside. Was it her imagination, or was he walking a bit easier than when he had left. She hadn’t bothered to really watch how he was walking when he went out. Of course he had been carrying a load of clothes so it would have been hard to tell. But she was betting that he had gone home to change his diaper!
When lunchtime came, she offered to buy them lunch, or to fix it right there for him herself. But he offered to fix lunch for them instead. Besides, he now knew her kitchen far better than she did. She gratefully accepted.
Lunch was nothing fancy. In fact, she hardly paid attention to what she ate. It simply seemed strange to sit across the table from him – as if he was a normal person. Which he was – and he wasn’t. But for today, she would have to play the game and at least pretend he was.
Awkward silence, followed awkward silence. She finished her coffee before he did and got up from the table while he was still eating. She grabbed the coffee carafe and brought it back to the table, pouring fresh cups for both of them. Then she carried the carafe back to the coffee maker. She started to walk back to the table, but on a sudden mischievous whim, she went to the refrigerator instead and grabbed one of his baby bottles still in there. She set it down in front of him with a big grin as she sat back down at the table again. “Just in case that coffee is too hot,” she explained.
With a big smile, Chad went along with her little joke and picked the bottle up and drank from it. But he only drank a little before he set it back on the table and laughed. “It’s nice to drink from a normal cup for a change,” he told her. As if to prove it, he picked up his coffee cup and sipped at the hot liquid inside – carefully this time so as not to burn himself like he did earlier.
Mel didn’t care what he drank from… just so long as he kept drinking… at least occasionally. Was he regaining his control? To all outward appearances, it didn’t look like it. But the one thing she realized that had her worried the most, was that he didn’t look the least bit concerned about it either. He appeared – completely normal!
Chad finished eating first. He waited politely and sipped his coffee until Mel had finished eating as well. “Excuse me,” he said as he started to get up from the table. “I need to check the dryer.”
Before Mel knew what she was doing, she reached out across the table and set her hand on top of his. “Wait!”
Halfway out of his seat, Chad stopped to see what she wanted.
Mel actually felt embarrassed to ask, even though she didn’t know why she should feel that way. “I… I have to know,” she said, “have you… I mean, how… is it going? Have you regained anything yet?”
Chad sat back down and stared at her for a moment before answering. Of course she would want to know. “To be honest,” he replied. He hesitated a few moments trying to find the best way to answer. “I haven’t tried yet.”
Mel sat straight up. “You haven’t…” She was totally stunned. He hadn’t even tried yet? “Why not?”
Chad stood up again and shrugged. “I just haven’t.” He walked off quickly because it was something he didn’t want to discuss with her. It had been hard enough trying to figure it out for himself… and he was still wrestling with the problem.
Mel got up and followed after him. “Why not?” she asked again.
“I just haven’t,” he replied with his back to her as he continued walking.
“But today is the day! Your first day anyway. I thought you couldn’t wait! I thought you were so sure that you could get it all back in just a few hours that you would have started trying from the moment you woke up! But you’re not going to even try?”
“I didn’t say that!” Chad insisted as he reached the dryer and turned around. “I just haven’t started to try… yet! And I still think I can get it all back in just a few hours. I just haven’t tried… yet.”
“Why not?” Mel asked, the tone of her voice softening.
Chad stared at her again for a moment. Was it possible? Was it possible at all that she felt for him what he felt for her? She seemed awfully sincere right now. Awfully caring. But he knew what he was, a sissy! That thought slammed into place before he had a chance to say anything more. And as a sissy, he was all wrong for her. He wasn’t someone she could ever – love! He turned away from her and opened up the dryer. “I don’t want to talk about it!” he insisted.
He didn’t want to talk about it? Frustrated and confused, Mel watched as he pulled the clothes out of the dryer and made sure they were all dry. Not knowing what to think, or do, she wandered back to the living room where she again picked up her laptop… and didn’t even look at it.
He hadn’t even tried… yet. Was he purposely trying to lose for some reason? Why can’t you just lose? She had asked that last night. She had thought it a thousand times ever since. Was he purposely trying to lose? It was the only answer she could think of.
She watched as he purposely folded his clothes this time – unlike the first batch that he had carried straight to his apartment in a rumpled mess. Why can’t you just lose? And he hadn’t even tried… yet. A broad smile broke out on her face. One way or another, she was winning this bet. He was either too afraid to try, or he no longer really wanted to win, or… he really had tried and found it impossible. Either way, no matter how she looked at it, she was winning – and he was going to lose – big time!
Her elation wasn’t dampened one bit by the ringing of her phone. She gladly set her laptop aside and ran to answer it. “Hello?”
“Derek!” she said, her voice still holding nothing but delight.
From the laundry area, Chad heard how glad Mel was as she talked with Derek. Of course she’d be glad. Why wouldn’t she. Derek was everything she could possibly want in a guy – and then some. While he was… a sissy. Did she feel anything for him? Why should she? But… was it possible? He still wanted to hope that she would. Despite everything he knew… he still wanted to hold onto that hope.
“Derek… no!” Mel said firmly, but there was still more than a hint of gladness in her voice. “I’m not going out with you tonight… and not tomorrow either! Sissy… I mean Chad’s final day of testing is tomorrow! I’ve got way too much on my mind right now.”
Derek was just glad that she had come to her senses again. And she did sound really glad to hear from him. That alone put his mind at ease. “Okay,” he replied. “I understand. How is that going anyway? Does it look like you might win?”
Mel was tempted to tell him the truth – that Chad hadn’t even tried to hold back yet, but she decided that it might not be a good idea. “Let’s just say that I’m still very hopeful. Very… hopeful.”
“So it’s not over yet,” Derek replied.
“Not yet. And according to our judges, no matter what, they’re going to decide it tomorrow for sure.”
“Then tell you what,” Derek said, “I’ll call you… ‘after’ tomorrow!”
Mel giggled just a bit. She was still elated over the fact that she was going to win the bet.
“Sounds perfect!” she replied. A moment later, they had said goodbye and she set her phone aside.
Chad had heard every word she had said, even though he never once looked up from his task of folding his clothes. The things that needed ironing he could do later. Anytime really. He wasn’t the least bit concerned about it.
On his mind instead was trying to figure out if Mel cared about him at all. Or was he just a fun toy for her to use and abuse. It’s just that… there were times when she seemed as if she really did care… a lot! But her phone call with Derek just then had slammed home harder than ever what he had thought about a hundred times in the last hour alone. He was a sissy, and Derek was a man – a real man. And women didn’t love sissies, they loved… men! But… sometimes, it really seemed as if she might.
Mel barely sat back down again when her phone rang – again. “Oh geez!” she cursed softly as she hurried to answer it. “Hello?”
“Hey girlfriend!” Gloria’s voice replied. “How’s it going?”
“Gloria!” Mel practically sang. Maybe she didn’t feel comfortable telling Derek the details, but Gloria was someone she could tell – anything! Besides, she was one of the judges! “It couldn’t be going better!” she replied enthusiastically as she headed for the living room with the phone.
“So he hasn’t been able to hold back at all yet?” Gloria asked.
“He hasn’t even tried!” Mel said delightedly.
“Mel…” Gloria replied sternly, “have you been trying to convince him to throw the bet?”
Mel laughed. “That’s just it… I didn’t! But either way, he doesn’t seem to be the least bit interested in winning anymore.”
“He may think differently tomorrow,” Gloria replied, “when we test him! I have a feeling he’ll try very hard indeed to win then.”
Suddenly concerned, Mel asked, “Why? What are you going to do?”
“Never mind! We’ve got it all planned out. You’ll find out tomorrow.”
Chad listened to Mel talking with Gloria – Mel’s friend. He didn’t have any friends. None! Not anymore. Derek used to be his friend, but he didn’t really feel like Derek fell into that category anymore. No friends… no life. And if Mel didn’t really care about him… didn’t really love him… then he was alone and uncared about… uncared for.
And if he purposely lost this bet, how could he have any friends with the kind of life he would be forced to live? It would be… impossible! No friends… no life! No friends… The decision he had been wrestling with all day was suddenly very clear to him. He had to win this bet now. He had to!
No matter how attractive the alternative was, he was still human. Still a person. And people, no matter who they were, needed certain things. Friends – people to talk to and rely on. People you care about and who in return, cared about you. Which in turn would give him a much more fulfilling life. A life where he would be responsible for things… or others… or both. Things that ultimately brought at least some measure of self-respect.
Self-respect, friends, and a life! Why had he forgotten? Why had he ignored the very things that he had held onto for so long?
Quickly jumbling the rest of his laundry together, he picked the entire batch up in his arms. He almost walked out the door, but politeness… or something… stopped him. Carrying his load of clothes, he walked into the living room where Mel was still talking animatedly with Gloria. He didn’t bother to catch her attention or even wait for her to acknowledge him. “I’m leaving!” he said coldly. He would have added for the rest of the day, but he turned instead and headed directly for the door.
“Wait a minute Gloria,” Mel said into her phone. “You’re leaving?” she asked. He didn’t reply. There was something about his manner and attitude that bother her. “Are you coming back?” she called after him, only to get no reply again. She was already getting to her feet as he managed to open the door despite all the clothes in his arms. “Are you coming back?” she asked again… rather desperately this time as she headed for the door as well. But before she could get there, her own door closed in her face.
The phone in her hands forgotten, she hurried to open it. “Chad!” she called as she ran out. He was almost to his apartment. He couldn’t get his keys out of his pocket with all the clothes in his arms. “Wait!” she called as she hurried to him.
Chad dropped all his clean clothes, not even trying to worry about if they got dirty or not. Ignoring Mel completely, he fished his keys out of his pocket.
“Wait,” Mel said again as she ran up to him. “What’s wrong?”
Not knowing if he was angry with her… but knowing he was more angry with himself, Chad ignored her totally. He opened his door, and put his keys back in his pocket.
“What’s wrong?” Mel insisted.
Chad picked up his clothes, and turned to her. He looked at her for a moment, before turning and carrying his stuff into his apartment… and kicking his door closed before she could enter.
Stunned, Mel stared at the closed door in front of her. And that look he had just given her! What was going on all of a sudden? She pounded on his door with her fist. “Chad! What’s wrong? What’s going on?”
But her pleas fell on deaf ears. She got no reply at all for her efforts.
She was still staring at his door in stunned silence when she heard the tiny sound of Gloria coming from her phone. “Mel! Are you there? Mel? Mel?”
In a fog, she raised the phone back to her ear as she finally turned away from his door. “I’m here,” she said softly.
“I don’t know. He just walked out.”
Chad sat in his solitary chair in stony silence. He had dropped all his laundry in a pile on the floor the minute he had closed the door – and then had listened as Mel had pounded on his door and called him – again and again. He knew what he had just done… the way he had just behaved, wasn’t right. But just then, he didn’t care. It was the only way he could react just then. And he was currently berating himself for not only not bothering to try to get his control back, he was now feeling guilty over the way he had just treated Mel.
But right now… tough!
He had put it off long enough… too long! He should have started the minute he woke up this morning – or maybe even last night… or a week ago. But what did it matter, he still knew he could get it all back quickly. In just a few hours – hopefully.
He had wasted way too much of the day. But starting right now… he would get it all back. Starting right… now! Just as soon as he ever realized when it was that he had to pee again.
As he sat there, feeling nothing, he realized that what he was currently feeling just then was his real problem. He was feeling – nothing. And his body had grown so used to pushing all the time, that he no longer knew what to do to make it hold back instead. He didn’t even remember how any other way than pushing was supposed to feel. And in the meantime, he wasn’t feeling – anything. He didn’t even know if he was peeing or not.
Mel sat huddled up in her chair and stared at… nothing. Her eyes seemed to constantly roam around the room, but she was seeing – nothing. What was he doing over there? What had gone wrong? Why had he suddenly seemed so angry? What had she done?
No answers. He had totally ignored her when she had pounded on his door and called him. No reply. No answers.
Hour after hour, she sat in stunned silence. Not knowing what to do. Just waiting – for word – from him.
He sat there for a long time, trying to feel something, but all he felt, was frustrated. Finally figuring he needed more liquid in his system to make him pee – just so he could learn to feel it again, he grabbed a baby bottle of her tea out of his refrigerator and carried it back to his chair where he drank it – and tried to feel – something. But feeling nothing isn’t feeling something.
Finally, he got up and walked around, hoping it would help. Since he was concentrating on his diapered area so intently, he became more aware then ever of the things that now occupied the pockets of his too-large pants. Heavy things. Bulky things, uncomfortable things. He pulled everything out… his keys, his wallet, his cell phone, some change from buying breakfast, a handkerchief, his old pocket comb… and he searched for some place to put them all down. And the first place he could think to put them – was back in his red purse again. If there was one good thing he had to say about purses, they could be handy at times.
With that done, he looked at all the laundry he had simply dumped on the floor – in a major mess. He started to sort through it all to figure out what he wanted to do with it, and gave up. He wandered into his bedroom and turned on his pink clock radio to listen to some music. It was nice, for a little while. He soon turned it off again because it became – distracting – and he wasn’t in the mood.
A chance trip past his bathroom made him glance inside. And for the first time in a long while he noticed his toilet, still wrapped up in all her plastic wrap. Purposely, he went in and started removing it – quickly uncovering the tape she had put across the top with the date she had sealed it – two months earlier. The tape came off. The plastic all came off. And his toilet was useful again – well, almost. He had to flush it a few times to get the water level back. He also had to clean it thoroughly because it smelled – despite not being used.
And through it all, not once did he know if he was peeing or not. He grabbed another baby bottle so he could keep trying.
Mel tried to pull herself out of her funk. She got up and poured herself another cup of coffee – and carried it right back to the same chair she had been sitting in for so long already. But the coffee did help – sort of. What had suddenly gone wrong? Knowing it was probably useless, she picked up her phone and called him. And listened to it ringing.
Chad heard his phone ring. Who would be calling him? Mel of course. The only person who ever called him anymore. He had behaved badly with her earlier. But he still didn’t care… much. Still, he supposed she deserved at least some kind of explanation – or apology. Not that he was too sure of the explanation himself.
He had to fish his phone out of his purse again before he could answer it, but by then it had stopped ringing. Should he call her back? He wasn’t sure.
Mel hung up, totally frustrated again. Why wouldn’t he answer? Why wouldn’t he talk to her? The lunk! The dumb sissy lunk! What was wrong with him?
The phone in her hand rang and she almost dropped it in surprise. “Hello?” she said desperately.
“Chad! What’s wrong? What did I do? I’m sorry, whatever it was.”
“That’s just it,” Chad replied. “You didn’t do anything. I’m sorry about the way I behaved. It’s not your fault.”
“So what went wrong?” Mel insisted.
“Nothing you need to concern yourself with. I’m just mad… at myself.”
“For not even trying to get my control back. For thinking really stupid things.”
“Like what? What was so stupid?”
“Never mind. Personal things. I forgot about some… personal things that I shouldn’t have forgotten about. And I got mad, that’s all.”
“Why don’t you come back and we’ll discuss it,” she suggested.
“No. I need to stay here tonight.”
“Well how about dinner? You can at least come over for dinner. Or we can go out! I’ll buy!”
“No. I need to be by myself. I’ll either get something… or I won’t bother with dinner.”
“Well how about dinner? You can at least come over for dinner. Or we can go out! I’ll buy!”
“No. I need to be by myself. I’ll either get something… or I won’t bother with dinner.”
“Not bother? Chad… get a grip! Is it something I can help with?”
Chad nearly laughed. “No. Like I said, I need to be alone tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow is your last day… and the testing. Everything will be all over tomorrow.”
“The ladies… they’re coming at one o’clock.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to spend the evening here… with me?”
Chad thought about it for a moment. In many ways, he really would. “No, not tonight. Tonight… I need to be… alone.”
“Mel… I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Mel… I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Sadly, she replied. “Tomorrow then.” And before he could hang up she added, “Call me early! Call me anytime! For anything!”
“Yeah. Thanks,” Chad replied sadly. “Bye Mel.” He hung up the phone and put it back in his purse.
He grabbed another baby bottle and carried it back to his chair – to try to feel when he had to pee again – and to think.
The evening started to descend. Shadows filled his apartment, but he didn’t bother to get up and turn on a light. “Why can’t you just lose?” she had said. Ha! What did she have to worry about if she lost? A little bit of money to buy him some furniture? And he now suspected that she had more money than she let on, so she could well afford to buy him whatever he wanted.
But if he lost, he would lose… his life! By the time he was done serving her for another year, he would have no self-respect at all, no friends, and consequently – no life! And very little chance to ever have any of that again.
Why can’t he just lose? This was his life they were talking about! Not a dream! All dreams must come to an end… because if there was nothing but dreams, there would be no life. And this dream had now come to its end. The dream – was over.
Mel turned on the lamp as the evening shadows fell, but still she didn’t move from her chair. What had gone wrong to make him suddenly change his mind and want to win so badly? She simply had no idea. Earlier, he hadn’t even wanted to try to regain his control. She thought he had purposely wanted to lose. But now?
The thought came once again to her mind, “Why can’t he just lose?” As she saw it, if he lost, he would still win! If he lost, he would still have everything he really wanted. He craved all his sissy stuff and the only way he could have it was if he lost. No matter who won this bet – he would win!
“I would kiss you till your body shudders, and you know how I feel about you.” Why can’t he just lose?
But if she lost… she would lose everything. She would lose – her dreams. And if she had no dreams, she wouldn’t have much of a life. Somehow she knew that her dream was the only thing that would give her what she wanted – a much fuller life. And she didn’t want that dream – to be over.