It was the end of October. Leaves were falling as was the temperature. Week-end cottagers were fast becoming a rare breed. As soon as the first snow fell they would soon become all but extinct until the following May. The time was approaching when Peter would also have his first post-cancer checkup. And I was nervous as hell. Everything was the opposite of what it should be. His throat was still sore, his voice was hard to understand, and stomach acid was still finding its way to his esophagus occasionally.
Now that the cancer was gone and the zapping was quickly becoming a bad memory Peter was determined to return to the land of the living. Dr. Willowby had already confided to me that he thought Peter had shut himself away for far too long, and was in real danger of becoming a full-time recluse. If he didn’t have the iPad handy Peter wrote little notes on recipe cards of what he wanted to do or say. Two-word sentences were fast becoming the norm around the house.
A few days later we drove to Lindsay for Peters first post-cancer checkup. I wanted to ask some questions. I was concerned all was not right. When I became a member of the “team” that would be looking after Peter I asked Dr. Willowby to scope me. A small thin tube went up into my nose and down my throat. It had its own light source and a color camera. I gagged a few times but I finally understood the intense dislike Peter had for the instrument.
When we arrived Dr. Willowby asked to speak with me privately. Peter sat in a chair and read Time magazine while I walked into the examination room not having a clue about what to expect. Dr. Willowby sat on a stool holding a clip board in his hand. There were Post-it notes on the side along with a lot of questions. I looked at Peter. His expression seemed to say “What’s going on?”. I simply shrugged my shoulders. Dr. Willowby closed the door behind me.
As the door was closed Dr. Willowby thanked me for doing this and sat down in a chair.
“Sorry, but I don’t quite understand. Why do you want to see me?”.
“You mean you didn’t get my text message?” he said somewhat bewildered and bothered.
I was now very curious. “I didn’t get any text message from you.”
He now looked concerned and perturbed.
“Oh dear. I just hope there wasn’t anything in my message that could lead back to you. In the message I said I would like to speak with you first.”
Now he had me little concerned. “I’m sorry but I still don’t follow.”
Dr. Willowby got up and started pacing around the small examining room. “In the text I said I wanted to talk to you about sex between you and Peter. One of my colleagues has a patient who was very anxious about the radiation treatments and almost raped his wife. A stress related reaction much like the one you experienced with Peter.”
“You can call it a “stress related reaction” if you want. I called being scared to death.” I thought.
Dr. Willowby continued, but it was obvious he was fast becoming uncomfortable…and so was I.
“The fellows wife was very frightened and angry that no one warned her this could happen. This is an entirely new area of cancer treatment. I just want to find out how you two handled the situation. I’m not going to be using names if you’re worried about that.”
Whew! I exhaled. I had been holding my breath hoping I’d hear those words. Actually the subject gave me a forum to raise a few thoughts about cancer, its treatment, and sexual relations.
“When Peter and I became engaged you said that I was now your “patient” too. Speaking from a strictly personal point of view I’ve been wondering if it might be wise to bring in a female oncologist as well. Some women might feel more comfortable talking with a female doctor plus they might be inclined to open up a bit more when talking about certain subjects. Personally, I don’t mind talking with you at all. I feel very comfortable talking with you and to you. But I think that for patients that are married or engaged it might be a good idea of having that option. After all, when you treating a patient who is married or engaged you are in reality treating two people. One who has the disease and a spouse who is most probably is going to have a lot of questions.”
“Great Cassie. I’m really glad you feel comfortable talking with me and that you feel like you can talk to me. What you’ve said makes a lot of sense. I’m just puzzled why we never thought of this before. Now I would like to know how Peter behaves around you?”.
Dr. Willowby may have been glad to hear I didn’t mind talking with him, but it was more than obvious he was way out of his comfort zone. The tiny beads of sweat on his forehead told me that. He was so flustered he wasn’t making himself very clear at all which wasn’t usual for him at all. Plus I wasn’t sure what he was getting at.
“Sorry, I must be having a seniors moment. I’m just not used to talking about sex. I’ve only talked about sex with one other person other than you and right now he’s probably reading an issue of Time magazine and wondering what this little chat is all about.” I said with total honesty. My mom and I never talked about sex. I got the impression she didn’t care for it.
“If you feel like getting up and walking around to release any tension by all means do so. I apologize. I suspect I’m probably being too forward. It might make you feel a bit better if you knew this chat is a little awkward for me too. I just thought you should know that. Feel free to rephrase my questions if you want to. My wife tells me I’m not the most diplomatic of people.”
My throat was dry from nervousness and I scanned the room for something to drink. I’m very glad I wasn’t the only one who was nervous. Then I saw it. On the counter. Water!
“May I?” pointing towards some stacked water cups.
“Certainly. Where are my manners? My wife would have my hide.”
I got up and walked to the counter with water and water cups. I poured myself a mug of cold water. I had a feeling I’d need it.
“I suspect your wife could have benefited from some sort chat. I’m pretty sure she had a lot of questions too. I’ve never met her but I’m willing to bet there are still some questions that have gone unanswered. Ask her tonight when you get home.”
Dr. Willowby furiously wrote himself a note. He wrote so fast his writing must look like Sanskrit. We quickly returned to our conversation with me re-wording his question.
“I think you wanted to know which of us initiates the act of physical sex. And the answer is me. I think Peters afraid he’ll lose control if he initiates the act. Personally speaking, I wish he would initiate the act occasionally. He must think I’m sex addict or something. I sure hope not. I usually just whisper in his ear that I’m in the mood.”
“Do you have a particular phrase or code word?”
“We don’t have a code word yet. We haven’t needed one. But once Peter returns to the public eye I suspect we’ll need one. Right now I just have to whisper “I’m horny” or “Do you want to play?” in his ear. Once he hears those words he’s very attentive and extremely gentle. I think you reading him the riot act did a world of good. And for that I thank you.” I bowed my head.
Dr. Willowby wiggled in his chair. I had a feeling he wanted to ask a doozie of a question. And I was right. To him it was only a question. A collection of words. To me it was a part of my life. An very important part.
“If it’s not too difficult for you I’d appreciate if you’d describe to me, in detail if you can, how Peter pleasures you, and how you pleasure him”. The question took me me completely by surprise and I almost choked on the water.
Now it was my turn to squirm in my chair. I did my best to recall the last time we made love. For some reason I felt like was telling on Peter. You know the feeling. Telling somebody something that’s supposed to be a deep dark secret.
“I’ll see what I can do. After all, this research is going towards making sure another woman isn’t scared silly or worse. Well, since Tab is out of commission…”.
“Who or what is “Tab”” asked Dr. Willowby.
I suddenly felt very, very naked.
“Tab is Peters…” I couldn’t finish the sentence. The question caught me by surprise. “Pretend for a second I’m Peter. He was born with it” I blurted out. Dr. Willowby caught on instantly and jotted the information down.
Dr. Willowby crossed, uncrossed, then crossed his legs again.
“I’m assuming these are pet names. And you are?”
I just know I blushed. I could feel my face becoming very warm very quickly.
“My name has yet to be decided. Most of the time” I pointed between my legs. “its “Her”or “She”. And I’m fine with that.”
“Just between you and me Mrs. Willowby and I hate the traditional P and V names. We think they’re cold and impersonal.”
Dr. Willowby reached for a mug of cold coffee. I don’t think he noticed. I started to snicker inwardly. “Why did you choose those particular names?”.
“That ones an easy question to answer. We both disliked the given names as they were so clinical so we improvised. But let’s get back to your last question.” I saw more sweat forming on Dr. Willowby’s brow. I felt sorry for him but this was part of his job.
“Sorry Cassie. I’m lost. Which question was that?”
It nice to know I wasn’t the only person in the room who was getting flustered and mildly embarrassed. I’m willing to bet he’s thinking about the last time he and Mrs. Willowby did the deed.
“You wanted to know…” I made a few hand gestures. That did the trick. Dr. Willowby and I were back on the same page.
“Like I said, with Tab not performing as advertised Peter kisses me, sucks my breasts and….” I chickened out. I raised my wrist and twiddled my fingers. “He licks too there and it feels great!” When I said that I was worried I could be heard in the hall. I probably sounded like Tony The Tiger from the breakfast cereal. Dr. Willowby mopped his brow and wiped the palms of his hands.
Dr. Willowby looked tired and spent. I bet he hadn’t felt this uncomfortable this in a very long time.
“OK Cassie. I want to thank you for answering these questions for me. It must have been very difficult at times. I suspect Peter will ask you what transpired. Feel free to tell him or to conveniently “forget” the entire conversation. It’s up to you. Or you can do what my wife does. She claims to have a bad memory. I think it’s selective recall. And I will ask her if there are any unanswered questions. If you could send Peter in I’d appreciate it”.
…more to come in the next chapter of “Blue Cottage”