That is my last journal entry. Then all clueless I run into Volker again. He now has a different nickname, STrainer. He recognizes me but I do not recognize him, he tells me he is Danish, not German, and sends me a photograph which mostly shows the back of a male head, says he doesn’t have a better one available. I remember remarking to someone that the men I am attracted to seem to have a lot in common, that’s all I think it is, that he and my old master share similar interests and style.
When I meet him this second time, he is involved with another submissive, Jane, a fortyish social worker, mother and wife from Australia. She has to get up at 2:00 a.m. every night to be with him because of the time differential. STrainer collars both of us, but I am #1 girl.
At first, Karl is tolerant of the relationship, which seems less intense and time-consuming than my previous ones. The pressure on him lightens because I have an outlet for my submissiveness which doesn’t need much participation from him. At the same time, he reaps the benefits of my heightened eroticism, I go online and get fired up by STrainer, then fuck him. Karl isn’t complaining.
Unfortunately this delicate equilibrium does not last. Volker eventually confesses who he really is, I realize I am still in love with him, Karl recoils in horror, and I find myself again torn between my online life and the rest of everything.We do have more perspective now. I know I have to keep my emotions leashed or lose Karl, perhaps this time for good. Volker is very upset that he almost destroyed my marriage the last time we were together. And, Karl and I have progressed beyond the vanilla stage, at least theoretically, and are going through the motions of a D/s relationship. For a while it seems like we might be able to make it work. Volker defers to Karl, Karl puts up with Volker’s presence in my life, and I, I anxiously negotiate between the two of them.
Inevitably there comes a time when it all ends, but not with a bang the way it did before. It ends because one day Karl tells me that he can’t reconcile himself to my relationship with Volker any more, he is insecure and miserable. And I think about what Karl is saying, and how he feels and how hard he tries, and how much I love him, and I weigh that against my obsession with Volker. I write Volker a letter and say goodbye. I never speak to him again.
Karl knows what this renunciation costs me, I am numb with sadness. He devotes himself to distracting me. We go on long car trips. I develop hobbies, collecting buttons, selling books on ebay. Most important, Karl and I plunge into the community of real life D/s. Who would think that Vermont is a hotbed of kinky sex? We start off by attending the huge Fetish Fair in Boston which seems to us like a fairly anonymous way to get started. A fetish fair is a bdsm flea market and workshop weekend attracting hoards of people who come to see and be seen and buy new toys. This is the first time, believe it or not, that I ever meet a dominant or submissive in the flesh since every bit of my previous experience has been online.
What I discover is that while on the computer every female is beautiful and young and every male has a ten-inch penis, the people at the fair could be your next door neighbor if your next door neighbor wears a spiked collar and ball gag. They are young, old, fat, skinny, pretty, homely, quiet, flamboyant. It is extraordinarily reassuring and Karl and I fit right in. We buy lots of equipment and paraphernalia, whips and leather gear and corsets and dildos and more. We shop till we drop. Karl may find it difficult to swallow the philosophy of D/s, but he has no trouble with its tools.
Over the next few years we become an integral part of the local bdsm community. We attend parties in Vermont and New Hampshire and even farther afield and have a terrific time. Karl is theatrical enough to really get into the spirit of his role of dominant. Dressed in leather pants, black boots and a black shirt, with a hand-crafted whip curled at his belt, he looks like a poster boy for D/s, a submissive’s dream. And I love every minute. Even if the structure of D/s at home is a bit flimsy, the strain is not apparent when we are with others.
I discard the parts of my internet education that do not transfer well to real life. One of the main differences between cyber whippings and real whippings is that cyber whippings don’t hurt. You can take an awful lot of punishment on the computer. Real life requires more judicious behavior. Also, I have the advantage of trusting Karl completely and Karl is almost too careful with me. He never quite accepts that under the right circumstances, pain is erotic and feels good.
The anguish of losing Volker fades. It’s amazing that something so painful goes away. You always hear that time heals, I guess it’s a genetic survival characteristic. I can think about Volker without a pang, like a turned page. Once, about a year after I left him, he emails me, he says he misses me. He says he understands that I needed to go, but that he wants me to write and tell him how I am doing. I delete the letter. I really don’t trust myself to do anything else, even now.