Past Crimes: Part 2
In recent months Jewell Marceau had begun telling people that I was a "weak link." She had even gone so far as to dress me down me in public by declaring at a party that someone needed to show me how to keep my mouth shut. Other people present were visibly taken aback by the malice blazing in her eyes and the venom in her words. Of course they didn't have any idea what she was talking about so obviously I do know how to keep my mouth shut. The reality then and now is that Jewell and I have a few dark secrets that we share. None of the details are particularly heinous but we could both potentially face prosecution if someone were to find out about everything. We both would suffer if the truth came out and we both know that. That's why Jewell's suspicion of me gets me so angry. I'm neither stupid nor self-destructive enough to spill the proverbial beans. Last week I drove all the way out to her place and demanded that she quit making disparaging comments about me. Her expression remained unyielding during my diatribe as I began to list the reasons why we had to rely on each other. I ended my spiel by pointing out that she and I each had a lot to lose if either of us ever broke our silence. At last I saw a bit of resignation in her face. "You're right," she sighed, "we really do have to trust each other." Her eyes flicked around the room and then landed at a space on the floor. Suddenly she began to look almost childlike and it seemed like she was about to cry. I wasn't sure what to do so I stared uncomfortably at the floor also. Finally, in a voice choked with emotion, Jewell said softly: "Sometimes I just feel like you don't trust me at all anymore. We don't hang out like we used to and now I only see you if we happen to run into each other. It's like you're avoiding me and I always wonder why. I suppose I've been running my mouth a lot because I was hoping that you would finally come and confront me." Wow. My mind started to switch gears. Maybe she was right. Maybe I had become aloof. Perhaps subconsciously I had been avoiding her. Maybe my behavior had given her reason to doubt me. Jewell seemed to sense the nature of my thoughts. "I just need some reassurance from you." she said as she peered up from underneath her long, dark lashes. I remained pensive and silent. "Look," she suggested gently, almost pleadingly, "why don't we do an exercise in trust? Remember when you used to let me tie you up and take pictures? Let's do it again so we can recapture some of the mutual faith we had in each other. It will be fun. You can tie me up too after I release you from the ropes." She seemed to be afraid to look at me directly so I used a few moments to try and arrange my face in an expression that did not convey my jumbled emotions. The feelings of anger that had propelled me to drive out to the desert to face her were beginning to subside. A sense of guilt was now replacing my animosity. After a bit of consideration I took a deep breath and nodded my agreement to her idea. A sense of hopeful anticipation gripped me as I realized that our positive intentions would help erase a lot of the suspicions and insecurities that had arisen between us in these past few months. Everything felt like old times when Jewell told me to lie on my back and began tying my wrists to the metal frame of her futon. We were giggling and playing around like the old friends we were until Jewell roughly slapped a jagged piece of red duct tape over my mouth and then hissed: "Now I can finally teach you how to keep your mouth shut.."