Disclaimer: subject matter may not appeal to all
“Try giving up control,” Nick had said to her once.
She remembered his comment while puttering around her friend Melanie’s kitchen, refilling platters with the food from the fridge. Smoked salmon, crackers and dip, that sort of thing.
They were at a gathering with multiple friends coming together for a potluck. She was the one person though who simply could not sit down and relax completely. Each time someone looked or asked for something, she was the one to jump up and offer to get it for them.
“Relax, Sabrina” they told her. “You’re not the host or the mom here. Take a load off!”
“I can’t help it,” she replied. “It’s the Italian mama in me.”
But she’s been thinking about this control issue for some time now.
The kitchen isn’t the only place where she likes to be in control. She likes things in her immediate environment to be to her liking, to her standards. At work too. She was often praised for her keen attention to detail, and her ability to catch even the smallest mistakes.
She understood that her friends meant well.
Being this way makes it hard to relax sometimes, she thought to herself. How does one give up control? How can one simply turn off and let the chips fall where they may?
She glanced around the room at her friends. People were eating and drinking, and relaxing.
Nick was there too. He came over, handed her a glass of wine and sat down beside her.
“It’s different when you’re at work, or around family,” Nick concurred with the others. “But you’re not with them now. This is just us, a bunch of friends getting together on a day off. No one is in charge here.”
She stared at him, letting it sink in.
“You’re not in charge,” he repeated. “You’re not responsible.”
And this is how it began.
* * *
Later, after everyone disbursed and went home, Nick offered Sabrina a lift back to her place. As he pulled out of the driveway, he brought up the topic of control again.
“You’re really struggling,” he said. “How come you can’t relax?”
“I know I’m having a hard time letting go,” she told him. “I need practice how to do that, how to accept that sometimes, things just aren’t to my liking.”
She stopped and looked at him driving. He glanced at her and gave her a nod, which she found reassuring, so she continued her train of thought.
“I need to find a way to get comfortable not being able to control things, or people, around me all the time.”
She noticed Nick smiling slightly when she mentioned people.
“It’s hard for mothers, for reasons that are understandable,” he said. “But tonight, you weren’t anyone’s mother. There were no kids, no family, not even pets to look after. It was just us friends. It was the prefect place and time to let go.”
She knew he was right but doubted if she was capable of turning it off just like that.
“I don’t have a switch,” she told him which made him smile again.
“That’s ok,” he replied. “Listen, I have an idea how to help you, but you have to be open-minded and receptive. You think you can do that?”
Sabrina looked at him in surprise.
“What do you mean?”
“I know how to help you learn how to let go of control,” he responded. “My idea is a little…unusual, but it may work. It will take a lot of trust and commitment.”
He stopped talking when he approached a red light and looked directly at her with an intensity that unsettled her a little.
“Okay…” she said. “What?”
“I propose a challenge,” he said. “A method of practicing letting go of control. I want to help you with this, but I would need you to be fully committed and willing to see it through.”
He paused for a moment, and looked into her eyes.
“Do you think you can do that?” he repeated, just as the light changed and he started driving again.
She stared straight ahead, wondering what had gotten into him. She had known Nick for just over a year, and although nothing illicit had happened, there was a special kind of relationship brewing between them. She didn’t know what it meant, but she felt it included some chemistry. Something personal, intimate, which she was a little afraid of exploring. The last thing she needed in her life right now was another disruptive element to complicate her life further.
But with Nick, things always seemed reassuring and straight forward. If nothing else, they had a special bond that allowed them to be open and transparent with each other, regardless of the topic they were discussing.
And now, he was calling her out on her controlling behavior again, the way he sometimes did, making her wonder if he knew her better than she knew herself at times.
What did he mean by challenge? she wondered.
Not sure how to respond to his earlier comment about being fully committed, Sabrina decided to stay silent, and wait for him to continue explaining.
When Nick pulled into her driveway, he stopped the car and turned off the ignition.
Sabrina unclicked her seat belt, smoothed her long hair with her hands, and relaxed back into her seat. She turned her head to look at him and waited.
“What I’m proposing is a somewhat unconventional method that will allow you to slowly get comfortable with giving up control,” Nick began, looking intently into her eyes.
“Unconventional?” Sabrina asked him.
He sounded mysterious and it unnerved her a little.
But Nick remained calm as he resumed his explanation.
“Yes,” he continued. “What I mean is, you would learn to give up control by allowing yourself to be constrained.”
Sabrina’s eyes widened at the word constrained, and she suddenly pictured herself tied to a chair. For a moment, she held her breath.
Why was this mental image affecting her deep inside her core, of all places? She shifted a little in her seat, crossing and uncrossing her legs. Nick watched her patiently and waited for her to respond.
“What do you mean by constrained exactly?” she asked him, staring back into his eyes.
“Constrained, as in unable to move. Tied, with soft scarves, but not too tight. Just enough to restrain you from being able to touch yourself, ” Nick said and paused for a moment.
“Or me,” he continued.
He stopped talking and waited for her to absorb his words. They both remained silent for a moment. After a while, Nick spoke again.
“This only works if you consent to being tied up. We would have to trust each other completely, and keep the lines of communication open the entire time.”
Sabrina sat in her seat and watched Nick’s body language as he explained his plan. She noticed that his face included something new in his expression. Something like affection, maybe.
“I didn’t know you had a kinky side to you,” she finally said and smiled at him. She turned her face toward her home for a moment, contemplating how to respond.
“Maybe this isn’t the place to discuss this…” she continued and stared at her front door. Her kids were with her this week, and it was late. They were probably asleep in the house.
“Ok,” Nick replied. “Let’s make a date to meet again and talk then. I’ll send you an email tomorrow with a few details of what I have in mind, and you can think about it before we meet. Does that sound good?”
He smiled and reached for her hand.
“I’m your friend,” he reassured her. “Nothing bad will happen. I’ll explain more and you can think about it and decide whether or not you want to continue this conversation. Okay?”
Sabrina looked down at her hand intertwined in his, and squeezed it.
“Sounds…kinky,” she told him as she met his look. “I’ll wait for your email tomorrow.”
And with that, Sabrina opened the car door, gave Nick a quick wave, and went into her house.
Thank you for reading. Comments are, as always, appreciated. I will decide whether or not to continue this story based on feedback. If I explore beyond the scope of this blog, I may post the continuation on a Patreon, which is a membership/subscription based platform for creators.
should notdoes not inhibit my creativity.