I am ready to confess.
They say that it is good for the soul. Is that why it has been forbidden me?
I did not think of her words when she spoke them, I listened but did not hear.
"You will tell no one." She had said. " You will not say a word."
In a moment of passion I agreed to those terms, not glimpsing the full weight they have placed upon me.
I am condemned by my silence, I am shackled as mute witness to all that I have wrought. Wracked with guilt for my complicity, tormented that I alone know the truth of our fates. I am haunted each time I meet my wife's loving gaze, the pity that I glimpse within her eyes, the bashful secret shame behind the gentle words of our only son.
In my silence they imagine me to be a victim, make me into a martyr sacrificed to other's passions...my silence hides the work of my hands, the sins that have marked my heart these last months.
Is it guilt then makes me write these words? Is it sorrow that drives my confession forth? I cannot call it that. Such a confession would imply a lingering well of courage, an untouched reserve of character that I no longer believe myself to possess. Once upon a time I was a better man, or at least I imagined that I must be.
If I had courage if I had some shred of character I would not be here tonight, alone in the attic of my house, submitting an anonymous confession to you, to the faceless ghosts beyond the screen. If I was a better man I would offer my confession to my wife, to my son, and I would risk the consequence of my actions. They are downstairs now, resting in these quiet hours, the few that are left to us for privacy, for rest. The last traces of ourselves, the people that used to be, and a life we have stepped away from.
I will let them rest.
I don't believe it is guilt that brings me here to you tonight...this is the last shred of myself, of my old self that I can muster and it is not sorrow, and it is not even shame but the last vestige of a masculine pride which I once possessed...I am confessing tonight that I am no victim, and if I have lost so much of what I was, it was my own hands that brought me here. I was not powerless, no sacrifice to whim of fate.
No. I came here of my own accord, delivered myself to this yoke of lust, and it wounds me to think that no one should ever now. Such is the last of my old self...A diminished man, an unfaithful husband, a fallen father figure...such is the last of my pride.
I will try to make this as brief as I can.
A rough sketch of the whirlwind I delivered myself into.
You don't need to know who we were. It doesn't matter anymore, save that we were normal. I recall our lives in a series of snapshots, a smiling young bride and groom on a wedding day beneath the willows , a house with yellow wall paper, car in the driveway and an elm tree in front. The birth of a child, a boy. And on and on. Fragments of a vanished life, jobs, offices, school functions, graduations. Laughter, tears, private jokes and deeply held resentments. Football games on Sunday afternoons, quiet hours, mundane evenings. A life. Like any other.
I will call my wife Josie. I will call son John. I will offer myself no name at all.
Her, I will call Sid.
My sister in law of twenty six years.
Across those years I had hardly known her, she was distant from our lives. Josie had always said that they had been so close as children, but that they had become estranged when both were in college and the relationship had never truly healed. She was my wife's troubled doppelganger, a warning of roads not taken. So similar in appearance, they can still pass as twins, but where Josie had lived a quiet and successful life Sid had seemed to go off the rails. College dropout, joined the army, fought a distant war in Iraq. Came home, became an artist, starved in the cold winters of a bohemian New York experience. Married a fellow starving artist, became a member of some mystical sect of poets and painters, had little luck. Divorice.
It was her divorice that brought her here, fleeing west with no savings, just a beat up car, some paintings she had salvaged from the loft she was vacating, a few books, the clothes of her back. Her face covered in a black mask, Covid trailing in her wake, and I couldn't help but feel that she came among us as a sort of plague dog from the east. A week after her arrival and the first cases started to be reported locally, shops closed, streets emptied.
She came to us a refugee and quarantined among us, a stranger, her nephew had never even seen her in the flesh. But as Josie said when it began, she was family, and she had nowhere else to go.
It was the four of us then, locked away for the duration. John had been at college when the Universities shut down, he came home to find his unknown aunt moving her few ragged belongings into the room that had always been his. Josie and I could work remotely, and we were free from most of the fear that so many others have experienced. But even so, It hasn't been easy, and in the early days it was a struggle staying sane, crowded into a house with the whole world fallen apart, and nowhere to go.
We made the best of it. There was nothing else to do.
Sid was a stranger to us, but she was a pleasant one. In those first few weeks she and Josie tiptoed around each other, cautious of fault lines that I sensed but could not see. They spoke warmly, but not deeply, they recollected childhood but avoided the troubled years that lay beyond it, the roads that had parted thm and the reasons why. Even so they quickly grew closer, repaired some damage that had lain cold for decades.
To me Sid was a mystery, polite enough, friendly enough, but she offered nothing beyond her vague smiles, the few aloof words which it was clear that she picked carefully. I could see clearly that she felt compelled to mend fences with her sister before she could let John or I more fully into her life. I understood that, and in a more vague way and a more distant fashion John seemed to sense it as well. We accepted her presence in our lives, but we let her keep her distance, and did not try to stray too close. A mystery...
And like all mysteries she was compelling.
At first it was the resemblance she shared with my wife that kept my eyes lingering upon her. Three years and countless detours separated them, but they still looked so similar. The same red hair, the same soft and rounded voluptuousness of their bodies. Freckles that seemed to burn like embers fair skin. It was, at first, my wife's beauty that I admired in Sid's features. It was the sensation of seeing all the ways in which she was the same as a beautiful woman that I had always loved and always been faithful to.
But in the back of my mind, I knew that Sid was not Josie, and that simple fact made all the difference. Soon I was gazing at my sister in law and making note of the differences between them, making her into a stranger, into something untested, inexperienced. Until I thrilled in the sight and close proximity of a woman I did not know. The half an inch that Sid lacked next to Josie, the slightest gap in her front teeth. Her hips slightly wider, her breasts just a fraction heavier. There was something alluring in her enigmatic smile, something that stirred a question in my brain, something I could not find words for. Was there a suggestion in her deep laughter? Did her eyes sometimes meet mine for just a second too long? Was there a secret in those lingering eyes just before they flashed away?
It was innocent. A fantasy, and a harmless one at that. I would never have done anything about it. But even so there were nights as I made love to my wife that I found the image of Sid dancing in the dark behind my closed eyes.
Everything is innocent when it begins. I have looked back and tried to find the moment, the vanished detail when innocence was lost, when fantasy turned to something more...I can't say for sure. And maybe it was never innocent at all. Maybe nothing really is.
One morning I passed her in the hall as she was coming out of the shower, a towel wrapped around her body and the air thich with the smell of soap on her skin. She nodded at me as she walked past to her room, but somehow I was breathless at the sight. Had there been the hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth?
There was an evening when she bent over in front of me, as I sat watching television on the sofa. She was wearing sweatpants but even so the unexpected view of her firm round ass made me hard immediately. That night I took Josie from behind, and as I rammed myself in and out of her I found myself imagining that it was Sid's soft flesh my finger pressed into, her moans of delight that dripped into the quiet night around me.
After, as we lay together in the sheets, Josie giggled and told me that she hadn't been fucked like that in years. She asked me what had gotten into me, and I knew that I could never tell her the truth, and would never be able to offer an explanation.
Do you see? I delivered myself into this silence. I sought it as refuge from the shame of a growing lust. So small a space at first, the silence of my secrets. And now it has grown to fill the whole of my world...
And then in late May, it happened.
Josie needed to go away for work, meetings that could not be done remotely. She would have to fly to Chicago, and she would need to be there for at least a month. My reaction to this development were what you might expect. I was nervous about Josie travelling, and the epidemic that was raging unabated. I gave no thought to the presence of Sid within the home, had no thought of her filling the absence Josie left behind. It was not, after all, only the physical presence of my wife that had kept me faithful to her for twenty six years. Even if it had been, John would be around, a mopey twenty one year old with nowhere to go and no way of filling his considerable time.
I didn't think of Sid at all, but Josie did, it seemed.
The last thing she said to me, on the morning she left for the airport was, " be careful of Sid, Sweetheart. She's not always what she seems."
But when I asked Josie what she meant, she couldn't tell me, or else she wouldn't tell me.
"Just don't let her get too close to you or John." Josie had shrugged uncertainty, " There's a side to Sid that most people don't see...it's nothing pretty babe, believe me. I just don't want to lose her again for another couple of decades."
That was all, and then we kissed goodbys and Josie went off into the world to work in the time of Corona. And I lingered on at the home front, the captain of a spectral ship, crewed by distant and unknowable souls...that is how it felt as Josie departed. Her words lingered with me, a sense of guilt about the thought I had allowed myself to have since all of this began. I felt a little lost inside that house that had always been so familiar. And even as I listened to John's voice in the kitchen or heard Sid pacing in the rooms upstairs, I still somehow felt very much alone.
There was no time to consider what Josie had meant with her parting words. There was no period for me to dwell upon them and tease out the veiled meaning.
In the dark early morning hours of that first night I slept alone I awoke as a body lay down beside me on the bed.
In the first haze of wakefulness I still believed it to be a dream, as I felt warm hands upon my belly, or else that Josie had discovered her trip to be cancelled and had returned to our bed naked and hungry to announce the good news. Or did I just pretend confusion from the first, as Sid crouched naked beside me, her fingers wrapping slowly around my already hardened and straining cock.
"Shh" I heard her whisper through the dark. "Stay where you are..."
"It's all right baby. I'm lonely tonight and so are you...I need to feel a big hot cock in my mouth baby...I'm dying for it. Please baby, can I please suck your fat cock?"
Such ridiculous words, cut from a schoolboy fantasy and I might have laughed it all away but in the next breath I could feel her tongue dancing upon the head of my prick, feel the warmth of her breath as I the shadow of her face descended through the gloom of morning. In the instant that they wrapped around me I felt my body fall still, and warmth rush through me. I felt as if she was sucking all of me, as if the whole of my being was being enveloped by that hot and wet mouth that took me to my root and to my core. I closed my eyes, and the whole world became the movement of her lips and tongue, the soft wet sounds that filled the dark room, the sounds of her hunger and need as she took my whole length into her throat and choked on it there, made love to it there...
"Oh, Jesus...Sid I'm going to cum in your fucking mouth."
As I remember my words, the way that it sounded in that room that night, I am still surprised at how boastful they sounded. The exaltation I felt in my fall, as I lost myself to her ministrations and felt somehow like I was the one who held the power.
She pulled away from my prick at my words, and gasping for breath she took my cock once again in her hand and pumped it with a rough fury that seemed to break something inside of me, and she pulled the explosion from my very depths, until I couldn't stand the rising pleasure, until I had to close my eyes and grit my teeth against the golden instant of my pleasure and emptied myself into the living dark of the void.
When I could open my eyes again, when I existed once more in my own flesh and bones I returned to my body to find my cock still hard and still twitching, my belly and thighs awash in the glisten of my come. And Sid was rising up away from me, climbing off of the bed. I reached out for her but my hands came up with nothing but air, she was already too far away, but when I whispered her name she replied from the dark.
"It's alright now, it's all right. Go back to bed, that was all that I wanted..You will tell no one about this. You won't say a word."
She was at the door as I started to rise and then she was through it and the full weight of what had just occurred washed over me in the instant that Sid closed that door behind her. I saw myself as I was in that instant, a faithless husband in a marriage bed defiled, covered in the sticky warm evidence of his transgression. I had cheated on my wife with her own sister, less than twenty four hours after Josie had stepped out of the door.
And as I fell back upon the bed in fear and in shame I knew that I had not risen to explain, or to discuss with Sid what had occured. I had risen because my cock was still hard and ready for her, because I was ravenous and wanted more. I had risen to grab her up, to take her unexplored body in my hands and learn every inch of it. I had wanted to be inside of her, to fill her with myself and ride her bucking across the edge of madness...
And laying there, with the guilt coursing through me, I realized that I still wanted to. In spire of the guilty, in spite of the shame I was still rock hard and wanting her.
That night as I waited in the dark for the light to come I felt as though a fever was burning on my skin. I knew deep down that it didn't matter what my heart felt, that somewhere deep down inside, in a black prison that had always lain inside, I knew that I wanted her and would have her again. At any cost. At any price.
I had traded all of myself for the memory of an instant upon her velvet tongue.
I did not sleep again.
But when the morning came it was as if the night had never happened. I walked through the house filled with the sensation that all was as it had always been, but everything had changed below the surface. Everything was a shadow of itself and filled with unknown meaning never glimpsed before, even as I felt that same shift within myself.
I had breakfast with John, bowls of cereal, small talk, so bizzare in the light of what had gone on. He looked at me and saw nothing off, nothing out of the ordinary and I was filled with surprise at the realization of how little shows upon the surface. I was dreading the moment in which I would see Her. I was craving that moment in the pit of my twisting stomach.
But when she came into the kitchen, a sweatshirt and ragged jeans, she hardly looked at me. No secret smile, no guilt, no pleasure or horror. Simply a glance and a nod like my cock had not rested in the confines of her throat, like I had not heard her gagging on the girth of it, or felt her saliva running down across my balls. She poured herself a bowl of cereal, and she sat down at the table with John and I, a few feet that separated us but it felt like miles, it felt like worlds. She made small talk with John. I said nothing.
I did not trust my mouth to speak, to keep all the secrets that filled my mind from spilling out into the light of day. I wanted John to finish and to go away so that I could be alone with her, but John had nowhere to go and Sid ate quickly. All too soon she had finished and gone away back to her room, offering me only a bland smile that I could read as anything or nothing at all.
I spent the morning in confused expectation of the confrontation that must come, not knowing what it was that I should do, or what I might say. Torn between the desire to control the damage and my desire to have her once again, to fuck her this time, with every ounce of energy remaining to me.
At last I couldn't take it any longer, and I found myself knocking at Sid's closed door, a strange caller in my own home. When she opened up I told her that we needed to talk about what had happened between us, but she only shrugged her shoulders.
"No, it's alright." Sid told me as she began to close the door. "There isn't anything to really say."
Just like that the door was closed, and I was left standing speechless before it.
It was the same hours later when I found Sid in the kitchen grabbing water from the fridge. I told her that we needed to talk, she looked at me without a hint of recognition, shrugged her shoulders, walked away. I wanted once again to rush after her, to shout for her to stop and to speak, but then John was moving around the living room, and I could only listen to the sound of Sid's footsteps trailing away up the stairs.
The hours were a slow agony and the house a prison, with nowhere beyond it to escape to. I could not stop replaying the visit in my mind, could not stop myself imagining Josie in tears and devastation. I could not get my prick to stop throbbing in its need. I stayed in my room, I could not bring myself to work on the computer. Lost, tortured, frenzied within the confines of my mind.
Did I bother going down to dinner? Did I eat at all? I can't remember. If I did it was in a fevered haze. I wandered the halls of my own house, stalking restless like a ghost. Waiting, desperate for something to happen. At last I simply collapsed on the couch, and tried to let my mind wander with the images flickering across the screen.
John joined me at some point, we did not speak. If I looked strange, or acted it, he was too absorbed in his own mind to notice. We sat in silence, until he drifted away once more.
Maybe I slept for a little while on the couch. Maybe I simply finally succeeded in turning off the ferocious storm inside my mind and for a time drifted away from myself into the thoughtless blue oblivion. SId may have sat on the couch beside me for an hour before I started and noticed her there. She may have just sat down. She was sitting in silence, watching the TV. I studied the lights that played across her skin, trying to imagine what the words were that might reach her.
I had no faith that a third entirety to speak about what had happened would be successful. Should I simply apologise and leave it at that? A solemn pledge that it would never happen again? It is funny how my mind worked, how internally I still clung to a sense of control, when I should have known that I had nothing of the sort. What would a promise matter from me? She had been the one who had come to me, who had taken me in hand, and now I was chasing her. Lost in the wilderness of her apparent indifference.