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Old 21-Oct-14, 20:09
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Post Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary

Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary
Author: Counselor

Mary is determined to hold her own against boys as well as girls

I heard about this case from another counselor. I asked her to approach the young man about in interview. He did not want to meet with me, but finally agreed to give his story into a recorder. After several months I received the following plus a note saying it was he wanted to write about his experience rather than to talk about it even to a recorder.

Mary was standing near the front of the auditorium as I entered from the back on my first day of law school. Even though it had been ten years, I recognized immediately the thin, intense face, the brown hair pulled back, her characteristic way of moving her hands. She was taller and more filled out than I remembered, but definitely Mary. Since she did not see me, I kept to the back and ducked out right after the introductions before she could spot me. I was not ready to face her, not just yet, for she knew too much about me. The shame of those earlier years had returned with a vengeance and was sweeping over me so that my face was hot and sweaty. I knew that I had to face her sometime, but first I needed a chance to think, to figure out just the right words to put the past behind us and to avoid embarrassment. I wanted us as comfortable as any two other fellow students.

Mary and I had grown up in the same neighborhood and started kindergarten together. I donít remember much about those very early grades, but I will never forget fourth grade, for that was where my shame started. In those days the boys stuck together in school and out of school and the girls did the same. I was the leader of the boys probably because I was the smartest and the best athlete. I am not being immodest; that is just the way it was. Next after me was my best friend, Lou.

Mary was not the leader of the girls. They respected her, but she never fit in or was especially popular. She was an independent soul who went her own way without close friends. Mary was very smart. English and spelling were her special strength, but she was intensely competitive in every class and even argued with the teachers if they thought one of her answers was wrong. I know she felt competitive with me even though my strengths were math and science. She usually got better overall grades, but I scored higher on the state tests.

Brown eyed Lucy with the perpetual suntan and long brown hair was the undisputed leader of the girls. Lucy was not as smart as Mary, but she was one tough cookie, not to be messed with. It was rumored that she had beat up her older brother who was then in sixth grade, but I never knew for certain.

My first day of shame was on a sunny day. The girls were playing together in a small shed when we boys decided to run through shouting and mess things up. It was fun when we dashed in and out, but, as I ran away, I looked back and saw Lucy catch my friend, Lou. She threw him to the ground, sat on his back and pulled his head toward her stretching his neck painfully. My neck hurt just watching and I could see tears coming out of his eyes. It was a moment of truth for me. I wanted to rush to his aid, but I didn't. I stood rooted to the spot, my stomach churning and my mouth dry. Even today I still can feel the shame of that moment although more came later.

"Give!" commanded Lucy.

"OK."

"Say it."

"I give."

"OK. Donít ever mess with us again. See. Do you understand?"

"Yes." She jerked his head back again. He yelled out, "I won't do it again. I promise. I won't."

"Swear?"

"Yes." When nothing happened, he added, "I swear."

Lucy released him, glowered at me and the others, and stalked back to the shed. Lou, his head hanging down, walked over to where we boys were standing. None of us said anything at first as we walked away. Finally Willie said, "She even beats up her older brother." I do not know if that made Lou feel better, but it was meant well.

Standing and watching Lucy and Lou and doing nothing was an act of cowardice. I knew I should have gone to his aid. I had let down my pal and best friend. I had, afraid that Lucy might do the same to me and that everyone would see a girl beat me up just as they had seen a girl beat up Joe. I always thought of myself as brave before that, very brave, but I had failed the test.

When we were in the fifth grade, Mr. Ned was in charge of the sports program at our school. On rainy days he would sometimes have us wrestle, boys against boys, girls against girls. One day he decided to have two of the girls wrestle against boys. I was paired up with Patty and my friend Lou with Janice. Lucy, I was glad to see was not at school that day. Patty with straight black hair cut short and in bangs was the class beauty. She was also quiet, but friendly, the favorite of all of the boys. I had a crush on her, myself. Janice was rangy blonde, Lucyís best friend and the second only to Lucy as leader of the girls.

Patty and I faced each other on our knees and began to wrestle. I did not want her to beat me, but, on the other hand, I did not want to be rough on this beautiful young girl either. For a while I did not try very hard and I could tell that she was not trying either. When neither of us seemed to be getting anywhere, I slid around behind her, trying to put her down gently. "How can I wrestle when you are behind me?" Patty said. I came around to the front to please her and we continued to wrestle without any progress. From the corner of my eye I could see something very different going on. Janice had thrown Lou down and was trying to pin his shoulders. She was all over him.

Mr. Ned came over to Patty and me. "How are you doing?"

"We are not getting anywhere," I said.

"OK. Weíll call it a tie."

Patty and I broke and got up. Janice still had Lou down, but had not been able to pin him. "OK." Mr. Ned said, "Timeís up. Janiceís the winner."

I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. It never occurred to me that Janice could beat Lou. Lucy of course, but Janice -- What if I had been paired with Janice? From then on I tried to avoid anything that might lead to a fight with either Lucy or Janice.

The next day it rained again and again Lucy was not at school. Mr. Ned said, "Iím going to give Patty another chance to see if she can get somewhere wrestling with a boy. Patty and Ron, the two of you should be a good match. Then Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary has been badgering me to wrestle a boy; so Mary you can challenge any boy you want." That was the first time anyone had called Mary "Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary," but the name stuck and did seem to fit her quite well.

Patty and Ron faced each other. Ron was a pretty tough and aggressive kid. As soon as Mr. Ned gave the go ahead, he rushed at Patty and literally leapt at her. Patty was staggered, but kept her feet with Ron hanging on her with his legs wrapped around her. She turned his attack to her advantage grabbing both his thighs and then throwing herself forward so that Ron ended on his back with Patty on top. He scrambled to turn himself, but she held on keeping him on his back. Gradually she began to work her way up his body and then with a sudden effort pulled herself up so that she was sitting on his chest her hands clutching his wrists, trying to force them to the mat. She continued moving herself further up his chest so that her weight was on his upper chest. Finally she got her knees on his upper arms. She had him in a nearly classic school boy pin. With a now familiar churning in my stomach I watched Ronís shoulders go down.

I heard Mr. Ned's voice. "One, two, three. Patty is the winner. OK, get up and shake hands." Ron shrugged his shoulders as he gave a hard shake to Patty's hand. Patty just looked demure and pretty as always. "That's the way. Good winners -- good losers. OK, Mary, itís your turn."

Mary looked us over. Her eyes settled on me. "No. Youíre too good," she said. I pick Robert."

Robert was a dark haired good-looking kid. If you had asked anyone who were the best fighters among the boys, you would have gotten the answer, "After Stan and Joe would come Robert and Ron."

Robert began to back away. "Robert, do you accept Maryís challenge? If you donít want to Mary can pick someone else." Robert turned red. He clearly did not want to wrestle Mary, but couldnít bring himself to say so.

Finally he said, "Oh, OK."

Mary and Robert faced each other and began circling. Mary moved in and Robert backed away. She tried for a headlock, but he managed to pull free. On the third attempt she secured a side headlock. Robert, who was still standing, tried to counter with his own. The struggled both giving their all, each trying to bring down the other with a headlock. Mary proved to be the stronger or else she had the better position; in any event, she prevailed, getting her right leg in front of his left and bringing his head down to her side.

Next she swung her hips in front of him and threw him to the ground maintaining her punishing headlock. She swung herself so that she was across his shoulders putting pressure on them. Robert fought for a while, but his resistance seemed to be fading. Mary shifted her position and then I heard Mr. Ned, "One, two, three. Mary is the winner. Get up and shake hands." Mary looked exultant and Robert totally downcast. His cheeks were flushed. My heart went out to him. For a moment I hated Mary and the smile on her face.

After they had done so, Mr. Ned said, "Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary got her match and she won, but then she didnít take the hard road; she didn't pick Stan. Anyway, thatís three for the girls and one tie and Lucy isnít even here." I was facing Mary and saw her face cloud over in what looked like anger. Mr. Ned continued, "You boys havenít done so well. But men are good sports. Letís give a hand to the girls." We all did so.

One Saturday near the end of fifth grade Joe and I ran into Frank and his best friend, Mel. Frank was crying. Whatís the matter. Frank didnít answer, but Mel said, "The girls were putting on lipstick and we were spying on them and they heard us. Lucy caught Frank and twisted his arm until he gave and then held him down and Janice put lipstick on him." I then noticed that Frankís lips were red although some of the lipstick must have already been removed.

"She really hurt me," he muttered. "And I didnít do anything bad to her."

"Thatís right," Mel chimed in. "She kept hurting him after he gave and then she pinned him down and told Janice to put on the lipstick. She shouldnít get away with it."

Lou and I agreed that she shouldnít get away with it. "We should teach her a lesson," I added, of course never thinking that I would try to do so. Just then Lucy and Janice and Jane and Marjorie turned the corner. They were walking away from us rather than toward us. The boys looked at me, their leader. I felt my heart pounding wildly. I knew that I had to perform and acted on impulse with a vague idea of getting even and getting away. I ran after the girls. Lucy was in the rear. I jumped on her back, knocking her down and falling partially on top of her. I got up and started to run off, but in my haste I stumbled into Marjorie. We both went down. I got up, but before I could get away, Lucy caught me from behind. I struggled desperately to get free, to get away, but she was too strong. She threw me down and fell on top of me. We struggled, I trying to get my hands and feet under me so that I could get up, she trying to turn me on my back.

This was the first time I had ever wrestled with Lucy and I learned she was even stronger in reality than in my imagination. I made no progress. Then I tried to roll in the direction she was forcing me and to keep going the other way, but I ended flat on my back with Lucy on top. She pulled herself up astride me and pinned my wrists to the pavement. My struggles were useless. I saw that the boys had gathered around. I knew they would not interfere in what was a fair fight, especially if Lucy were involved.

"Put the lipstick on him," she said. Janice came over with a tube of lipstick and tried to put in on my lips, but I pulled my lips back between my teeth and shook my head back and forth and up and down. Some smeared, but she could not really get it on my lips.

"So you want to play," Lucy said. With that she let go of my wrists and raised herself slightly off of me. I rolled over trying to get up. That was a mistake. She plopped down on my back and hooked her arm around my neck cutting off my air. I panicked and fought as hard as I could, but she was too strong. Strangling was considered unfair. Later I learned that Lou tried to move in, but Janice blocked his way. After a few pushes both ways, he decided he could not help me.

"Stop fighting," Lucy commanded. I did. She loosed her hold so that I could breathe again. "Give up?" When I did not say anything, she cut off my air again. "When you want to give up, put up your hand." I put up my hand. She loosened her hold.

"Say it."

"I give up."

"Say it loud so we can hear."

"I GIVE UP."

"Janice make him look pretty." Janice carefully applied the lipstick to my now unresisting lips. When she had finished, Lucy let me up.

"Look at me!" she commanded. "I want to see how pretty you are."

I started to wipe off the lipstick with my forearm.

"Cut that out!" I turned with the intent of running, but she reached around my neck trying to catch me in a headlock. I countered by pulling away and trying to get my leg in front of hers. It was to no avail. Her strong arms pulled my head down, twisting painfully. Then she got her hip in front of me. One foot came off the ground and then I crashed to the pavement with Lucy half on top of me still holding the tight headlock. She slid one hand over my throat and began pressing. I thought she was going to strangle me again.

I managed to gasp out, "I give."

"You give, but I donít."

"Please, I give."

"Put some more lipstick on him." Janice reached over and did so while I lay quietly in Lucy's strong arms.

"Donít try to take that lipstick off." I did not reply. "Did you hear me?"

"Yes."

"Understand?"

"Yes."

"Swear!" When I did not say anything, the pressure on my neck increased.

"I swear," I gasped out afraid to wait for fear that she would cut off my air totally.

Lucy released my neck. With her right hand she grabbed hold of my belt. We both stood up. I did not dare try to break away while she held my belt.

"Look at me!" I thought that my heart might beat out of my chest, but I knew that I would do anything she said. I looked into her face. "Come here and look how pretty he is." The four girls gathered around.

Janice said, "Heís beautiful." The others did not say anything. I could feel the warm blood flowing into my face. My shame almost blotted out my fear.

"Turn around and show your friends how pretty you are!" I kept looking at her. She grabbed me by the hair and forced my head around. "Isn't he pretty?" Then she turned my face back toward her and looked into my eyes. Fear now again overcame my shame and I began to tremble.

"If you ever mess with me again, youíll get worse than this. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"And if you let any of those boys take off the lipstick, youíll get worse than this and so will they. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

She let me go and the girls moved off down the street.

My friends gathered around. I did not know what to do. I did not want to be seen by anyone wearing lipstick, but I was afraid to cross Lucy. None of them offered anything. Then I had an idea.

"Lou, can I go to your house?"

"Sure."

Lou helped me to slip into his house. I went into a bathroom and locked the door. I looked at myself in the mirror. My face stared back at me lips covered with a horrible, dark red lipstick. There were smears of it on parts of the face. I had promised Lucy not to try to take it off. I had not promised her not to take it off. I would have to do it without trying to do it. Then I could say, "I did it. I did not try to do it. I just did it." I went cold all over. Lucy would think I had gone back on my word. She might... The image was too terrible. I felt weak with fear. On the other hand, I could not go home like this. I ran water in the basin and plunged my face in. The lipstick was still there. Suddenly I began to wipe my lips and then to scrub with soap and water. It was still there. I must have worked for half an hour before I was reasonably satisfied. I had not tried to take it off. I had taken it off. That was different. If Lucy asked me, I would just tell her.

The next week when I was in the corridor at school, I heard that dreaded voice. "Hey, Pretty Boy, come over here." I went over my heart beating wildly. Janice was with her. "What happened to your lipstick?"

"It came off."

"Came off. Iíll bet you took it off. We ought to give you some more."

I felt my knees go weak and didnít say anything. Lucy shrugged and she and Janice turned away. The tension oozed out of me. That was the last I heard of that episode from Lucy. In another week school broke for the summer.

The next fall we were sixth graders, the oldest kids in that school. On the first rainy day Mr. Ned gathered us in the gym. "This year you get first call on the gym so we will play basketball on the rainy days, but, before we start, my friend and yours, Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary, has been badgering me about what she claims is old business. She wants to issue one more wrestling challenge. I told her, ĎMary, you are in sixth grade. You are getting too old to wrestle boys.í But she has kept after me saying it is my fault. So, Mary go ahead and issue your challenge."

"I challenge Stan."

"Oh, no." I thought to myself. The last thing I wanted to do was to wrestle a girl, any girl. I looked around to see if Lucy were watching. She was. So were Patty and Lou; so was everybody. It was strange, but I did not want to back down in front of Lucy. I wanted her to see me win.

Mr. Ned was continuing on. "Well, Stan, you will have to decide if you want to accept Maryís challenge. She claims that I pushed her in to challenging you, but that does not mean you have to accept. You can decline and she can challenge someone else or not. Itís up to you, Stan-the-Man."

I wanted to say, "No." But instead I heard myself saying, "OK. OK."

"Good. Stan-the-Man will be wrestling Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary in the last boy-girl wrestling match of this class. Mary goes in with one win and no losses against boys and Dan with one tie against a girl."

I had been thinking as fast as I could ever since Maryís challenge. I should win easily, but there could be no fooling around as I had done with Patty and no standing back as Robert had done with Mary. I would just go at her as I would a boy and pin her. I watched her as she tied back her hair. I could see that she had small breasts that I had not noticed before.

"Now come to the center. Shake hands." We shook. Maryís hand seemed warm and strong.

"OK. Go to it and may the best person win. Wrestle!"

We touched hands and circled. I was looking for my opening. Suddenly I slid my hand around her neck, trying for a headlock. She ducked her head and, as I turned, slid behind me and squeezed me with both her arms. It was not too tight. I tried to break loose, but she got her foot in front on my ankle and tripped me from behind. Down I went prone with Mary on top of me. The fall took the breath out of me. As I recovered, I could feel Mary trying to turn me over. I tried to resist, but she had too much leverage and over I went on my back with Mary now lying across my chest trying to push my shoulders down. I noticed that we were near the edge of the mat and twisted hard so that my feet and lower legs were over.

"Break," said Mr. Ned.

We faced each other again. She was better than I thought and I had been lucky to get away, but I was not worried. We grabbed at each otherís arms, trying for an advantage. I was able to pull her this way and push her that way. I tried several times to throw her down, but she was quick and managed to stay up. I think on one effort I stood up too straight. Anyway the next thing I knew she had grabbed one of my legs and lifted it. I tried to maintain balance on one leg, but could not. Down I went, this time on my back with Mary on top of me. I rolled immediately and managed to turn so that we were side to side. I tried to get on top, but she got her knees between us and pushed me away.

We both scrambled to our feet. I was a little put out that I still had not gotten the upper hand; so I tackled her, but she stayed on her feet and got a front headlock. We swayed back and forth, each trying to throw the other. She had the advantage in that I could not get free of her headlock. I kept trying to lift one of her legs, but she kept moving them away and twisting so that I had to move fast to keep my balance. Then I lost it and we both went down, Mary still holding the headlock. Now the struggle was for me to get loose and for her to turn me over on my back. As soon as I would try to get loose, she would try to turn me. Then I would have to use my hands and arms to keep from getting turned. I felt her shifting her position. Then suddenly she managed to get enough leverage to roll me over. She lay cross-wise over my upper chest and shoulders, her arms wrapped around my left arm. I mistakenly raised my right arm. She caught it between her legs in a scissors hold.

I could not believe that she was actually almost pinning me. I struggled; panic began to close in. I heard Mr. Ned say, "One." I raised my left shoulder, but she pulled on my arm so that I could not use my elbow to push up. I felt more pressure. As the left shoulder went down, I tried raised the right shoulder, but again I could get no leverage because of my arm being locked in her legs. Mr. Nedís counting started again, "One, two." I pushed up on my neck, but could not hold it. "One, two, three. Break." As we climbed to our feet, he went on. "Come to the center of the mat." He took our hands in his and raised Maryís. "And the winner is Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary over Stan-the-Man. Now shake hands and congratulate each other."

I took Maryís proffered hand. It was still warm and strong and now a little sweaty. "Good fight," she said.

"Look her in the eye, Stan, and congratulate her.

I looked into Maryís hazel eyes and got out the word, "Congratulations." Her face was suffused with a glow of happiness, her happiness of victory. We dropped our hands. The class had remained absolutely quiet. I think that the girls as well as the boys were taken aback by Mary's victory. They could hardly believe that Mary had beaten me, the strongest boy in the class.

Mr. Ned went on, "Congratulations to Mary on your second victory. You are more contrary than I ever imagined. I donít know how you beat Stan-the-Man, but you did. I donít think that there are any more mountains for you to climb in wrestling against boys. Next you will have to challenge one of the tough girls. That will be a harder challenge. Stan I hand it to you. None of that fooling around this time. You gave her a good fight. OK, letís see. That is four victories for the girls, none for the boys and one tie. Two wins for Mary and two pins. One loss and one tie for Dan. Clear victory for the girls over the boys. You girls really have shown what you can do. Miss Brenda will be proud of you, but don't worry boys. In another few years you'll be able to beat any of the girls, even Lucy."

As the others left school that afternoon, I hung around wanting to walk home alone. I thought everyone has gone when Mary walked up to me. "Hi. Donít feel bad. You know you could beat any other boy in the whole school. Thatís something to be really proud of." That act of kindness was almost too much for me. I felt tears well in my eyes, something that had not happened when Lucy had beaten and humiliated me. Mary must have divined my feelings. She turned and ran off.

In mid-year my parents moved out of town and I entered a new school. I did not see any of my old classmates until the summer after my junior year in college. I was visiting my grandparents and had called up Lou. He invited me to go with him to a party. He made sure it was all right for me to come since I did not know the person. On the way over I asked about our old classmates. Patty and Janice and Robert had left town. Mary had gone to a prestigious private university and spent little time at home. Most of the rest were around. Lucy had been into alcohol and drugs and men and had dropped out of college. She had had several jobs as saleswoman, but never lasted very long.

It was interesting seeing the group. Most had developed pretty much as might have been expected. I recognized Lucy immediately with her round face and brown eyes. Her brown hair was still long. She looked thin. Obviously she had been drinking. She did not seem interested at all in me. All she said was, "I remember you. You were smart and went somewhere. I think it was Los Angeles." It was not.

Frank seemed more interested in me and asked lots of questions. When we were alone, he said, "You and I have something in common."

"What?"

"Lucy."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. She beat us both up and put lipstick on us."

I did not like to be reminded, but I said, "Yeah."

"Look at her now. Sheís drunk. Sheís just a slut. Sometimes I think Iíd like to get even. Do you ever feel that way?"

I did not like the way this conversation was going. "No. I donít think about it."

"Well I do. You thought you were the toughest guy in the class, but she beat you up, made you give, and humiliated you. You should remember that."

"Of course, I remember, but I donít dwell on it."

"Well I think about it. I didnít feel so bad after I saw she could beat you and make you give."

I was beginning to feel sick. "Well, we were young."

"Not that young. Didnít Mary beat you up, too?"

"Yes." I was ready to go home and did so shortly thereafter.

The next day I asked Lou what was wrong with Frank. He told me more of the story. Frank had apparently harbored a grudge against Lucy ever since she had made him cry and wear lipstick in fifth grade. During his sophomore year in college, he ran into Lucy at a pretty wild party. She had been drinking and, when she saw him said, "Hi, Pretty Boy."

Franklin just snapped. "You filthy, drunken slut." He shoved her hard. By then he was bigger than she. Lucy staggered back.

Her boyfriend started to intervene, but Lucy said, "Wait. I know him." She grabbed Frank by the shirt collar and kneed him hard in the balls. Joe said what happened next was very fast. Frank sort of doubled over or Lucy pulled him down by his shirt and smashed her knee into his face. As he fell, she grabbed an arm. He ended up lying face down with Lucy on top holding him with a hammerlock. Someone tried to pull her off, but she said, "Wait until he apologizes." She went on, "OK, Pretty Boy, I want to hear an apology."

"That hurts."

"It will hurt a lot more if you don't apologize." With that she grabbed his hair with her free hand and smashed his face into the floor.

Her boyfriend again tried to pull her off, saying, "Lucy! That's enough."

"Stay away or I'll break his arm." The group formed a circle around them, but no one tried to interfere.

She raised his head again. "OK, Pretty Boy. Ready to apologize?"

"I apologize."

"Say it so everyone can hear!"

"I APOLOGIZE."

"I accept your apology, Pretty Boy. Call me a slut again and I'll really mess you up. Do you understand?"

"Yes."

"Yes what? What do you call me?"

"Yes, Lucy."

"Say, 'Yes, M'am.'"

"Yes, M'am."

She got up saying, "Now I really need a drink."

As I listened to Lou's story, I could feel my heart pounding. It was as if I had a knot in my stomach as well and all my muscles went limp. Perhaps I had lived too protected a life, but Lucy was the most fearsome human being I had ever encountered. I wondered what I would do if she called me "Pretty Boy." But I knew that I did not really have to wonder. I knew the answer. I'd let her call me anything she wanted to. I was still that scared of her.

Those were the memories that caused me to duck my head when I saw Mary. The events had happened in the past. They should not bother me now, but they did. I would have to meet Mary and talk with her. What should I say? I did not come to any conclusions, but the next day she solved the problem for me. I was looking at a map of the campus when a nearby voice said, "Stan-the-Man, I am so glad to see you." Almost no one ever called me "Stan-the-Man" any more. It was Mary. She continued, "I saw your name on the list and just knew that it was you. Where are you staying?" I told her. That's not far from my place. Want to have dinner tonight and catch up on old times?"

"Sure, I'd like to."

We had no sooner settled at a small restaurant near the School than Mary began in her clipped brief way that I remembered well. "Tell me about yourself. I have been so out of touch. Do you ever see any of our old friends?"

"That's a big order all at once. Besides I want to hear about you. Anyway let's order. What will you have?"
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Old 21-Oct-14, 20:10
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Default Re: Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary

As we ate, I told her about how I had decided on the law as a profession. I explained my hopes for public interest law and waxed a little too elegant on the wrongs that I was going to right.

Mary egged me on with comments like, "That's wonderful."

Finally, I said, "Now I've been talking too much. You have to tell me about yourself."

"There's really not much to tell. I went to college and decided on law; so here I am."

"I saw in the book that you went to Stanford. Good place."

"Yeah. A lot of smart people."

"You must have done well to get in here."

"Yeah. I'm still a bookworm."

Getting her story was like pulling teeth, but I was now curious and pressed on.

"What did you major in?"

"Political Science and Biology."

"Biology. Yeah. I'm like you, interested in the environment."

"What else are you interested in?"

"I'm interested in literature."

In my senior year I had taken a course in the tragedies of Shakespeare. I said, "I see you are done eating. 'If it is done when 'twere done, it were well it were done quickly.'"

She smiled which she had done rarely all evening. "I'm impressed, but that speech refers to an assassination not to a pleasant meal."

"Now I'm impressed."

"Well, we're both smart people, at least smart at that kind of thing. We'll see how smart we are in law school."

The rest of the evening went quickly as we chatted about literature and the environment and politics and the economy and engineering, my field. Mary was obviously extremely smart. She seemed interested in and knowledgeable about just about every subject that I could think of. And it was not just facts, she had ideas and could even make modest jokes when she became engaged. I walked her back to her apartment and told her goodnight. I would not have felt comfortable even giving her a peck on the cheek.

Over the next year we saw each other regularly in and between classes and exchanged many pleasantries. The style of teaching in law school was for the professor to call on an individual student and try to put that person on the spot, challenging anything the student would say. It was not long before everyone in the class knew that Mary was always prepared and could hold her own against the strongest attack.

We agreed to have dinner again, but did not get around to it because of the press of other things. Finally we agreed to a date at the start of the Spring break. Two experiences had made me curious. One day I went with a friend to the University weight room. There was Mary working out. I saw her bench pressing what looked like a lot of weight, but I did not know how to judge it since I was not into that sort of thing. Another time I was passing by a group involved in self-defense and saw Mary in a white judo uniform.

We settled down at an off-campus restaurant. After we had talked about school and ordered, I started in. "Mary, what are your hobbies?"

"What do you mean? I told you I like literature. Sometimes I go to concerts and plays."

"I saw you working out and saw you in a judo outfit. Have you become a jock?"

"I like to stay in shape. Sound body. Sound mind. What do you like to do?"

"First I want to talk about you. It doesn't all fit together and you never tell me much." Her face clouded over. There was a long pause. Clearly I had gotten to her in a way that none of the professors had been able to do.

"Well...," she started with uncharacteristic hesitation. Then again, "Well..." She sipped her beer. Finally she began again. "Well, I know you mean well, but this is hard for me. I never talk about myself, I mean about personal things. Once I wanted to tell you, but I didn't. So should I now? I don't know. This isn't like me. I will tell you what. Let's have dinner again on Wednesday and then, if I feel like it, I will tell you something about myself. If I tell you, it will be because I trust you and because you are one of the most important people in my life. There I have told you that much so you can think about that if you want to. Now let me tell you something about Proust that has me wondering."

Mary was her usual self again, bright, interesting and rather abstract.

"You asked me to tell you more about myself. So here goes. As I told you, I am telling you because I trust you. It's scary trusting someone with your secrets. I've never done it before although sometimes I have wanted to. The other reason I am telling you is that you are one of the most important people in my life. You don't know it, but I would not be here in law school except for you, but that comes later. I will have to go back to the beginning.

"My mother died when I was young. My father raised me and my brother, Fred. He tried his best to make Fred into what he thought a man should be and me into what he thought a woman should be. He wanted me dressed in frilly things. He didn't even like it that I got such good grades in school. He said that a girl should learn cook and sew and play the piano. It's hard to believe how backward he was. I think it was that he thought that I didn't have any feminine role models. Sometimes I tried to be what he wanted and sometimes I tried to be just the opposite.

"When Mr. Ned had girls wrestle boys, I was in one of my rebellious moods. He didn't pick me at first, but I kept after him so that he picked me on the second day. I got to choose. I looked at you, but I knew I wasn't going to choose you. I thought you were too good and besides I had a crush on you. You look surprised. Patty and I both had crushes on you. She wasn't trying when she wrestled with you. She wanted you to like her. I could tell that you weren't trying either and I knew you had a crush on her. Anyway I choose Ron and I beat him. It was a thrill, maybe actually beating a boy was the biggest thrill of my life, but then Mr. Ned spoiled it all by pointing out that I hadn't picked you. I went from being elated to being crushed. I was so angry at Mr. Ned that I could hardly speak. Then I was angry at myself for not choosing you. I thought maybe Mr. Ned was right and that I had picked someone too easy. So I started badgering him again to let me challenge you. I am good at badgering.

"Then I heard that Lucy had beaten you up and that you had given in and that she had put lipstick on you. I never liked Lucy very much. I hated her then. I hated her for terrible thing she had done to you. Now I have a confession. I hated her maybe even more because I wanted to be the girl to beat you. She had gotten there first. I even began to hate you because you had given up to her and had let her make you keep lipstick on. It was all because I had a crush on you. It was bad enough that she beat you up; it was worse that you gave in to her. I probably didn't show it, but I was a pretty mixed up kid. I could have challenged Lucy; maybe I should have, but I was scared that she would beat me and then what would be the point of challenging a boy. Anyway I ended up determined to wrestle you and to beat you. That was the important thing. After all you were the strongest boy in the class and I wanted to prove I was better than the boys.

"I got a book on wrestling from the library and I made my brother Fred wrestle with me over the summer so that I could practice. Fred is only eighteen months older than I, but was pretty good and I really trained hard. In addition, I did push-ups and sit-ups and all that kind of stuff. You didn't know what you were getting into. In fact, I was afraid that you might find out and not wrestle with me. Don't be embarrassed, but beating you was easier than I thought it would be. Pinning you may not have been all that hard, but it was a real thrill. I knew I had beaten the strongest boy in the class. My father had been wrong all along saying that girls could not compete with boys. Beating you was the most important event in my life maybe except for being born. You gave me the confidence to go to law school. The only bad thing was that I saw your face afterward and I knew how you felt. My crush on you sort of returned and I wanted to make you feel better.

"So now I am glad I told you. I am glad that pinning the strongest boy in the class gave me the confidence to be myself and to get to law school. I am also glad that getting pinned by a girl didn't destroy your confidence. I would never have wanted to do that."

I was silent for a while. So many memories were ignited, memories I should like to have forgotten. I felt that I should say something, but didn't know how to start.

Finally I decided to open myself, too. I said, "Thank you for telling me. Maybe I would not have felt so bad if I had known how much you had practiced. That is interesting about your having a crush on me and then loosing it. You are right about my having a crush on Patty, but I didn't know that she wasn't trying. That is interesting. The business with Lucy is the greatest shame of my life. I still feel it today. She wouldn't let me breathe. I was terrified of her. I can still feel that too. I can understand how you would loose your crush on me. Being beaten by you was not that bad. I didn't give up. I was just pinned. I really appreciate your being so frank. I hope you have forgiven me for my behavior with Lucy. I have not forgiven myself."

"Of course, I have forgiven you. Those days are past. We have grown up now and have to go on from here."

"That's right. After you beat me I kept thinking of the words of Mr. Ned. I can still remember, 'Don't worry boys. In another few years you'll be able to take them all, even Lucy.' Although even today I wouldn't want to fight Lucy." That was more of an admission than I really wanted to make.

Her face clouded. "I remember those words, too. They made me mad. He was again trying to make light of my winning. I vowed that would not be true. So that is why I work out and keep my body strong. That's why I practice Judo and wrestling and keep up my skills. Sometimes I wish that I would see Mr. Ned. I think I'd have the nerve to challenge him to a wrestling match. Then he'd see what a well-trained woman can do. I'll bet I could pin him easily." Her sudden change of tone and aggressiveness were a surprise.

Then she looked at me from under half closed lids. If she had been anyone but Mary, I would have thought she had turned suddenly coy. She added in a soft voice, "I'll bet I could still pin you. Why don't you come to the gym with me tomorrow and we'll see." I guess that I looked stunned. After a pause she went on, "That's the second time I've challenged you. Last time you accepted.

"Oh, Mary, I think we have outgrown that."

"Don't accept it if you can't risk loosing to a female. It might destroy your self-confidence." She paused and then added quietly. "Wrestling with girls didn't hurt your ego all that much last time, did it?"

"You know how to get to a guy."

"Good legal training."

"Where would we do it?"

"In the gym."

"I'd be embarrassed. People would think I was crazy."

"We'd do it at the gym where I work our. It would be after closing time. The only person who would be there would be Alfredo. He's seen men workout against woman before and wouldn't think anything of it."

"I would think I was crazy."

"Are you afraid of loosing?"

"Mary, when you go after something, you know how to do it. Why do you want to wrestle with me?"

That stopped her, but only for a moment. "Partly to prove Mr. Ned wrong. Maybe just to prove that I can do it. Maybe to impress you. I have always liked you, you know. Come on. Winner buys the dinner at Marcel's Restaurant."

I reached the gym at 5:30 hoping no one would see me enter or guess what I would soon be doing. Mary met me at the door in a one-piece outfit that looked like a bathing suit except that the legs came to just below mid-thigh. Her top was covered by an open shirt. Mary looked trim and slim. I relaxed seeing her.

"Come over here and meet Alfredo. He's going to referee for us. Don't worry he's seen men wrestle against women before. He won't think anything of it."

Alfredo was a rather small man with a big smile. I found the men's changing room and changed into a pair of swimming trunks. First I put on a very tight jock strap just in case I wrestling with Mary would bring on an erection. I need not have worried, for once we started I would think of nothing but wrestling.

We entered a well-marked space. Alfredo explained to us a few basic rules and had us shake hands. Then we squared off facing each other. My adrenaline was flowing. We touched hands and then withdrew. Mary faked a move toward my right leg and then closed. We struggled for a moment, she pushing me toward my left. I braced myself resisting and pushing back. That was a mistake, for she suddenly reversed and using her force plus mine threw me down on my back. Quickly she moved across my shoulders. When I put my arm around her neck, she held it somehow so that I could not use it to brace myself. I knew that she was turned so that her feet were down and lifting her body so that more of her weight pressed on my shoulders. I resisted as best I could, but finally my shoulders were down. I heard Alfredo strike the mat and say, "Pin."

As we got to our feet, he raised Mary's hand. "Shake." We did. The throw had happened so fast and resisting the pin had so consumed me that I had had little time to think about grappling with a female. I felt no shame, but only an admiration for Mary and a desire to try again.

She spoke first. "You're not in practice. Want to try again."

"Sure."

We faced each other again. I made a grab for her neck, but Mary ducked under and locked her arms around my right leg. She was on her knees. I reached over to take hold of her back. Suddenly she lifted, rising to her feet so that I was dumped on my back. I had the wit to roll onto my stomach before Mary could get on top of me. Immediately I felt her trying to roll me over. I spread my arms and legs. She went for a half-nelson trying to turn me, but I held firm. Then I felt her arms go around my upper thigh. She lifted and spun me so that I was plopped down on my back. Before I could recover, she had my arm locked and pressure on my shoulders. Again, it was only a matter of time before I heard the thump on the canvas and the word "Pin."

"I have an advantage because I know some throws. Want to try it once more? You can start with an advantage."

Mary got down on her hands and knees. I was behind her in the superior position when Alfredo said, "Wrestle!"

I tried to bring her down while turning her onto her back. We struggled for a few minutes. Several times she almost got away from me, but I managed to maintain the better position. Then she gave a sudden twist and escaped enough to get into a sitting position. I was still behind her so that she had trouble getting totally free. I struggled trying to keep my now only slight advantage. Then she hooked my elbow and turned hard into me forcing me on to my back. Instead of following up, she disengaged.

I realized that she had given me a reprieve. We were standing facing each other. I rushed her trying to bull her to the floor. She was strong and quick on her feet. We fought for an advantage, but she prevailed. She got herself behind me and tripped me by hooking one of her legs in front of mine. As I lost my balance, she slid into a half-nelson twisting me onto my back as I feel, winded and exhausted. It was not long before I heard the thumping and the word, "Pin!"

The food and wine at Marcel's was very good. I had congratulated Mary after our match, but we had otherwise said nothing about it. I was relaxing when I heard Mary say, "I hope you didn't mind my winning today. It wasn't the first time, you know."

"No, Mary, I really don't mind. If it were any other woman, I probably would, but I have gotten used to you." And that was the truth. It almost seemed natural. Our relation was unaffected, that is until something happened to change it.

That something was an invitation to a reunion of our high school class. It was only a thirty minute drive. Mary brought it up during our weekly dinner. She was keen to go. I was not.

"Why don't you want to go? Your friend, Lou, will be there."

"I don't know. I just don't."

"Is it because Lucy will be there?"

"Damn it, Mary, I can't get away with anything. OK. I really don't want to see Lucy."

"Come on. You have to get over that. You were just a kid."

"She shamed me."

"So. Outgrow it. Face up to it."

"I know I should."

"Do it."

And that was that.

The reunion went quite well. It was good to see old friends. The few exchanges I had had with Lucy had been innocuous. In fact, it turned out to be harder to talk with Janice, who seemed more interested in me. I felt comfortable enough to stay another night so that Mary and I could go on a small picnic with Lou and a few other friends.

When we arrived, I was surprised to see that Lucy was there. Later I learned that she and Janice had invited themselves by just showing up. Later when people began drifting off, I moved off better to see the stars. After a few minutes I sensed someone was with me.

"It's good to see you, Pretty Boy. Sit down and talk with me a minute." I felt my heart beat and a knot in my stomach, but I tried to hide it. After all, I had outgrown that period. I sat down. "You were the most popular boy in the class and you are still good looking. I hope you're not mad at me for being such a tomboy."

"No, Lucy, we all admired you and maybe were even afraid of you," I said almost truthfully.

"Did you admire me?"

"Well, yes, in a way. I knew how tough you were." She moved closer to me and took my hand and began stroking it.

"Do you mind my calling you "Pretty Boy" because you still are?"

I was getting nervous. "Lucy, why don't you just call me Stan?"

"OK, Stan." She leaned over and kissed my ear sending shivers down me.

"Lucy, please."

Hm-m-m. Relax. I always wanted to kiss you." Her lips sought mine.

I stood up. "Lucy. Stop it. Let's go back."

"You don't like me."

"Lucy, it's not that. I just... I don't know."

You think you're better than I am because you are in law school and you think I drink to much."

"No, Lucy."

She was standing directly in front of me and with that she kneed me in the groin. I felt a sickening pain. As I doubled over she smashed her hand into my face, then grabbed my hair and pulling my head down brought her knee up hard into my chest. I went down. Lucy pushed me flat and sat on my chest locking my wrists to the ground. "God damn you," she muttered. "I was being nice to you."

"Lucy, get off him!" It was Mary. Was I glad to hear her voice.

"Well, here's the stuck up lawyer bitch."

Lucy stood up and faced Mary as I watched from my position lying on the ground. What happened next happened quickly. Lucy's right hand shot out striking Mary hard on the left breast. As I heard Mary gasp, Lucy's left hand struck her left right breast. Lucy then swung hard into Mary's abdomen and brought up her knee. Mary went down. Lucy pounced on her, ripped open her blouse and seemed to be doing something to her breasts. I sat up to see that Lucy had torn off Mary's brassiere and was rubbing her thumbs over Mary's nipples. Mary groaned.

I crawled over toward them with a vague idea of stopping Lucy. As I got in front of her trying to hold her, she grabbed me by the hair and pulled my head down. It was as though a bolt of electricity went through my entire body. She must have karate chopped me on the back of the neck. In any event I collapsed half conscious on top of Mary.

When I came to, I found that Lucy had dragged me further across Mary and turned me over so that I was face up. Her right hand was at my throat pressing hard against it. Her left hand was in my pants probing into my groin. I tried to get loose, but the pressure on my throat stopped me. As I tried to get hold of her wrist to relieve the pressure, her left hand was at work. Her fingers closed around my balls with her thumb around my penis. I was totally immobilized by my throat and my balls. Then she began to pump her hand rhythmically up and down my penis dragging my balls along.

"Lucy, please. Stop. Stop." My body was responding against my will. My penis hardened. Sexual excitement rose in the midst of my fear and disgust. There was nothing I could do but lie there until Lucy got what she wanted -- my ejaculation. All that I could do was groan, "Oh, no."

She pushed me away, saying, "You're disgusting." As I watched she wiped my ejaculate off her hands onto Mary's breasts. Then she got up and walked off leaving Mary and me lying close to each other on the ground.

Without a word we pulled our clothes on as best we could, Mary holding her torn blouse together and headed toward my car. Our half hour drive was silent except for Mary occasionally saying, "I am sorry. I am so sorry. It was my fault, my fault." When we arrived at Mary's apartment, I saw that she was pretty shaken so I went inside with her and took her up to her apartment. Fortunately no one saw us. "Come in," she said. "You're a mess."

We sat quietly for a few moments, Mary not even bothering to keep her blouse pulled together even though we had never so much as held hands or kissed. She began to sob softly at first but then more deeply. I put my arm around her, but tears were in my eyes too, and I was crying. "I am sorry," I said.

Gently she pushed me away. "No. I don't need comforting. It was my fault. I am the one who should be sorry and I am. Now it is time to go. We have to pull ourselves together and get on with our lives."

Reluctantly, I told her good-by and left.

The next days were hard for me. Since my school days I had been terrified by Lucy, but reality had turned out worse than I had imagined. She had done worse than just beat me up. She had aroused me and made me have sex. Worse than that the sex was on top of Mary and then she had wiped my ejaculate on Mary. And then she had had the gall to say I was disgusting. She had demeaned me. I hated her. I feared her. I worried that she might come the University town, that she might see me and... Even thinking about it scared me. And, yet, the thought of what she had done aroused me. I dreamed about her holding me as she had and pumping up and down and I woke up wet. My thoughts kept turning to Lucy. I was filled with her. I thought of going to see her and having a talk and apologizing for not responding to her kiss and of how she might do to me. Would she kiss me? Would we make love? But all my thoughts were just thoughts.

Mary cancelled our usual Wednesday dinner and then cancelled it again the nest week. Well, I thought to myself, I've lost Mary as a friend. She no longer respects me. Who can blame her. Then my thoughts wandered to Lucy. I wanted to see her again and I feared seeing her again. I thought I must be like someone whose spouse had beaten her and she just wanted to go back to him. I had read about such things, but Lucy was not my spouse. In fact, I hardly knew her anymore if I ever had.

Then Mary called and invited me to come to her apartment at 6 p.m. saying she would make dinner. That was a first. She greeted me at the door in blue genes and loose fitting shirt. "Come in while I finish cooking. Help yourself to a beer in the fridge if you want." I did. "I'll warn you up front that I want to talk seriously about what happened to us. I'm a law student. I want to understand what happened and I think you should too. We'll get into it later, but be warned. If you're not up to talking just say so and you can leave right after dinner."

I had to smile for the first time since our encounter with Lucy. That was Mary, direct, to the point, totally focussed on whatever it was that she wanted to know or to do. She saw my smile. "Why are you smiling?"

"Because you're so Mary. What you said is so much like you. No one else would want to take a legal approach to an experience like that."

"Well, you're a law student. How have you reacted?"

Now I turned serious. "Not well. I can't get my mind around it. I don't sleep well either."

"We'll try to get our minds around it later. Here stir this pot while I set the table."

"Tell me what happened before I got there."

"Lucy found me. She was nice and asked me to sit down with her. When she did, she started to put the make on me. She kissed me on the ear and then tried to kiss me on the lips. When I refused her she got mad and said I thought I was better than she was and stuff like that." I paused.

"Then?"

I didn't want to go on, but I did. "Then we were standing up and she kneed me..." I was getting more uncomfortable and paused.

"In the groin?"

"Yes."

"Did she hurt you?"

"Yes."

"And then what?"

"She started hitting me and then she pulled my hair. She pulled by head down by the hair and kneed me in the stomach or chest or something and then she was sitting on me. I thought that she was going to hit me again and then I heard you."

"What did you think then."

"I don't know. I was scared."

"Did you think I would save you?"

"I didn't know. I was just scared of Lucy. I think she is the only thing in the world I am scared of and I just can't seem to get over it."

"OK. It's my turn for a while. You can ask me questions or I can just start."

"Just start."

"I'll go back to the beginning. It's all the result of our experiences in grade school. I wanted to be strong and a good fighter. The challenge was to be better than you, better than Mister Ned. I kept in good shape and I practiced. I challenged you and I won. I pinned your shoulders. I proved Mr. Ned didn’t know what he was talking about. A woman could defeat a man. I hope that you didn't mind too much, but winning was a kind of vindication for me. I knew that I was good and hubris got the better of me.

"I knew you had a thing about Lucy and I saw myself as your protector. Lucy couldn't harm you as long as I was around. I was sure that I wouldn't let her. You were right to be afraid. I got us into that night. I blame myself.

"Getting back to that night -- I wondered where you were. I heard a noise and went over and there you were lying flat on the ground with Lucy sitting on top of you. I was excited. Here was my opportunity to save you. I was a knight in shining armor, a female knight. I was ready to grab her and throw her to the ground when she hit me. In all my training, I never imagined anyone hitting me straight on in the breast. It hurt and took the wind out of me and then came the second blow in the other breast. Two hits and I was done. She was all over me hitting me and kneeing me until I went down. I was groggy, but not so groggy I didn't know what she was doing." She noticed my face. "Is this too much for you, or shall I go on?"

"Go on."

"You said she came on to you. Well she came on to me, too. She started rubbing my nipples. No one had ever done that before. And you know what..." She paused.

"No."

"I'll tell you. Strong Mary was no knight in shining armor. Strong Mary, the great wrestler, was like putty. I felt weakness flowing through me. I was totally passive. And there was something worse...It was arousing. And I was scared. I was scared of being passive. I was scared of what she was doing to my sexually. It was the worse moment of my life."

Mary paused again. I waited. "Someone came to my rescue. That someone was you. You became my knight in shining armor. I know she hurt you and beat you. I think I know what she did to you. She did to you what she would have done to me if you hadn't saved me. Don't say anything. I know how Lucy scared you. I can only imagine how much courage it took for you to come to help me. I thank you. I thank you."

"Mary, stop! I failed. She hit me on the back of the neck and then held me over you and, and..." I began to tremble and couldn't go on.

"I could see that she had one hand pressing on your neck. Is that how she held you down?"

"Partly."

"Partly?"

I was mesmerized by Mary now. She was a great lawyer. "OK. She had my testicles with the other hand. When I tired to pull her hand off my neck, she just squeezed."

"And then?"

"And then she began to rub me and pump me and there was nothing I could do and then afterward she cleaned herself off on your chest. That was the worst moment of my life. The two worst moments have been with Lucy."

"Will you admit that it took courage to come to my rescue?"

"I didn't even think about it. I saw what she was doing to you and I wanted her to stop. That's all."

"You saved me and you suffered for me. I was proud to have your semen on my breasts if you want to know the truth. I hated having Lucy's hands on my breasts. Your semen seemed somehow cleansing. So much for the interrogatories. Now what have we learned. Shall I start?"

"Go ahead."

"I learned that I was a bit crazy thinking that because I knew how to wrestle and could even beat some men that that meant that I knew how to fight. Fighting is different from wrestling. Lucy is a fighter. I have learned that my hubris reflected my illusions and not my reality. I am ashamed of myself. I am a law student. I should have known better. The law is to protect the weak. I am the weak; so are you. I should have relied on the law not on some illusion about my physical prowess. My hubris caused you misery. I learned that you are truly brave. What have you learned?"

"More about myself, more about you, more about Lucy."

"What?"

Mary had started us down the path of truth and it all came out. "I have learned that Lucy is very strong and physically tough, but I also learned that she is insecure, like so many of us. She was really upset when she thought I was putting her down and thought I was too good for her. Of course, I didn't think that I was too good for her. I was scared of her. I still am. Actually, Mary, I am scared of her and I am scared of myself. I think now that if Lucy wanted anything from me, I would just give it to her. She messed with my body; she also messed with my head. I learned that Lucy has not inhibitions. She just does what she wants. Lucy is dangerous because her will is as strong as her body. OK, Mary, I learned that in some ways you never change. What I did not know before is that you are willing to take more than your share of the blame."

"Enough for tonight. We'll continue next week. How about dinner again here next Wednesday."

"OK." And that was that for the night.

"Tonight we should start by giving thanks for the law. The law, which we both are learning to serve, is designed, or should be designed, to protect the weak from the strong. The law protects the rational from the irrational. It helps those of normal wills to withstand those with strong wills. A toast to the law." I raised my glass.

The dinner had been excellent. I was relaxed and waiting to see what Mary would bring up next. I had not expected what I got, a lecture on the law.

She went on, "We should use the law to protect us against the Lucys of the world. With the law as a backdrop we need to face our fears and to overcome them. I was very afraid of Lucy, too, of what she could do to me. She messed with my head and my sex, you know, just as she did with yours. I am starting to put it behind me. It will take a while, but I am making progress. What about you?"

"I am trying, too. It's an effort. We both have to get on with our lives."

"That's right. I will have to give up my illusion about being your knight in shining armor. In fact, there are times when you will have to look after me. Maybe you will again be my knight in shining armor."

"That'll be the day when I, or anyone else, looks after Mary."

"I'll have to depend on you when I am pregnant or when I am nursing a baby. What if I have morning sickness?"

"What are you talking about?"

"When I am pregnant and especially at time of delivery, you will have to watch out for me."

"But you're not pregnant?" She shook her head. "Then what's going on? Are you propositioning me?" Again she shook her head. "I believe in marriage. You probably know that by now."

I did not want to embarrass her or myself, but I felt nervous in this deep water.

"You're not proposing?" She looked at me and slightly raised her eyebrows. I took that to be a "yes." Now I was nervous. "You're way ahead of me. We've never even held hands."

She reached out and took my hand. "Don't worry. I'm not Lucy. I won't beat you up if you reject me."

I held her hand. It was slim and slightly cool. I didn't want to reject her, but I still felt out of my depth. I rubbed her hand. "I am not rejecting. It's just that we've been friends but not, you know... I have never even once tried to kiss you..." I stopped there thinking I had gone too far. Mary held up her face to me. I reacted almost reflexively, I kissed her on the lips. She put her arms around my neck and I could not believe it. I was kissing Mary and Mary was kissing me back. I was lost in time and space and it all seemed so natural, kissing Mary. Mary, how have I been so blind. Oh, Mary we have been so separate. Now we are together forever, my love, my Mary.
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Old 24-Oct-14, 13:26
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Default Re: Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary

Wow, this is my 2nd favourite story of Counselor! (after Susan & Ned)
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