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Goddesses And Guilt

T and I have just agreed to stop seeing each other.

Why is it that this happens so often? A friendship that was moving into a warm relationship was stopped by me just at the point when T. had offered for us to spend the night together, and when she was excitedly readying herself for all the preliminaries.

Why did I stop at that crucial point? I wish I knew.

We are both in our late fifties, and living in different parts of England. T. was in a car accident a dozen years ago and had her right leg amputated a few inches above the knee. We met after an advert in one of the magazines, just on a friendly basis. Her advert said she was an amputee and we corresponded briefly. She did not know that I am a devotee, and I had not shared that secret with her. Our first meeting was at her home during one afternoon. It took a long time for her to answer the door, and as she led me into the house, I was fascinated by the view of her from behind. Her slow walk with her artificial leg locked led me to believe that she had a very short stump. We sipped tea, and T. was keen that I should know about her handicap as she called it, so that I would know what she was like.

She did not describe her accident, but talked freely about her situation; she showed me her spare prosthesis and I realised that though in good health she was quite thin, and even though she had a longish stump, all her weight was on the top of the artificial leg, giving her continual discomfort.

We met a few more times at her house; she did not go out much and would not accept my invitation to for a pub lunch. On the third occasion, she was talking about the prosthesis making her thigh sore. To my surprise she said she'd show me. Sitting at a kitchen chair, she moved her skirt up, undid the strap round her waist, and slipped off the limb which I took and put to one side. Her stump was thin, with the scar gathered to one side. I rubbed the end feeling the cut bone, but she showed no embarrassment. She eventually put the limb back on again, and we stood up to go.

This last visit, we chatted for a while, when T. suggested that I might like to stay the night. I said we were too old for that sort of thing, and anyway wasn't it difficult to do that type of thing with a limb missing? T. emphatically said that she could still do it and it made no difference. We stood up caressing closely. I asked her to take her leg off, and helped her as she did. She remained standing and I asked her to move her stump around. She balanced a bit unsteadily, holding on to the table edge, and moved her stump up and around beneath her skirt. I took hold of her, held the stump and T. began to move her hips around.

'Where shall we go to do it?' she asked.

At this point, guilt overtook me. What right had I to share with her an emotional and physical event, when our reasons for doing it were so different? I apologised for getting her so worked up. We calmed down, I helped her back on with her leg, and eventually I left. I wrote to her explaining that I was a devotee, asking for her forgiveness, and asking that if she wanted to carry on, knowing my reasons, then that would be a delight. I rang her as I had said. She said such an arrangement would always be drawing attention to her leg, and she didn't want that - so that was the end.

How did all this devoteeism begin? Classically, I guess, when I was five or six, and living by the seaside. Walking along with my aunt one day, a girl, ten years old or so, came along the promenade with her family. She wore a Summer frock and polished leather pegleg. Later we saw her sitting in a deckchair, her pegleg propped on the promenade rail. It was not a sexual encounter as I was too young - --What caused it? I do not remember any events prior to that, which might have influenced me, but on that day something happened to me which has been with me ever since.

Over subsequent years I lingered over pictures of amputees in newspa pers, and did not think much about it. Then when I was 14 or so, and beginning to be more aware of girls, I came across C. in the neighbouring school. C's right arm was amputated congenitally through the elbow. She wore short sleeves and a number of times I saw the small curl of flesh where her arm stopped. One day in the Autumn I followed her on the bus, when she was wearing a blazer with the sleeve cut short. We got up to leave the bus, and as I followed, the bus braked and as C. moved back towards me, I held the end of her stump to steady her - such delight - flesh and then bone, and I could not believe the pleasure. C. thought nothing of it, but guilt stepped in, and I never followed her again.

In subsequent years I followed the classical pattern - finding odd bits of information in the library, hanging around outside the limb-fitting centre, and occasional pictures in newspapers. I assumed what I was doing was wrong.

Then I fell into conversation outside a shop with J., who was my age, and walked with elbow crutches. We had coffee, met again, and walked in Hyde Park. As we sat on a seat and talked about her accident, resulting in the amputation of her right leg at the hip, I risked all and explored her stump as she talked; she responded by moving the short bone through her skirt. Then we caressed briefly and that was that - no embarrassment on her part and no objection to my action.

There were several more meetings. We went out for supper or the theatre. J. always used crutches when we were out and always elbow crutches. She said she preferred them to arm crutches or wearing her prosthetic leg.

Once, after we had been out for supper, we talked about the prosthesis, which, she said, she wore occasionally for parties. She offered to put it on for me. She came back walking very slowly, and more cumbersomely than when she was on crutches. I felt around the artificial leg, which was a hip-piece from which the leg hung, and in all not easy to manipulate.

Eventually, we agreed to spend the afternoon together. J. was dressed nicely, and we sat on her sofa bed talking. I asked about the stump and what she wore, and she lifted her skirt to show her underwear, stitched across on the right side to form a kind of sock. I could scarcely contain my sexual excitement as she slipped more of her things off and let me explore the stump. J, too, was getting roused and we ended up with J. kneeling unsteadily on the bed, me caressing her wildly while standing, and all in all just waiting for the moment to totally undress and fulful our desires - she for years of sexual frustration, and for the absolute desire - full satisfaction with a one-legged woman.

But again, my guilt overtook me. Here was the woman of my dreams - one-legged, passionate, uninhibitied - but unaware of my real motives. So I said we should wait, calmed her down, and never saw her again.

And so it goes on. There are other relationships of the same sort. The woman unaware of my motives, me desiring that ultimate fulfilment, and not wanting to spoil the perfectness of the relationship.

So where is the goddess in all this?

Is is my desire to observe from afar, and not to spoil the object of my desire? Is it that there is a perfectness in the view of an amputee - whether she is clothed or not?

There have been numerous occasions when I have had the opportunity to talk to an amputee that I have seen, but have preferred just to observe - and then afterwards I have felt unhappy that I missed yet another opportunity. This is where the guilt takes over.

The only time I have shared my secret with an amputee was with T. She was not horrified by it in any way, although I think it something new for her to learn that there were devotees around; but she did not want to have her leg being a focus of admiration, and I felt I had to honour that request.

So, I do not know how to balance this conflict between guilt and admiration, and if others feel they can write about their experiences, all readers of OverGround will find it interesting.

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