In private, we began with handcuffs, a shiny silver pair of handcuffs. I would take June’s small and delicate wrist in my hands and rub my thumbs across the softest, whitest skin there. June would exhale a soft moan at the touch of the steel, and then there would be the click of the mechanism engaging. Just like that, the cuff around my wrist, too, June and I would stay locked together no matter what tragedy befell us while at home.
We’re no criminals, though, and so when we left the house we’d leave the cuffs hanging on a hook just inside the door to await our return. The stares of strange faces, the accusations, the rumors—those things would kill June and me. Our collusion is not villainy; no, it is passion. So with the distance between us in public, June and I feared that we could lose each other at any moment; that while I was in one grocery store aisle and June in another, a twister could rip through the building, or as we walked down the street, an earthquake might fissure the ground between us, and we would be forever and irrevocably lost from one another.
It was June who suggested the fishing line. It’s so thin, nearly invisible to the naked eye, that we could walk easily down crowded streets or through shopping malls, no one ever suspecting that we were tied, our waists tethered by a foot of ten pound line between us.
June kept the spool in her purse and so when distance became a necessity—through dressing room doors, crowded subway cars, private phone calls—she could easily let out a little more length of line and we could bear the separation knowing that, yes, yes we were forever linked and locked together, body, mind and belt-loop.
It was in this way that we came to enjoy our privacy. We switched to heavier string—for kites—not long after the great success of the fishing line, and so we could move farther and farther from one another without worry. June could call her sister on the telephone and whisper about my triumphs, flaws and faults as a lover, tugging gently on her end of the kite string all the while so that I would feel her gentle pressure on my ankle and know that she was safe, still. I could smoke cigars again, free to exhale in any direction I pleased, knowing her delicate lungs would remain pinkly fresh and healthy indoors even as I blackened mine happily outside in the sunshine.
* * *
We enjoy these freedoms, yes; and yes, there are whole minutes, even hours when I do not see June—when the strings turn corners or travel downstairs—but every night we come together and reel in our connection; we close the distance between us and fasten the handcuffs once more; we coil rope around our waists and shuffle slowly toward the bed where we fall into contented, connected sleep.