Like a lot of teenage girls, especially those infamous 'PKs', Joe had discovered the 'joy' of sex. Like most, though, she soon found that 'Joy' was a fickle mistress, for without the experience of orgasm through sexual intercourse, the relationship, such as it was, quickly fizzled out. In fact, because of this, Joe earned the nickname 'Potato Chip', for most of the local boys quickly learned that she was, to put it crudely, an 'easy lay', a moniker which became even more prolific when it was discovered that there was no 'danger' of pregnancy.
At first, Joe, along with her multitude of wannabe 'lovers', counted this a boon, but when she tried to 'straighten her act up', at the behest of her parents, who didn't realize she was barren, she found that she was not 'marriage material' to the kind of men her folks approved of. Though she did go through her fair share of suitors, even managing to get as far as engagement once or twice, Joe soon learned that, in most circles, particularly the ones her parents ran in, she was considered 'damaged goods', even 'broken'!
Broken' as she was, as well as being naturally rebellious to her strictly religious upbringing, Joe finally, at the ripe old age of 33, found a man that was willing to spend the rest of his life with her. As 'Luck' would have it though, her Joy was not to last, for a mere two years ( to the day ) after they said their vows to each other, her husband passed away in a freak vehicle turnover. At 37 years old, Joe was still quite a 'looker', so, while finding a 'lover' was a fairly easy task, since she only seemed to attract married men, none of whom were willing to leave their wives for her, she decided that the married life was not for her!
Enter 'John'. 'John was the kind that might be called a 'hurt puppy'! He WAS married, but because of certain unresolved issues in his life prior to this marriage, he was having problems keeping it afloat. John's wife had her own issues to deal with, so rather than listen with understanding to each other's issues, they both had chosen to deal with the other's issues without dealing with their own. In this way, both had become sullen, preferring, it would seem, to focus on solving the problem they saw reflected in their partner, not realizing it was their own reflection they saw!
When Joe came along, John found himself drawn to her, not sexually, so much as by an undeniable spiritual connection, though he had to admit she was still very attractive, physically speaking. As their connection continued to blossom, John's wife Mary, while struggling with her own issues, fought to keep her husband's obvious attraction to Joe at bay. Not wanting to cause further issues, while still wishing to maintain the secure connection she had finally found, Joe decided to pursue a relationship with both wounded parties, to see if she could aid in bringing healing to both!
Considering Joe's prior experiences with the opposite sex, physically speaking, it came as no surprise when she began to find herself attracted to Mary, though not necessarily sexually speaking! In her prior experience, Joe had found that men, for the most part, were lead by the wrong head. This is not to say that every man with whom she had dallied only had one thing on their mind, just that, for the greater part, their decisions were based, to whatever extent, on their 'need' to gratify their own lust. Therefore, when Joe began to cozy up to his wife, in a manner of speaking, John began to notice a subtle change in Mary, all the while realizing that it mirrored the transition he himself was experiencing!
John's main issue with his wife, he realized ( hopefully before it was too late ) was that he saw himself as a problem-solver. This sounds like a good thing, but really, most of the time it only serves to exacerbate the problem. When Mary would come crying to him, either literally or figuratively, John's 'go-to' had always, immediately been to try to fix it. When she would 'rag' on him for something he had supposedly done, or if she was just having a bad day, John would almost always go on the defensive, taking personally what was not so much aimed at him as it was just Mary's way of airing out her emotions, or feelings. One thing that John was learning through his relationship with Joe was to do more listening than talking. He was also learning not to be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Both he & Mary had been brought up similarly to how Joe had been raised, so they both were judgmental, not just of outsiders, but of each other. Learning to know Joe, as they both were, they were slowly realizing that though a person's prior history may have an effect on their future, it does not define who they are!
Joe's blossoming relationship with Mary, on the other hand, was more personally based, whereas with John it was mainly spiritual. Both had become more or less comfortable with Joe being in their lives, but Mary, probably because their friendship had begun in physicality, felt less threatened by Joe's presence than her husband did. Though they both had their moments, as anyone would, Joe's relationship with John was actually deeper because of their spiritual connection. Other than that, they really didn't have much in common, but they both felt an almost un-explainable affinity for each other.
Through all of this, almost mysteriously, John & Mary's failing marriage was beginning to show signs of being rekindled! Neither partner was perfect, don't gt me wrong, but through their relationship with Joe, they were quickly learning how much better ( in fact, they found soon enough that it was the best way ) it was to listen more, while talking less. Furthermore, to listen without judgement, though it was difficult for them both at first, became easier the more they exercised their new-found freedom!
Joe, meanwhile, was reaping the karma she had sown in her earlier life. The sexual 'freedom' she had experienced previously had proven to be detrimental, rather than a 'boon' to her health.While
John & Mary's relationship was rising like a phoenix from the ashes, Joe's bodily presence, having fulfilled its purpose, was fading. From all of her sexual escapades, Joe's body had been slowly but surely wearing down. John & Mary were both rather devastated by this realization, though understandably Mary moreso than John, but knew that her continued attachment to this couple would, in Time prove to be detrimental to their relationship, though it had effectively saved it.
Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank