Soldiers, when committed to a task, can’t compromise. It’s unrelenting devotion to the standards of duty and courage, absolute loyalty to others, not letting the task go until it’s been done.”

John Keegan


Geesh, another blog.  And yes more words from a former soldier, a career soldier.  But this is not for you, it’s for me.  These are words I’ve wanted to put down for years and finally have time and energy to do it.

So what is this about?  It is simply the experiences of a career soldier, the slow slide to war after 9-11 and the impact of 3 years of war on an individual, a family and those involved.  It has been an odd caserole of the need for intimacy, emotional and physical and the hesitation to be intimate because of the risk.  The need to embrace humanity’s most primal desires and the inability to find a similar spirit.  And it is likely a tale of gross selfishness, selflessness and a chronic feeling of  complete betrayal by those I’d hoped would be my most intimate partners.

After 9-11 I spent the next 4 years cleaning up after bad decisions by careerist officers, taking care of Uncle Sam’s dirty laundry.  I was not a fast of those officers identified for greatness but I did have the reputation of getting it done.  I was known to be a problem solver.  It might not be pretty but it will happen.

Who am I or perhaps more important who was I.  In 2001 I was a Field Grade officer in the Army in a position of relative authority serving in a premier combat division of the US Army.  I was married, had a son and a career that was at once reasonably successful and very enjoyable.  I loved what I did.

What follows is not a story of bravery, great battles, exciting events.  I am no hero.  Rather it is a story of how most soldiers go to war, at least in the last 15 years and what the outcomes are once that soldier returns.

My purpose is quite simple.  To lay down these memories, put some of them away and add context to others.  This series of posts is a living document and each chapter will evolve with additional detail and thought over time.



Let’s go to war


War is too serious a matter to leave to soldiers.”

William Tecumseh Sherman


9-11 touched everyone’s life.  Some more than others.  In my case, at the installation I was stationed at we were consumed by preparation for war and securing the installation, Ft Campbell KY.  We guarded ourselves a lot.

I was in command of a battalion as a Major.  Not how this is supposed to work.  The Lieutenant Colonel who was actually the commander of the unit was off in Kosovo trying to be a hero.  In conversations with him before he left it was clear he saw Kosovo as an opportunity to shine.  He never anticipated we’d get into a real shooting war and after 9-11 I received a lot of e-mail guidance from him.  I would just read and delete as he was not in a position to make decisions.  He asked for deployment and he got it.  For the spin up to send troops to Afghanistan he was irrelevant.

As a commander I found myself in the position to send soldiers to Afghanistan in support of a combat brigade.  Not the easiest thing since the bulk of my unit was deployed to other contingencies.  The actual commander had taken all the really competent soldiers with him and I was left with the clerk, jerks, spoons and criminals.  The soldiers remaining at home station were not exactly the best and the brightest. On top of preparation for combat was the need to re assure the families of soldiers that they were safe and their world had not collapsed.  Perhaps it’s difficult to understand so many years later but there was a genuine fear that all the soldiers would leave, deploying into a hellish environment of death.  That is not hyperbole.

Imagine sending your child to school and there are soldiers on gun trucks with Caliber .50 machine guns guarding the school.  The kids loved it and they competed for the chance to take the soldiers lunch.  What the little one’s did not understand is those guns were locked and loaded and the threat was treated as very real.  The soldiers themselves were eager and ready but the idea of prolonged separation really played on the minds of spouses and families.

In the midst of this I’d been selected to fill another duty position with a division that was largely deployed, both in Afghanistan and Kosovo.  In December of 2001 I left Ft Campbell for Ft Drum NY full in the belief that I would immediately deploy either to Kosovo or to Afghanistan.  As it turned out I would do both.

Christmas 2001 was a mixture of melancholy, anticipation and joy.  The family was afraid but at that time everyone was afraid.  Ft Drum was a ghost town, no soldiers as the entire division was deployed somewhere.  The division was engaged in Kosovo, Afghanistan (K2) and in Bosnia.  There was a joke that the sun never set on 10th Mountain Division and it was largely true.

We settled into quarters and I tried to assemble some sort of Christmas for my son.  A small tree and some gifts for him.  I spent the bulk of my days just trying to get a grip on where on the planet I was going and figure out my duties and responsibilities.  It was a mess and the only people with any authority left at home station were those that were not wanted in any of the deployed locations because of ineptitude.  Finally, as December turned to January I got the word that I would go to Kosovo.  The Commander of US Army Europe demanded a Lieutenant Colonel in my specialty  be in the 10th Mountain contingent at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.  Problem was I was not officially a Lieutenant Colonel yet.  I was “frocked” to LTC.  An administrative move whereby I would wear the rank of LTC, have the responsibility but just wouldn’t get compensation/pay for the rank.  The one drawback is most of the Majors who would be working for me knew it and it was a bit awkward being a Major and having Majors who knew I was a Major working for me.  It worked out it time.

In January of 2002 I left for Kosovo.  To be honest Kosovo was easy.  I lived well, ate well and the level of danger was minimal.  The biggest threat was in fact US officers looking for glory.  Constant and unsubstantiated threats of terrorist actions against US units or activities when in fact the people of Kosovo were very supportive.  It seems the US officers were disappointed they were not in the “big show” in Afghanistan so..gotta be a hero somehow.

For me Kosovo was a good learning experience.  I figured out how US national structures helped or hindered deployed military forces.  I also learned of the importance of political will, political agendas in any military operation.  It set me up for survival in Afghanistan, both personally and professionally.

The other lesson was on brutality.  In my time I learned about how utterly brutal people can be.  I toured a rape factory where young teen girls had been raped to death.  The evidence of the atrocity was still present.  I got to see how nations that wanted to show their support for the US in those days would murder alleged terrorists.  I’d seen violent death but not state sponsored murder to curry favor with the US.

I was unusually fortunate in that I had some of best talent assembled in one place working for me.  This is absolutely no exaggeration.  All my subordinate officers were talented and driven.  There was little physical danger in Kosovo but a lot of work to be done to improve conditions and return some semblance of normalcy to the lives of the Kosovars.  Of course I was proud of what we accomplished.  We reduced violence, we contributed to the body of knowledge on the importance of law enforcement intelligence and no one was hurt while deployed.

The final lesson of Kosovo was the fickle nature of General Officers and the hubris that drives their thoughts and decisions.  My boss was in retrospect a good officer but at the time he seemed like a maniac.  His self absorption seemed almost unbearable.  I had a recurring dream where during a meeting, when unhappy with my work, he would shoot me in the head.

All through my time in Kosovo I got constant e-mails from various senior officers asking when I would be headed to Afghanistan.  I was already slated to replace an officer serving in OEF and all his senior officer daddies wanted him out of harms way so he could attend an Army school stateside.  To a man the officers who wrote me stated…he needs to get out of there because he is a really good guy.  My form letter response came to include…and I am not a good guy?  All that aside the lessons from Kosovo would be a great help in the next adventure, OEF-I Afghanistan.




Home but not really

Home.  The word takes on epic meaning to anyone who has deployed.  Soldiers do all kinds of things to count the days until they can catch a ride home.  The real truth about anticipation of getting home is the idea feeds the most primal desires and needs of anyone having spent time in a combat zone.  My reality was very much different from what I’d hoped for or anticipated.

My first task was to be the returning hero and to impress her parents with stories of valor and daring.  What I really wanted to do was take a nap then park myself on the back porch with a bottle of Gentleman Jack and contemplate the last year of my life.  So much had happened and so much to process.  And of course I wanted to top the evening off with monkey sex.  What I got was a long conversation with Church Lady’s parents around the dinner table, a little time to re connect with my son and little sleep.

We went to Chicago for the event.  Church Lady had assumed she would go alone but our redeployment schedule allowed me to go along.  There is a picture of me on the train.  I look fried.  When we got to Chicago there were the inevitable questions of “what’s it like?” or “are we winning?”.  Well of course I answered that we were doing well and the Taliban was on the run.  The truth was that our operations had done nothing more than anger the Pashtun population.  Just prior to leaving the Mountain staff agreed that what we had created was a nascent insurgency.  Cheers.

As for my relations with my spouse she had become distant and cold.  I don’t know the cause or if it was my efforts to process the previous year.  What I do know is that neither I nor my son were a priority.  Her focus was on her religion, her church and a family requirement to become leaders in her church community.  And, being a good husband I complied.  The church was in Syracuse and so dutifully every Sunday we drove 80 miles to Syracuse and spent the entire day there.  It snows a good bit in upstate NY and we spent more than a few Sundays hoping to survive the trip.  At home however, life was empty except for my boy who was trying to grow up on me.

At this point the U.S. Army was spooling up for the big fight in Iraq.  Afghanistan was becoming a lesser conflict and 10th Mountain was politicking to get into that deployment.  As a requirement of the Chief of Staff or the Army the division had to undergo a rotation at the Battle Command Training Program.  This is essentially a large command post exercise in a field environment driven by a computer simulation.  We would put the division headquarters in the field in upstate NY in the winter.  By the way it’s cold in upstate NY in the winter.  The focus of the exercise would be large-scale combat operations all in an effort to sell the unit to CENTCOM to be part of Iraqi Freedom.

Most of my time was devoted to preparing for this.  We had to attend various seminars and do some traveling to visit organizations that would contribute to our exercise.  I always found it interesting that coming out of combat we would be forced to simulate combat to demonstrate our preparedness for combat.

With Afghanistan fading into the background the Headquarters for US forces was transitioning and shrinking a bit.  The division was receiving requests for individuals to go fill an ad hoc headquarters at Bagram.  What I later learned is that upon receiving these requests for individual fills for positions the division G3 went into the Division Commander and volunteered the entire division staff to go and take the mission.  We got back in September, we would go back the following April.

The division CPX went well.  It was brutally cold but we achieved, at least on paper, all of our training objectives.  The temperatures plummeted and we started requiring soldiers to make sure they were never out in the cold alone, always with a buddy.  We found more than one passed out in a snow drift and they very well could have frozen to death.  Toward the end of the exercise we started packing up gear to go to Afghanistan.  Some items went straight from the field to rail load for deployment.  Some items had to be dug out of ice and snow to get packed away.  We would have a couple of weeks to recover from the exercise and the air flow to Afghanistan would start.

As deployment approached I knew this one would be more painful than the last.  I really did not mind going back but the anger from Church Lady made this one more difficult.  She took it personally that I was leaving again.  She was not supportive, offered no warm words of re assurance.  Rather her attitude was selfish.  Going back to war my priority, in her mind, was to make sure that her life was as structured and painless as possible.  I know this sounds bitter but it’s how I saw it.

Again I had my son help me pack.  We packed and repacked about a dozen times.  First because I was a bit paranoid and second Church Lady did not participate and this gave us valuable alone time.

They came with me to the airfield to see me off.  He cried, she scowled.


Groundhog Day


I live my life like there’s no tomorrow
And all I’ve got, I had to steal
Least I don’t need to beg or borrow
Yes I’m livin’ at a pace that kills

Runnin’ with the Devil

I found the simple life ain’t so simple
When I jumped out on that road
I got no love, no love you’d call real
Ain’t got nobody waiting at home

“Runnin with the Devil” Van Halen

In April of 2003 I walked off the aircraft at Bagram Airfield.  I was met with the same omnipresent odor of feces and urine that I remembered from September 2002.  Nothing much had changed.  It was Groundhog Day.

This time around the 10th Mountain Division Staff formed the basis of JTF 180, the Joint Task Force that provided command and control for all military operations in Afghanistan.  The XVIII Airborne Corps commander would be the JTF Commander but for all intense purposes it was a 10th Mountain Division show.  We still only had 1 Brigade of combat troop in theater and there was a Task Force that had the purpose of assisting with rebuilding Afghanistan…or more accurately re building Afghanistan in our image, the Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force or more simply stated CJCMOTF.

I felt better this time due to the simple fact that I deployed with people I knew.  I did not need to build relationships with subordinates, I knew who they were.  More complicated was my level of responsibility.  I found myself doing a job normally given to a full Colonel and I was a Lieutenant Colonel.  Some of the people I needed to work with were a little put off by my rank; that I was not a full Colonel.  I learned that being obnoxious is often a valuable skill and one that I honed in the next months.

The stress I felt from the work was compounded by the communications from home.  Again, focused more on herself, the daily “get your ass out of there” message started soon after I arrived in theater.  It became a thing of dread.  E-mail is a blessing and a curse and the e-mails I received did nothing to reduce my stress.  I was always glad to talk to my boy and once again his mail with pictures he drew for me became a highlight.  He also sent a couple of action figures to keep me company.

As for the work, this time was more lethal than before.  We did not have the combat forces to really take offensive action beyond small-scale raid.  What we did have was air support.  The JTF owned its own half squadron of A10’s and a half squadron of AV8’s (Harriers).  We had our own air force.  In addition we had AC130’s at our disposal which quickly became my favorite airplane.  The A10’s and AV8’s were awesome but at night, striking individual targets, the tool of choice was AC130.  In fact it became an evening ritual.  After dinner I would get the JTF Commander and we’d go get the days target folder and strike a target.  The targets had all been researched and vetted through the lawyers so they met intelligence and legal standards.  The fascinating thing about AC130 is you could talk to the pilot during the engagement and get essentially a narrative of the strike.  The people on the list as targets were the most fanatical Taliban leaders.

I learned an important lesson in 2003.  Don’t go where you are not supposed to go.  In my job direct combat was not part of my job description.  But in order to do my job effectively I had to be on the road, between camps or bases or Kabul pretty regularly.  It was on one of these trips where I got to feel the fear, uncertainly and anger of an ambush.  I survived the experience but it brought home to me the idea that life is uncertain, sometimes short and in the whoosh of an RPG7 it can all go away.

In my duties one of my recurring tasks was to visit with the UN in Kabul.  The drive to Kabul could be a little nerve-wracking but the UN compound was pretty comfortable and they always had good coffee.  In war or a combat zone people often talk of sex as a weapon.  Well the UN understood this idea so the UN representative that the JTF had to work through was an absolutely beautiful blonde from the UK. When we would meet up with her she always made sure to be backlit and she wore linen sundresses which when backlit revealed a lot, like she never wore underwear.  It was hard to tell her no if the UN folks wanted something from the JTF.  Somehow we were able to. I always wondered how far she would go to achieve UN requests?

On the subject of sex as a weapon the Taliban and Afghans in general were not shy about using rape as a weapon.  If a village cooperated with the coalition the Taliban would go in and rape every female in the village.  If any western female was found alone she would be raped in order to impregnate her with a jihadist.  On one occasion a young female working for an NGO was raped while out scouting for a good place to put in wells to provide water for a village.  The Taliban went too far and she died in the act.  Small justice for this young woman is we found them and they died like cowards…all caught on video.

Violent death was not uncommon.  A blinding flash of the obvious but to experience it..or at least watch it is life changing.  On a hilltop in Zabol province I held the hand of a young soldier as he breathed his last.  There is no way to express the impotence I felt as this young man of 19 at first struggled, then resigned himself to his fate.  His wounds were too severe to dress adequately.  He told me his regrets and so many had direct connections to mine.  In that short time he talked of relationships, of wrongs he’d done and how he’d been wronged and in the last moments I held him to keep him warm.  Enough of that.

By November I’d had enough.  An officer had volunteered to take my position.  The constant calls from home to get home, the stress of the job and experiences led me to tap out.  I let that guy take over and to this day it is a decision I regret.  I should have stayed.  I let Church Lady brow beat me into abdicating my responsibility.

This trip home was almost comical.  On the day the JTF released me I walked over to the airfield and spoke to an Air Force Loadmaster.  I asked if any aircraft were scheduled to leave for the east coast of the US.  He said yes so I walked into the admin building and got my name on the manifest.  I was hitchhiking home.

My destination was Fort Bragg North Carolina.  I had a brother stationed there and he was going to meet me at the airfield.  A night on the plane, a night at Ft Bragg and I would be home.

Arriving in Syracuse I was met by my family.  My son had hints of facial hair and he was eager to see me.  Church Lady greeted me warmly was another homecoming that was just a series of tasks that I had not completed because I was deployed.  We went to dinner in Syracuse.  After my experiences in the previous years I had an aversion to sitting with my back to people.  Church Lady chaffed at my request for a seat by a wall but she gave in.  As I sat in the restaurant an intense melancholy kept building.  Two days prior I had been in Afghanistan, the most foul place I can think of and here I was in a restaurant and people were laughing, clean, and clueless.  Thousands of miles away Americans were eating a meal out of a brown plastic bag in a perpetual sandstorm.  In Syracuse people complained because a vent was blowing air on them.  At the end of the meal the melancholy and guilt got the best of me.  Church Lady wanted to leave but I needed to sit still and quiet for a moment.  She kept tugging on me saying “let’s go” and my only response was..give me a minute..just a minute.  Then we drove home.

For the next several months I did garrison type duties at Fort Drum.  Nothing stirring.  I was involved in security for a visit from the junior Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton.  All I can say is she is an evil self servile human.

One day out of the blue I was offered battalion command.  The General in Command of INSCOM called and offered me command of 201st MI Bn.  I was elated at the opportunity.  When I told Church Lady she was less than enthused.  I had to convince her this was that last job, the last duty and I’d be satisfied to retire from the Army.  Eventually she gave in, on the condition that this would be the last move.  So, in June 2004 it was goodbye upstate New York and hello to Fort Gordon GA and The Little Task Force that could.



2nd Life

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
And always give more than you take.
But more than anything, yeah, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.”
My Wish by Rascal Flatts

I officially hung up the uniform the end of September 2005.  Some loopholes in regulation let me get a job as a defense contractor in August.  I got a job as a contractor at Ft Leavenworth and we moved to Kansas.

We purchased a home in a quiet small town outside Kansas City.  The decision on the house was based on school district and distance from her church.  Not a lot of thought was given to my commute.  My commute turned out to be just shy of an hour.

Life at home went on as it had for years.  The business of life.  My son was in High School and the family focus in off time was church and wow did we go to church a lot.  If it wasn’t for services it was for meetings or to cut grass or clean things up.  I spent more time in the church yard than I did in my own.  And when it came to money we spent more money on the church than I was allowed to spend on home repair.  It got insane.

Church Lady volunteered me to head up a committee to finish the interior of the church.  It involved mostly iconography and that can be pretty expensive.  I took on the task, used military planning methods and in the end successfully spent their entire budget of $250,000.  All that on beautifying the interior.  And despite my efforts to help them with their project some of the older refugees from the 60’s asked me if I’d killed any babies.  Seriously.  In my state of mind at the time this cut deeply.  So much time spent gone after 9-11 and this ass hat is gonna ask me that?   Such was my life.

While her church was sucking down my income Church Lady was busy alienating her son.  He was growing up and her parenting style was still only appropriate for a two-year old.  It was all based on compliance, no reasoning, no discussion just do it.  And at times she would dial 911 to get him to comply.  Other anecdotes involved her locking my son out of the house in winter wearing only a t-shirt and boxer shorts.  This happened more times than I care to think about.  She also had the habit of kicking him out of her car while stopped at a light and driving off.  He was stressed and she was perpetually angry.

In the middle of all this I was attempting to calm the storm.  Too many times I’d be at my desk at work.  She would call my desk phone and he would be on my cell.  They were 20 feet from each other but I was passing messages back and forth.  It all got very ridiculous.  At times her actions were so irrational that there was no way I could support her position and she chastised me for supporting him over her.

And in all this I was still processing the last 5 years of my military career.  I was having classic symptoms of anxiety attacks, lack of sleep, mood swings and increased consumption of alcohol.  I was sneaking drinks and hiding a bottle in an attic.  And in my mind there was no end in sight.

In the midst of this turmoil two things would happen that would change the course.  Her parents started having problems with their health.  This caused Church Lady to make mad dashes to her parents and left me and my son to our own devices.   The second thing was Church Lady went back to work.  She was a nurse and picked up a night shift at a nursing home.   I don’t mind saying I enjoyed the peace and quiet but I also started to think there has to be something better than constant conflict.  And so, just on a lark at first, I started to look.

Sunny Skies

All the times

That I felt insecure

For you

And I leave

My burdens at the door

But I’m on the outside

I’m looking in

I can see through you

See your true colors

‘Cause inside you’re ugly

You’re ugly like me

I can see through you

See to the real you

“Outside” by Staind.

“Eyes, Those damn eyes fucked me forever”.  Charles Bukowski.

In 2008, my marital relationship had turned into more of a roommate situation with occasional coitus.  She spent the bulk of her time tending to her parents and her church.  I seemed to have transformed into nothing more than a method to get money to give to her church and for her to have the freedom to not work and pursue whatever she chose.  The dynamic in the house, between my spouse and my teen-aged son was continuous tension.  She would lock him out of the house during winter wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a t-shirt and on more than one occasion kicked him out of her car in traffic.  It was a brutal time.  I found my self having to be both the enforcer of rules with my son and the one who was loving and supportive as she was uniquely ineffective at both.

During one of her frequent trips to her parents’ house I decided to post something on a bulletin board type service about a friend with benefits.  My posting said something about conversation, time spent and perhaps something more intimate in time.  I will admit that I’d had a couple of drinks and this was something of a lark.  I let it fly though.  Both out of a sincere desire and curiosity.  The responses I received were an almost surreal mixed bag of broken psyches, morbidly obese women who wanted sex and a couple of genuine responses but not interested in the same situation I was.  Then one day in late winter I got a response that was very terse.  A quick question about my intent.  This is how I met a woman I will refer to as Sunny Skies.

We exchanged notes in an attempt to get acquainted.  It was on her third e-mail back to me that she slipped and left her full name and place of employment in a signature block.  It flustered her but for me it made her human.  As a sort of quid pro quo I gave her my name.  In the coming days our correspondence centered on figuring each other out.  I learned that she was in an unsatisfactory marital relationship that had been built around common dreams of a business.  She was a business partner with her spouse and they operated a landscaping company.  From me she learned that I was a retired officer, combat veteran and similarly in an unsatisfactory marital relationship.  She was 7 years younger than me, born and bred in Kansas City and childless.

After some time figuring ourselves out we started to write of desires, attitudes and what each was looking for both in life and out of this acquaintance.  I learned that she was neo pagan, that her spouse had little interest in sex and her desire fit in with the whole pagan idea of goddess worship.  She was looking for body worship from an attentive male.  I also learned that she wanted to be a mother.  Sunny was going through every conceivable procedure to have a baby.  She felt the pressure of time and age to give birth.  Sunny was 39 when we met and wanted to have a child before she was in her 40’s.  Sunny referred to it as the “baby dance”.

From me she learned that I was looking for an attentive ear and quite honestly some sexual adventure.  I mentioned to her that any intimate relations between myself and my spouse was almost formulaic and mechanistic.  I had a mild sexual addiction and had a freakish side that seemed to fascinate her.

After hundreds of e-mails and a couple of phone calls we decided to meet.  We agreed to actually meet at a park in a small town on the Missouri side, Parkville.  Anyone who knows Parkville knows a quaint little town on the river.  There is a park by the river and the centerpiece is a gazebo.  That was where we would meet.  We exchanged vehicle descriptions and agreed to meet at the gazebo at 4 p.m.

I had considerable anxiety about the meeting.  I was worried that this might get out.  My employer might find out or my family.  In the back of my mind I thought this could be something of an ambush where she would threaten blackmail or something.  All kinds of crazy thoughts raced through my head.  On the day of the meeting I showed up early and parked in a location that was concealed but provided observation of the parking lot and the gazebo.  Once satisfied that no one was setting in an ambush I moved down and parked in the lot by the park and I waited.  After about 15 minutes I spotted a vehicle that matched hers approaching and waited until she parked.  I got out of my car and walked over toward her.  I watched as this lean woman in t-shirt and jeans, wide-brimmed straw hat and wrap around shades stepped out.  Sunny said hi and took my hand.  We walked to the gazebo to sit and chat.

Our conversation was pretty lightweight at the start but in time we dove into the personal issues and desires that we’d discussed in our correspondence.  We confirmed to each other what we’d said.  The words are lost in time but they were all good.  What was not lost is my memory of how absolutely beautiful Sunny was.  I was not expecting this.  She was (and still is) lean and muscled.  Nice legs and what conforms to the description of an onion butt.  Long lean arms and petite bust that fit her.  And…she had/has the most incredible eyes.  As we sat and chatted she was facing the sun.  Sunny has hazel eyes but they shined and the sun caught different colors.  At times they were green, other times brown and sometime there was the glint of gold when the sun hit them just right.  I found myself absolutely captivated by this magnificent woman.  I remember asking her what she had expected prior to meeting.  Sunny’s simple response was “a fat guy”.

We walked a bit, held hands and chatted.  We agreed to continue, set some ground rules and mentioned a potential next meeting for more intimate activities.  She was going on vacation with a friend to the northwest later in the year and I had some business travel.  We would keep up on e-mail and I would call.  We set phone call time as 1200, once a week.  And with some regret I watched as she drove away.

We continued to chat, talk and eventually set a date for our first intimate get together.   Being impatient I agreed to date which was also they day I returned from a business trip.  We set the location, a hotel close to the airport.  During my trip I remembered her words “a fat guy”.  Although not in terrible shape I made sure to work out every day.  That trip could not end soon enough.  On that day of my return I hurried back to my home.  My spouse was once again at her parents’ house so this was going to be easy.  I showered, groomed myself a bit and headed to the location.  Sunny would meet me at one of the doors and take me to the room.  I was of course running late.  As I pulled in I saw her vehicle, parked close and went to the door she had designated to meet me at.  As I walked up what I saw is to this day stuck in my mind.  She was there in a skirt that revealed her skin/legs underneath.  I remember a halter top with a shawl and her hair was pulled up.  She was…perfect.  The look on her face was one of excitement and submission, almost demure.  I found this absolutely charming since by personality she was an assertive and blunt person.

We kissed and she led me to the room.  It was lit with candles and she had bottled water “for the thirsty work ahead”.  We chatted a bit, sat close and started to kiss and from there foreplay then intercourse.  I was again completely taken by her.  So beautiful, her eyes catching the light of the candles, her lean and beautiful body.  I remember thinking to myself that I needed to explore and memorize every inch of her.  In time I did.  Everything about her was beautiful..every inch.  Even her most intimate parts were graceful.  Once I told her that anyone with that beautiful a butt should be required by law to walk around with it exposed. We lay entwined after and I remember thinking this is what it should be and her soft warm skin was perfect.  I also noticed something that I mentioned to her several times during our adventure.  Her face, although beautiful carried worry lines.  She often had the look of a woman with too much on her mind.  Afterwards, after I’d worshiped her body..and after my climax her face always seemed to soften, markedly.  And with that, in the light of the candles she looked perfect. Thus started a kind of physical and somewhat emotional relationship that lasted with some intensity for about two years.

Sunny and I corresponded regularly.  I would often be greeted with an e-mail in the morning or I might greet her.  We talked on the phone with some regularity and we started meeting almost weekly at a relatively nearby park.  The park was large enough and secluded enough for us to engage in intercourse.  This ranged from getting some modicum of privacy in a picnic shelter or once on a blanket on the side of a hill overlooking a lake.    As things got chilly it was sometimes a challenge.  We would have sex in the car which often involved interesting bruising on her shoulder.  On one occasion she invited me to her home while her spouse was away and we had sex in her bed.  One she assured me she did not share with her spouse.  Again, fantastic as our park meetings were they did not afford me the opportunity to enjoy all of her.  Similarly, on one occasion when I would be alone at home she came to my house.  We did not have sex in my marital bed, Sunny stated that would make her feel creepy. In time our meetings moved to hotels as money allowed.  We were still both married and had to be discrete.  Almost everytime, everywhere we met there was a sexual component, petting, grinding, intercourse and anytime we had a room she enjoyed receiving oral sex.  I brought her to my place of work where I provided oral sex and we had vaginal and anal intercourse on my desk.  I still smile when I look at my desk.   If it could only talk.

I let Sunny Skies into everything I was.  I took her to my favorite places, exposed those parts of me I hold close and do not let anyone see.  And in the end that transparency was for naught.

In retrospect I am grateful.  I was able to spend time and have intimate relations with a complex, interesting and beautiful woman.  Also in retrospect I have thought about the cost and a lot of “what ifs”.

I know that my now ex-spouse knew something was going on.  I was careful enough that she did not know what or with who but…all the signs were there.  Our infrequent and mechanistic intercourse was even less frequent.  After all, if I was having sex with a beautiful woman who was an excellent sex partner why would I want a morbidly obese and angry woman?  There were some things I was less than careful about.  Sunny and I were friends on Facebook and I had a boutique e-mail address that I did not share the password for.  There were times when I would leave an event or a situation to log on to e-mail just to check for a note from Sunny Skies.  I even hid during my son’s High School Graduation Party for a time to check e-mail.  I was totally absorbed by her and our adventure. It is fair to say I was in love with Sunny Skies.

Falling in love was a violation of the ground rules we’d set at our first meeting at the gazebo but, I could not help myself.  On a regular basis I would ask the question, was my affection being naïve?  Her response was always no. Once while talking on the phone she asked me what my son would say if he found out at some point we were dating.  I took her answers, her words and her actions as an indication that her feelings were evolving like mine.  That the emotional attachment was deepening for her as it was for me.  In the end though I was in fact being naïve.  In time our contacts became less frequent.  Meeting for sex became an event and not a regular occurrence.  My feelings did not change.  When she spoke I jumped.  If I had the chance to see her I jumped on it.  Anything I could do to show kindness or affection was something I’d take on with energy.  I remember once, after she’d had a long day at work she met me at my place of work.  My anticipation was workplace sex.  Something we’d done before and it had been marvelous.  Rather than sex she slept in my arms for about an hour.  I held her until she was rested enough to go home.  In time, after my eventual divorce I invited Sunny to my home for dinner and hopefully taking her to my bed.  And of course in those times that we were intimate I would worship, make love to every inch of her body.  I can still remember all the landmarks of her, a scar, a prominent vein, a freckle in a very personal spot.  We experimented with light bondage, she let me take her bottom and use bindings, blindfolds.  She liked to be fucked pulled..bottom slapped.  In fact our last meeting just a couple of years ago was to involve some light BDSM, bindings, spanking. She really liked to be spanked..and I always kissed it to make it better.  In our last meeting that is how it started but it turned into another situation where I needed to listen to her vent about some really foolish decisions and try to comfort her.  It seems I became something more of a confidant than a lover.

But in time it was obvious that my feelings of affection, love were not reciprocated.  Early on she appreciated the attention and the care from an attentive man.  But it became clear to me that I was an appurtenance.  I was side action and the lack of respect shown by her was obvious.  She broke my heart.

I did some reading about affairs and found that this experience fit the mold.  They last about 24 months and one person becomes emotionally involved and the other does not and that is how this went.  For me this adventure convinced me that my marriage needed to end for a host of reasons.  My spouse was no longer interested in a happy home or taking care and raising her son.  Her interest was her church.  As far as her son she was more interested in forcing his compliance with her directions and rules.  She was still trying to parent a toddler, not a growing young man.  I would stay married until my son was in college and away from home.

For all the angst I experienced in my unhappy marriage and the unrequited love for Sunny Skies, her life has been equally difficult.  And I guess I bear some responsibility for it.  Sunny desperately wanted to be a mother.  Her spouse was supportive, kind of, as long as it did not seriously interfere with his life, video games on the weekend or his love of Jack Daniels Old No 7.  She had him administer shots for hormones, they did IVF, all kinds of gymnastics to have a child.  I remember holding her at the park once while she cried after a failed IVF.  I also remember her search for viable eggs to be implanted and the failures of all those efforts.  Finally, in a last attempt they turned to adoption.  Rather than go through a traditional adoption her spouse believed that through personal contacts and his ability to talk to people he could find her a child.  And, to her chagrin she believed him.  Again another failed effort.

I am convinced that her spouse did not want a child because that child would reduce the amount of time she spent taking care of him and his house.  His efforts to assist in Sunny’s pursuit were minimal.  This was the hint that I missed.  She knew it, saw it but it did not matter.  I know that despite his lack of affection, abuse of alcohol she loved, was in love with him.  Over the years she has left him twice and has always returned.  Even now she share a home with him.  There is some hold on her, something that he provides that I don’t understand.  She enjoyed sex, he did/does not.  She was smart, read a good bit, and was a complex person.  Her spouse seemed a fairly simple and self-absorbed person. All during our time Sunny admitted there was still a physical relationship between her and her spouse.  In my mind I imagined what I would call redneck sex.  He would walk up behind her while she was cooking, take her then wipe himself on her apron and go back to his Jack and Coke.  Once she confided that one of the presents he gave her for her birthday was sex..amazing.  But she apparently loves him.

What I should have learned.

As of this year it will be a decade since I first met the beautiful and alluring woman with amazing eyes and the onion butt.  Much has happened in both our lives.  She is living with her spouse again and once in a great while I contact her.  In our time she was a brunette.  She took pride in a Celtic heritage and her ties to Ireland.  She kind of reminded me of Keira Knightley from the 2004 movie King Arthur.  Partly because of her looks and then there is the whole pagan issue.  I have to say one of my fantasies was to see her naked in a pagan ceremony then have rabbit sex afterwards.  I also regret that I never got to spend an entire night with her.  I think waking up next to her would have been fabulous.  She is blonde now.  She seems happy with it and for that I’m glad.  In my mind she will always be the beautiful brunette with amazing eyes that I met in Parkville.

Lessons I should have learned but did not.  First, mature women are risk averse.  I wondered why she could not love me as I loved her.  Part was me, part was an affection for her spouse and part was the risk involved with going any further with me.  I asked her once why she could not, did not love me.  Yeah sounds like a whiney bitch that moment I had to ask.  She had no answer but I think I understand now.  Romantic love for a woman approaching middle age is heavily influenced by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  I remember during the adoption attempts assuring her that I would move heaven and Earth to find her a child if she came with me.  But despite her intense desire to be a mother and my affection for her and my determination to help her realize motherhood she stays and will stay with him.  I think she loves him and loves the idea of him, a big guy.  And he is safe and I was a risk.

For all the talk of friends with benefits early on, I still became intensely jealous.  Sunny called it “being bratty”.  I was jealous of her spouse’s access to her, the time he got to spend and what seemed to me a complete waste of the time and attention of an amazing woman on a man who did not appreciate her.  There were times when I just wanted to grab the sides of her face and scream “do you realize this guy really doesn’t give a fuck about you beyond what services you provide to simplify his life?”

Now, some things are true.  I still care deeply about Sunny Skies.  To be honest, my addiction to her, her body continues.  To this day there is a print of Vargas’ “Memories of Olive” that hangs in my room.  My current spouse does not know it but this picture reminds me of Sunny Skies.


At times, for the emotional energy I expended on her I feel intensely angry.  There was a time when I would and did risk it all in anticipation of her.  It’s that part of me that is dying to ask her if she has any fucking idea what I went through and the hurt that I still feel today.   The pathetic part is if she were to call me for help I would be there.  Were she to call me to make love to her body I’d be there.  I love her, or more accurately love who she was in our time, but not in love with her and will likely die loving the woman I remember.

After a couple of years her perception of what we did was just sex.  Although we would continue to meet sporadically for about 7 years it was just sex.  Some interesting sex but..just sex.  While it is true that I had deep feelings for her in time I understood she just wanted to screw. She wanted to be fucked by someone who enjoyed fucking her and my affection for her, love, was what drove my desire of her body.

As it stands today I think of Sunny daily.  There is a part of me that misses her.  Perhaps it’s genuine affection or just lust.  I see her posts on Social media, glimpses of her life.  This is not a tremendous change from the later years of our involvement.  I was a peripheral element in her life.  When she got horny she would talk to me.  In fact she is a “friend” of my current spouse on social media which to be blunt and honest really pisses me off.  But not much I can do about it.  I check her posts daily and think about what might have been or perhaps what I wanted it to be.  This is a minor but daily source of melancholy.  I satisfy myself with the knowledge that neither of us are the people who had such passionate encounters.  I am older and more reserved but still as hungry. She has become a bottle blonde or more accurately a bottle of some color..I think it’s purple now. She has lost her edge and is now a middle aged woman seeking attention from anyone full in the knowledge that in her old age she it will be her and her inattentive spouse. Could have been different but..we all make decisions.

“The moon stopped by my room tonight, to peek in and paint me with it’s pastel light, and though there’s much its glow can do it always whispers in my ear ..of you.                     Of countless times we swam its beams, while making Love and spinning dreams but this eve it brought sorrow I can’t dismiss.  I’ve finally forgotten the taste of…your kiss.”  Gregory Barden.

These days, knowing how hungry Sunny Skies was I wonder who is satisfying her desires.  Is she having sex with her spouse who she claims to be separated from?  Is she having sex with another paramour?  Sometimes, since her marriage was dysfunctional and based on some bad feelings between us, I wonder if she is a lesbian, bi sexual?  On the flip side perhaps she is asexual.  Her current appearance makes her look tired and haggard.   A sad development for a beautiful, sensual and interesting woman.

Over the years I’ve spent some time talking this through with my most trusted friend, my dog.  Our conclusion is that Sunny Skies was like a butterfly.  We build gardens to draw butterflies and when they lite on a flower we watch.  When they lite on a hand we study them and see bold strong colors and they look sturdy.  In truth for all it’s beauty a butterfly is fragile and transient.  And so it is with Sunny Skies.  Beautiful and transient.

When things fell apart with Sunny Skies, my hunger was not gone.  In 2010 in another unwise move I went back to a similar bulletin board and repeated a similar process with a woman we will call Sunseeker.