Image used with permission of Floss Liddell
The walk from my back door to the bottom of my garden is a short one. Thirty steps, give or take. Even so, it always takes me a good twenty minutes to shamble down the length of the stepping stone path. Partly because I dislike the heavy feeling I get in my heart when I reach the end and partly because, every few feet along the way, a different memory is called forth.
See that stone bench over there with the carved koi base? When Jenny lived here, we’d use it as a spanking bench. We’re both tall and the bench is low and close to the fence, but we’d made it work.
And the park bench, iron-footed with wooden slats, is where I used to bind Teresa with shackles. That memory always makes me smile in a way she would have called dirty. It can’t be helped, though. The sides are just far enough apart for her legs to be as wide open as any pair of legs could be. Look, underneath it. There, in the grass. That’s the riding crop I used to spank her soft folds with. I can’t bring myself to take it inside. Not now that she’s gone.
Everywhere I look, another memory. Rose bushes that remind me of Clara. In my mind’s eye, I see Christine in the pansy bed, on her knees in front of me, digging her gloved fingers into the soil as I take her from behind. And Eliza? She was light enough to strap to the trellis with rope. That woman had perpetual friction burns at her wrists and ankles thanks to the hemp she always plumped for. Once, just looking at those pretty red rashes was enough to excite me.
Almost at the end of the path is the shed. I find it hard to walk past it. I can’t go in, either. Not yet. Even just looking through the window makes my mind assault me with too fresh memories.
Sweet Helena on the workbench. Dangling from a hook in the roof, her cheeks, kept purposely out of the sun so that they would always show bruises, rippling with the impact of the side of an axe. When I flex my fingers, I can still feel the raised lines of weeding fork scratches down her back. If I breathe deeply enough, I know I’d smell her lingering fear from when I held an electric sander close to her skin.
But I won’t go in. I go to the very bottom of the garden. I could almost weep at the memories here. Jenny, Teresa, Clara, Christine, Eliza. And now Helena. The lock that once sat at the back of her collar snicks closed and I step back, gazing at the mesh fence. As always, I say a little prayer that I won’t have to come this far down the garden again. Maybe the next one will love me. Just maybe.