Into the Heartland – DoctorB
In the ancient world men created the concept of ‘The Three Fates’ to explain the apparent randomness of their lives and to fix blame on some capricious women for their own ignorance. Over the course of human civilization artists have portrayed the ‘Fates’ alternately as three women randomly braiding each other’s hair, or using scissors to cut figures in strips of paper, or as three women blowing bits of chaff to the four winds.
All three portrayals are appropriate when discussing the seemingly random events that brought Gwen and George together on a lonely country road during a thunderstorm in central North Dakota. She was thinking that there are times when everything seems to go perfectly, the planets are aligned, the sun is shining and life is just wonderful. This was just was not one of them.
She was lost on a remote and lonely road and had a flat tire. To add insult to injury the clouds had opened up just as she was changing it. She was soaked to the bone, cold and miserable. The final act of a vengeful God had been that in order to get to the spare she had to unload the trunk. Now all her belongings were soaked as well. “SHIT!” she screamed at the heavens with fists raised.
Moments later, as if in answer to her not-so-reverent prayer, a rickety old pickup truck stopped and out hopped a rather handsome-looking stranger. “Ma’am if you just get back in your car I’ll finish that for you,” he said with his Midwestern twang fully evident.
“Oh, Lord, thanks a million. I really appreciate this,” she gushed.
A few moments later he knocked at her window. “Sorry miss but your spare’s flat too. If you tell me what goes where back here I’ll get you packed up again and give you a lift into town,” he said.
She got back into the rain and helped the stranger load all her stuff back in the car. Why in the hell had she brought so much stuff for a one-week stay with friends? “Shit, what a cluster fuck,” she thought. Funny how her Marine Corps days had become so well ingrained in her speech and thought.
The stranger drove her into to town. “Can I give you something for your gas and troubles?” she asked him.
“Well miss maybe you can,” he said. “You look a might cold and if you’d do me the honor of breakin’ bread with me over at the diner there I would call us square. By the way, my name’s George.”
“Hello George, I’m Gwen.”
She followed him across the street to the diner. He was warmly greeted by everyone there just like she had seen in other lost little towns on the northern plains where everybody knew everybody else. “Hey there George, find yourself a stray did ya?” an old woman behind the counter called.
“That I did, Emma, and being the good Christian that I am I offered my meager services as a mechanic,” he shot back. “Everyone, this here’s Gwen.” The diner erupted in a chorus of hellos and howdies. She looked around the room. Small town people. Good people. Salt of the Earth types that made America what it was. She loved little places like this so that’s why she had gotten off the interstate and wandered through the heartland on her way east. Getting lost was the price of the adventure and it was a very small price to pay.
“So, George are you a farmer or a rancher?” she asked.
“Neither, I’m the town vet, University of Pennsylvania class of ’80.”
They chatted for a time through the entrée, coffee and dessert. About halfway through the meal Emma shouted across the counter, “Gwen honey, Frank over the garage says your car’ll be ready tomorrow. Ain’t nothin’ he can do yet today. Sorry dear.”
“That’s OK, I’ll just deal with it. Is there a hotel in town?” she asked.
“No dear, I’m sorry they ain’t. Nearest hotel is 50 miles back the way you came,” Emma replied sympathetically.
“Crap,” Gwen thought.
George looked at Gwen for moment appraising her. “Well Gwen, sounds like you’re stuck among us country folk. I got a spare room over my garage and you’re welcome to it,” George said.
“Thank you kind sir. Can we stop back at my car so I can get my overnight bag?” she asked.
“Sure, not a problem,” he responded.
When the meal was done off they went. Gwen got her things and George drove her out to his place which was way out in the proverbial middle of frickin’ nowhere. Gwen was a little ill-at-ease as visions of the movie ‘Deliverance’ popped into her head. George showed her to her room, got her fresh towels and gave instructions on how to get the hot water running. All done with his welcome and instructions he excused himself to leave. Gwen thanked him and wished him goodnight.
The next day George was up early. Gwen heard him outside and shouted a hello through the window. “Where you off to?” she asked.
“Morning house calls,” he replied.
“May I tag along?” she asked.
“Sure thing! I’ll be leaving in about 20 minutes,” he answered.
Out on the road cruising through the early morning sun they talked about his time in Philadelphia and how he decided to become a veterinarian. She laughed herself silly at the story which included a bolt of lightning, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a fall from a hay loft and a sheep dog. Not necessarily in that order. He liked her laugh. It full of life and pure. She also found out that he was a lot younger than his graduation date from Penn would imply. “A veterinarian Doogie Howser,” was how he put it.
The conversation meandered through relationships. She was not seeing anyone. He was a widower. Cancer, he explained. She said she was sorry. He told her not to be. His wife had lived her short life to the fullest and had made it very clear that he not drown himself in sorrow. He told Gwen that she had even made a stipulation in her will to place a personal ad in the county paper for him exactly two weeks after the funeral. He had laughed no end at that one, the final joke of a woman with a huge sense of humor.
The conversation petered out and they continued on in silence.
Gwen thought about the reason for her trip. The trip to Minneapolis was not entirely pleasure. She wondered what awaited her at the Mayo Clinic. Was it good news, perhaps a reprieve, or was it something more final. George glanced over at her from time to time. He liked Gwen. She was lost in thought and her face had a blank expression that he recognized and he felt a chill run up his back. “Why would a pretty young woman be wandering around deep in the heartland unless she was lost in more ways than one?” he thought.
After driving for what seemed like forever they made it to their first stop which was a horse with a bowel obstruction. Gwen was stunned at the hardware, ‘the hose’, needed to clear out the horse’s bowel obstruction. She winced at the procedure as several feet of tube disappeared inside the animal and then damn near peed herself laughing at the explosive outcome as George didn’t quite move fast enough to get clear of the rear end of the horse. George made sure he had a change of clothes wherever he went and he needed them this time.
“Thought that was pretty funny did you?” he asked.
Gwen just kept on giggling.
“Well, I’m glad to see you have a good sense of humor,” he said in mock anger.
Gwen liked George. He was kind man and well grounded. He was not wealthy but was rich none the less. He was attractive and obviously well respected in the community. On the way back to town Gwen asked, “George, can I stop in to visit on my way back west in about two weeks?”
“Sure thing, I’d love to have you stay a spell if you have the time,” he said.
“I have nothing but time,” she replied with the lost look appearing on her face briefly only to be replaced by her warm smile.
The chill shot up his back gain. George didn’t say anything. “Everything in its own time,” he thought
The drive to town from their morning appointment involved more conversation followed by more silence. Gwen’s car was ready. By way of thanks she bought George lunch at the diner, said her goodbyes to Emma and was on her way. She caught a glimpse of her future, if fate would allow, and rather liked it. “The farmer’s wife,” she thought. Small town, good people, good man. Sounded like a plan to her.
Two weeks later she returned. She again took George up on his offer of a room. “Listen George, I kind of like you and if it’s not too forward of me would you like to go out on a date?” she asked.
George smiled broadly, thought for a moment and replied, “Sure, so long as I get to pick the spot.”
“OK, it’s a deal,” she said.
The top of a lonely butte at sunset was the spot. Gwen was in heaven. “This is the one,” she thought. This is the man who will cut my hair and this is the man I’m going to marry. “George, can I ask you a personal question?”
“Sure Gwen, so long as you don’t expect an answer.”
“OK, fair enough,” she said then paused. “When your wife lost her hair did you think she was still sexy, I mean with no hair on her head?”
George considered the question for a long time and considered the reason behind it. He considered not answering it and finally thought, “This is what she’s here for.”
“Well Gwen, yes she was very sexy. As her hair thinned she decided that she wasn’t going to let the cancer take it so she had me shave it all off for her. Honestly, I thought it was the most erotic thing I had ever done in my life. I think that’s why she wanted me to do it. We had great time after that for the time she was able, like a couple of high school kids actually. Why did you ask?”
“Sort of truth or dare conversation now, isn’t it, George?”
“You could say that I guess, yes,” he replied laughingly. “I answered you so I suppose now it’s your turn.”
“George, my trip had a purpose. I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion,” she explained.
George’s heart stopped for a moment. “Not again!” his mind screamed. “I can’t do this again!”
Gwen took note of his pained expression. “George, it was good news. I have a cancerous growth on one ovary, but, it was detected very early and with surgery, chemo and radiation I’ll be fine. Doctors say the prognosis is totally positive, as close to a 100% guarantee as any doctor will give.” She paused for a moment then said, “There’s something else.”
George took a deep breath. “What?”
“I like you a lot and you make me laugh. George, I want to be bald before I lose my hair to the chemo. It’s something that I have thought about for a week, dreamed of actually. I want you to do it for me. I want you to shave me bald – Tonight,” she said with some resolve in her voice.
George’s wine glass stopped in mid-air at the last word. He considered the woman in front of him. She was cute and had a great laugh. She was bubbly. He also knew it was time to get on with his life, plus, a woman like this didn’t come around that often. Fate had blessed him once, why not again? Not to mention he had loved how erotic it had been with his wife.
George said, “Gwen that’s a serious question you just asked me. Very serious indeed. The answer is yes. I would be honored to be the one to help you.”
“There’s something else,” she said as she looked at him intently. This had an ominous tone to George. “I would also like to make love to you.”
George didn’t even blink. He smiled warmly and touched her cheek with the back of his fingers. “Gwen, I would very much like that as well. Thank you.”
They finished their picnic dinner and watched the sun set from the butte. She snuggled up to George as the clouds turned a wonderful fiery red, then cotton-candy pink and finally faded to a deep purple. He kissed her on the top of her head and hugged her around the shoulders. “Let’s head back to the house and get rid of all this messy hair there, young lady,” he said.
“Whatever you say George,” she responded with a sigh.
Back at the house George got an old set of electric clippers out of his office that he used on animals to prep them for suturing. Gwen went her room and got her ladies’ disposable razors and shaving gel then returned to the house. George had set up a stool and drop cloth in the middle of the kitchen. She hugged him warmly and asked what she should do next. George asked her to remove her clothes since he thought she would enjoy it more. Gwen protested the one-sided-ness of this so George disrobed as well. They looked at each other standing naked in his kitchen. Both were very self-conscious of their looks and aware of the relative absurdity of the situation.
Gwen burst out laughing.
“This is just a bit bizarre isn’t it?” George said. She laughed some more and then sat on the stool.
George plugged in the clippers and turned them on. Gwen sort of flinched at the noise and was immediately possessed by the giggles.
“Now you got to stop that! How I am I supposed to do this proper like if you can’t show a little restraint,” he admonished her. They both broke up at his mock rebuke.
Gwen calmed dawn and told him to get on with it. Without further discussion, or giggles, George plunged the clippers into Gwen’s hair. He moved them slowly front to back and her hair began to fall to the floor. He ran the clippers front to back several times as Gwen sat still. After a couple of passes she said, “Stop for a moment, please.”
“Please don’t tell me you changed you mind,” he moaned.
She then reached out and touched his engorged penis, massaged him and brought him to a climax in her hand. They kissed as George sighed his thanks. “The way that thing was pointed at me I was afraid it would go off by accident. Besides, I figured you needed a clear head to maintain a clear head,” she chuckled.
George picked up where he left off and clippered the back of her head and then around her ears. The clippers he used were a small kind used by veterinary surgeons and clippered hair right to the skin. There was usually no need to shave beyond that, but this was a different situation. Finished with the clippers he kissed the top of her head. She sighed at the sudden warmth of his breath on her head and her arousal became apparent as her nipples stiffened in the cool air of the room. He touched his fingers to her crotch and she sucked in a sudden breath.
“Somebody else needs to have their head cleared,” he said as he inserted one, then two fingers. Very quickly Gwen exploded, quivering and gasping as if she were freezing to death. George held her close as her orgasm washed over her and subsided. She cried a little as her head rested on his shoulder. They were quiet for a time just holding one another. Each listening to their own heartbeat.
Gwen collected herself and sat back down on the stool. George applied a thick layer of gel to her head, picked up the razor, and proceeded to remove the last vestiges of her hair. He used slow, loving strokes. She sighed quietly and closed her eyes. She luxuriated in the cool feeling of the gel and the scrape of the razor with a calm and satisfied look on her face. She reached up and touched the ever-increasing bare area.
“Um, that feels good,” she sighed.
George continued with the task at hand. He needed to keep his concentration since he was becoming very aroused again and with the sharp razor in hand he didn’t want to slip and cut her. When he was done he wiped the remaining shave gel from around her ears and off her now bare neck. He stood back to admire his work and again kissed the top of her smooth head.
A flood of memories both horrible and joyous overcame him. He began to cry both tears of joy at what Gwen had just given him and tears of sorrow for his beloved wife. He cried now like he had not, could not, then. His tears came in large gasping sobs that reached deep into his soul, cleansing the dark spaces that he thought would remain closed off forever. Gwen realized what was happening to him and held him tight. She had never seen a man go through this and she was deeply touched by it. Twice his crying rose like the wail of a banshee and it chilled her to her core.
Fifteen minutes had elapsed during which Gwen held him close, like a small child rocking him slowly, cradling his head in her shoulder. After a time George calmed down and regained his composure. His eyes were puffy and red and he had to blow his nose several times in a row. His tears had come in such volume that they had run down her back in a warm stream.
After George had cried himself out Gwen thanked him for both gifts. “What do you mean both gifts?” he asked.
She said in a quiet tone, “By helping me get a little control over what lies ahead of me and for allowing me to help you through something very difficult. I’m deeply touched. And George? I love you.”
“I love you too,” he replied.
She took his hand and reminded him of something yet to be done. “Don’t forget you have another duty to perform this evening.”
They went up to George’s bedroom. Their first coupling of the night was tentative and little awkward with a sprinkling of giggles as they figured out who was going to do what first. George had obviously learned a couple of things in Philly that Gwen enjoyed immensely. Their second time was more sure and intense after which they slept soundly in each other’s arms.
Gwen woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain and watched him sleeping. He looked like a vulnerable child. She rubbed her clean shaven scalp and began to become aroused again. As she watched him she knew that what lay ahead of her would be all right so long as George was with her. She thought about the rainy night they had met and rethought what had been going through her mind just before his truck had appeared through the rain. Perhaps she was mistaken about the lack of planetary alignment. Rather than wake George to satisfy her arousal she rolled over and fell back to sleep and dreamed a dream of a future full of children.
A year later George and Gwen were married under a stunning afternoon sky atop the butte. George was quite dapper in his rental tuxedo and Gwen was just stunning in her flowing white dress. Her only concern that day was whether the fates would call a stiff gust of wind that would pull her wig off.