Sometimes my students give some pretty good excuses why something isn’t turned in on time, or why it looks suspiciously like a paper you accepted from a student last semester. We’ve all seen those lists of implausible excuses – and you may have even used one or two of them yourself. My favorite – good for everything from calling in sick to skipping that family reunion is “I had explosive diarrhea”. It must be used sparingly, though or it loses its effect.
Yesterday, after I posted the final entries into the Lust round of the Seven Deadly Sins contest, one of our compadres realized he had missed the deadline. He didn’t try to BS me with crazy excuses – his story just needed some tweaking, he got really busy, and time got away from him. Byronic Man is a stand-up guy, meaning not only has he has done stand-up comedy, and he is a witty, thoughtful, blogger who supports other bloggers in many ways.
I decided to accept his entry – even though I had already taken down the submission box. I am including his story, even though he missed the deadline by a couple of hours – my math is fuzzy on Sundays – always has been. When you read it, I think you’ll see why. In return, he has agreed to name his daughter after me – JUST KIDDING. Ha Ha.
So, with your indulgence (because it’s my contest and I make up the rules as I go along) I am adding his story to the competition:
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From Joel at The Byronic Man:
Maybe it was that he was moving in two months that freed them from feeling like they needed to hold up the façade of restraint. But the turning point, really, wasn’t the car ride that should have gotten them killed. It wasn’t even the game of pool with the wager that, “For the rest of the night, winner says ‘do,’ and loser does.” It was a kiss goodnight after an episode in an alley. A kiss that turned in to a live wire, burning and snaking dangerously.
“Oh,” she said with a soft laugh. “Oh, this is going to be one of those relationships, isn’t it.”
One of those relationships that they were both old enough to know can’t last. Because the things that fueled that kind of attraction, strangely, don’t fuel for long. So maybe it was that he was leaving that got rid of guilt, or restraint, or propriety. Between the days of minor adventures was “I want” and “now do” and “I’ve always wondered.” It was setting a bottle of wine down and saying, “We’ll drink this. And then we’re going to play a game of ‘what’s the fantasy you’ve never had the nerve to admit even to yourself?’ You know the one.” It was taking and acting instead of hoping and insinuating.
“Remember that drive back from the coast?” she asked one evening, lying on the floor amidst boxes that were already waiting to be packed. “You know.”
He smiled. “Yes. Yes, I vaguely recall.”
“How did we not crash? How did we stay on the road?
“I don’t know. I guess by the grace of—“
“The grace of God. Exactly. That’s the phrase you use for that kind of thing. Only isn’t lust a sin? And that was lust. Why would God protect us during a sin?”
“That’s a very weird question,” he said, biting her toe. “This is a huge scratch mark, by the way. You’ve marked me.”
“Damn right. But, seriously, think about it. Maybe lust isn’t a sin.”
“Maybe this isn’t lust. Maybe sin isn’t a stern man in the clouds shaking a finger at us. Maybe sin is indulgence to the excess of destruction. We aren’t harming our lives or people. We aren’t destroying ourselves, I don’t think.”
“For starters, if we’d crashed that’s exactly what it would have been. Second, if this isn’t lust, I don’t know what is.”
“I think we’re clear.” He made a cross in front of himself. “Te absolvo fornicatium.”
The last night before he left was an explosion of yearning and sorrow. Almost no words were said. None could capture it. And in the months that followed, any beginnings of relationships that followed seem muted, covered in gauze. The restraints were back, the propriety. He thought constantly of her and of their time, and couldn’t accept anything in his present moment as comparable.
Maybe this, he thought, is the sin. Maybe this is the lust. And time passed, and memories faded. And he moved on. Except, he didn’t really. Not really. He was marked.
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My computer crashed yesterday afternoon – apparently at least one of the spambots that flooded my submission box got past my anti-virus software and rearranged the working innards of my beloved laptop- my ability to understand all that is a little fuzzy as well. So I will be finishing this post, and sending out e-mails detailing the judging from my husband’s computer. I will have sporadic internet and computer access over the next few days as both my laptop and myself undergo procedures to rearrange and restore working order to our innards…let’s hope there’s no explosive diarrhea involved.