Hi! My name's Jim Price, and I'm a Son of Martha. You don't know what I mean? It comes from a poem;
The Sons of Martha by Rudyard Kipling...
"It is their care in all the ages, to take the buffet and cushion the shock,
it is their care that the gear engages, it is their care that the switches lock."
I wouldn't have known about it, but I was introduced to it by my girlfriend, Petra. I didn't know that poetry could be like that. The poem talks about the people who have to sort things out for everyone else. It's based on a story in the Bible. There was Jesus, visiting friends. One of the ladies of the house, Mary, is sitting listening to him, the other, Martha is bustling around like a blue ... fly trying to get food on the table. She complains to Jesus, wanting him to tell Mary to go help, but he just says that Mary has chosen the better part. See the point? There she is doing all the work for the benefit of everyone in the house and no-one really appreciates it or realises how much work there is.
What do you think when you're held up in traffic because there's a big hole in the road? Do you think "Wow, those poor guys are sweating to make sure everyone has electricity/water/gas/drains" or do you just curse them because you're going to be late for work?
Once I wouldn't have given all this any thought at all. I just like fixing things. I really hate to see a piece of machinery that's not working right, a piece of equipment that's got badly fitted casings, or a door that's not hung right, and my hands just itch to get at them. I didn't think about it; I just did it. I'm good with stuff like that, I read all the journals, keep an eye on stuff on the internet, you know, so I'm confident with anything at all technical.
I'm not so good with people. Oh, it's not a problem when they ask me to fix something. I look, and listen and say, 'Oh, it sounds like such-and-such... ' and it usually is, and they're impressed and grateful when I put it right, but I'm pretty hopeless with social stuff. At least I was, until Petra took me in hand.
There I was, a real nerd, a total geek, nineteen years old and never kissed a girl, in an undergrad engineering course at Hallam University in Sheffield - with a sideline in computing — can't get away from computers, even if I wanted to. I probably wouldn't even have noticed Petra, (don't get me wrong, I noticed girls, but the ones I noticed wouldn't look twice at me ... unless something needed fixing) but Petra, well, she didn't try to look pretty, and dressed in baggy slacks and hoodies. But when she asked me to fix her home network (which I did, no problem) I noticed this marvellous old Morris Traveller in their drive. Turned out, it was actually Petra's, and needed some attention. My hands got that itch, I just had to get my hands on it. It was a little worrying she wanted to work on it with me, but I was willing to put up with that. It turned out she was pretty good. It was nice to have a female friend, too. Notice, I don't say 'girlfriend'. She really worked hard to get my attention, and I didn't really realise what was going on at first. Oh, my, was I slow on the uptake.
Anyway, I went with her to Classic Car shows with the Morris, and gradually got used to going places with her. When the car got a 'commended' at a show, she got so excited she kissed me. I rather liked it, and asked if I could have another. I suppose that was when we started being properly girl-friend and boy-friend. But I still didn't have a clue, and Petra took the lead all the way, until she got hurt in an accident. I realised then what she meant to me. I sat by the hospital bed and held her hand, and begged her not to leave me, and told her that I loved her. When she came round, she told me she dreamed I was calling her, she was walking away from me, but she turned round and came back, because I said I loved her.
After that, well, I still was barely socialised, but she gave me confidence, and I learned to ask questions and how to have a conversation with people. Gradually, I was accepted as a human being, rather than 'that nerd who's really good at fixing things'. The girls I noticed pre-Petra, now noticed me. Some of them made a pass at me. Funny thing, before, I wouldn't have known what to do; now, I could probably have dated some of them, but I didn't want to. Petra was all I needed.
She wasn't more experienced than me in some things, but that didn't matter. She had the confidence and the theoretical knowledge, and it was sort of good that I was her first real boyfriend. Once she started taking care with her appearance, I had no complaints about that either. Honestly, I really loved her as a person, not because of her face or figure, but once I started to really look at her, well, wow. She was about five foot seven, with dark brown, glossy, wavy hair, brown eyes, a heart-shaped face and a perfectly proportioned figure. Some might say she was a bit stocky, maybe, but I never went for the skinny look anyway.
She'd always subtly been in charge in our relationship. If she hadn't I never would have done a thing, but once she was out of the hospital, she made sure I knew she wanted me to touch her, that I wasn't to treat her like fine china. The plaster casts meant our initial explorations were limited, but they were still pretty exciting to me.
When she was home from hospital, she spent a lot of time in what had been the living room, and was now at least temporarily her bedroom. The Wilsons had moved out the furniture, and moved in her bed, desk and so on ... I helped ... so that she didn't have to negotiate the stairs. She was in a lower body cast supporting her pelvis and legs, so she couldn't bend in the middle. I leave to your imagination some of the difficulties that caused ... It was a pretty big bed. It needed to be, poor lass. But the first time we were alone in the room, she told me briskly to get on the bed with her. She took my hand and stuffed it inside her top, holding it against her breast. Wow. It felt wonderful, firm and smooth and round. Her nipple pushed against my hand; I rubbed my palm against it, feeling the rubbery resistance, while she fumbled with my zip and extracted my penis. I was relieved that she produced a small hand-towel from under the pillows and placed it strategically.
"Jim," she sighed (a sigh of resignation, not passion, as even I could tell) "Relax, get down here and kiss me, dammit."
"Will not disturb us, I promise."
So, I did as I was told. There are few things I enjoyed as much as kissing Petra; my first direct encounter with her breasts enhanced my pleasure immensely. When I came — it didn't take long — she sighed again.
"However has it taken so long to get to this point? Now, Jim; have I taken the edge off?"
What could I say? "Petra, that was fantastic..."
"DON'T let go my breast, Jim ... I like it and I want you hold me like that while I talk to you."
What could I do, but listen?
"Listen carefully, Jim. I'm not going to be able to do much while I'm like this. Tell me, are other girls hitting on you now, when I'm not with you? I've seen the way some of them look at you."
"Well ... I suppose ... yes."
"Fine. I'm telling you now, that I want you to go out with any girl that you like, that asks you. I'm not going to get uptight about it. In fact, I'll extend that to, ask any girl out you like."
"Look, Jim. I set out to get you. You had hardly a chance. I'm saying, look around. If there's a girl out there that can get and keep your attention, you're free to go for it. If you date someone, or someones, but come back to me, then I'll know it's because you really want to. Understand?"
"I don't think I'll ever understand you. I don't care how we got to here, but I'm happy — I love you."
"You think you do, Jim. You've never had anything to compare with the way you feel."
"But ... haven't we got a connection? You said I called you back!"
"So I did, and so you did. I didn't say you don't care, or that we don't have a connection. I'm just saying ... Oh, I don't know how to say it. I don't want to trap you."
"I'm not trapped, I'm here because I want to be, because I love you!"
"And I'm happy you're here. I don't want you to stop coming here. Just ... be free. For me."
Well, she was right about one thing; being on my own, while Petra was confined to bed, I was getting some attention. Maybe it wasn't more than usual, just that I noticed when Petra wasn't holding my attention, but I don't think so. It was weird; why were they interested?
My first lunch-time after that encounter, Charmaine MacMahon plonked down next to me;
"Mind if I join you, Jim?"
I gulped. Charmaine is, well, don't misunderstand, but she's a 'walking wet dream'. The sort of girl ordinary guys fantasise about. I mean, before Petra, I did. Tall, slim, toned legs, a figure to die for... really blonde (and I'm pretty sure it's real). Only problem was she seemed to be the epitome of stereotypical blondes. I don't really think intelligence is related to hair colour, but perhaps some girls (and guys for that matter) find that they can trade on their looks and don't bother making use of however many grey cells they may possess. By the end of lunch I was, well, desperate was an understatement. I couldn't find a single topic I believed she was interested in except clothes and parties. I may be socially inept, but I can tell when someone is "pretending to be interested."
.... There is more of this story ...