The Remainders

By Matthew Arnold Stern All Rights Reserved ©


Chapter Twenty-One: Lake Forest

Two o’clock, and my schedule for the rest of Friday afternoon was clear. I had some follow-up calls and claim forms to sign. Then, I would be out the door by four.

Rachel wasn’t as big on Shabbat as I expected someone from Israel to be. She and her ex belonged to a synagogue in Aliso Viejo. She hadn’t been a member of a synagogue since her divorce, but she goes on High Holy Days. Rachel didn’t do the bit where you can’t turn on the oven, so you had to eat cold cuts and gefilte fish. Grandma Dinah wasn’t like that either. She did make sure we went to shul and were miserable from sundown to sundown.

With Rachel, we had the candles, challah, and wine. She and I also kept the mitzvah of having sex.

I checked in with Alison at the front.

“Dr. Glass, Mr. Marchenko called. He set up an appointment for two thirty.”


“He’s still concerned about his visit to the ER.”

“Didn’t the doctors say he’s fine?”

“He wants a follow-up, and he says he needs to have his cholesterol checked again.”

“We did a blood panel two months ago.”

“He says he just wants to make sure.”

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. He was helping me make my car payments.

Alison leaned forward. “I suppose you saw the news.”

“Yes. I’m surprised he has been doing that well in the primaries.”

“That’s not the news I’m talking about.”

I thought for a moment. Then, I remembered the front page of the Register.

Alison gave a small smile. “It seems like a bit of, uh, shaduh... chayda...”

“Schadenfreude. It means ‘happiness at the misfortune of others.’”

“No, I was thinking of that word that means ‘what goes around comes around.’”

“You’re thinking about karma. However, people can feel schadenfreude over someone’s karma.”

“Is that what you’re feeling, Dr. Glass?”

I thought for a moment more.

“I don’t know how I feel about it, Alison.”

"I had to play that damn Treasure Planet DVD again so Dylan would go to sleep. If I have to hear that whiny-ass song from that Goo Goo Dolls singer again...”

Teresa staggered into the bedroom exhausted. She had a full schedule taking care of the kids, getting them to school, and cleaning up the house. This wasn’t the life she expected or wanted from me. It was hard to have luxuries since I started my practice and had to pull extra shifts at the hospital to keep us afloat financially. My student loans were taking longer to pay off than I thought, and the practice wasn’t earning enough to cover expenses. The bedroom was the only place we could find time to be together and have any happiness.

She opened the middle drawer of our dresser. There, she kept the bustiers, the teddies, and the leather corsets. She had several hundred dollars worth of negligee in that drawer. She pulled out each item and looked at the size tags with despair. She had a difficult pregnancy with Dylan. She spent three months on bed rest and gained twenty extra pounds she never got off.

“I don’t have a damn thing to wear!”

“Then wear that.”

“You want me like this!?”

She turned around sharply. She wore a red Anaheim Angels 2002 World Series Champions t-shirt and a pair of loose denim mommy shorts.

“Yeah.” I spoke with a smile and low, soft voice.

Teresa just slumped her shoulders. “You think I’m fat...”

“Of course not!” I got out of bed. My blood started to swell as I rushed towards her. I still found her physically attractive. When I put my hands on her forearms, the warmth of her skin stirred me even more. But she wasn’t feeling it. She looked away from me.

“But I’m tired of feeling like some dumpy old econowife.”

“You’re not.” I glided my hands down her soft warm arms and wrapped them gently around her wrists. I gave her a small tug towards the bed.

She looked down at my hands. “Then can you tie me up?”

She still liked things spicy, but it became less like wasabi and more like Taco Bell sauce packets.

I opened the top drawer of my nightstand. The red silk rope was coiled up on the right side next to the matching red satin blindfold. The rest of the drawer was filled with VHS tapes, books, magazines, and assorted accessories including a butt plug she only used once. There must been several hundred dollars worth of merchandise in that drawer too. The rope itself was $15 plus tax and shipping. I could have bought the same length of rope for $3 at The Home Depot.

Teresa stepped to the edge of the bed. Her bare legs touched the fitted sheet where I had pulled back the covers while getting out. She brought her arms behind her back.

“Last time, you said that was uncomfortable,” I said.

“I don’t feel tied up unless my hands are behind my back.”

Sex had always been a grand performance for Teresa, and she was the star. I had been glad to be her supporting actor. We didn’t mesh anywhere else besides the bedroom. She would complain about money. She would complain about having to drive everywhere to take the kids to school, Muriel to softball practice, and Dylan to tee ball. She would talk about how gauche the other mothers were, especially the ones from the nearby megachurch who she called smug and self-righteous. For Teresa and I, everything worked out in the bedroom. We settled many arguments with our genitals.

I pulled the rope out of the drawer and walked around behind her. The back of her t-shirt had the roster of the World Series team. She crossed her wrists over Mike Scioscia. The last time I tied her up, she complained that it hurt. So, I looked up the proper way to bind a woman’s wrists on a website, something called “Hawthorne.” I folded the length of rope in half so one end formed a loop. I slid the rope between her back and wrists and held the looped end between Troy Percival and Darin Erstad. Then, I threaded the two loose ends through the loop until the rope encircled her wrists. I pulled the loose ends. It had to be the right amount of tightness. If it were too tight, it would cut off her circulation. Too loose, and she wouldn’t get off.

Bondage didn’t completely make sense to me, but it was better than anilingus. It did turn me on. Usually, she wouldn’t trust me to do the housework, shop, manage our finances, take care of the kids, or even pick out my clothes for work. Yet, she trusted me enough to make herself vulnerable to me.

I wrapped the rest of the rope around her wrists and tied it in a neat square knot. This was only the first of the ropes she wanted around her. She wanted her ankles bound too. Then around her torso. And if she had been on some Japanese website, I would be spending hours doing macrame on her body. I just wanted to get off.

I put my arms around her and pulled her tight against me. Her bound arms did feel good as they pressed against my stomach. Usually, she started squirming, which really got me aroused. Then, she would reach down and started fondling me. But she did neither that night. Her arms and fingers were still.

“Are you going to gag me?”

I turned her around and pressed on her shoulders until she sat down on the edge of the bed.

“How about this?”

I leaned over and pressed my lips hard against her. My weight made her lean back. I reached under her thighs and pulled her onto the bed. Those extra pounds made her harder to move, but I still had enough youth and adrenaline back then. I pulled my lips away from her and rolled her on her stomach. When she was tied up, she liked when I reached around her from behind. I slipped my right hand up her shirt and clasped my left hand over her mouth. I liked it when she tried to struggle against my body, and how warm her breath was on my palm as she moaned. But she felt unusually passive that night. I had to do something to stir her. I rested my chin on her shoulder and whispered into her ear.

“I want you, Teresa.”

I reached for her breast. She still had on her bra. I stuck my hand under the cup and rolled her nipple between my thumb and forefinger. Now, she was starting to flex her jaw violently. I thought I finally got her going, but she pulled her face away from my hand.

“My bra,” she gasped. “Be careful with it! It’s new.”

“OK, OK.” I pulled my hand quickly out of her cup.

I knew one other way that was sure to stir her up. I moved my right hand down from under her shirt and into her shorts and panties. My fingers dipped between her labia. She hadn’t gotten moist yet, but I knew the right place to touch.

She let out a soft moan.

I slipped my left arm under her torso and held her tight. She started to squirm and moan, which made me harden. As her moisture touched the fingertips on my right hand, I got fully engorged. I released both my hands and reached for the button and zipper of her shorts. I pulled them and her panties down over her buttocks.

“Wait, wait,” she gasped.


She turned on her side and looked up at me. “Spank me.”

I froze.

She lifted her head towards me. “You heard me?”

“Of course.”

“Then spank me!”

I moved away from her and sat up.


She turned her head and stared at me.

“I can’t,” I murmured.


“Teresa, you know how I feel about...”

“Grandma Dinah? Again?”


She rolled on her back and sat up straight. “Jesus Christ, Oliver! For fuck’s sake!”

“You know that...”

“I didn’t say to beat the shit out of me! I just want a love spank.”

“Teresa, you know I can’t...”

“You can’t stop living in the past! That’s what you can’t do, Oliver! You can’t stop talking about your father! And your grandmother! And your brother! You can’t even shut up about your fucking high school!”

“Teresa, please! You don’t understand...”

"You don’t understand! We have a life, Oliver! Right here and right now! Maybe you’re too damn busy to notice, but you have kids who want your attention. And a wife who’s tied up and wants to be fucked! You can still fuck me, can’t you, Oliver!?”

I leaned her back on the bed and rolled her on her stomach. Then, I untied her wrists. When I got her hands free, she rolled on her back again, swung back her arm, and slapped me hard across the cheek.

“Then, fuck you!”

She pulled up her shorts and panties as she scrambled out of bed. She slammed the bedroom door behind her.

"Everything sounds fine, Mr. Marchenko.” I pulled the stethoscope away from his chest. “You can button up now.”

I went to the counter and flipped open his chart. “Your last blood panel from February looked good. Your triglycerides were slightly elevated, but manageable. Everything else is normal. So, why do you want another cholesterol test?”

“Do you know how old I am, Dr. Glass?”

I flipped to the front page of his chart. “It says you’ll be 55 in July.”

“That was the age my father was when he died.”

I turned towards him. “How did he die, Mr. Marchenko?”

I expected to hear a clinical cause of death, but he told me something different.

“He died without meeting my wife or going to our wedding. He died without seeing his grandchildren be born, or showing them his medals from Korea. He never got to take my mom to Europe. He wanted to show her the village in Ukraine where his family came from and see the house in Ribeauville where her family hid Jews from the Nazis. He never saw my son play Lucky in his high school production of Dames at Sea, or my daughter win a blue ribbon for her photography at the Orange County Fair.”

He leaned forward and stared directly into my eyes.

“I don’t want to wind up that way. I want to grow old with my wife. I want to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. I want to hold my grandchildren. Life is so short and goes by so fast. I don’t want to miss out, Dr. Glass. You understand, don’t you?”

I nodded.

“Then, will you please order my cholesterol test?”

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