In my line of work, customers like him were a dime a dozen, lonely old men looking for a relationship, even if it’s only with their cashier. There was something different about him, maybe it was that he was a consummate professional, wearing a suit jacket on the hottest of days, or maybe it was the way his hands trembled when he handed me cash, like a third grader giving a note to the girl he likes. I can’t say why, but when he asked me out on a date, I gladly accepted.
We looked like an odd pair, the girl young enough to still pass for a highschool student, and the distinguished man old enough to be her father. I couldn’t stop gazing at him during dinner, his sly attempts to wipe sweat from his forehead, silently hoping I didn’t notice his anxiety. The events of the night swirled to the bottom of my wine glass.
My voice echoed in a cavernous room and my eyes adjusted to my new surroundings. I moved my wrist, the weight of chains becoming apparent. I yanked on the chains with as much force as I could muster, but the pole they were connected to didn’t budge an inch. The door swung open and my date waltzed into the room, bearing a tray of food.
I screamed at him until my voice was hoarse. Surely this was a joke – it couldn’t be happening to me, after all. When was he going to let me out?
“I’m sorry I was such a poor date last night. Fifteen times and I still get nervous,” he said.
The weeks went on much the same, a daily visit with my meals, screaming myself out until I couldn’t even muster a whisper.
He took care of me, better than any man before ever had. I never missed a meal, he gave me plenty of time to bathe, and the end of his visits were always spent listening to my problems. I would mention to him how the cuffs on my wrists were chafing badly and he’d promise to line them with rubber and lotion.
In his own way he cared about me. And yeah, like all men, he had outbursts, and he chained me to a post, but maybe that was all just his way of protecting me.
We were three months into our relationship when he stormed into the basement and kissed me passionately. Before this, he was always reserved, never even offering up a peck on the cheek for when I did something well.
“I’ve found a priest, one who’s discreet,” he stammered.
I was overjoyed. For months I had been waiting for him to pop the question. However, a voice in the back of my head was shouting. He read the emotion on my face.
“You may be number fifteen, but make no mistake, you’re number one.”
Somewhere in the back of my head, the voice was whispering, is this really love or is it simply Stockholm Syndrome?
Monica took advantage of our free program for authors. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Share Your Story