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Carla was the only woman who ever wanted to marry me (not counting another woman who was temporarily insane). I was fixed up with her as a blind date around 1975. The only thing we had in common was that we were both lonely and needed sex. This doesn’t make for an enduring relationship, but it’s a typical enough starting point. I liked her looks. She had sultry eyes, full lips, and a great ass. She was about seven years older than me.
Carla was a commercial artist who dabbled in “fine art” as well. She lived east of Toronto. She was divorced and had a little boy. She belonged to the Mormon Church, and all of her friends were Mormons, too. Imagine happy, square-looking families on 50’s television, and that’s what Mormons are like. They don’t drink alcohol, tea, or coffee, and they don’t smoke. They’re big on “family values” and definitely do not approve of sex outside of marriage. Carla should never have been a Mormon because she was much too sexy. But she needed the church for the sense of belonging it gave her. Her parents were cold-blooded stiffs, and she had grown up starved for love and approval. So she nestled into the patriarchal bosom of the church, which only demanded that she regard it as an authority in her life and live by its precepts. The Mormons are not bad people, but they are meddlesome. After all, you’re really part of an extended family, and it’s only natural for family members to take an interest in each other’s well-being. And think of your child. You must give us your child once or twice a week for proper indoctrination.
I did not want to think about Mormonism, or God, or Jesus, or anything religious. I was an agnostic, thank you, and I wanted to be left alone to enjoy my mundane vices. I only wanted to think about how great Carla’s ass looked from behind as I fucked her. She may not have been the best lay I ever had, but I prefer to judge a woman by her best attributes, not her worst. It’s true that she wouldn’t let me come in her mouth because “that’s not where a man’s sperm is supposed to go.” It’s true that she only liked to fuck in one position (on her side with me tucked in behind). And it’s true that she refused to look at pornography. But she had one endearing idiosyncrasy that set her apart from all other women I’ve ever known. Her favorite sex act was to lie on top of me in the “69” position and grind her pussy against my mouth for up to an hour until she came. I found it tremendously exciting.
On other occasions, however, she would ruin the mood entirely. One time we’re in the middle of fucking, and right out of left field she says to me, “Tell me it’s not just physical.” Well, sex may be spiritual but not when your’re doing it. When you’re doing it, it’s supposed to be purely physical. As Woody Allen observed, sex is dirty if you’re doing it right. Here was an example of religion intruding itself into what should have been a normal, romantic, sexual relationship.
That damned church. I couldn’t get away from it. Every one of Carla’s friends had a brain full of Bible babble. I never heard a normal conversation. It was always Jesus this and Jesus that. One time she was entertaining this couple. The husband was a stereotypical low-brow truck driver. He went on and on about his old life of sin and how he found Jesus and was saved from the devil. So now he was an expert on sin, get it? When Carla mentions that she bought a one-dollar lottery ticket, he tells her, “These things are from the other side…” (meaning hell). And Carla is trying to justify herself by saying the money goes for good purposes like hospitals. I excused myself at that point and went outside for a smoke. Later, when the guests were gone, I said to her, “Why do you feel you have to justify yourself to an idiot like that?”
Even more galling was the time I had to hide in the bedroom one morning when a client came by to drop off a design job. This guy belonged to a church that was ten times more flipped out than the Mormons. Carla was afraid that if he knew I’d spent the night, he’d stop giving her any business.
Collecting authority figures was just one way in which Carla complicated her life. She lived beyond her means, she had no concept of money, she was a compulsive saver of junk, and her sense of household management was non-existent. You’d open a cupboard and find five jars of mustard with different amounts of mustard, including year-old rubbery residues. Where was her brain? One time she ran out of cheques and had to pay a bill, so she got an old chequebook from a defunct account, crossed out the name of the bank and the account number, and wrote in the name of her current bank and account number. Guess what? The cheque was returned.
Shortly after I met her, she decided to move, and since I had a car, I volunteered to help her. Her basement was such an archeological horror, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. You couldn’t believe that a divorced woman with one child could amass so much junk. She had enough kitchenware to outfit three complete kitchens. She had tubes of toothpaste of a brand that was no longer made. A large amount of stuff got left at the curb for the garbagemen.
Her new place was larger and more expensive. Carla had no savings. She was always just barely paying the rent and just barely completing her jobs by the deadline. I had to drive her through a snowstorm so she could deliver an ad to a newspaper with only minutes to spare.
Carla had to prove to her mother that she was a success, so she kept a higher standard of living than she could afford. She borrowed money from me twice. Her life style bothered me so much I criticized her constantly. Meanwhile, her church friends were pressuring her to get married and stop living an immoral life.
Each weekend I would drive out and spend two days with her. There was sex to look forward to, which I’m sorry to say was my principal motivation. As well, I had simply gotten into the habit of going out there because if I didn’t, there’d be a tearful argument over the phone. I was too weak to say to myself, “I’m not happy. I’m not going back.” My brains were in my dick. This is the most common character defect of the male sex.
The trouble was that Carla loved me desperately. She was determined to get me to marry her. But there was no way I was going to join her church.
A local creep named Fred, a Newfie who owned a snack truck, developed a crush on Carla and was dogging her and showing up at her apartment complex. I only found out about this situation after it had been going on for some time. Carla didn’t have the common sense to tell this guy to get lost or she’d call the cops. I took her to the police, where she made a formal complaint. However, she kept giving the detective so much irrelevant “background information” that he thought she had a screw loose. I could see it in his eyes. At one point he excused himself and left us alone. No doubt, he was listening to us through a concealed mike to see if Carla was a fake. I admonished her to cut out the irrelevant details and be done with it because it was dinner hour and the detective obviously wanted to go home.
Fred’s lawyer kept asking for postponements, and Carla stupidly agreed. I got angry and told her, “Just deal with it, for Christ’s sake!” The day came when I escorted her to court for the trial. Fred lied through his teeth and said Carla was a prostitute who had 17 boyfriends. When Carla got on the stand, she was very agitated and swore she wasn’t a prositute, even though nobody took Fred seriously. Once again, she embarrassed me by trying to defend herself when there was no need. Anyway, Fred got convicted of “watching and besetting” and didn’t bother her ever again.
Carla had not been in her new apartment very long when she decided to move again — to a more expensive town house. “You’ll have to get someone else to help you because I’m not going through that again,” I told her. As it happened, she had someone else — a new friend named Armas, who had a business and who was going to give her a job taking messages for him at her home. It was this job offer that encouraged her to move.
Shortly after the move, Carla informed me that Armas told her he was in love with her. I wasn’t concerned. She would just have to tell him she wasn’t available. Whether Armas was sincere is doubtful in retrospect, because he proved to be a crackpot and a liar. Carla told me that he was a man of many talents: he owned a sporting goods store, he designed and built original furniture, he was a restorer of antiques, and he was involved in sundry business enterprises. Naturally, I was interested to meet this guy. We drove to his store, which was a very small storefront in a strip mall, and we sat in his cluttered “workshop” for an hour and a half. During that time he talked about philosophy and religion and didn’t do a lick of work. One customer came in and bought a package of golf balls. When Carla and I finally left, I was puzzled about Armas. He was supposed to pay her $400 a month to be his answering service but didn’t appear to have much cash flow.
The worst-case scenario unfolded. Armas borrowed a pillow from Carla so he could sleep in his store. He also borrowed an old van she owned but didn’t drive because it was broken. He never returned it. We drove to his store and found a sign from his landlord indicating he’d been locked out for non-payment of rent. Carla called his wife, who Armas had said was a sick monster. Not surprisingly, she said the same thing about him: he was out of his mind and not to be trusted. Needless to say, Carla never got a dollar out of him, and now that she was in a more expensive place, she was really in a jam.
Her church friends helped her out by buying a few of her paintings. And very possibly the church helped her out directly, which she would never have admitted to me.
Desperate for money, Carla tried selling advertising for a promotional map detailing local businesses, and she toyed with the idea of doing early-morning newspaper deliveries. Unfortunately, her driver’s license was expired.
By this time I was very unhappy with Carla. The plain truth is that I did not want to be part of such a trouble-prone, complicated life. But she was more determined than ever to get me to marry her. She had already tried two ploys: she told me she was pregnant, and she coached her son to tell me to marry her so we could all live happily “in the church.” Now she tried two other ploys: she said she had cancer, and she said an intruder had molested her in the laundry room. When I called from Toronto to say I wasn’t coming back, she threatened to commit suicide.
I didn’t come back, and she didn’t commit suicide. I was glad to be rid of her, but I judged myself harshly for staying in the relationship as long as I did.
About a year later, Carla called and asked me to come out for a friendly visit. I relented. We sat on the patio, and she complained about not having a man. I took pity on her, and we went inside and had sex.
I never saw or spoke to Carla again after that. However, I did get occasional reports from the lady who had originally fixed us up. Carla married a man in the church, a widower with three children and a good business. After a few years, he left her unexpectedly. His business had failed and he had found a rich widow. He said to Carla, “It’s not that I don’t love you any more. I’m only leaving you for her because she has money.” So much for Mormon family values.
After that, Carla became depressed and put on a huge amount of weight. She was also on the outs with the church for a while. I’m not sure what happened, but I believe she wanted to sue someone over the price of a painting and the church intervened. Carla was very unbusinesslike, so she was probably in the wrong. Anyway, after a period of suspension she was let back into the congregation.
The last report I got was that Carla’s mother had died, and she got the house. She lived alone. Her son, now in his twenties, had moved out and was in business for himself. I knew that Carla could never be happy without a man. I don’t know if she ever found another one. It would have to be someone strong-willed enough to keep her out of trouble and make decisions for her, while giving her the love and stability she never got from her parents.
There are two things I always remember when I think of Carla. The first is the way she would hump my face, grinding away frantically until she came. (How I’d love to meet another woman who would do that!) The second is the “curse” she put on me during one of our arguments: she said that if I didn’t marry her, I was destined to grow old alone. As time goes by, it looks more and more as though she was right.
Crad Kilodney. all rights reserved.