A Secret, by Archie Lime

contributed by Archie Lime

Sometimes all you need to be happy is a well-kept secret.

Before I met Colette, over seven years ago, I had steered my life into a cul-de-sac of unfulfilling routines: a job I hated, a marriage gone stale from inattention, a series of dreams and aspirations so long deferred they were indistinguishable from failure.  When you let your life get away from you this way, it can be hard not to see yourself as the sad old dude others see.

Sitting in the sales meeting pretending to listen, you get flustered when the CEO (yawn) surprises you with:  “Archie, any thoughts?”

“Uh, well, sure, uh…”

It was to break out of this slump that I decided, seven years or so ago, to act, at long last, on some sexual fantasies I’d been kicking around pretty much since puberty.  Those first few excursions into BDSM were… inconclusive.  Catching a glimpse of myself in a pro-domme’s mirror with a pink dog collar strapped around my neck, I thought, “Oh man.  You ARE a sad old dude.”  But about six months into my BDSM adventure I happened, absolutely by chance, to meet Mistress Colette at The Gates—and from that day forward I had a secret.

We all know the cautionary tale of the hidden shame that ends up wrecking your life, devastating the people you love, soiling your name with indelible scandal.  But where in movies and books and TV shows is the secret that puts your life back together?  Where is the private vice that invests each day with meaning, pumps it full of energy and creative purpose—the dark secret that brings light to your life?

Because that was my experience. 

Once I began to see Colette every Sunday for a dedicated hour of perverse experiment, erotic performance art and an occasional game of chicken, new current began to flow into all the other tributaries of my personal power grid.  With Colette as faithful audience-of-one I started writing again a book I had put aside—along with short stories and even songs!  Learning of her interest in film, an old passion of mine neglected, I picked it up again and found myself thinking about and talking about Francois Truffaut, Luis Bunuel, Akira Kurosawa—old friends!  My job, suddenly, didn’t seem so bad.  My marriage, released from shackles of frustration, sparked anew.  Maybe all this would have happened anyway, but I’ll always attribute it to the liberating effect of having a hidden identity quite at odds with the one others saw.  In short:  a secret.     

Now in those sales meetings when the CEO (yawn) turns to me and says, “Archie, any thoughts?”  I swim up from the depths of a vision of Colette standing astride my chest in stilettos, whip in hand and answer quite happily:

“Why yes, I DO have a thought…”