Everything has a shadow and that shadow is the only thing you have when you are alone.
Legend of the light shadow
Again, I am where I stay most of time: around the railway station, waiting for the beeps that will signal a coming train. I am in the kitchen, cooking something. I light a cigarette and keep it in my mouth, while my hands handle the ingredients and the tools needed to cook. Some smoke gets into my eyes. No problem, I am so used to it. Earlier, my parents came here, as they do in every day, to see if I am ok. They also smoke, but not as much as I do. So, we stayed and enjoyed a cigarette, while discussing about this stranger.
"You know, Small Wonder, people from over the sea are thinking different from us. You told him to stay this night too. Just be careful", said my dad.
This is how my parents call me. Small Wonder. This is because I am shorter then my brother and my sisters, as a result of underage smoking.
"I just want to see what is in that guy's brain", I argue. "If he is another infidel with too much testosterone, you know what will happen."
My mother laughed. "You know, guys burn around you like cigarettes. Many of them wanted your hand. And all you gave them is fire."
"And smoke", I added. "I gave them what they deserved. And you know why. I am a sfenist."
"I know, Small Wonder, but sometimes it breaks my heart", said my mom. "It is in part our fault you are what you are. I wished you were not alone."
"Nobody is alone", I say, blowing a thick cloud of smoke. "We all have our shadows."
"From all our children, you've got the most far. The other kids hardly followed a high school. You are the only one that got to an university. And you survived with your own money", said dad proudly. "And you survived by selling this" he sais, showing me his burning cigarette. "You could have a much better life in the civilized world, but you chosen to return. You know better what to do. Just do as your soul wants. If you want to study him, do so. If you want to kill him, just don't let tracks. If you want anything else, may all the gods be with you and give you a good idea."
I take a metal pot out of the oven. It smells so good, but never as good as my mother's. But doesn't matter, I want to be independent. Then, I put a tray full of cookies. Then, as I close the oven's door, I take the cigarette out of my mouth and exhale.
What time is it? Should the train come soon? First, a cargo train with coal or iron must come, then the passenger train with the stranger. As I think about what to do, I look at my feet. Should I change to another type of pantyhose? Yes, to see if he observes this. I take a new drag from the cigarette and go to the house. How about a light color? Better. I look at my feet below my knee-long dress. Should I look at the computer? I type 'men wearing pantyhose' on Google search and I get a lot of articles. So, that guy is not the only one. Let's try something else: 'pantyhose fetish'. So many videos are there with this subject.
The cargo train comes, with a new engine, moving slowly on the old and unrepaired railway. I immediately communicate with downstream and upstream stations, then hail the engineer to go. As the train vanishes behind the trees, my mind is done. If this stranger will be friendly, I will be friendly too. If he will try to seduce me looking for sex, I will have no mercy and hurt him in any way I can. And I want to know if he really wears pantyhose.
Up at the mine, the stranger is at work. He examines samples from the mine and notes from a laboratory. He models the mine on a computer, talking to his coworkers about what they found. And yes, they found copper close to where the iron ore ends. Then, they take a break for lunch. He sits out, on a big rock, with other people. Nobody calls nobody on its name. Everyone in here has a nickname nearly as soon as he comes to this place.
"So, Atan, where did you slip last night?" asks one of them.
"I found a place at Callisto station. At the junction with the line to second coal mine".
"In that small village? At who?" asks someone else.
"I slept at the girl who works at the station".
"Oh mine! Oh, I don! believe it!"
"What is it, Kebab?" sais Atan surprised.
"You slept at Ana? This is impossible!" almost screams Kebab.
"Ana is her name?"
"Not Ana. In fact, Nicotiana", sais the first guy. "She will force you to smoke like a thermal plant".
"If you manage to survive that long", sais Kebab. "Will he survive, Norris? I think he will go back here as scared as a rabbit followed by a trillion wolves".
"She will kill you, man", sais Norris. "Just ask Bagdad what happened to him. Oh, he is right here. Tell him, buddy, will you?"
"That bitch. I wanted to date her. She smiled and agreed, we went to a romantic dinner, everything was ok. She invited me to her home. I thought 'Lucky you, man! She is so pretty!' but no way..."
"What happened, Bagdad?" sais Atan listening.
"As I tried to touch her breasts, she said: 'What do you want?' I said: 'I love you!' and she said short: 'I am not here for your entertainment'. And as I tried to kiss her, she smashed my face with so much power, like she was a man. The next second, she took a chair and started beating the hell out of me. I managed to go out and she said 'Leave me alone, infidel' and I moved away. She followed me with an axe until I left the house".
"We are at the end of the world, folks", sais another guy. "People here have so strange ideas and mentalities. I wish I will get my money when we are done with this mine and walk back home from this madness".
"I have no intention to go to bed with her", sais Atan short. "I am just looking for a more quiet place to sleep".
"Well, in the night you were gone, we had a lot of fun. That girl, Tatiana, you know her".
"That's why I left. I needed some sleep", sais Atan with half of his voice.
"Maybe you are gay".
"Cut it off, Pegasus! He is not gay. If he were, you would have your ass exploded by now!"
"He is not into men, not into women, pals. Atan, are you castrated?"
"I will bring a girl here and see it with my own eyes if you are able to do something to her or not. I will pay for the bitch."
The evening passenger train should come soon. I hear the radio beeping. It left the upper station. A few people are here, on the platform, waiting the train to come.
"Hey Ana, I heard you have a new victim", said a 30 years old guy.
"Yes, you can say so. It depends on him if he uses some manners or I will put his guts on the fence to dry".
Yes, I try to be rude with guys that have too much testosterone. I give them what they deserve. Only my parents know that I am a sfenist. Nobody else. But even if everyone thinks I am the strangest person on the face of Earth, I don't care. Finally, the train arrives. I see it. I immediately go to the radio and signal upper and lower stations about it. Then, I get back to the passenger platform and here he is. A bit tired I see. He immediately looks at my feet. I have open-toe sandals and light pantyhose. A bit too cold for this time. I light a cigarette.
"Welcome! How was day at work?"
"A bit harder then usual. We found copper."
"That is good. Come on, I made something to eat".
"Thank you. Your generosity is far beyond anything I've ever encountered."
"No. This is how people from my ethnic group treat strangers".
"I think I need to pay in one way or another."
"You need to pay me?" I answered laughing. These strangers, think all is about money. "The only thing I need is you to be happy". And that is right.
I put the meal on the table. Milk and cheese based products, with vegetables and bread.
"This is your traditional cuisine?" he asks.
"Yes, but I adapted. I am more a milk-vegetarian. Not much into meat. And you know meat is not so good".
I just wait him to finish all food. Then, I serve the cookies with a cup of milk. Then, I invite him to stay on the bed in the kitchen. I stay near him. I take my sandals off and put my feet up on the bed, very close to him. I watch as he watches my feet.
"Come on, take your shoes off and put your feet up in the bed. I bet you're tired" I say.
"It's ok, I can stay like this" he sais.
"Don't argue with me. Put your feet up on the bed!" I order.
"My socks stink. I don't think it's a good idea".
He looks embarrassed, but I want to find out what I need to know. So, I take his feet up by force. Then, I light a cigarette and say:
"Now let me guess. I see you like looking at my feet like no other guy before", while putting back my feet in the bed and holding his feet by the shoes with my hands. "And I have a feeling..."
I hear him trying to say something.
"You are in my house, not me in yours. Stop complaining like a kid".
It starts to look like fun. He looks a bit scared or I don't know. I look in his eyes. He is like a cornered rabbit waiting for the wolf to find him. I take his pants and start turning them up, exposing the feet. And just as I expected, where the socks end, something smooth appears in front of my eyes. Pantyhose! How about it! I take a deep drag and blow the smoke over his now exposed pantyhose.
"Nobody has ever found this", he sais with a scared voice. "How did you... notice? Just don't tell anyone. Nicotiana! Will you?"
This name shocked me. Where did he know? Most of sure from those people at the mine. Well, they got what they deserved. I stop moving my hands and look him with a smile.
"It is the first time I see a man wearing pantyhose. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. I just wanted to know why you do this. And I found out that you have a pantyhose fetish by the way you look at my feet."
His face changed. So surprised. Well, I always like to be a step ahead the other people.
"So", I say again, this time smiling and trying to give him a good mood. "What is your story? Why do you wear pantyhose?"
"Well, it goes many years ago. I started wearing them when I was a child. I think 12 or 14 years. I liked the way they look. Well, I think I've seen pantyhose on girls, from there. I wanted to wear them. I use to sneak my mother's. Then, I found pantyhose in the garbage, washed them and worn. And then. I decided to buy my own. I like the feeling on my feet and... I don't know. I became addicted to this".
I take my foot near his and compare them. So interesting... A man addicted to pantyhose. Just like I am to smoking. I am thinking at my best words. I made it! I opened him up! Now, let's take all the information, all the juice out from him.
"Don't worry", I say. "You are welcome. I like to learn new things and talk to unconventional people. I never knew there is a pantyhose fetish and there are men wearing pantyhose. Honestly, I appreciate your effort to keep your addiction hidden." Then, I look at his exposed pantyhose again, with a smile. "You know, I also like the feel of pantyhose on my feet. You can see that I am wearing them. I like how it feels to rub your feet one to another. Just don't worry about anything".
I look in his eyes and he seem like saved from a car crash. But then, the radio beeps.
"A train is coming. I need to prepare the switches. Make yourself comfortable and take off your shoes and socks. I want to learn more".
I move out to the station and change the switches. It takes about 10 minutes from when you hear the radio and the train arrives. Then, I move to the center of the platform, lighting a cigarette. A train composed of two engines and about 30 wagons struggle to move upstream. The engineer shouts:
"Hi Ana! Have a good night!"
"See you in the morning, Frederic!" I answer.
I contact nearby stations, then throw the used cigarette and move back in the house. And as I expected, I find this guy, with his shoes and socks removed and with his pantyhosed feet exposed. He even turned up his pants to the knee. I examine his feet. So much hair on them! If you look from some distance, they look nice, but from close... all that hair is not good.
"You are the only person who found out", he sais. "Not my parents, nobody at the university and nor my coworkers managed to find out this.
"No problem. Nothing will pass me. Just tell me. What do you think of pantyhose?"
"They are amazing. I wish men would have the right to wear them too. I love to watch women with pantyhose. Well, not the women. Their feet."
This is something. Not the women, but their feet? Could he be a sfenist?
"Why not the women?" I ask. "Why don't try to get a girlfriend with pantyhose, so you can watch her all your life?"
"I am not a bull running over cows" he answers.
"Have you ever touched pantyhose on a women's feet?" I ask him.
"On a few occasions".
Now comes a hard moment. On a few occasions? I take a long drag of smoke and almost digest it, together with my thoughts.
"Are you married?" I ask, already knowing the answer will be no, from his eyes.
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"Did you have a girlfriend?"
"I had, but never found one to worth it. All were just looking for money. I don't like that kind of people".
Oh mine, he might be a sfenist! Now, let's try the impossible. It almost makes me shake.
"Sorry to ask you... But are you even a bit gay?"
"No, I am not gay. I never liked gay people. Seen some in my life, but never liked what they were doing".
"I knew it. But it looks like you are not much into women, either. This is very interesting. You love pantyhose. One would expect you to try the best to seduce a girl wearing pantyhose, but instead, you decided to actually wear pantyhose. You changed the woman with the idea."
"You are smart. It almost looks like you can read my thoughts from my eyes".
"In fact, I can" I say. He doesn't know my training in physiognomy reading. "I also love to study unusual people, sexual minorities and unconventional thinking. Well, I have to say it to you, directly. Are you a sfenist?"
He took a few seconds to think. "I don't know what that is".
"Well..." This left me without even air to breath. Air? I need smoke, to give me strength. So, I light again and take two short drags. "Well, I don't know the exact English term for this." Again, I need to focus a bit. Take another drag, you need it, Ana! "A sfenist is... a sexual minority."
"Like gay?" he sais very surprised.
"No, not quite. There are many sexual minorities. And the largest of all are the asexual people. This include all people who cannot or feel no pleasure in having sex. Asexual people include maybe more then normal, or heterosexual people and by far more then homosexual groups. Think about all the children and all the elders. But there are many sub-categories among the asexual people". I need a break, to take again two drags. "You know what an impotent is?"
"I do. A person that cannot have sex".
"More complex that is. A structural impotent cannot have sex. A functional impotent can have sex, but cannot make children. People in the second category can have a family life, still. But there is a third category and they are called sfenists. It is something very rare and always is caused by something that changed one's life beyond recovery."
Again I take two drags. This is hard for me to say, a secret that has haunted my entire life. Does this stranger deserve to know this? I might tell him what a sfenist is, but not tell him that I am one.
"A sfenist is a person that has the genetic and biological power to mate and have children, but has not the psychological power. A psychological impotent."
As I say this, his eyes are starring at me. I can see he is amazed, surprised and trying to hide a secret. What does this pantyhose man hide?
"Well, sfenists are rare. About one person in 3000 is one. And by far, majority are women." I again take a deep drag and the smoke enters my eyes. "A sfenist is not born this way. They are made. I never seen one born as a sfenist. Usually, there must be something traumatic. A rape, a pedophile, an abuse very powerful to turn your life into hell. Not everyone can recover from this. Many people will never be able to have sex ever again." I take the last drag from the filter, all tobacco is gone. "I know a woman. Her husband realized that he is gay and abandoned her after 20 years of marriage. The shock was so hard that she became a sfenist. Some will never be able to have sex again, some will do, but it will be a pain and not a pleasure".
I put the filter in the ashtray.
"But there are also other kind of sfenists and in this category we find maybe more men then women", I say. "It all starts in early childhood. If the parents decide that your destiny in life is to learn, they will cut you off from all the pleasures of life. The only thing that matters is to learn. School and nothing else. That is your purpose in life, to get to the best university. However, this ends with deep scars. As the child grows up, it feels sexual attraction it its body, but cannot dare to look for love. Some might not even realize what love is. You see a girl in pantyhose, you think you like the pantyhose, but in fact the first feeling you had was for the girl. What remains for the child? It grows up, but cannot date someone. But hormones exist in your body. And so, at some point, the child will learn how to masturbate. And here comes all. This is self-satisfaction. As time passes, it becomes harder and harder to get a date. And after many years, they find out that they don't satisfy their partners in bed and even that... they find almost no pleasure for themselves. Masturbation satisfies them much better."
He listens all I say, carefully. Then sais:
"Do you think I am a sfenist?"
"Do you feel like you are one?" I ask.
"I don't know. I think you answered better then I ever could, where my attraction for pantyhose started. Who learned you all this?"
"An 60 year old psychologist woman. I cannot tell you if you are a sfenist or not. You are the only one who can figure it out".
"I guess I am. I fit into second category. At school, I was a book grinder. My parents inspired me this behavior. But, there is something else. Since you seem to read through my eyes. As a child, I've been abused by a gay person. It took me years to recover. Even now, when I smell the sweat of a man, I have butterflies in my stomach. But I think I survived and left this behind".
I think he deserves to know now.
"People from the mine have told things about me, that I don't give my heart to anyone. And that I've attacked guys who tried to touch me. Now, you can see why. I belong to the first category. And you are the only one in this village to know. I chosen you because I smelled that you are a sfenist too. Never ever tell anyone this".
"I won't. Ever".
It is now getting late. I leave him to sleep in the kitchen again, while I go to the house. But it's hard to sleep now. For the first time, I found a male sfenist. So unexpected. I get to bed and light a cigarette in the night. Looking at the dim red light, I wonder... Will I make him smoke? Will I make his lungs happy? Sure I will.
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