Closure

A Beginning, an Ending, and a Collaring

Ava Ex Machina
Dec 25, 2016 · 12 min read
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View of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

“You fell in love, you wouldn’t have done it for anything less.”

“I do love you,” I whisper back in to his ear.

“I love you too,” he says with a timid sigh

We lay in each others arms in a hotel room in Vancouver in smooth white sheets, and I have just finished breaking him, wrapping my hands around his neck as I submit him to my body and my pleasure as the dominant partner in our already intense affair. I feel him melt in my hands with each strike, each stroke and squeeze of my strong grip, so eager to please me as his eyes look up at me from the floor, pleading wordlessly for me to consume him as he caresses my feet with his lips.

Through the windows is a bright view of the bay and the towering residential skyscrapers that are matched only by the towering mountains that carve the dynamic vista of British Columbia’s natural beauty behind it. The water and grey sky refract across the glass, across the water, across his eyes that change color to match the landscape as we lay in bed with the sun drifting across us, diffused through the sheer curtains.

How long it had taken us to get to this place of being able to be together freely after the complicated way in which we met. To be able to be with him here so unencumbered is as much a relief as the ocean breeze on my face as we walk along the sea wall and find a place to sit with our arms around each other, talking about childhood adventures, first jobs, first loves.

An old man pushes his wife in a wheelchair down the path in front of us, clearly a walk they have taken together so many times before as they smile out ahead. As we watch them I weave my fingers through his, the hand of a man who has overcome so much for us to be together, who once flew all the way from London just to see me and hold me in a rented apartment in Bernal Heights for a scarce few hours before leaving again. It feels as if I have caught him in flight, or maybe fished him from the sea like the boats that dance back and forth across the busy bay in front of us.

In our final morning in Vancouver I look out over the cityscape through the sheer curtains, aware all at once of the surreal sensation of the moment, this place and time with someone with whom but for the chance that I might have ignored his online message about my writing I may have never met at all. Now he is part of my story, and anything seems possible.

He kneels on all fours before me as I sit in the white leather chair that perches next to the hotel bed. I pull my legs up over the arms, and he loses himself in me, pleasing me with the skill of his lips and tongue, the diligence of his practiced service as the sun shines on us through the window. This face of a man I thought I might lose now so close, working so hard now to please me. In the wake of my orgasm, he kneels on the floor with his head on my legs as I kiss him all over his face.

Our time together back in my city feels out of time as he returns to visit me the dinners he cooks for me, long afternoons on the weekends spent exploring one another’s bodies and brains as we talk for hours on end, evenings spent watching movies and sitting across from each other finishing work on our laptops. The sound of his voice, the feel of his hands in mine as I listen to him speak so deliberately about what we expect from this relationship, what finding each other could mean for people like us.

People like us, people for whom our lives are spent figuring out if we could ever live any other way but with a power exchange dynamic at the heart of our daily romantic experience, without a collar at the center of our relationship. We can’t, we both know how much we need this to be whole.

A collar can have many meanings in a BDSM relationship; for many couples putting a collar on one partner is the indication that it is “playtime” or the time when they are “on” or in their D/s role. For others it is a way to act out a kind of roleplay fantasy as a pet or slave as if it were a costume, and for many more the collar acts as a practical tool for restraint of a partner, and most some combination of all of the above.

For those like me, like us, a collar is a kind of designation of space, of order in a relationship. We are “total power exchange” or “24/7” people, those for whom our dynamic never really turns off.

It is rare to meet other people for whom D/s is not just a kind of added dimension to sexual adventure, but a kind of orientation that describes the way that we want to organize our relationships with our partners. I feel in this moment impossibly lucky to have met someone who wants this with me, who wants to feel my dominance be at the core of how we express our love all the time, and I am intoxicated. As we play with the intensity of two people who wish to live in contract with one another, the oxytocin dumping in to my bloodstream becomes like a drug on which I form a lethal dependence.

“We’re playing with fire, Ava,” he says to me as he breathes hard in to my neck, as I caress the place on his where soon I know I will close my commitment around him as my submissive. In this moment he is more correct than I will realize.

He sits on the floor and eats the triple cream brie from my hand, taking careful time to lick the last of it from my palms. I compose him little smears of cheese and fig on slices of baguette and hand them down in to his waiting mouth as I start to read our books that we wrote for one another to mark tonight, the night on which I will finally officially collar him as mine.

He presses his face in to my legs as I read the words he wrote to me aloud. I’m reminded of the first time he ever knelt on the floor in front of me with the intention of pleasuring me so many months ago. He had pressed his face in to my inner thigh and asked me in a small voice, “If I do this, will you still speak to me tomorrow?”

I could feel the pain in his words then, shaking me hard out of my arousal and reminding me how much the same we really are, how many years each of us had spent giving pieces of ourselves away to others who would never return them. I pulled him up by the face and kissed him, “Of course I will, I always will.”

Now I can feel the wet tears rolling down the inside of my thighs as he listens to me retell his story to him handwritten in the small handstitched journal. As I read his words it reveals to me so much of why that first time he thought I might leave, how he believed this bond we shared through the collar could be different, what he had inside him to give to me.

Next I read him mine, and my throat catches several times, reading him my promises to keep him safe, to honor this connection we have together, to love him as mine.

My gift to you of my dominance, sealed with my collar, is the gift of fire, a source of warmth and light in both of our daily lives and in our future together.

In my room a fur throw sits in front of my chair, the room dark except for the light of candles. His collar sits on my mirrored tray, the candles refracting in to a million points of light around it. He kneels naked in front of me on the fur and I ask him if he accepts my collar in the spirit it is given.

He does, and I fasten my collar around his neck as if it is the first and the last time.

The collar becomes a constant in our lives much as we had anticipated with its gifting to him. I find myself at the end of a long day longing for the moment when he would come in to my house, and as we greeted each other he would strip off his clothes and kneel in front of me while I sat on the edge of my bed. I treasure the quiet moment when he wraps his arms around my middle, feeling my cheek on the top of his head as he presses his face in to my chest, as I work the buckle closed and let my hands slide along the back of his neck to his cheeks. I hold his face and kiss him, now indicating that he’s in his proper place in my home.

It’s my wish that I own you wholly, and with sincerity, that you feel my control and my care in every aspect of your life.

With his collar on, the arc of our day continues as it always might have for any vanilla couple, preparing and eating dinner, debriefing on how our days have been, and feeling my face pressed in to his chest hair as I drift in to a warm, enveloping sleep. I always sleep so well when he is home with me, my hands caressing the collar around his neck as we drift off.

On the nights I treat him not just as my love but as my property, my hands wrap around the collar and pull him across the floor by it as he whimpers softly in agreement to my demands, as I pull him up the neck to kiss me, as I sit astride him and instruct him to open his mouth for my fingers, my spit, my tongue, whatever I choose that he will take from me as we make love.

I hold him by the collar as he kneels on all fours to eat me in front of a lounge chair in my living room, as I look in to his glazed and pliant eyes as he says, “Yes Ava” to me, the phrase each time a golden note, a bell that echoes through my head and sets the pleasure centers in my brain vibrating.

When I take you for my every purpose, it’s my intention that every one of these moments belongs to my will and my wish for what you experience.

But as summer turns to fall, my perfect golden days and their echoing bells begin to fade away from San Francisco to their home between the memories of Vancouver mountaintops.

He comes to San Francisco less often as the needs of his job change with the volatility that both of us have come to expect from our industry, and I stifle my ache as he becomes more distracted and busy with work. When he returns each time I hold the collar tighter, struggling to hold on to the sense of his belonging to me for now only a few days at a time. We had only just gotten to this point, I think to myself, the relationship only now finally breaking in as soft and bespoke a fit as the leather of his collar now like supple velvet under my fingers.

I had always seen the value in being alone, but now with a collar I feel the part of myself that departs each time he leaves for the airport, each night I roll over and look across my pillowcase at his empty collar on my nightstand. Propped against it is a card that came with the flowers he had sent early in our courtship on a day when I found his absence particularly painful. Reading what’s written on it now makes my chest hurt.

How can he be mine when I can no longer even get him to stay as long as he said he would? To call when he promised he would? To take the few moments at the end of the day to say goodnight to me? Is he only mine when my collar is around his neck? Is this relationship and its wholeness, its totality to me, my ownership of him and his heart all in my own head?

Between the increasingly lengthy times we now must be apart, we work to find space together in weekend trips and new adventures to places I have never been. I hold him by the arm as he takes me through cities he has loved, the dizzying maze of Paris block by intoxicating block, strolling along the Seine. I take him to mine, walking us through the chill night air away from the borough of my girlhood across the Brooklyn Bridge to the glittering island of my adulthood.

We kiss in a thousand streets, between bites of pastry and sips of coffee and wine. In the evenings I hold him by the collar and kiss him with a depth of intention, wrapping my fingers around the soft leather and these few moments of closeness that I can’t seem to cage and keep for mine.

I am consumed by the time-traveling largeness of a love that spans across international datelines, across centuries of architecture, across the yawning chasm of the space growing between us.

He holds me in his arms and he says he’ll be back. I know he always will, but I feel the way a starfish feels when it loses an arm to a predator, or a skink that sheds its tail out of fear and pain searching for an escape, giving something away of themselves, a pound of flesh paid just to survive. It pains me to know just how long it will take me to grow it back.

This level of surrender will test you, bend you, and sometimes break you.

In our hotel room in Vancouver I again look over the same city of glass towers layered over each other like trees in a wood as they were the first time we met here and declared our love to each other.

This time the air is colder, the buildings seeming dirtier than our first time here together after so much rain. But in this morning light he is the same as he was in the beginning, curled underneath my legs with his lips to my thigh. I know in this moment I would pay everything I have to just go back and start again from that first time here in this place, just to experience it all again fresh and beautiful, full of possibility.

I look in to his green eyes and see my collar around his neck, and I know it will be the last time I see him this way. It breaks me down the middle.

How lucky we are to find love amidst the chaos of our lives, to have had each other at all across this vastness of geography, the coincidences of time between our situations, the unlikeliness of our meeting.

I will work every day to be a crucible that will melt you down and mold you again in to the strongest version of yourself.

I hold on to this thought as the painful inferno of my breaking heart licks up my insides, as I force myself to remember to breathe, as I work the buckle slowly, trying to make the moment last, willing time to slow down so I never get to the end, as I take my collar off his neck for the last time.

My rules for ending this kind of relationship are few, but this one is absolute. I lock my collar, which he must keep. Tiny curly engraving on the custom lock says “Owned by Ava,” and as I turn it over and snap it closed, I see the gray sky and white-capped mountains out the window reflected in its polished silver sides. My hands shake as I hold it out to him.

In this moment when our bond as dominant and submissive breaks, it is not just a piece of leather with stitches and hardware I hand to him, it is a piece of my insides that I now give away, knowing I will never get it back.

“Thank you for being mine,” I choke out.

“Thank you for taking me,” he says, his face pressed between my thighs again as it was that first night. I hold the collar tight in my hands as he takes it from me, and will myself to loosen my grip and finally let it go.

I give you this collar in the spirit of that love. With your acceptance, I know that you are and will always be mine.

Here it begins, and here it ends, in this city on the water, of mountains, forests, bridges and boats, steel and glass.

It is a city that belongs to neither of us, no more mine than he is any longer. It is a closed circle, a collar locked, an empty place in my nightstand with only a card with a word, a memory of what we could have been.

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Ava Ex Machina

Written by

Silicon Valley’s femdom sweetheart, security witch, memoirist, postmistress general.

Valley of the Dommes

Tales and lessons from a life as a dominatrix brought to the modern Silicon Valley workplace.

Ava Ex Machina

Written by

Silicon Valley’s femdom sweetheart, security witch, memoirist, postmistress general.

Valley of the Dommes

Tales and lessons from a life as a dominatrix brought to the modern Silicon Valley workplace.

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