Monday, October 12, 2015

Parallel Worlds

By Lisabet Sarai

It's past midnight, in the late seventies. I'm sitting around the kitchen table with my boyfriend and my housemate. We're all extremely stoned, a not-uncommon state back in those days, and we're descending into a labyrinthine discussion of life, death, probability, fate and time. It feels as though we're getting somewhere, untangling these primal issues. It always feels that way when we're stoned.

J is talking about how, in some future, he'll be master of the universe. All he has to do is open the right doors. I'm listening in admiration, thrilled by the notion, ready to believe.

"But what do you mean by right?" I ask. "How will you know? Every instant you make choices, and every choice spawns a new universe." I struggle to wrap my pot-laced mind around the notion of infinite parallel universes. Then I have a vision.

Choices give rise to new strands of reality. Maybe, though, the divergent paths rejoin. After a while, parallel universes collide and collapse into a single reality. It's like chicken wire, I see clearly, a mesh of realities that split and merge, a web of possible futures--all existing simultaneously. There's always a route, though perhaps a long one, from any decision point that spawns a new world to any other. There's no such thing as an irrevocable choice.

It's a revelation. I try to explain the chicken wire theory of reality to J. and M., who nod sagely. It makes sense to them. Wild notions often do when you're stoned.


Fast forward to a few years later. My master is crying. Early in our relationship he made me promise that if I met someone else, someone serious, I'd come see him first. He brashly vowed he'd convince me otherwise. I was pretty sure the guy I'd fallen for was my soul mate. (It turned out I was very wrong.) Still, I wanted to keep my end of the bargain. I'd shelled out for a plane ticket and flown 500 miles to give my master the chance to change my mind.

I'd expected him to bind me, to whip me, to fuck me until I screamed for mercyuntil I realized and admitted that I would always belong to him and no one else. Instead he huddles on his couch, tears in his eyes, and barely speaks to me for two days. I'm angry he makes no effort to get me back. I suffer because of the pain I'm obviously causing him. I'm relieved that I am apparently free to go back to my new lover.

I'm very confused.

In later years, I've always identified that weekend as one of those inflection points that give rise to parallel worlds. If he had claimed me then, the way he promised... if he had come right out and told me he didn't just want me, but also loved me ... if he'd brought up the question of marriage or cohabitation... I might well be with him now, instead of half a world away and married to someone else. And maybe in some other strand of reality, I am his wife and lover, perhaps even mother to his children.

On the other hand, if I were in that reality, what would I have missed? Would I have traveled? My husband has had travel fever since his teens. My master doesn't even have a passport. Would I be living overseas now, every day an adventure? Speaking of adventures, would I have had the chance to explore the delights of ménage and polyamory, the way I have in my present universe? He's both possessive and surprisingly shy, for a sex maniac Dom.

StillI dream about a life of complementary fantasies, where my desire to submit perfectly matches his need to command. It's been decades since anyone tied me up or spanked me. I still remember the intensity of those times, the overwhelming sense of being in the now, the glow of devotion and the knowledge that I'm cherished for my surrender. I miss those feelings. I miss him, with an ache that's mellowed a bit over time but has never disappeared.

It occurs to me, though, that Lisabet Sarai, spinner of lascivious tales, would never have been born if he'd grabbed me that weekend, thrown me onto the couch, flipped up my skirt and buried himself in my ass, the way I imagined he might. If I were living the life of a submissive, I might never have been moved to write about it. It was my frustrated longing for him and his magical mind that led me to pen my first erotic tales and send them to him--to bridge the gap between our bifurcated lives. Raw Silk was a compendium of all my favorite D/s fantasies. It was a thought-experiment, a tentative stroll into that alternative world where he voiced his true feelings (as he has since, but perhaps too late) and changed our fates.


I sit at my computer in a foreign country, a woman a few years over of sixty, remembering the crossroads in my life and trying to recapture my dope-induced image of the universe. Is it really true that all possibilities continue to exist, beyond the point of decision? Or is the universe like Schrödinger's cat, multiple potential outcomes collapsing into a single state as soon as one chooses to open the box? I'd like to believe that there's some way to get back to that point in time where my master and I took separate emotional paths, and strike off in a different direction. I'm not sure that I'd actually choose to return and walk that road not taken. Still, I'd like there to be, somehow, a chance.


  1. I love your chicken wire analogy representing possible life paths. Trick is to know which decisions are of grave importance and which are just daily choices that have minimal bearing on the future.

    1. I don't think we CAN know. Even looking back, it's not always clear. Indeed, when I started thinking about this topic, I was struck by the fact that many times, those critical inflection points are actually gradual, a series of mental adjustments rather than a true fork.

      As an example, our decision to move to Asia. A radical change, but in fact we didn't suddenly come to the conclusion we should exchange a life in the US for a life overseas. One of us mooted the possibility--I don't even remember whether it was my DH or I--and we began to explore both the idea and its practical implementation. So when was the fork? When we made the final decision, or when we first considered the notion?

  2. I've heard it theorized that there are infinite parallel worlds representing every possible thing that could have happened at every moment in time. No, I can't exactly comprehend this, but it makes me wonder, at those rare times when I've come close to disaster, for instance when a huge tanker truck pulled left ahead into my lane on a crowded super highway and gouged a crease down the side of my car and broke the side mirror but I managed to hang on and not hit the concrete barrier on my left, well, at times like that, is there an alternate universe where disaster was not averted? And how come I get to be in the one where it was? (Incidentally, the truck tried to run off without pulling over even when that would have been possible, and ignored our signals, but was apprehended more than ten miles down the road where we had pulled off at a big rest area beside a toll booth and called the police, and the truck pulled in without seeing us--it was a huge parking area--and the driver was trying to scrub our paint off his wheel when the cops arrived. They did not let him back on the road.)

    1. I'm certainly glad I'm in the world where you squeaked by!

  3. Hi Lisabet!

    Actually, stoned or not, I've thought about that theory of reality you were proposing and always found it intriguing. I'm very sure reality is nothing like we think it is. Maybe we find out after we die, maybe not.

    But I wonder, the life of a submissive is so intense - how long can you sustain that kind of relationship? Would it eventually burn out into routine and disillusionment? Then what? Domesticity? Where do these submissives and doms go when they've been at it for awhile? Do they just become friends? Somebody should write a story about long term masters/slaves and how that turns out. Do they sit on the sofa and watch TV at night?


    1. I've wondered that, too, Garce. In fact, I have quite a few stories that explore that question, for instance, "Limits: A Love Story".

      However, I think there are some D/s relationships that survive domesticity.

  4. Intriguing thought, Lisabet. And Sacchi, I'm also glad you survived in this dimension of reality! Actually, I bet we all know some long-term D/s couples in cyberspace: the ones who appear in erotic writers' groups.But asking nosy questions would probably be rude. :(


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