A possible change of lifestyle?

The last article, we learned more about Esmeralda’s busy life. The function and responsibilities of managing a family vineyard was an arduous task. I understand that she has performed proficiently.

Until recently her sleep was reportedly good. Now, onset from five or six months ago, her sleep is restless. She came to me following sessions with two other therapists who were listed by her primary care physician. All three prescribed medications, which Esmeralda tried and halted due to side effects.

She’s otherwise a healthy woman. She’s bothered by the daily dose of fatigue, which factors into curtailing daily runs. She fights the fatigue and it’s getting to her. Her diet is good. She has a good family relationship. She relates well with her work crew. The business is doing well. So, what’s the problem?

We learned that Esmeralda occasioned a pizza and beer get-together for her crew. They loved it. One man named Zeke told her that the pizza wasn’t good. He could make it better. A challenge was set.

“So, one Friday, I went to town to pick up supplies and included pizza making ingredients that Zeke ordered. A couple hours were needed to make the pizza. He arrived at an appointed time and got the run of my kitchen. I left to put up the supplies. We all met later with beer and Zeke’s famous pizza. He made several. We chowed down and the pleasurable moans resonated. I got to admit, it was superior. I thanked him Zeke apologized for being too forward. I was impressed with his assertiveness. Shyly, he asked me if he might make me a special dinner. I thought he might be skirting boundaries of employer-employee relations. He felt that, too, but he said that he rarely got to cook for anyone.

“He was here from his home in Puerto Rico. His family owned a small restaurant where he learned to cook. He did well enough to consider cooking as a profession on a grander scale. He entered culinary school. He lived alone. He learned new skills quickly. He answered the ad for a vineyard worker and he prospered on the job. Reluctantly, I said yes. He offered to purchase all the ingredients for a surprise meal. Now, he rented a room in a boarding house, which wasn’t a comfortable place to entertain, so I agreed to allow him to use my kitchen on a weekend evening.”

She took a deep breath. “Anyways, he came to my home and shooed me out while cooking up an outrageous authentic Puerto Rican delight. Together with some of our vineyard wine, we ate and drank. The food was wonderful. Very different from authentic Mexican food, which my mom cooked deliciously. We opened a second bottle of wine and sat on my porch overlooking the vineyard. We talked well into the night. I thought he was too intoxicated to drive to his rental so I offered him my couch for the night. He timidly accepted. We slept, he on the couch and me in my bed. At some point in the night I woke up, came out of my bedroom and sat down next to him. He awoke and I kissed him. He wasn’t aggressive. I came on to Zeke. We made love and slept together until the early morning, at which time he left for his rental room.

How do you feel disclosing this experience, I asked? Esmeralda answered, “I feel confused. You see, I’m a lesbian. I’ve known this since my teenager years. I’m open with my family, who are amazingly accepting. None of the stuff others usually experience. I’m seeing Berta. I didn’t tell her. I didn’t even tell my parents. No one knows. Zeke is a gentleman. We’ve not gotten together since. Our relationship is good. He doesn’t talk about the night. I’ve not slept well since.”

I realize that Esmeralda’s sleep may be affected by guilt. She states, “Yes. I feel guilty and yet it felt good. I’ve never been with a man before. Am I bi-?” She agreed to continue therapy with me. She faced a possible challenge of her sexual identity, the guilt and the subsequent sleep matters. Sleeping with Zeke may not translate to an altered sexual identity. If she’s serious about Berta, perhaps couples counseling might be in order. Esmeralda had little time to think. She needed sleep. She needed to face her confusion.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Marshall Greenstein, a Cassadaga resident, holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email editorial@observertoday.com