Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have sewn cute, flower-decorated, little pouches on the sleeves on all of my home-made, ankle-long night-gowns.
Every night they would help me get into one of those, and strap a canvas-vest on me. It has four straps, two either side, so they can strap it to the bed. They don’t strap it on really tight, you understand, just enough to stop me moving around too much in bed. It keeps me from sleepwalking, or fall out of bed. Or so they say. Now that I’m 15, I’m so used to it, I probably would. Maybe not sleepwalk, but fall out of my bed. The down-side is; I still have to wear diapers in bed.
Anyway, one day my cousin, Amanda, came over to stay the night. When it was time for bed, without thinking about it, my father strapped me to my bed, as he always does, when he is at home.
“What are you doing?” Amanda asked.
“Strapping Sarah to her bed, of course,” he replied.
Naturally she wanted to know why, and he said a doctor had told them to, many years ago. He said it was because I had been sleepwalking on and off when I was younger, and had constantly been falling out of bed, in my sleep.
Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, I honestly don’t know.
Then Amanda asked me, if I had ever wanted to get rid of the straps. “Sometimes, I have,” I said. Then I told her what I just told you, that I’d probably fall out of bed and hurt myself.
Instead of looking horrified about what we told her and what she saw, she actually looked quite relieved.
“Now I know why my folks do, what they do!” she said.
Before I go any further with this story, I feel I have to tell you that Amanda’s mother is my mother’s sister, and that her father is my father’s brother. It makes life so much easier without a huge amount of relatives to keep track of.
She told us straight out, that her parents cuffed her knees together, using a short chain to connect the cuffs, when she went out alone. When she asked them why they did it, they said it was to protect “her virginity”.
“Mm! Good idea, that,” my father dreamingly said, looking in my direction. “I’ll have to ask my brother where he got the cuffs and chain from.”
“Oh, I know. They’re from our local hard-ware store. They only sell them to him, but if you two go there and explain that you’re his brother, they might just start selling them to you too. I think they’re quite expensive, though. Another thing he buys there is rope; loads of it, in fact. They tie me to a chair, when they go to the store or something, and I don’t want to come along. Over the years, I’ve actually become quite an expert on undoing knots, but I’ve never been able to undo any of my mothers’ knots, not even the ones I can actually reach!”
“I’d be very surprised if you could!” my mum said, a smug grin plastered all over her face. “She’s learned everything she knows from the master! In this case, it would be me. She probably slowly adapts her techniques, to stay one step ahead of your level of expertise. That’s what I would have told her to do, anyway.”
“Anyway, enough about me.” Amanda said. “Do you have one more of those vests? It looks nice and maybe even fun, being strapped down like that. And I think we’re just about the same size, Sarah and I, so maybe I could borrow one of her night-gowns?”
“We sure do have a vest and some straps to spare!” my father said. “And there are plenty of night-gowns, in Sarah’s closet. You just bring one that you like over here, and I’ll help you get into it, if you want to.” Now, both my parents were smiling from ear to ear.
Having been quietly listening to what they had been talking about, I suddenly said: “I think we have some rope in the tool-shed, don’t we dad? How about, if Mandy (May I call you Mandy, by the way?) ties me up tomorrow, just as my aunt does her?” They all looked down on me, as if they had never heard me talk before.
“What a splendid idea! And then maybe I could have a go at tying you up, Amanda? Just to see, if I still can,” mum said, in a sort o begging voice, that no one had ever heard her use.
They all agreed to have a kind of a swap; her being strapped to the bed that night, in exchange for her showing us how she’s usually tied to a chair. When she took off her skirt, we had a good look at how her knees were cuffed together, and I immediately said I wanted to be cuffed just like that. If I started wearing skirts and dresses all the time, they could stay on all the time, except for when I had to take of my clothes in school for some reason.
“Oh, I wear them all the time in school too, even during P.E. and no one seems to mind.” Mandy explained, while my dad put the vest on her and strapped it together, adding,” Well, not much, anyway.” My father finished strapping her to the bed, and they said “Good night”, turned off the light, but left the door ajar.
After breakfast the next morning, dad put two chairs side by side on the kitchen floor and went to the garage and got a big bundle of ropes. “Will these do?” he asked Mandy, when he came back. After a close inspection, she confirmed they would, and I was told to sit in one of the chairs.
“My father even, on several occasions, positioned mirrors so I could see what he was doing, and talked me through it, step by step. But I still can’t get loose, at least not without their help! No matter, how hard I try! It is oh, so frustrating, but having said that, it’s also very instructive, because now I can tie knots no one can undo. Not even my scout-leader, who has several years-worth of experience of difficult knots. Now, I know you have no experience of this, so I’ll make it an easy one for you. When I tell you too, try to get out of this one, Sarah.” She tied my elbows and wrists together, behind the back of the chair. Then she tied more rope around my waist, trapping my wrists against the chair, then just above my knees, and finally around my ankles. When she was done, I could move my arms up and down quite easily, and I even had free access to the knots holding my wrists tied together and to the chair, but it was so complicated, even though they were fairly simple, there was no way I could get them undone. After having struggled furiously for about half an hour, I had to admit defeat.
“I’m really impressed!” Mandy said. “I would have thought you’d given up a long time ago. I really do admire your stubbornness, cus!”
“Mm. Well, thanks for the kind words, I suppose. Now could anyone get me out of this, please?”
“Get you out of it?” my mum said. “I think not! At least not until I’ve taken some pictures and emailed them to my sister and told her how good a student her daughter is! She took a digital camera, snapped a few shot and went to the computer and emailed them to her sister. While she did, I asked Mandy how her night had been.
“Not too bad,” she said. “But lying on my back all night, made it quite stiff. It’s only now I can begin to move around the way I want too.”
“You’ll learn to relax, soon enough,” I comforted her.
Shortly after that, it was time for her to go home, but not until she had released me from the chair. I was invited to come and stay with her and her family the following week-end, and I accepted. She took a couple of my night-gowns and the spare harness with her, and promised to put them to good use.