She had watched him forever; he had grown up in the shack on the shore, and she watched as he learned to mend nets, caulk boats, cure fish. She watched his first steps, his joyous run, the muscles in his back under the summer sun.
She desired him, wanted him, and had been weaving her spells since his adolescence.
He didn't notice. His family had been fisherfolk, and he himself could conceive of no other life. He went to sleep every night with the ocean's sound, and woke up to it. He never noticed the slight crusting of salt on his skin. Nothing made him happier than to take his boat onto the water, spending the day fishing, and returning to shore in the late afternoon. He would finish his chores watching the sun on the water, dancing and flashing, a path he would walk one day.
His father told him about the sun path. "When you are very old," he said, "and past your work; when everything aches and hurts and breathing is pain, you will walk the path to the sun."
He'd listened, wide-eyed, and asked, "But what happens when you get to the sun, Father?"
His father had just smiled. "No one knows, son," he had answered. "I just know that your grandfather went, and his father."
"What about Mother?" the boy had asked. "And grandmother?"
"They walk the path to the moon," his father had answered. "No one knows what happens there, either."
It was a mystery, and he forgot it. Mysteries had no place in a life in the sun, and his life was one of sunny days. He worked with his father, then took the boat out alone, when his father stayed on shore. He watched his father grow very old, and eventually walk the path. He was sad, and a little lonely, but he continued his days, in the sun.
He had never married, but didn't feel the lack. There were women in the village who saw to his needs, and he was generous to them. One bore him a daughter, and he provided generously for her, too. He didn't love any one of them, but was fond of them all.
He didn't know that was part of the spell. She had seen to it, the minute his muscles caught the sun, and she had melted.
He grew older, and she watched his hair silver, and whiten. She watched his face line, and his hands grow gnarled. He never stooped, but she became aware of the mornings when his joints would stiffen and pain him. She heard his coughing, and waited.
One evening he stood at the edge of the water, as he had so often, and he saw her.
"Come to me," she said, holding out her hand.
"Who are you?" he asked, his eyes wide.
"Your love," she answered, moving closer. The gold and silver beads of her dress flashed; the soft white underdress floated about her ankles. Her hair was gold, pure fiery gold, and her skin was soft and a golden color.
He looked, really looked at her, and saw the sunset, the path, and his foot went forward and he was on it, walking to her. Walking to the sun, who stayed just out of reach, just one hand's breadth beyond him. She laughed, and teased him, and he grinned, laughing himself. His footstep quickened - he didn't feel the pain fall away from him, the stiffness. He didn't see the smoothing of his face, or his hair turning dark again. Of course, he didn't notice he wasn't breathing, either, just laughing, and at the very west of the world he caught her.
"I've waited for you," she said, her hands warming his neck, his back and shoulders.
"I've known you forever," he whispered, his mouth on hers, hot and demanding.
"You have," she answered him, hand warming his flesh, the clothing gone. No more sturdy sweaters and wool trousers; he was bare, as he was born, and strong, and his penis was hard . . . she lay back, pulling him with her, into the soft white foam, open and warm and wet for him, and he drove into her, hard.
They loved long and forever. He drove into her, her hips met his, thrust for thrust. She moved, he was on his back, she rode him, controlling him. Again and again he came; his seed mingling with her foamy moisture, flowing from the bed about them.
He never noticed a need for food, or drink, or sleep. He joined with the sun's daughter, and loved her. The world was lost to him.
His young daughter mourned him, though, and moved into the cottage he left her. She mended nets for a living, and cured fish, and never married, though she had a lover, and a son. She never noticed, either, the young man in silver, standing on the moonpath, weaving his spells about her.
* * * * *
Copyright August 2000 by Patricia Day; all rights reserved.
Send private anonymous feedback to the author (to post a public comment instead).