In the beginning was the foot and the foot was the means of motion; next came the ox wagon, horse and camel; the river steamers arrived to carry people and goods along the great river; after that and before the motor car came the mighty railway, sweeping contemptuously aside all other means of transportation arrived. Thus it was in my country.
Along the railway line grew up townships to feed the fuel hungry and water thirsty locomotives, and to serve as places to which farmers and pastoralists could bring their products and receive supplies. These townships thrived for many years, but now alas, they blossom no more.
The motor car, the truck and the road now rule, and whilst the railway still passes, it is but a shadow of its former glory. The diesel engine has replaced the mighty steam hissing monsters of yesteryear; the fuel bunkers and water standpipes remain neglected bearing lonely witness to a glorious past.
Chapter 1. A Journey is Arranged.
To one of these railways towns I was now travelling by train; let us call it Jackborough. The passenger trains that run a couple of times each week between two metropolises hundreds of kilometres apart, no longer stop there unless a special request is made by someone wanting to alight from or get on the train. I had made my "special request. "
I was on my way to spend a week with Aunt Hannah. She was not really my aunt, but a woman who, newly wed, had moved into the house next door to us when I was about ten or eleven years old.
She was young, lively, very friendly, and she and my mother soon became bosom pals. No pun is intended, and although on first knowing her I did not appreciate it, Hannah really does have delightful mammary glands but, as I say, I was not fully aware of that that until I reached the years of the tumultuous hormones. During those years I came to appreciate a good deal more about Hannah's than her bosom. She was indeed, and still is, a very attractive woman, but my early interest in her focused on the birthday and Christmas presents I received from her.
I can recall the first time became aware of Hannah as a sexual being. It was a warm Saturday afternoon and I was about thirteen years of age. I had long made free of Hannah's house – oddly it had never been Ted her husband's house, but always Hannah's – and I "dropped in" to see my putative and beloved aunt.
I wandered round to the back of the house to first see Ted – who never became "Uncle Ted" – pottering in the garden. I think I existed only on the periphery of his consciousness; nevertheless I bade him "Hello," and he grunted something that sounded like, "Lo Jason," and continued pottering.
I then saw Hannah. She was lying on a sun lounge reading a book. I went to her and greeted her. She looked up and smiled, "Jason darling. " She put down her book, swung her legs off the sun lounge and stood.
Suddenly she seemed to be surrounded by light; she appeared to glow, no doubt because my attention was abruptly focused on her in a way I had never before experienced; I was seeing her anew.
She was wearing a two-piece something or the other and revealed was what I thought to be the most stunningly beautiful female physique I had ever seen. Not, I hasten to add, that I had up to that time had much experience with or interest in the female form.
I shall describe Hannah as Junoesque for that was the first thought that came to mind. In an encyclopaedia I had seen a picture of the goddess Juno, and apart from a few details that was how Hannah seemed to me, a goddess.
My newly emergent manhood – emergent in the sense that it was no longer the tiny appendage of childhood – grew firm and slightly uncomfortable. I wasn't quite sure what was happening to me except I couldn't take my eyes from Hannah.
She stands around five feet nine inches tall and at that time I still had to look up at her; her legs were long, strong looking, but very shapely. Her bosom I have already referred to but it was on that occasion I became fully aware of its fullness, my awareness no doubt assisted by the somewhat revealing nature of the upper part of the two piece.
Her face tending to the long rather than the broad was framed by chestnut coloured hair that seemed to tumble over her shoulders like the cascading waters of a waterfall. Her skin that was usually an ivory colour but in that summer season was lightly tanned, as was the rest of her; and to complete the ensemble, her nose inclined to the aquiline, though not excessively so, and her mouth – well, I once read the description of a woman who was said to be "ripe of lip. "
I stood there stunned by the revelation that was as much in my psyche as it was objectively before me. In that early stage of my puberty I had suddenly found my ideal woman
Two very dark eyes that for all their darkness always seemed to be shimmering with humour, looked at me a trifle quizzically. "Are you all right, Jason," she asked in a voice that for the first time sent a quivering sensation through me. My newly found goddess had addressed me, and for the first time I truly heard her melodious tone – those of a warm throbbing contralto.
I jerked out of the contemplation of my divinity with difficulty and spluttered, "Er... er... yes... why?"
"You were staring at me strangely, darling; come into the house and have a drink and I made a special cake for you this morning. "
"Drink," "Cake"? These were furthest from my thoughts and desires, but eat and drink I did, but all the time trying to furtively survey my Juno... I mean Hannah.
I had been initiated into the art of masturbation by a couple of older boys at school, and that night in bed I relieved myself of the delicious agony that the revelation of Hannah had inspired. When the climatic moment arrived and my warm young sperm was spouting from my urethra it was visions of Hannah that rose up, and not the previous images of naked women seen in surreptitiously scanned pornographic magazines.
Afterwards I lay for a while contemplating the strange ways of people. How was it that Ted could potter in the garden when only a few feet from him there lay all that manhood could desire? Had I been Ted I would... Then ghastly visions of Ted invading the body of my deity rose up, and with them envy and frustration.
It was not until I started to penetrate the living flesh of the girls at high school that fantasies of Hannah began to fade. After all, Hannah was the "Unattainable One;" the holy of holies beyond my reach, and as my father was wont to say, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. "
My high school career, apart from very satisfactory success with the girls, proved to be also a success academically. I went on to study a course in electronic communication; a course that began with sixty five students and four years later had only fifteen graduates, myself included.
I was part way into the second year of the course when our family was rocked by an event next door. Ted left Hannah and departed the State with, so I was given to understand, a buxom wench who had served as receptionist for his dental practice.
Hannah was distraught, and the misery was made all the keener because it had been as Ted's receptionist that she had first met and married him. I suppose I was too involved in my studies and engrossed in my latest girl friend Freda, to properly take in the emotional drama that was going on next door.
Looking back I can now see how unkind this must appear after all the generosity and affection I had received from Hannah, but such is the self-absorption of youth. Apart from being amazed that Ted could leave such loveliness, my only real knowledge of what went on came from my mother who spent much time just letting Hannah talk.
"Time heals," so I have heard, and in the midst of my third year of study it was announced that Hannah would be selling up her house and leaving for a country town. It seemed that Hannah and Ted had come to as amicable agreement as possible over finances, but I was somewhat surprised when it was added that she had "bought an antique shop" in the country town.
I had known for some time that Hannah had been a night school buff, taking course after course, fitting her studies around her work, which after her marriage was as a doctor's receptionist. Wisely Ted and Hannah had decided it might not be good for her to continue in his practice. One of the courses she had taken had been concerned with was on the subject of antiques, and armed with this knowledge – probably a trifle flimsy – she decided to, as my mother related, "Reinvent herself. "
I made a point of being around on the day of Hannah's departure, and there were hugs and tears all round. We watched as Hannah drove away in her newly acquired van, heading for the country town that is Jackborough.
I thought that I should never see Hannah again, but my mother, as is the way with women, kept up a correspondence with her, and there was an occasional telephone call. I think that in the course of her business Hannah did sometimes drive back to the city and dropped in to see mum, but I was never there when this happened.
My life continued along its academic and erotic path, my time being taken up with study and Freda. Then after four gruelling years the course came to an end. I shall not say I completed it triumphantly, but I had at least completed it and done quite well.
Graduates from the course were quickly snapped up by the burgeoning electronics industry in our State and even before I graduated I had received a number of offers of employment. I intended to consider which offer I would accept, but then three things intervened.
First, came a reaction to four years of intense study, and for all my success I became depressed.
Second, Freda decided that she preferred another man, and to rub salt into the wound I learned that for a whole year she had been copulating with him as well as me. One factor about her leaving me was that the other guy was a bit older than me and had been working for some time, and therefore had more money to spend on Freda. I decided that all females were fickle and resolved to trust them no more.
Third, a nasty bout of influenza of a particularly virulent kind flattened me for over two weeks.
Putting all together it added up to a messed up and fit for nothing Jason mooning around and unable to focus on anything, let alone deciding on a job.
At twenty two I suppose I should have been past the need for parental care, but my condition gave rise to considerable concern by mother and father. It was my normally not very imaginative father who came up with a bright idea. One morning while we ate breakfast he suddenly exclaimed, "Hannah. "
"Hannah, dear?" queried my mother.
"Yes, he needs to get away for a while. "
"Jason of course. "
They began to talk as if I wasn't there, the upshot being that mother would telephone Hannah to see if she could "take me for a week or so. "
At that point they did deign to notice me and mother asked, in the tone of voice that suggested she was addressing a little child, "You'd like to spend a week or so with Aunty Hannah, wouldn't you. "
"Good for you lad," father added. "Country town, fresh air, get away for a while, eh?"
Not generally in a good temper at that time and annoyed by the way they had discussed things as if I was absent, I responded rather snappishly, "Hannah is not my aunt and I haven't called her "Aunt" for six years, and why the bloody hell would I want to spend a week or so in Jackborough and in an antique shop of all places?"
My father, somewhat hurt by this response said rather forcefully, "Well you might as well moon around there as here. "
I saw the point. For all their concern they must have been fed up with seeing me hanging miserably round the house, and they needed respite from their wretched offspring.
I softened to the idea, remembering that my parents were not well off and had made considerable sacrifices over the years so that I might reach the goal I had set myself; I relented. If it was okay with Hannah I'd go to Jackborough for a week, and after mother's telephone call a week it was to be. "She says she'd love to have you," mother announced.
So there I was on the train heading for that "special stop" at Jackborough.
Chapter 2. Arrival.
The train was still a few kilometres out of Jackborough when it began to slow. The nearly kilometre long train was not to be stopped in a hurry. Old railway sidings began to pass us; abandoned rolling stock; workshops; an engine shed with an old steam engine still inside passed by; a pile of wooden sleepers still there long after the line had been converted to concrete sleepers. All were rather depressing reminders of the great railway days.
The train crawled into the station and with a final squeal and a thump, stopped. I got out with my hand luggage, and farther down the train my suitcase was put out onto the platform from the luggage van. There was a klaxon like hoot from the engine and the train began its slow glide out of the station.
No one else had got off or on the train and as the tinted window carriages crept past I was aware of curious passengers staring at my lone figure.
I watched the train as its last carriage passed the platform and its rear diminished into the distance. I looked around at the station, and like the dreary remnants we had passed beyond the station, it carried all the signs of neglect.
The buildings, probably some time in the nineteen fifties, had been tiled with little coloured tiles; no doubt very "with it" at the time. Now tiles had fallen off here and there, not to be replaced. The fluorescent lighting tubes, probably the same vintage as the tiles, were mainly broken. Walls were covered in graffiti and all had a depressing air of neglect; a depression that was reflected in me as I wondered what the hell I'd come to.
Not a soul was in sight and I wondered how I was to get out of the place. I walked towards my suitcase standing in lonely isolation some metres along the platform.
I had not reached it when a voice I recognised called out, "Jason... Jason... "
I turned and there was Hannah running towards me. Hugs, a smacking kiss and, "Jason, oh Jason, how lovely to see you... my goodness I'd forgotten how you've grown, I always picture you as a little boy... oh it is lovely to see you. "
She was right about my having grown since after all the years of looking up at her I now looked down at her. Her ebullient welcome cheered the day and even made the station look more acceptable. I went to pick up my suitcase but Hannah grabbed it and hoisting it on her shoulder said, "This way, I've got the van outside. "
We left the station and got into her van. I noticed that in the back were a number of old chairs, no doubt to become part of her stock in trade. We had only a little distance to go since Hannah's shop was in the main street and the street itself fronted the railway line.
Chapter 3. The Shop.
The shop was a great surprise. Most of the commercial premises were single storied, but Hannah's was two storied. The shop being downstairs, living and sleeping was officially upstairs, although unofficially Hannah did a lot of living downstairs to the extent that her small office had all that was necessary for tea and coffee making and a microwave oven for heating food.
During the brief drive Hannah chatted on, apologising for not being on the platform when the train arrived, "But I had a customer who wanted a three eighth Whitworth bolt with a right hand thread. I knew I had one somewhere and but couldn't find it until I looked in the draw with the quarter inch bolts, and there it was; must have got chucked in by mistake. "
Arrival at the shop indicated that it was something more than an antique shop. Two customers were waiting outside and a hand printed notice on the door read, "Back in fifteen minutes. "
"Got any half inch brass washers," one ancient gentleman asked. "Yes, in the third draw down," replied Hannah, "help your self. "
"I'm looking for a tea cosy," whispered an elderly lady.
"Ah... er... yes... er, over on that shelf," replied Hannah.
The ancient came back with the brass washers and there was a brief haggling over the price and he went on his way almost rejoicing. The lady came over with a tea cosy that was surmounted with something resembling an animal's head with eyes that rolled about. There was more haggling.
While Hannah dealt with the customers I let my eyes rove over the shop, figuratively speaking. It was not at all what I had expected. It ran the full depth of the building and from the brief glimpse I had got of the other shops, about twice as wide as them. True it had some antiques in the form of tables and chairs and a rather lovely carved chest, and there were a number of ornaments that might pass for antiques. However, the place would be better described a second-hand shop.
One wall was festooned with drawers with labels indicating what they contained. Another wall had open shelves with a vast array of objects on display, including tea cosies; from hooks hanging from the ceiling other objects dangled and one area was given over to second-hand clothing.
On the whole the impression was one of chaos and abundance since every corner seemed to be taken up with stock.
Hannah returned from serving her customer and the flurry of commercial activity came to a halt for a while. In the exuberance of Hannah's welcome and her business activity I had not been able to survey her properly. She was dressed in a pair of khaki overalls and a tartan shirt. On most other people these would have been uninteresting; on Hannah they seemed to enhance the charms I had observed for the first time all those years ago.
I got the distinct impression that those enchanting breasts were unbridled beneath the shirt. The overalls clung to her figure, emphasising the swell of her hips, but denied the viewer sight of those beautiful legs. Her hair was a trifle tousled, but her face, or for that matter her whole appearance and stance seemed to indicate abundant good health. It was a far cry from the rather pale and wan Hannah who had set out in the van for Jackborough.
She extended her arms to me and said, "Come on Jason, we haven't greeted each other properly yet. " I thought we had done that at the station, but since Hannah seemed to want to repeat the performance I went to her and we hugged each other.
I found it a trifle disturbing since Hannah obviously wanted to hang on. While we hugged she spoke softy in that gorgeous voice, saying things like, "It's been such a long time, darling; I've often thought about you and all the lovely times we had together. Do you remember when...?" and so on.
I was disturbed because I could feel her breasts against me and our lower bodies seemed to be very close. To make matters worse I could smell her tantalising female aroma that was having a definite stimulating effect, making itself felt in the region of my genitals.
Between sentences she kept pecking at me with little kisses. Had it been one of my girl friends I would have decided that things were leading up to a sexual intercourse, but since Hannah had once been "Aunt Hannah" and was at least twelve years older than me, I suspected that our close encounter was merely her pleasure at seeing me without any sexual connotation.
The shop bell clattered announcing the arrival of another customer. This broke off our clinch and Hannah went to attend to a rather irascible guy, leaving me, despite my decision that there was nothing sexual in our embrace, with an incipient erection.
"Got one of them knives with a fing fer takin' aht stones from 'orses 'ooves," he asked, "can't get one of the bleedin' things anywhere. "