tagIllustratedA Woman's Story of Love Ch. 013

A Woman's Story of Love Ch. 013


A woman's story of love in one hundred episodes, Part 13


"Scratch my back."

I did a little, then turned away. He tapped me again.

"Your back?" I didn't hide my annoyance.

"No, my stomach." He thought that was funny.

Mitchell's brother Will seemed to think since it was three o'clock and we'd been fooling around all evening if he too took a shot at me no one would be the wiser, but of course it doesn't work like that.

Yes, the light was on in the living room when I went out, but I didn't look in the direction of the sofa that served as his bed, allowed him his privacy and kept mine, just slipped toward the bathroom.

We'd talked earlier, when I wore the yukata to pose for Mitchell's photographs and again at night (Will had asked to see it again). He'd talked to me about a part of the U.S. I should visit that was "more fantastic than you'd expect," in the South, not just rural tranquility but exciting nature, gorges with white water that you entered from above by a rocky descent through mist.

"You feel you're in paradise." He looked so enthused by what he was saying he was about to take me in his arms to share the feeling directly. He stood close and looked me up and down in the summer kimono, dark green cotton that gripped me from the waist up and hung straight from there. Walking in it, effectively nude beneath, I felt as if I were carrying around my own shadow, a slightly heavy feeling- the robe reached to my ankles and was easier to move in than a formal kimono, limited my stride only a little- but also a fresh feeling. I liked the touch and smell of the thick cotton, and so it seemed did Mitchell's brother Will. He made a show of breathing in pleasurably.

Before Mitchell and I finally retired to the bedroom, Mitchell joked that his brother would stay up and watch porn videos- while he and I made love, he meant.

Such are relations between brothers. Not only those two, of course. With me, it's different. I have sisters in Japan, and we get along (Mitchell and Will do also, come to think of it, just play rough; they're men; we're women, different).

I smelled whiskey on Will when we returned, late, from the movie, but hadn't told Mitchell. He seemed not to know his brother had been drinking while we were out.

I didn't know how things were at home with his girlfriend. Mitchell had mentioned problems.

I didn't even know if Will liked me or held me in contempt, just that he talked to me a lot, with enthusiasm that seemed to verge on frustration- as if he could never successfully impress his ideas on me, really get through to me- about how I should see other parts of his country, ones off tourist maps ("You people always follow guidebooks, don't you?" He laughed a little scornfully even as his eyes communicated a sincere wish to set me straight, help me know what I was missing; he looked like he wanted to by touch, words weren't enough, he'd like to shake understanding into me).

That's how people behave when they're drunk. Will spoke, as I said, mostly about "the best parts of the U.S."

"The places where the secrets are, the magic. Baby, don't you want to know the magic?" As if I had resisted him, which I hadn't.

"South Carolina. You wouldn't think of that as your first place to go, would you?"

He and I had never talked so much before that night. On and on he went about water falls and rapids and local people with accents I probably wouldn't understand, according to him. "But they're warm. They'd take you right in."

"Are they Trump people?" I asked. And for a moment I saw pure rage burn in Will's eyes, until he saw I was joking. I hadn't really been inwardly criticizing everything he'd been saying, had I?

He thought I just liked the cities, the famous places, shopping, fashions. He knows I'm an artist but can't shake the stereotype of my nationality, the style-conscious Japanese, the Japanese woman who'll put on makeup before she'll even think of walking out the door.

"The best part of this country- well, you've gotta see for yourself and one day will, I hope- it's like a diamond in the rough." Like him, he meant.

"Like you?" I asked, flirting a little. Mitchell wouldn't mind, might even like it, since after all it was he not Will with whom I would retire to the bedroom.

He seemed to see a direct connection between that living room where his brother and I lived and he was visiting for the weekend and the rural ideal that now fired his imagination.

He went deeper. "Hard meeting soft, you know." Talked about the final hike down an unmarked trail, climbing over rocks ("Bring sneakers"), the stands of trees, trees upright no matter where.

"The water is so fast and the mist so light- you don't know where it ends and the clouds begin. The sky and earth have this seamless connection. It's heaven, I tell you." He looked at my eyes to see I understood the way town leads to country, the people and their land, toward which they're reverent. "Those sacred spots, Such purity. Such rich nature. The earth running through your fingers, the water from some deep, hidden spring, you know, the mud at your toes."

"Do you swim?" I thought to ask.

"There are places, sure. It's not all wild cascade."

The thought excited him.

"Imagine standing naked under a waterfall, half in shadow, half in light."

"What if some person comes along?"

Will shook his head, smiling as if to say, indulgently, "No, she isn't getting it."

That is, sometimes Will treated me like a tourist. Though I lived in America, was married to his brother, he couldn't get out of his mind that I was different. I saw how that stirred, disconcerted, enraged and fascinated him.

"White water," he said, his eyes gleaming, riveted on mine. "The froth. In the sun coming through the spray. Oh baby!"

"I'd like it?"

"You know you would."

"You two planning a trip?" Mitchell teased Will. "You want to take her to Hillbilly country? Don't you think that'd be dangerous?"

Will and I turned away from each other reluctantly. I felt for him, sensed the alcohol and feelings had overwhelmed his ability to make words, defend himself against his younger brother.

For a moment he seemed to loose his balance, to keep it gripped my arm, pulling the sleeve tight.

No, Mitchell must have seen his condition.

"You go to the small towns," Will had said to me, "by bus if you don't drive," with some impatience dismissing protests he imagined I'd raise. "You go off-road- locals might guide you; you need that; they're the ones who'd know- into the back woods, the bush. Go deep to where it opens. You'll find smooth rock, then a glade, wet saturated by sun, pure as honey. You penetrate."

A laugh escaped me then, a little one like a cough. It came with my feeling. And Will didn't object this time. Instead, he also laughed. He saw the humor, how he'd gotten carried away. Even when a little drunk, he isn't stupid. I liked him, more than forgave his pushiness. His passion impressed me. I wouldn't have been surprised or minded if he had an erection then. In fact, I'd have been surprised if he didn't.

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by wweary10108/12/18

Writing as Art

This, as well as the other segments of, "A Woman's Story of Love" is literature. Reading this author's work is not unlike gazing into a night sky where all ambient (light) pollution has been removed,more...

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