Inquest for LovebyHelenHall©
She awoke to a confusion of thoughts. That she been so overwrought seemed to her now ridiculous. She told herself that it would be best not to see him. Not until she was more in control of herself and had restored the shaken idea of her sexuality. She needed time to review, time to think, approve the decisions her actions had imposed on her.
She pulled herself up off the couch, unbuckled and unbuttoned the raincoat and let it fall off behind her. She loosed the straps that held up her muddied thigh boots, sat and then teased her legs out of them, first one and then the other. The wide brimmed hat was heaved from her head and she winced as strands of hair were pulled with it.
Aches and pains, that she had those were to be expected: one hundred and sixty pounds pushing her into the wet earth, bruises from the stones, a vulva that felt as if it had been sandpapered. There was a desire to pee even immediately after she had, and when she'd finished she looked into the bowl as if expecting to see the colour changed in some magic way. She touched herself tentatively, closing her eyes on a catalogue of intruding images while she soaped herself luxuriously, reviewing the intimate mechanics and chemistry that was her body. She shaped circles round her breasts with the suds, trying to decide if they had improved their shape and size.
Only when she felt cleanliness was getting uncomfortably close to godliness did she step out of the shower and into a towelling robe. At the fridge she drank almost a full bottle of spa water to alleviate the dehydrating effects of the long day's trauma, then she tidied away the raincoat and the boots and the hat.
"How are you? Is everything O.K.?" he asked in an excessively humble voice, as though he had forfeited the right to call her on his mobile at one in the morning, and if she were to cut off now abruptly, it would be a fate he deserved. No, everything was not O.K., she was not even sure she was here and maybe this was just a recording on the answer-phone - leave your message after the tone - but apart from that and this and some of the other she was fine, just fine, a bit sore of course, to be expected she supposed.
Alone? No she wasn't alone, J.P.Hartley, the prize-winning angler, was with her and they were reading together a book on fly fishing. He must have thought Mr Hartley really was someone she might be with because he said, maybe to reassure himself, "But you are alone aren't you?"
"Who the hell do you think I would be with?" And, after a pause, she added "darling."
He hoped she would sleep well and she said she would sleep well as long as nobody rang her up at one o'clock in the morning to advise her to sleep well. The humble voice said, "Goodnight, I love you."
"I'm so glad about that," she said, "as I love you." She put the phone down. Then she decided to have a little weep for no other reason than she felt it would be good for her to have a little weep; but it wasn't just a little weep and she found herself sitting on the couch, head into a cushion, and she was sobbing. So this was love was it? So why was it hurting so much?
The sobs had become belches, reminding her that she had not eaten for thirty hours. This morning (was it really only this morning?) she had swallowed just a coffee; trembling hands had barely managed to slice and butter one piece of toast before he had arrived to collect her.
"This the first time you have been taken fishing?"
She had smiled and planted a kiss on his cheek. "This is the first time for lots of things." Another kiss, this time to the mouth. "My first time for love."
His turn - a longer kiss. "Sorry about the weather, but I won't let you get wet."
The belted black raincoat, a size too large, she had decided made her look like a badly wrapped parcel. He had gazed at her as struggled into the waders. "You look just fine to me."
Another kiss. "You'd look beautiful whatever you wore."
She had hauled on the ridiculous brimmed hat and gaze met gaze. The look was held for a long silent moment and, now looking back, that must have been the epiphany, the soul moment when everything else but the man behind the gaze lost its relevance and there had to be some urgent act, some gesture of the proof of love.
Bread went into the toaster and she opened a new packet of bacon and a tin of beans. She was suddenly, almost painfully, hungry and she broke two eggs into the pan.
The sizzle of the fat in the pan seemed like an echo of the silver water surging over moss- covered stones. It had pressed the high rubber boots he had provided hard against her legs making movement slow and difficult, wind and rain adding hindrance to progress to his promised beautiful fishing island on the lake.
They did not get to the island, not then. She remembered taking off her glasses and storing them away in a pocket; remembered not being able to see clearly, slipping heavily, only his arms saving her from falling face down into the stream. He had heaved her up, the water cascading from the skirt of the coats and boots and suddenly there was a voice, above the sound of the waterfall, which had seemed to be hers.
"Never mind the fishing, let's make love."
He had been startled.
"Do it here, do it now, love me." said the voice. "It's what you want to do so why do we have to pretend?" Overwhelmed suddenly by uncontrollable emotion; yet aware she might change her mind, beg to be taken home, change into blouse and slacks and perhaps settle down safely in front of the television.
A very early breakfast sizzling in the pan, fresh coffee percolating and puffing in the pot and she thought of the extraordinary juxtaposition of body on body, the chemical ritual that had been so ill-thought out by a designing deity, one with a warped sense of humour; one, she thought, with a taste for the absurd and ridiculous. Four million with each ejaculation - it was so wasteful, and she wondered if she would have organized things better: decided she couldn't unless given complete freedom, a blank sheet, to redesign the human form.
"Love me now. Admit it David, it's what you want. It's what I want."
He had put down the fishing rods and had firmly guided her to the bank, the heavy high boots flexing and creaking, splashing up stream water. Wildly, dangerously excited, gasping, kissing, he had begun pawing her. Then he had guided her down, pushed apart the coat, and, between kisses, she had watched as a hand went slowly between her booted thighs. First her wet skirt had to be pushed up, her slim panties pulled down then fingers had massaged the folds of flesh. Aware of a sucking wetness, she had heard herself: "Darling, love me, enjoy me, do it, oh David, oh David, I can't help myself, I do love you so much."
Soft flesh had been pushed slowly apart as the erection scraped the rims of the boots, going in through the gap until she felt it hot and thick in her most private darkness. This then was the prized moment of cherished imagination, the realization of the night dreams when the temptation to explore with fore and middle fingers had become too compelling. Only the long imagined bedroom setting had been missing, replaced instead by wet woods and a running river in the rain.
She piled the dishes in the sink, switched off the percolator and the toaster and, still hungry, looked in the fridge. She had been given no time for Saturday shopping. There was some yoghurt, cheese just past its sell-by date and on the table some fruit, gnarled and over-ripe. There was an appeal in indigestion - it would be a useful hint, a taster for what might be to come as it had all happened so quickly, so irrevocably, they had not taken --what was the word? -- 'precautions'.
She hugged herself, forced herself to control a rising panic. She had heard so much about all the things a woman loses when she has a child: her looks, earning capacity, ambition, energy, esteem. She had looked down on young mothers; saw them as weak women who hadn't had the courage to give their lives a chance. Single friends told her all the horror stories: that for 15 weeks you wouldn't be able to keep down your breakfast, that a pregnant woman enters a desert of sexual want, that you could be torn in labour requiring uncomfortable stitches, that you could defecate during labour, that intercourse after giving birth would be like pushing a sausage down a railway tunnel; that men hate being with women who have been stretched. And the single mother had the worst of it.
So it was surely only right women should conceive in an act of rapture. He was a pleasure engine, pushing into her, the tip touching the top of the tunnel with each thrust; long, deep thrusts, his chest pressed hard against the raincoated wet breasts; there was gasping, grunting, booted feet pushing against the wet earth. She had tightened -- in an involuntary response - the vaginal muscles and there had been a stab of extraordinary satisfaction.
Smiling to herself at the rose-coloured memory, the absurdity of the where and the how, the compulsion that had inspired the act, she put the apple and orange and banana peel into the trash pail, the cheese rinds into the grinder and switched off the lights in the kitchen. She found her nightdress and went through the night routine of cleansing her face and flossing her teeth, all the time trying to establish some order in her thoughts. There was a big gap to fill between then and today. Then she had been the dedicated assistant to the Distribution Manager. Today she had acceded to sexual intimacy with a lover. She had looked up into a storm-filled sky, felt the rain on her face, and had consented to -- no, urged - a man dressed like a deep sea fisherman to invade her most private space. It was difficult for her to believe that anything quite so unreal, quite so absurd, could be so awakening and rewarding. She would never have believed anything so bizarre capable of sending pulses of pleasure that had made her gasp and shriek.
He had paused. She sensed uncertainty. She had told him yes. She had pressed her fingers into his wet raincoat and repeated the word, louder, yes. The coats had flexed and creaked as he plunged again, more slowly, more carefully, almost withdrawing at the end of the stroke. If there was in the world another kind of passion it would never match this, nor, she told herself, would she want it.
She remembered how she had shifted herself against the wet ground, spread her legs wider; remembered a long deep push taking him deeper and then a fiery liquid sensation. She had gasped, grasped his head, thrashed her boots in the grass as the ecstasy hit her.
In the ORV she had pressed herself to him, a sound like crumpled paper. She had stared out on the wet road, aware of a pulse, muscles that throbbed in her thighs inside the boots and a stomach that seemed to curl itself into a small ball. Then she could recall nothing until they had parked and then stood at the edge of the trees looking out over a grey lake in the mist, watching silver rivulets of rain slide down the coats and boots. And she had pressed herself against him and they had caressed and kissed and kissed. She had wanted him to respond to her endearments, to hear him describe his feelings, instead in silence he helped her back into the ORV and had taken her to her front door. They had kissed again, a brief touch of lips, then, once indoors, she had collapsed on the couch and slept for two hours.
She switched off the light and lay there in the darkness, her face half buried in the clean laundered pillow.
"I'm almost 40," he had replied, looking out over the grey lake in the mist.
She had stroked his arm. "I'm 24 but in a hundred years time we will be the same age."
"I suppose it would be nice to be the same age together."
Her array of mental pictures merged and faded as the mists of sleep closed in. Tomorrow there were the practical things to be decided, his failed marriage being first on the agenda.
Being in love was, she had decided, going to be the most difficult thing she had ever attempted. For starters she was going to have to learn all about angling standing on ice cold water and fish were such slimy cold things to hold. But there is a price even for love.