And the rain came down
It came down not just in the jagged spears of a late summer fallout of clear refreshment, but it came down with all the anguish and clumsy intrusion of a heavy man in thick fisherman’s clothes plunging from the masthead in a force ten gale.
Instinctively she reached for his arm. He could not see her but he could feel the warmth of her arm and the side of her breast through her neat close fitting padded jacket.
Her long hair streamed out around her face and her shoulders. She had worn it down for him. For him.
In the rain she felt safe with him. Somehow the umbrella of his steady philosophy kept her dry and protected. His step was sure, he was guiding her gently but firmly forward as the rain fell. He could not see, but walking with him was safe, and she knew he knew. He knew where to head although he had no plan. He never had a plan. He was the luckiest man she had ever known. And yet he was an unlucky man.
Why had she worn her hair down for him? He could not see it. But he cared…that was it. He cared. The hair which would usually be trained to obey was in anarchy. It drew wavy trails along her forehead, it streamed down her cheeks like creepers in a rain forest. It ran here and there around her breasts, her neck, her arms, her stomach.
The free hair was telling her a story. The story of the man who had set it free and who sent it to caress her breasts and her neck and her cheek and her nose and her mouth. Her mouth. These were his hands, this hair was his desire..and yet the hair belonged to her. What was this trying to tell her. Was he trying to tell her something? No, he never really tried that.
And also why did he choose her hair? Because she would freeze if he used his hands, those expert hands which made his guitar cry and dance and make love. Make love under those hands.
But her hair stopped at her waste. It barely touched the top of her bottom. The favourite part of a woman’s body to him..the place where the back curves out into the gently sloping terrain and where the rise starts to split at the beginnings of the valley…
Was this a message for him or for her? She thought about this. She thought hard. She tried to imagine things with him. She could. She could so easily. But she had set out her stall with him. No chance. You are old. You must be faithful. You cannot touch. You are not real. Now she had ridden to that camp and unsaddled the horses she could do nothing but sit by the fire alone and think. She already thought too much. Why did she think, always think, and not act? Why should she?
She was safe with him. Perfectly safe. Was he safe with her? She had never asked herself this question. This was a man she had befriended, a man with whom she shared everything, a man with whom she had a bond, a strange bond, a good and wonderful bond….but what was she doing to him? Not just with him, but to him?
She knew he desired her. She knew because he had told her. She had been kind then but had felt the strong current of a strong river and had stepped quickly away from the bank as the water lapped around her toes and threatened to pull her in deep…very deep…too deep…and she had jumped back.
He was old…well, quite old…well too old – much too old. Too old for her to take seriously as a man. But it was as a man and only as a man that she felt him. Close. Close at hand. Safe but dangerous; Solid but elusive; strong but tender; sexy but not sexual.
Once upon a time when she was even younger [for she was still young] and he was already old, he told her he would make love to her. She was not ready for that. She had wanted him then – or at least she had wanted something, everything, but nothing from him then. He was majic. He was still majic, but he was old….too old for her….much too old.
They walked and the rain fell. She watched his shoes. His red shoes. How does he know where he’s going? How does he know where I’m going?