Alexandra wandered along the path with me. Sometimes she liked to lead and other times she liked to follow along silent and sullen, her thoughts an anthology of mysteries, a muzzle of worn black leather and rusty wrought iron rings. I held her reigns for a time and she was okay with that. What kept her by my side was her desire to be taken unexpectedly with passion, hard and fast. She confessed once that the pain of being filled with me was the trigger that fired her guns. I fell in love with her and her triggers.
This day, she talked and I listened as she recounted her past visits to the sea and how she loved the feel of fine sand caressing the sensitive flanks of her toes, and the water lapping at her ankles like so many enamored tongues. I was there with her during the time of her recollection and relived the memory in my vision as the light bespeckled green path undulated like a serpent under my feet.
She didn’t like my idea of telling her story through a fictional lens. No one would believe me otherwise, I explained.
“Fiction is often truer than reality,” she told me. “We don’t have to worry about what people will say, will we?” she queried me, an intense look of worry wrinkled her brow and narrowed her dark eyes to slits of angst. Tears and memories threatened to come loose from their moorings and then the well-worn harness set her to silence and gave her respite from our conversation. She was good at constraining herself from feeling when the feeling was dangerously close to extravagant emotions; except when we made love. I suspected it was the only time she let herself feel completely lost and free at the same time.
We stopped and bent over a wildflower that lived alone in a beam of sunlight. I saw visions of butterflies with blue wings. There was hope in the dark monochrome greens of shadows and vibrant light. The fresh scent of living plants and floral threads of honeyed air was replaced by the saline wetness of her sweat and feminine musk assailing my mind in the heat of the day. I felt an urge to make love to her. Alexandra placed her hand on my back as we leaned over together to study the flower that expertly mimicked the butterflies that visited it. Her closeness was an affirmation that the trammels on her life had only encumbered her voice and slowed her pace beside me. Her thoughts were racing much like my own, a silent movie of memories flickering between glimpses into the darkness of an unknown future.
She raced ahead to a miniature oasis set into the lichened cliff and lay in the tall sprigs of grass and moss next to a twisted tree. She lay on her stomach, feet bent upward and legs crossed at the ankle. Damn that woman. I’m sure she knew the sight of her heart-shaped bottom would inflame my pirate’s desire to plunder her treasure. Her chin resting on palms with elbows sunk into the soft green moss and long black hair cascading down her back tortured me. It was too beautiful a scene to think of it as merely a moment in time. I wanted to live forever in this moment.
A shiny, striped dragon peered down at her curves laced haphazardly in long tresses and stayed a while. He liked what he saw, as did I. We rested, her head in my lap and we talked about the story again. She seemed more accepting now.
“Will you write about our secrets and how we made crazy, screaming, desirous love,” she asked.
“I think that’s the best part of our story,” I explained.
“You’re a man. Men always think that sex is the best part of life.” Her tone slipped into an accusatory note with sharp edges.
“It isn’t?” I asked playfully.
“No, silly,” she laughed and then her eyes grew serious. “It’s how you make me feel when you aren’t with me. I’m cleansed of every fear and hurt thinking of you. I live for the time you will see me again,” she said as the wind shifted the limbs of trees in the high canopy with a hushing sound. Spots of light and shadow played across her face beaming up at me. “You can put that in your book,” she added.
It was time to move on as much as I wanted to stay now that she was talking again. It wasn’t long after that we stumbled on a hornets’ nest under a slab of rock on the trail. Alexandra had stepped on the stone and I followed in time to hear the angry buzz. I only had time to yell, run for it when they hit me like angry bullets. My hiking vest took the brunt of the attack as I ran and used my hiking pole to distract them behind me. But one determined warrior struck me near the armpit and drilled me through my shirt. The sting was awful. Pain vibrated across my back in waves.
We had run a good ways off trail down the mountain to escape the Hornets and no way were we going to retrace our steps back to the trail with those dive bombers patrolling everywhere. We wound our way down through clefts in the rocks across thick groves of Flower Cups, their white flowers waving in the breeze as we eased our way through the maze of stone towers and brush. The flowers beckoned to us as they swayed in unison. “Here, come here. This way,” they seemed to say.
“Do snakes live in places like this?” Alexandra asked me with a concerned treble in her voice, eyes vibrating as they shifted rapidly in every direction. The sunlight captured flecks of amber in her eyes. I felt an ache in my chest as she waited pensively for my answer.
“No,” I lied. They only like easy paths. “These hard parts are just no good without legs,” I continued my deceit in a soothing tone.
As we rounded a large boulder, we stepped into a small opening filled with yellow wildflowers. There was a black-winged butterfly flitting about. Mesmerized, we stopped to watch it commune with the flowers. I don’t know if it was fear or love that motivated Alexandra to wrap her arms around me and hug her body to me. The laughter in her eyes and her near childlike fascination with the butterfly was inebriating. When it settled in the light I saw a shimmering turquoise color on the lower wings.
The butterfly lifted on the invisible currents of air and flew down to a ledge wide enough to walk on comfortably. We followed the fluttering wings as if in a trance. It continued on ahead as we followed. When we came to a trail it flew away from us where we couldn’t follow. After a moment, I saw the trail marker that pointed us to the trailhead. It was then the hornet sting decided to make itself known again by burning me with every step.
Alexandra, hugged me and we kissed like lovers do; long, passionate, and searching. I felt my breath quicken as her heart thumped against my chest in double time.
“Put this in your book too,” she whispered against my ear.
Image Source: All photos taken by yours truly and free to use.