28 May 2007
"Why?" she said.
It was one of those questions that sounded as if she already partially knew
the answer – an answer, anyway, but it also sounded as if she was a little
unsure. His eyes were fixed on her strangely, not threateningly, not in any
way that caused her fear, but in the way a man standing atop a steep
mountain range looks at something beyond them, a distant and beautiful
stretch of land he will never visit, will never truly know.
"Just turn around. Slowly."
"What, do you want me to dance or something?"
He smiled a quiet, gentle smile.
"No. Just humor me."
So she did. She was young and her skin was smooth and warm, the skin of a
young woman, half Japanese, half Irish. Nude, nude as the day of her
nativity, but unbelievably more beautiful in the eyes of this man than she
could have been on that day.
Saucily throwing out one hip, she shook out her long soft hair. Ebon, it
caught the low light, gleaming subtly as it brushed against the middle of
The young woman looked over her shoulder, half-smiling.
"That about right?"
Her playful voice came to him as a rare incense – he breathed deeply.
"Just keep turning."
She did until, suddenly, he caught her hand and gently pulled her down into
his lap, hugging her to him tightly, then even tighter. He kissed her hair,
seeming to wish to devour it but restraining himself, taking in only small
mouthfuls, tasting it: a fine, thick, sweet black wine.
And then he whispered quietly.
"Do you know how many times I've sat alone under a hazy full moon telling
her . . . well, it doesn't matter. Not at all."
"Hey, what’s the matter?" she said.
A long moment passed.
Puzzled, she looked down at him.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Nothing," he said, holding her close, anchoring down moments that were
evaporating by the lungful. "Nothing."