AN INTERLUDE IN THE FOREST

Days pass, she lives as she did before, if you can call it living…..enduring. Straightening her spine, easing cramped muscles, walking the dogs…..remembering to breathe.

Working in the garden, digging with a fork removing weeds….replenishing green feed for her little hens, housework, shopping. All the ordinary daily doings…..forest walks in the evenings……and turning on a narrow bush track, as she searches for wild orchids, there he is, blocking her way.

Sees his piercing gaze, turns from it, wants to run, hide from him….but who is she kidding, neither herself or him. Heart thumping against her rib cage, struggling to breathe, legs weak and trembling, face flushed….she faces him. And making a decision he moves quickly, surefooted as a deer, closes the space between them, reaches, grabs hold of her, murmurs against her neck, “Maggie”…..and fiercer now “Maggie, you’ve got to talk to me!!!”

“I saw you….with her, saw how it was.

I saw you together, damn you!!!  What can you possibly want with me, and why are you here….WHY ARE YOU HERE.???”

He shakes his head, moves in closer, holds her tight against him.

“You told me you didn’t care, remember? You said so, to me”

“But that was before, and you know I was lying….even I, in my deluded state, knew I was lying. And then to see how it is between you”,  he stops her with his mouth, hot and urgent, she tastes his tongue, his lips,  feels his hand reaching beneath her skirt, the lovely hardness of him, pressing against her belly.

Biology always wins, mind emptied of everything now but this, her hand unzips him, closes around the delicate silky skin, feels his pulsing match her heartbeat, and right there between the ancient Ironbark trees, he lifts her up, settles her onto him….she is beyond regret or anger, beyond thought, simply moving to life’s oldest rhythm ….the dogs, noses to the ground leave them be, as joined together they sink down and down into blessed comfort of moss and leaves, gasping, her sobbing, pulling at his hair, as he thrusts deeper, kissing her mouth, eyelids, neck, moaning…. “I need you, do you not understand that I need you….I need you, or I can’t breathe”,  she hears him from far, far away….lost in the wild primeval tangle of two bodies struggling to hold on, to stay one, even as they peak, they come, the roaring in her ears fading, hears him, still, gasping, saying “I need you”, as his head falls back, as his limbs relax, yet still inside her, now turning her face to meet his gaze, she sees it….knows he speaks the truth, sees him now, soul bared to her, and gives in utterly spent, gives in to him, all the way.

“I believe you” and with nothing left to lose, she comforts him, as he has done for her…..holds him now, tender as a mother, strokes his hair, his face, touches fingers, then mouth to lips…”I believe you, my love…..I need you too.”

And later, lying behind him, her arm around his chest, fingers feeling his heart beat, listening to his breath as she slowly eases into sleep, still holding him….”there is no room here for jealousy, only a giving and receiving….a mutual need,”  then sleep takes her with him, perhaps to mingle with his dreams.

Waking, in the predawn dim, he finds himself looking straight into her eyes…so close, all he sees are the colours of her iris, golden green.

“Hello you” he says, voice husky with sleep. She doesn’t answer, and he sees the colours change, washed with tears.

“What? What is it?”

And still she says nothing as they well up, overflow, spill, wetting his hand as he reaches, touches her cheek. 

“Tell me, what is it?”

“You know you’ll have to leave me….soon…..eventually. You’ll want your own children, a family.”  He doesn’t speak, just gathers her in to him, holds her, wipes the tears, now falling freely…..murmurs small words of comfort, doesn’t try to rush her, just holds her close until her crying ceases.

“And no matter how I view it, intellectually, I will be broken ….I cannot bear to live the way it was, before”

“You’re wrong” he says, “listen to me!!!  You’re wrong. I have children. I had a family. A girl and a boy. I hardly ever see them….children and a wife, family life. Gone. I have no desire to do all that again.  I had them and I lost them.”

So, he understands….knows about loss and grief. The helplessness of life robbing you of everything you thought you had. She doesn’t ask for reasons, she knows enough to let it be. 

They’re both quiet now, looking into eyes revealing all the untold stories, naked to each other’s pain. 

“I’m sorry” she whispers against his chest, hearing his steady heartbeat.

“I need you,” he says into her hair.

“I need YOU.”

And exhausted from all this day has brought her, from crying, she falls back into sleep, comforted by the warmth, the smell, the strength of him.

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