Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bare feet

"May I sit with you?"

I turned and looked back over the bench for the source of the voice. It was difficult to focus on the sea of tall flowers and grasses in the meadow after staring at the light of the setting sun on the waves for so long.

"It is such a beautiful spot. But if you'd rather be alone, let me know and I will come back some other time." My eyes found her. Bare feet, a summery white dress with a slit on one side showing an athletic leg, an unadorned lovely long neck, auburn hair on fire in the rays of the dying sun, she smiled and waved.

I sat up straight and smiled back gesturing towards the bench, "Please come sit. It will be my pleasure."

"I am Carol", she said walking out of the meadow towards me. The long stem of a sunflower clutched in one hand, she crossed the few feet of gravel that marked the waterfront and sat down on the far side of the bench. Her eyes were fixed, as mine had been only a few moments ago, on the long shimmering flame that stretched from the horizon to nearly our feet as the sun set over the water. She watched the flame flicker on the undulating surface of the sea and I watched her. Her upper body hugging a folded leg raised so that its foot perched at the edge of the bench, her skirt pulled up so that the other lower leg was free and swinging in time to some internal music. Her chin rested on the raised knee, the sunflower plucked from the meadow caressing her hair, her eyes reflecting the slowly deepening colors of the flame she was so intently watching.

"You don't have company often, do you?", she asked eventually, turning her face towards me with her eyes full of mischief.

I laughed briefly in response and looked away shaking my head. "Fact is that I don't. But that don't excuse my rudeness in staring at you Carol". It was as if my internal compass swung from the setting sun to you, I thought to myself.

"Michael. That's my name."

"Michael", she said softly and turned back to face the flame. Extending an arm out towards the sea, she pursed her lips into an oval and exhaled deeply and sharply. The sun died.

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