Friday, December 7, 2012

The Hammock of Possiblity

I climbed into the hammock next to him, wriggling and rocking and trying not to spill my beer. We had been dancing around each other for a week, within a hair's breadth of each other, but the fiction of our friendship was intact, and neither of us would jeopardize that.

But I wanted to feel his skin. I settled back facing him, my feet wriggled under his low back, my bare thigh pressed against his hip.

The hammock swayed gently back and forth. It almost wasn't warm enough for cut-offs and beer. But we'd been skiing early that morning on the pass, and we'd earned our suds, and I was leaving that afternoon.

I was reluctant to leave without tasting the possibility of his gentle, shy person. I made him nervous, I knew that, and while my skin was thrumming with want of him to touch, just with a thumb, or graze with the palm of his hand, the rest of me was trying to be patient, hold space, let him relax. I didn't want him to run.

The night before he had sat so close, we'd read a picture book together, and every time he reached across my lap to turn the page, he had turned his head to me and inhaled, smelling my hair, which I'd washed in a thirty second shower. Saving water was his passion. My hair would not smell or look good to him if it was at the sacrifice of the cause he held dear. I was glad to be challenged in this new way. I was intrigued by the depth of his caring.

I wondered how that caring might translate to the exploration of each other, slow and exquisite, a whole afternoon's worth of activity.

My beer was warming and was dangerously close to empty. I struggled between nursing it to stretch the time I was allowed, by virtue of the swaddling hammock, to be pressed a full body length against him and look into his bottomless, but reluctant and shy eyes, and staying busy by drinking it, trying so hard not to talk, but just to be.

He relaxed, his leg rolled open against mine, all the skin on the left side of my body stood at attention. I closed my eyes and felt the current run between us, the moment of mutual touch. I drank it deeply, thirty seconds, a minute.

The breeze slowed. The sun shone on the side of my face, and on his chest, and we looked at each other, some understanding, some connection, so much better than mere touch running between us. I smiled at him, it bubbled up from inside, I couldn't help it. He smiled back. Suspended in time, held close by the excuse of the hammock, the world stopped.

The back door slammed, and his brother came out.

"What's up, guys?" he asked, clomping across the deck, he might as well have been throwing light bulbs at the side of the house to pass the time.

"Not much" said my beautiful, shy boy, and swung his leg over the hammock. The spell was broken. "She has to get going, so we are going to pack her up now." he said.

I swung for a moment alone as he walked barefoot back into the house. I swung and savored him, our moment, the possibility of what might have been, I caught each molecule as it was lifted off on the breeze and tasted it as it dissolved on my heart.

And then I went inside to pack.

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