by Katherine Shook
Saturday, at the produce market—I saw her. Her legs swayed at a leisurely, enticing pace as if they were motioning in a come-hither bolero while she surveyed various market stand gifts. Clutching the handle tightly, her basket overflowed with a gleaming array of rainbow garden reserve. Fresh fruits and vegetables peeked out from the wooden rim and marveled at her rocking exquisiteness.
She appeared to be the sort to frequent this market as she casually perused booths in her long flowing, imperial skirt. Her carelessly tussled hair was clipped back, but that hardly restricted her wavy, radical bands of strands as they rebelled and stretched down to nibble her shoulders.
Every summer I harbored intentions to visit the Saturday farmer’s market, but my enthusiasm was constantly overshadowed by a profound desire for sleep, and this inherent need restricted my shopping excursions to chain supermarkets and carts filled with waxy imitations of something edible. But, for whatever reason, this morning was different. I roused myself from slumber before sunrise and earnestly decided that today would be the day.
And I credit and bow to show gratitude to the goddess Demeter and any other serendipitous deity at play for guiding me toward this retrospectively wise decision. After seeing her, I knew that I had been missing out on more than an assortment of mouth-watering tomatoes and perfectly succulent grapes.
She started in my direction.
I must confess I was not dressed for harvest flirtations. Actually, I looked like a jumbled mannequin display with a loose substandard ponytail, worn denim, and a simple white t-shirt which was enclosed in a shabby, blue-faded, cotton blazer. I was a haphazard, tossed together mess, but I carried an air of confidence and chose to engage nonetheless. Of course I engaged. She, like myself, was another stunning contribution to the universe’s most sensual and dazzling creations—women.
She proffered a slight, genial smile, and I identified a sizzling connection in her searing, cinnamon eyes. And as she drew closer to where I stood, near the last stand on the corner, next to an intoxicating aroma of herbal teas and essential oils, my heart, bound by thrill, boxed aggressively against my ribs.
She leaned forward to speak, alleging a calm yet firm command— “You. Follow.”
And I did.
We stopped at a charming brick edifice to what I assumed was the building that housed her apartment or loft, and I basked in this beautifully intrepid structure, which unapologetically told its age in a weathered yet sturdy disposition. Its red-lined bones stood at attention together as though they were old, barricading mates bound by years of service. Ever intrigued, I watched her wistful composure as she climbed a small set of concrete stairs and stepped through the front facing entrance. Her skirt fluttered against her legs like a pair of delicate moth wings while its ends grazed the doorframe. Mesmerized by her movements, I began to focus on her shape and became fervently eager to master it.
Spellbound, I sustained my follow.
We turned to the right and stood before a hammered set of elevator doors. She pressed the up-arrow button, and we mounted. The faint yellow glow of the floor key revealed our destination, and I knew we were going all the way to top. Containment felt implausible, as my heart jogged at a quick, booming speed and drummed a coveting plea for the elevator to—move-it-along! I was tense with a rustling anticipation, because I was about to yield to a yearning I had forever detained as mere fantasy fodder.
A hasty DING! interrupted my anticipatory rhythm. We had reached our destination floor and the unfathomable elation that encompassed what I knew was about to happen blurred every noticeable base and flat number. We drifted down the hall in a sweltering mist of amplified arousal and landed in front of her apartment access.
She unlocked the door and twisted the knob before swinging it open. “Please, after you.” She asserted. And with zealous delight, I obeyed.
Her apartment was vivid with a luminous aura bred by lucidly attentive windows negligeed in wild, splatter patterned drapes. In the entry room, aging oak floors nourished the infinite spiral staircase bursting from the center. They appeared to be growing beyond the clouds like Jack’s gigantic beanstalk. The wall adjacent to the windows was comprised of floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves, which appeared heavy with collage albums, impressionism books, and hardback gardening texts. The rest of her walls were left stripped and unfinished. Bits of wallpaper hung loose in jagged waves and the gaps must have read like a blank canvas to her, because they were piecemeal-filled with scattered paintings, sketches, and handwritten affirmations. Her space purported the spirit of a legitimately creative kestrel who soars and thrives on the oxygen of art.
“Make yourself comfortable while I place these in the pantry,” she said.
I walked over to a paisley wingback chair positioned between the bookshelves and a diamond shaped end table and bent to sit on the edge of the cushion. The rest of her apartment (or what I could see from where I was sitting) was dusty, dense, chaotic, and cluttered. In fact, the core persona of her apartment evoked a very primal, buffalo-stampede of rowdiness. Each organically strewn element ornately contrasted my pre-established confines and rules of living—and it was thrilling. My legs were now primed and ready to kick down those boundaries with her.
She reentered the main living area where I was sitting, bottle in hand, with a simple query— “Wine?”
I stood. “Ah, yes. Lovely. Thank you.”
She placed the bottle on the end table, retreated, and returned with two mismatched glasses. I watched as she poured with splashing accuracy, and each flowing trickle enticed me and made me long for her to fill me in the same way. We both took a sip and scanned each other as we put down our glasses. I sensed she was ready too as she grabbed my hand and pulled me up those center winding stairs, which lead to a dented silver door. Through the door, I could hear the rhythm of small-town bustle, distant, horning and bellowing like a lively musical ensemble. She cracked open the steel fasten, and their song became more vibrant and clear as we walked out onto a pebbly foundation of what appeared to be a rooftop, herbal-garden spread.
Astonished and nervous, I immersed myself in this towering outside wonderland and blurted, “Wow, this is breathtaking.”
“Yes, I know. I’ve put a lot of work into this place. Actually, I own the building. But you didn’t come here to discuss real-estate, did you?”
With that, I silenced my tendency toward idle awkward words. She was right—talking only scarcely fit into my equation of wants. I wanted to map a slow-motion contour of her outline with my hands before I contacted her radiant skin. I wanted to press her body wholly against mine until we colored and tinted in every negative space between us. I wanted—her.
She sauntered over to an awning area, tied back the mesh curtains and continued to a tall turntable console in the corner space. She fingered past a couple of solid albums and dove straight into jazz territory, pulling Shirley Horn‘s Softly from its cardboard sleeve. She placed the vinyl on the player, dropped the needle on "You’re My Thrill" and spun with elegance sweeping that magnificent flitting skirt of hers against the console and back toward me.
The sun rapped down on us, and warmed my body causing beads of moisture to surge and rise, which chilled the curved nook in my lower back. Without a word she reeled me closer, and we danced. I felt her mouth traipsing in a deliberate rove up my shoulder and to my neck. When she reached my ear she whispered “fuck me” and I felt as if she were verbalizing a direct feed from my thought transmission, because she knew precisely what I had intended to do.
I pulled back what was loose from her rich maple curls and sowed my lips methodically into her neckline. She smelled earthy-sweet resembling the fountain of savory herbs surrounding us. I continued to kiss as I tugged at her top and worked it slowly over her feisty locks. Taking turns and never breaking contact, we liberated our flesh for touch as we removed each woven combination of decorative fabric that was restricting our skin. Our articles of attire were scattered in a multihued exhibition on the stone base in what reminded me of transmuting kaleidoscope fragments. We pressed our chests together, and I dug my hands into her back and initiated a fevering chapter of caressing and kissing—starting with the mouth, but acting attentively at every location. I spent a generous amount of time studying and surveying each part with my tongue. Every inch, line, and edge of her was precious and demanded acknowledgement and cherishment. My journey was steady and attending as I rambled down to her cheek, then to her chin—neck, sternum, breasts, and abdomen.
I separated there to travel backwards, getting on my knees and steering one of her feet to my right thigh. With my kind, easy-rolling mouth I glossed her calf, traveled to her knee before landing smoothly just above it. Her body shook in a raring tremble as I roved closer to her epic showpiece. But before she lost her balance, she resolved to convene and regain stability in the comfort of a soft-cushioned wicker chaise lounge. Staying focused, I angled and began to snack diligently on both thighs. I went back and forth between the two as if I were trying to decide which tasted better. They were both delectable, but it was the middle I craved—and after agreeing that her thighs were a decisive tie, it was there I went.
Ravenous, I devoured her, savoring every morsel as though I had been forsaken and banished from civilization for weeks with only scant, rubbish scraps of food for sustenance. She tasted pleasingly warm like a spicy mulled cider with subtle notes of cloves and nutmeg. And every time she moaned and cried I felt an urge to overexert, quicken, and consume—but an intrinsic desire to tantalize her in order to build and make the experience seem endless decelerated my stride to a gradual, tipsy buzz. I stopped just before she came and promptly maneuvered up to her face, where we began a stretch of passion-fueled, kissing calisthenics. We continued this for some time as we moved our hands on a path toward entering.
I rubbed and massaged her coarse yet inviting knoll before allowing my fingers to walk further down. When I reached her lips, I whirled in her balmy, slippery strait before seeking asylum. With my hand positioned, I commanded my thumb to revolve around her sweet, pomegranate aril for an extended period of time before sliding my index and middle fingers inside. And she reciprocated by emulating these motions. Rapid and hard we pushed, both of us verbally pleading for more, as our bodies began to rock in a fluid tempo until we writhed like a steady, cadenced whip, smacking to tap a celestial state of urgency. I thrust as if I’d been waiting my entire life to hear her scream and sigh—and to watch her unravel as she succumbed to ecstasy.
We sculpted and twisted each other as we would a blender dial to a throttling hustle well above grind, our carnal reach sought to obtain a finely tuned spiritual level of existence, and we linked when our bearings struck noon together in applauding multiple orgasms. There were no words worthy of utterance as we exhaled in satisfaction and remained strewn across each other, our naked bodies covered only by sunlight.
“Fuck, you are fucking brilliant. Let’s do that again.”—I looked at her with serious insistence.
And we did.
Katherine Shook is a wily, young, up-and-coming writer from the enchanted, tortile hills of West Virginia. Presently, she is penning her way through two collections, both of which she aspires to have completed next year. Her first book is comprised of connected short stories in the horror genre and currently titled—The Bend. Her vision for this collection surfaced from personal observations in a community positioned along the Shenandoah river, and the stories within are based her own twisted imaginings of what takes place in the sinister shadows of this community. Her second book is poised to be a series of, what she hopes will be, compassionate and inspiring personal essays. She has also written several gratifying articles for i listen. i watch. (http://www.ilisteniwatch.com/author/kat/)