Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Women On A Small Boat

It was a fall afternoon that tasted like soft wind and gentle sun. The water of the lake was calm and soft and green, a green that spoke of life and sounded like gentle fingers that dissolve into droplets as they run across your cheek. The trees moved slowly in the wind, creaking slightly as the branches adjusted to their slightly new positions. A mother duck was rounding up her ducklings by the side of the flat, gentle waves of the lake and the dark gray pigeons coalesced into great masses of squawking and then dissolved again, each in its own direction, all with the same hungry purpose. There was an old man sitting on a bench, wearing long white shorts and a red and white shirt. He had a red cap on and his head was turned down towards the sidewalk, his eyes closed. There was a world of curious life around him but he wasn’t interested, not today.
Two women pedaled the small boat they had rented. They were both thick and strong and they both gave off an air of masculinity that contrasted with their full breasts and soft skin. They were both wearing dark glasses and they both looked ahead as they pedaled, as if unable to look at each other, as if unwilling to even try. One of the women was wearing gray shorts and a blue sleeveless T-shirt. Her hair was blonde and her bare shoulders were very white and rounded. Her mouth was half open even when she was quiet, as if she was trying to swallow the world with every breath. As she looked straight ahead, her head was tilted slightly upwards, in a subtle acknowledgement of the sun and the wind. The second woman was wearing long light green pants and a black T-shirt, also sleeveless. She had a checkered hat that covered her short black hair. Her mouth was severely closed and it barely opened, even when she spoke. Her head was also tilted, but instead of facing up towards the sky, she looked down, towards the lake, towards her own legs, towards her pedaling feet.
As they turned the boat slightly, the blonde woman said: "I’m glad you decided to come with me."
"It’s ok. We had to talk anyway," said the woman with the hat, still looking ahead and slightly downward.
"But you could have stayed home… I’m just saying I’m glad… I’m glad that you came with me today."
"Good… like I said, we had to talk anyway."
The words rang like loud whispers over the gentle repeated splashing of the water, the repeated impacts of the boat’s mechanical paddles on the surface of the lake.
"You know that I will forgive you… I always have…" the blonde woman said it with a hint of a shiver in her voice, as if making a clear effort to not let it break, an effort she wished to keep secret but that she couldn’t hide.
"I know that… but it’s not good… it’s not fair." The woman with the hat talked in the lowest voice possible, as if digging inside her chest for a place to bury her words and cover them in great mounds of white flesh.
"I can decide what is fair… you know… what is fair for myself…you…", the blonde woman’s voice was still shaking and the effort was just a bit tougher.
"We’ll see what happens… I don’t want to take advantage of you…"
"I know you don’t… but…"
"We’ll just see…"
A little boy screamed in the distance, happy to see the pigeons erupt into a new round of intense squawking. He ran to them, trying to catch the fast birds in his tiny hands.
"All I’m saying…" the blonde woman tried again.
"Like I said…"
"I’m only saying I’m glad… I’m glad you came with me today… that’s all."
The boat turned slightly again and the two women were very quiet, still looking straight ahead. The blonde woman’s head was still tilted up towards the sky. The woman with the hat was still looking down towards her feet. They would keep on seeing, but as their eyes looked in different directions, they would never be able to see the same thing, their eyes would always be lost in distant parallel lines that never quite meet in the horizon.
The pigeons separated once again in all directions. The little boy wondered if he would ever be able to have one in his little hand. Maybe when he grew older and stronger, maybe one pigeon would come down and rest on his thick older hands and maybe the pigeon would then want to stay forever. For now, the pigeons would keep on flying and the boy would stand by the side of the lake, looking up, with wide eyes and open mouth, as they flew far away from his little hands.
The blonde woman was completely quiet.
The woman with the hat said: "We will see."
The blonde woman barely nodded her head and pedaled a little harder. She kept on being quiet and she kept on looking at the sky. The wind caressed their naked arms and shoulders and the pigeons kept on squawking in the distance. But the women didn’t notice any of it. The wind was just too soft. The pigeons were just too far.

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