The following story is by guest author Colin Bell.
We have a villa in the south of France, out in the country, up on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Our house is small, maybe just three rooms altogether. We love to cook together, drink white wine, go on hikes, look at the stars.
This morning we’re sitting in a pair of wooden chairs by the edge of the cliff. Between us is a small table with badly peeling white paint. Here rests our coffee mugs next to a rusted pot with enough refills to last us until noon.
We’re both reading beautiful books. I don’t know what books they are, but I do know that they’re the best we’ve ever read, because ever since we’ve been here every book has made that claim. Most of the morning is spent in long bouts of silence. The only noise is the long gusts of wind pouring over the edge of the cliff nose first, discovering what lies below.
Occasionally however, one of us comes to a passage so dauntingly beautiful that we’re overcome by the sensation to share it, we reach over slowly and rest our hand on the other’s arm saying without words, “listen.”
This time it’s your hand on my arm, and just as I turn my head, you begin reading. It’s a short passage. A sentence or two, maybe 30 words altogether. But I melt in it. The words envelope me in a soft gold nothingness that I’d like never to escape, until I lift my gaze and you’re there — staring at me — a tear in the corner of your cloud-white eye threatening to fall, and I feel for the first time in my life that I know perfection.
No words are exchanged beyond your own recitation, we both can instinctively tell what it means to the other. Eventually we go back to reading, and then, not long after, as if it was waiting for this moment to pass before announcing itself, the rain slowly sneaks up on us.
At first it’s soft. There’s been no rain in weeks and we assume it will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets harder and harder until we’re forced to abandon our now watered coffee and run to the nearby fig tree for cover. You get there before me, and when you turn and see me trying to protect my already thoroughly submerged face with my book as if it were a tent, you break out in true laughter. I don’t notice until I get right next to you and wipe my eyes, and you’re still going. I don’t know what it is you’re laughing about, but I join in anyways, because it doesn’t matter.
We lay down in the grass. The tree does a poor job keeping us dry, but at least allows us some comfort to open our eyes while staring up at the branches and heaven beyond. There’s no one around for miles. We make love. As we finish the rain recedes as quickly and as quietly as it came. You lay your head on my chest. I kiss you and my kiss contains all the inexpressible qualities of human life that language never can. These, after all, are the most important.
The feature image is by Red Rose Exile found via Creative Commons.
June Griffin says
A lovely story! Thank God we have our imagination to get us by! June
I like the poetic quality of this a lot!