by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|2652 Word entry into February's "The Whatever Contest" Prompt: Write a "Fatal Attraction" type story (referencing the 1987 movie) or something equally twisted with a very disturbed partner in the relationship."
So, I am a romantic. The lure of scent, tantalizing curve, glint of eye and I am lost in a stranger’s silent imaginary embrace.
It is how I met Jeannie, the model of perfection all women wish they could be. Too soon, all others wishing to become more than friends revealed a crooked tooth, a skin blemish, or personality quirk tarnishing their act.
I had almost given up hope. It wasn’t through lack of supposed opportunity. I enjoy female company, the intimacy of two minds and bodies meeting as one. Each episode and previous encounter offered some form of a piece that fit the puzzled wish entrenched within my soul.
A few came close. Isn’t it strange how a woman is able to blur imperfection with overpowering ease at first acquaintance? That tantalizing fact led me through quite some adventures ending in heartache on both our parts.
The worst wouldn’t let go of what we’d found together. I’ve been stalked by the very best, had to move, change identities, changed careers as easily as clothes. I’ve even ended up in seclusion as a guest at a monastery, a farm where elderly priests made and sold honey in a place, believe me, called Eden, Utah.
Rambling acres of woodlands filled with bird calls, hay fields attracting deer and the march of sunrises into dusk loaned me a sense of calm acceptance that I was never meant to find true love.
Reflections on its false, fake strivings of alternatives hunting to trap my hope and fancied desire were alarmingly distant from praise. After weeks turning into months as season blended with season I was offered a lay position to do errands, fill in for farm workers sick or who quit, and attend to selling honey and jams at the monastery store.
The youngest priest, Brother Jon Svanty, was seventy. All were past the burning flame of passion that sometimes awoke me in my bed at night. I began to dream of my perfect mate. During my days, I brought the illusion of her into my thoughts to keep me company, fleshed her out with a silky auburn ponytail, sleek curve of neck and hair tumbling over the wink of a flirtatious eye.
“Who are you talking to?” It was another lay volunteer, staring at me curiously. “What are you looking at?”
I turned from the store window, regaining my senses. “I thought I saw someone I know out there.”
We were between customers. People from near and far liked the rural dirt road journey to the monastery and the sweet taste of the honey and bottled preserves for sale. My companion for the day opened the store door, gazed outside to an empty parking lot. “You’re seeing things. “Maybe you’ve been staying here too long. I know some women newly divorced, looking for a night out without commitments. Why don’t I set something up?” He closed the door, regarding me with some sign of compassion in his arched eyebrows and with pity in his eyes.
“Sure,” I said. My tone was listless, so dull it brought forth a yawn.
“You must be psychic. A car is driving up, new strangers soon to be friends. Wow. Look at that beauty, human flesh carved out of the image of Venus. That pony tail bobbing around is already excited to explore possibilities.”
With a leering grin on his face, the door was reopened in invitation. A flourish and bow offered entry. The doe eyes that met my own widened. The tip of a coral pink tongue wet the edge of opening lips. “Hello.” a southern accent caressed the air. “I’ve heard so much about this place. May I look around?”
Her eyes fastened on me, appraising me from head to toe, pausing, and working up again. “My name is Bell.”
A stir, an echo of interest faded on hearing her name. The first blush of perfection cracked into a thousand pieces as her driving companion stepped up behind. “My name is Jeannie. We’re vacationing down in the valley with friends.”
The shadowed figure stepped inside, revealing herself to my haunted imagination. Jeannie’s hand fluttered up to her neck, stroking a gasp from between ruby red lips. “Do I know you?”
The fire in my eyes flamed within her own. “The name is familiar,” I answered. The figure was not. This was a blond bombshell set off too early to do its intended damage. I turned away to dust clean shelves. Whispers followed me around my task which I ignored.
“What’s wrong with him?” The blonde asked no-one.
“He’s a resident, keeps to himself. Don’t bother with him. I’m a part time guide in these parts. Some great wildlife to see if you know where to look for it. Best time is dusk or dawn. Interested?”
Bell took charge of the arrangements, giving me a last speculative glance. “Promising. We’d like to see what you’ve got. Bring him along if you want to. We can double up.”
My gaze went back to the window where a shadow passed the sun. “Look what you are missing.” My male Casanova came over to stare out with me. The young ladies departed in a shower of dust. “I’ll pick you up at dusk. Wear something besides those tired out jeans and old sweatshirt. Want to make an impression if you are going to score.”
Fake love had stalked me, bubbled up and sipped from my dormant sensual hunger. I nodded, licked my lips, tasting the remembrance of those just seen. “Sure, but I got a date with someone else.”
The guy looked so crestfallen he seemed to melt inside himself. “You got to be crazy, passing up something like that. They practically jumped on their own into your pants. Cancel the date, buddy. Please. They are letting me along for the ride. You get to choose either one. This is a sure thing.”
“No. Thanks, anyway. My date is special.” The shadow out the window hovered, whispered the leaves of the Willow next to the store. Maybe I’d go for a walk later. Figure out why I couldn’t let go of my unease. How long would it take for me to let the coals die. How lucky my elderly priests were not to be stalked by such desire.
“Well, at least think about it. If it is a matter of money or not having a decent car, clothes, anything? Here’s my number. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll check in with you, early. We’re meeting up here.” The fire was there, transferred to the blush in his cheeks. He wasn’t taking no.
“Sure.” What was I going to do about my life and my impossible dream? My body threatened to replace my Jeannie with its own base want and undisguised need. It wouldn’t let me go, stalking me, when I least expected it.
“Good. I want to go get ready. O.K. if I leave early? You can lock up?”
“Sure.” It was the only word that could escape my mouth. The weeping willow outside caressed the air with its long leafy branches blinding sparks of sunlight and shadow. I rubbed my eyes closed, the dream like image of my Jeannie appeared in ghostly half formed images dancing with themselves.
“You, O.K.?” Brother Jon Svanty closed the door the other volunteer had left open. “Got some sad news. You look haunted by some of your own. Bet it is woman trouble. We can talk about it, if you want.”
“You saw those last customers, I suppose.” I offered with a rueful smile. “Brought up some feelings I don’t want. How did you handle them all your years?”
“Stuck them in a mental box and closed it long ago. I admit, they got out a time or two. What works is seeing them for the false god they are and replacing that image with the real one.”
A withered hand rested in comfort on one of mine. “Talking, praying helps to see him more clearly, all dressed in his white robe and shining in pure perfection. A wave of peace and comfort falls over me offering a strength I alone do not possess.”
He waited for me to respond, both of us looking out the store window, seeing different things. “Faith is a wonderful treasure for those who believe, son. Give it a try.”
“I will. Maybe if I stay here long enough . . . “ I turned from my sober reflection in the window of a man cursed with a seemingly impossible task.
Brother Jon Svanty, patted my hand before departing. He nodded and took in a deep breath. “My sad news won’t make yours feel any lighter, I’m afraid.”
The silence grew brooding between us. Usually it was a friend. Not now. His sigh turned into a storm of emotional words. “They’re closing down the monastery and store. Selling it off to a promoter. We’re too old to keep it up any longer, being sent off to other places to retire in. They’re using the money to pay off lawyers suing the church for the sins we did not commit.”
“Means I won’t be staying here.” I felt cold inside. My solace from living here wrenched and pulled at my heart. “How long?”
“We’ve been told to leave by the end of the month. Not many belongings. Won’t take us long. They are looking for a caretaker. We suggested it be you. They don’t want anyone attached to the place. I’m sorry. I can suggest another monastery if you aren’t ready to face things outside.”
They were all thankful for me blending in with their lifestyle of simplicity and dedication to something higher than self. We hadn’t talked much about why I was there, what I wanted, or my future. Each day was enough unto itself. “I’ll think about it. Thanks.”
The dust storm raising a rooster tale was a convertible. The blond stood up as it came to a stop. “Hey there. Moose called so we picked him up. You ready?”
I was just locking up. I’d been asked to start packing things up. Dusk blended the golden hour of light across the land. The car spit gravel as it stopped, nudging up to the willow tree. Tendrils of branches wept down causing the girls hands to brush them away from their faces. “Uh. Can’t make it.”
Moose jeered, “Why I didn’t call. Knew you’d say no. They thought they could turn your head.”
“We can party here. Let’s get out.”
I was saved by Brother Jon Svanty, stepping out from behind the store. “Not tonight, sisters. Store’s closed. So will our gate be when you leave.”
The rooster tail dust cloud rose higher going out than it had coming in. “Sin stalked you pretty close. Felt an impression to check on you, Ethen Allen. Glad I did.” He motioned me towards the gate, handed me the key to the lock and turned to go. “Can’t run from it son. Faith is the answer if there is one. Give it a try before sin won’t let you go.”
The convertible waited outside the gate, motor racing then quieting into a rhythm of ‘come-and-get-me’, if you can. The blonde curled her skin tight t-shirt over her head, wiggled her breasts, nipples taut and pouty. “Last chance.”
“I hope so,” I smiled and waved them off, hiding the smoldering embers flickering hot desire racing through my veins. It took several times to force the lock in place. The permanently closed sign was easier to wire onto the gate.
Now, if only my feelings were so easily handled. “Faith.” The word sounded like a curse I expelled. Dusk faded, littering the sky with stars. I walked, eyes blurred with silent tears.
The monastery rose with my approach. I wasn’t ready to go in. A brush of clean cool air awoke the Weeping Willow. I paused, slid down against its trunk, using its strength to hold me sitting up. “Faith in what?”
When I closed my eyes, wiping them dry, a vision of an angel appeared inside my head. “Jeannie.” Dressed in pure white and glowing with perfect health, her ponytail danced and beckoned me.
The wind in the Willow faded into a whisper. “You make me feel real.” Jeannie winked and said. “Open your eyes.”
The tree creaked and groaned. Its branches bobbed up and down touching the ground, making a natural curtain. There was Jeannie opening the whispering leaves, beckoning me to her. “I’ve missed you, my dreamy Ethen Allen.”
Her eyes glittered with the stars. The shadows embracing the space around her faded. She glided towards me with perfect grace. “I am yours. You are mine. We were meant to be.”
As her steps grew closer, Jeannie slid her robe down her body, letting it fall behind her. “No. You are not dreaming. Have a little faith. You made me. I came to you. Believe in us. I am here.”
“I don’t care if you are only my imagination.” I struggled to my feet, yearning to embrace this new reality causing my heart wanting to beat its way out of my chest.
I closed my eyes as she moved into my arms, a silky warmth lighting my nerves on fire. My tongue searched her lips, whispering her name. “Jeannie. At last.”
I didn’t go to my room that night. Awake or asleep, Jeannie lay with me in a world of making we alone knew. Love making blended with hours of soul surrender exploring and learning the most intimate details of who we were and are. “I love you completely, Ethen Allen. You are the best part of who I am.”
The first taste of each other overwhelmed me with an expectation we could not be more. Each moment added momentum to the realization I could not live without her, now that I had found her. “You are mine. I am yours.”
“I thought I lost you.” Brother Jon Svanty surveyed the mashed down grass next to the Willow. “I guess I did. Who was she? I’ll have to ask you to leave. This is hallowed ground. Which one was it, the blonde?”
The priest was mad, face flushed, fists clenched, “Get up. Get out.”
“Jeannie?” I said.
“Where’s she hiding? I’ll whip you if you don’t take her away at once. You hear me?” A pocket knife flashed into his hand. I stared as he cut a willow branch off, making it snap like a snake. The end bit my cheek. I rose, looked around me for my Jeannie. She had concealed herself, nowhere to be found.
“Jeannie? Where are you? We’ve got to leave.” This time the snap of the whip left a welt on my arm. Two more left a bloody cross weeping on my forehead. The other priests were coming out of the monastery to see what the noise was all about.
“He blasphemed,” Brother Jon Svanty was weeping, sobbing. He dropped his Willow whip. “I said move. Get your things. Go. I can’t stand the sight of you. You turned the end of our monastery into such a farce.”
He clutched his heart, groaned and fell to his knees, “The she devil stalked and owns you.”
It was obvious he was having a stroke. I was pushed aside, made invisible with the concern the other priests felt for Brother Jon Svanty, who lay gasping and dying on the ground I had so recently made my own.
Jeannie appeared out of nowhere, touched my arm, kissed the blood upon my forehead making it her own. “Come, while they cannot see you.” The willow tree caught a light breeze whispering an echo of her words into a long drawn out sigh.
“Where will we go?”
“Into a dream, if nowhere else,” Jeannie teased, innocent of guile.
I allowed her to grasp my hand and lead me into the golden dawn. I had met and been conquered by my fatal attraction. We are perfect together existing in our own private world.
Until death do we part.