A man, the last of his people, lives alone on an island until a woman is washed ashore...
She remembered lying on a sandy beach, her body baked by the hot sun. Two coarse dark feet contrasted with the pale sand. Looking up, she saw the man. His frame was not much larger than her own although much more compact and muscular. He wore something that looked like leather short pants, but the rest of his body was bare. His skin was smooth and hairless and had a deep bronze color that seemed almost golden in the strong midday sun.
His long face had wide lips, a thin nose, and almond eyes as black as clear night framed by large eyebrows. His shortly cropped hair had the tiniest curls she had ever seen.
Around her lay pieces of cloth – some thick and gray, some white and not quite as thick, and some thin small ones with a design of many tiny flowers. They were all dry and she concluded that these had been her clothes and that she had been lying on the beach for at least several hours.
The man looked at the creature with curiosity. He had been about to begin fishing after several days of stormy weather when he noticed something on the sand in the distance. At first, he thought that it was a large dead fish or an animal and ignored it. But his dog pulled him in the direction of the object. Knowing the dog to be a stubborn creature, he went over to examine it.
He looked at the creature. It looked something like a woman except that its skin was pale – almost as pale and white as the moon. Its hair covered part of its face and took the form of long blades of grass, which were almost the same color as sand. The small hairs above its eyes and the hair under its arms and between its legs were the same odd color.
Apart from this, it did look rather like a woman with breasts that were the smallest he had ever seen but too large to be those of a man. He saw her chest moving up and down and concluded that she must be alive. Her eyes, however, were closed, and each time her chest rose up and came down a sound came out of her mouth.
“Perhaps,” he thought “it is broken or ill.”
Clothes had been torn from the body, and he assumed that she had been washed ashore during a particularly severe storm the night before. He noticed several bruises, but they seemed to be the type that would heal of themselves. He looked more closely at the mass of hair between the legs. Although this hair was the same pale color as the hair on her head, it did have the tiny curls that hair generally had. Curious, he touched it and immediately the creature moved. He jumped back in surprise and saw that her eyes were open and that they were the color of the sky on a sunny day and not the color of the night as his were. He wondered if they worked as well. Then he noticed the creature looking at him with the same curiosity he directed towards him and decided that they probably worked well enough.
She knew that something horrible had happened to her but couldn’t remember what it was. Images came to her mind but they were only fragments – a storm, a boat, a woman's voice saying: “Don't jump,” and then the shock of cold black waters.
She saw the man looking at her and wanted to introduce herself, but she could not remember her name. She opened her mouth to speak, but what came out sounded more like the wail of a cat.
He heard the strange sound, and while it did not sound like the speech of a person, the sound spoke fear. He started to sign to her with his hands, as he had been taught to do as a child when communicating with someone from distant shores, but she showed no recognition. He bent down and spoke softly to her in the language of the people. He told her not to worry, that be she woman or beast he would do his best to heal her.
She looked into his eyes as his face came close to hers. He was speaking. “Trust me,” he seemed to be saying. And since she could not speak, she could only think and hope that he could read some of what was in her mind by looking into her eyes.
“I do trust you stranger. Probably more than I should.” He had taken her hand in his and she squeezed it back. This took a tremendous amount of effort and then everything went black again.
The woman's eyes were closed again. He did not know whether she was sleeping or dying. He could see her chest moving but no sounds came from her. He gathered some of the cloth he saw lying around her, rolled it into a ball, and tied it to his waiste. Then he lifted the woman-creature, and put her over his shoulders.
His feet knew the way without any help from his mind, and that was good because his mind was very far away. For longer than he wished to remember, he had lived alone on the Island. It had been many years since he had heard the sound of his own voice. For all of those years, he had known he would live his remaining years alone and as time passed he had come to accept this.
Once when he had been a child there had been a thriving community of people living on the island. But that was before the pale men came with their strange warnings. They had done things that only the gods could do. Carring odd tubes on their back, they had gone below the waters only to emerge unharmed. They communicated with beings who were not there by speaking into small boxes. They took a large pole, pointed it at a deer and killed the animal in an instant as a thunder filled the sky.
Of course, the people had believed them when they said that the island was going to be destroyed and the people left – all except his father who refused to believe that gods would allow the island to die. And so he and his mother had also remained.
He had never learned why no harm had come to the island. For some years he had lived there with his parents until his father had been killed in a hunting accident and his mother had chosen to follow her husband to the next world. After that, he had lived alone believing that it was in some sense his mission and purpose to live out his life to the very end to complete the story of the people.
Now the waters had sent this woman creature to him. He did not know whether she would live or die, but he knew what he would do if she died. He would burn her body as he had burned the bodies of his father and mother and pour her remains into the waters that had sent her. But what if she lived?
He stopped at a waterfall that fell below a lake at the base of two jagged peaks that looked like fingers pointing at the sky. He set the woman creature down on the mossy bed as he and the dog drank their fill.Then he brought some to the woman, but the fresh water just dripped down her cheeks as she continued to sleep deeply.
Slinging the limp body over his shoulder, he continued, breathing a sigh of relief as he spotted the top of his home in the distance. It was a large almost palatial structure made of thick grass. In the distance, perched on the hill, it looked something like a large bird, and on this very strange day, he relished the familiar sight.
He brought the woman into the house. She was still in a deep sleep and showed no signs of awakening. He examined her more carefully and found a deep cut above the back of her neck. He took a bit of ointment, washed the wound with fresh water and rubbed ointment into the deep bruise. He sat down beside her to contemplate what to do next and decided that if she were to heal she must have meat.
He put a coconut shell with water near the mat and another shell filled with fruit alongside it. Then he gathered his hunting tools and whistled to the dog. When the dog did not come, he shrugged and walked to where the deer lived on the Island.
When she awoke, she found herself in a large house made of grass. She recognized the sound of rain but no water entered the house. She felt weak but also curious about her surroundings. She looked around and saw a large pile of mats that looked like the one she lay on, a low table with no chairs atop of which were some bowls. In the far corner, were several larger and smaller urns. There were numerous nets and knives. Nothing was familiar to her until her eyes spotted little pieces of cloth with pictures of flowers on them. She recalled the beach, the strange man and that these had been her clothes.
Once again, she tried to recall more but to no avail. Perhaps if she had been in more familiar surroundings, she might have. “How strange,” she thought “that my mind knows what is familiar and what is not, but cannot bring forth my name! I have a clear memory of the strange man brought me to this plave, but cannot bring forth the names or faces of any other people. How strange that I know what a bowl, table, and knife are but am unable to speak.”
She felt something tickle her feet. It was a dog. Remembering the dog from the beach, she found herself laughing at the pleassant sensation. She wondered about the condition of her body hoping that it was in better condition than her memory. She decided to sit up. Her first attempt was unsuccessful, but she did succeed in moving her head. Her hands appeared to be intact.
She recalled herself to be a stubborn person able to do something once she decided to and so . She moved her hands to her sides with a great effort and was able to slightly raise herself. She rested and then repeated this motion again and again.
After a number of hours of practice, she was able to sit without difficulty. She saw the bowls of water and fruit. She had to bend over to drink the water. She picked up a small fruit. It had a sweet taste. She knew that she had never tasted it before and could not find a name for it in her mind. Hungry, she ate the rest of the fruit silently thanking the strange man for the shelter and the food as she wondered what had happened to him.
The man walked slowly in the direction of the jungle. He approached the area where the animals lived slowly and was greeted by the chirps of tiny yellow and blue birds. No longer prey of the hunt, the animals had thrived on this part of the Island. He had come to this place often – not to hunt, as he generally preferred fish for food, but to observe the animals.
With the people gone, he took some comfort in seeing the animals continue their lives. Not infrequently, he had been rewarded as monkeys came to eat out of his hand or by the sight of a bird or doe being born. Sometimes, one or another animal would follow him home and stay with him for a bit. Within days, they invariably departed, and only the dog had remained.
But this time he was not here to observe. He was here to hunt. Once, he had hunted with his father and cousins. Using hand signals to communicate, they selected their prey and gradually surrounded it deferring the pleasure and honor of the final kill to the eldest.
Alone, he had developed a different method of hunting. At the western most tip of the Island where a small stream flowed near the rocks , he waited for his prey in a large tree holding his sharp poisoned spears. Sometimes his wait was short, and other times, he waited for an entire day, but in the end the deer always came.
This time, as he waited, he watched small monkeys swinging from tree to tree as a snake slithered on the ground below. Safe from the danger below, the little animals ate berries and appeared to be speaking to each other with their hands. Of all the creatures, these most often brought back memories of the people. The mothers among them carefully put tiny pieces of food into the mouths of their babies even as his own mother had, and the male monkeys led the way scouting danger.
His reverie was interrupted by sounds from below. Several deer had come to drink the water in the stream. He selected his target. Silently, he aimed his spear straight at the upper right leg of a young deer and smiled as it hit its mark. The others quickly fled leaving him alone with his victim. He climbed down, took out his blade and quickly slit its throat. He drank some of its blood laughing out loud as the spirit of the hunt overcame him.
“Not bad for an aging out of practice hunter,” he thought. His mouth watered as he recalled the taste of freshly cooked deer. His body was wet from the sweat of the long chase, but he did not stop to rest. He slung the animal over his shoulder and quickly headed home.
He walked without stopping to take a break. Soon his home was within sight. He wondered what had become of the woman and found himself hoping that she had not died while he was away.
Try as she might she was unable to stand. She was able to move each of her legs, and after some practice, she was able to kneel. But each time she tried to put a foot flat on the ground and stand, her head began to ache, and she fell onto the mat. After numerous attempts she stopped trying. It had stopped raining and dog ran into the house shaking the water off of its body.
She watched it move freely and was overcome with envy when a thought came to her. Although she was unable to stand, perhaps, she could move about in a different manner. She watched the dog carefully for a time and then tried to copy its movements.
With some practice, she found that she was able to maneuver on all fours. The dog , sensing a potential play-fellow, pulled her hair in the direction of the door with its mouth. Outside, it was sunny. The rain clouds had passed, and she took pleasure as the warmth baked her body.
She followed the dog noticing something that looked like a small ball in it's mouth. Suddenly, the animal pushed its head and threw the ball towards her. She tried to copy the dog but was unable to. She was, however, able to easily throw it with her hand. The dog ran to retrieve the ball and threw it back to her. Soon all was forgotten as she frolicked with the dog in the warm sun.
Suddenly, the dog was gone. She looked around and saw the man in the distance carrying something on his shoulders. The dog was running to the man, and she watched them approach. The man appeared to be tired and happy. He was carrying a dead animal that she could not name. The dog continued to jump excitedly and licked the man's thighs. As the man bent down to lay the animal on the sand, she looked at his shoulders and saw little drops of water on them. She wondered how they tasted. But just as the thought came to her, the man stood up again, and they were out of reach.
She watched as the man went into the house got his sharp blades and began to remove the animal's skin. She did not want to watch this, and she was glad when the dog returned and began to throw the ball in her direction.
The man spotted the woman with his dog. She was moving quite easily and even with some agility but in much the same way that the dog was moving. Had she then decided to be an animal rather than a woman? He had heard of such occurrences, of people who became animals, but had never seen such an instance.
As he gathered his knives to skin the deer, he watched the dog and the dog-woman continue their game as an uneasy feeling came over him as he watched her.The dog threw the ball into the water and ran after it, and she followed. As she approached the shore, sharp objects near the water's edge hurt her hands and knees, but once she was in the water, she did not have to look at the dog to learn how to move. In the water, she was able to move effortlessly, and the only unusual sensation was the feel of the cool water as it touched every part of her body.
She marveled at how easy it was to move in the water. She was able to turn her body completely upside and pick up a rock with her hands. She tried to throw the rock to the dog. but strangely, this was more difficult than it had been on the land.
It was at that moment that the thought came to her. “I wonder if I can walk on two feet in the water?” She swam to where the water reached her shoulders and lowered her legs. What a delight to feel her feet touch the sand! She was exhilarated and took one step after another. If she had been able to talk she would have shouted words of happiness.
The skinning of the deer completed, he walked in the direction of the trees to gather branches. When the deer was finally cooking, the sun was lower, but there was still time for a swim. He thought of the cool waters and ran towards the waves.
As he reached the water, he noticed the woman was swimming by herself, and too his surprise, she was doing it quite well. She swam in an agile human way. Suddenly her movements became awkward and he swam in her direction to see if she needed help. He breathed a large sigh of relief as he saw what she was doing. With the help of the waters, she was walking as humans walk.
Suddenly, he understood that she had not behaved like a dog out of some inclination or intention to become an animal, but because being injured, she was unable to walk in any other way. He was overcome with such joy he began to laugh and was even more pleased when she laughed back as her laugh too was clearly human as well. He took her hands to help her out of the water relieved that she he would not have to deal with animal-people or dog-women.
The man was pointing up to the sky and she could see that the sun would go down soon and that for now they must leave the waters. Instantly, she was apprehensive.
“Will I be able to walk once I am not in the water?” she wondered. As they walked towards the shore, she began to feel her full weight. She was certain that she would fall, but the man would not permit her to. He stood facing her and extended his arms holding her shoulders. His eyes looked straight into hers imparting something beyond physical strength.
He walked backwards in small steps making a path for her where there were no rocks. He supported her weight, but it was she who took each painful step as she looked into his black eyes. Somehow despite the pain, she did not fall. The thought that she might actually walk again filled her with joy.
The sun was low and the sky covered with patches of blue between clouds that took the shape of cups or bowls where the sky met the waters. As the sun emerged several times after disappearing behind the clouds it looked like red liquid being poured from one cup into another until it was no longer visible.
He took his blade and cut two pieces of soft deer meat . He put one in his mouth and gave the other to the woman. She cautiously took a small bite and smiled. After that, she took one piece after another
Slowly the moon rose and stars were visible between the clouds. The moon was full and round illuminating the woman and other objects nearby. Remembering the trouble she had making sounds, he pointed to the meat and made the sign for meat with his hands. Then he took her hand and made the sign with her hands several times. She seemed to understand that he was showing her how to talk without using sounds and she repeated the sign and pointed to the deer to indicate her understanding.
She was pleased to find that it was possible to speak with one's hands. She became animated at the possibilities and pointed to one thing after another watching carefully as he took her hands and made the sign for each of them – fire, dog, sky, star, moon, house, tree and on and on.
She pretended to be asleep and then held out her hands and he showed her how to form the word sleep. In the same manner she was able to learn laugh, swim, eat, cut and more. She asked for more and more words until exhaustion overcame them both and they fell asleep. Later that night, he awoke for a brief period. and in the darkness, he could see the woman moving her hands to sign the words he had taught her.
He rose early as was his habit and poured water over the remains of the fire. He took the cooked deer meat and cut it into pieces and put these into urns in the cool part of the house. He was about to dismantle the spit on which he had cooked the meat when it occurred to him that having held the young doe without difficulty, it would probably also be able to support the weight of the woman.
When he went inside, the dog was already sitting dutifully by the nets as he had been taught to do each morning. He took one of the nets and the dog followed him down to the shore. The dog held one end of the net tightly in his mouth and the man swam in search of fish.
He was intimately familiar with the waters and their inhabitants. He knew which fish lived near which rocks and coral under the waters, and he knew where and more or less when the larger schools of fish swam across the waters near his home. Armed with this knowledge and some help from the dog, he was able to fish.
At times, it was a long process since beyond holding the net the dog was unable to help him. On most days he was grateful to have tasks that passed the time. But today was not most days.
Suddenly, he no longer felt the impulse to do each task as slowly as possible so that the night would come sooner. There were many things he wished to know and do. He wanted to see if the woman would be able to walk again . He wanted to teach her to talk so that he could find out who she was and what world she had come from. And because his mind was occupied with the woman, the fish alluded his nets more often than usual. Finally when he had caught two small fish, the sun was starting to descend, and even the dog seemed tired. He decided to stop for the day.
When she awoke, the sun was high in the sky and there was water where the fire had been. The deer was gone, but the tree branches that had supported it were still there and a much longer stick had replaced the one that had been there the night before. She could see neither the man nor the dog but on the sands near the one of the branches were two bowls, one with fruit and the other with water. She consumed their contents as she observed the interlocking branches.
She approached the tree branches on all fours and put both of her hands on the supporting branch . She managed to get both feet on the ground, grabbed the branch and pulled herself up. She imagined the stick to be hands of the man, and the memory of his black eyes as they had looked into hers the previous day gave her strength. She walked sideways as a young child does before it is able to walk on its own.
She began to ask him for more words and as he signed each of them, he heard her speak after repeating the proper sign. While the sounds were very strange to him, he recognized them to be speech and assumed that these were words in her language. And what an odd language it was! It included sounds he had never heard and appeared to be missing many of the usual sounds.
And so they began to speak. Her memory was excellent and he rarely had to show her or tell her a word more than once. She seemed to want and even need to learn with a thirst that was great. He obliged her answering each of her questions and also showed her things she appeared to be unaware of such as then names of birds and flowers.
By late afternoon, they were constructing sentences. "The fish is big", "The dog is sleeping", "I am swimming." Finally, as the sun sank low in the sky and she felt that her head had no more room for words, she began to say odd and funny sentences “The fish is dancing”, “The dog laughs”, “I eat the house.” He joined in and they continued to speak silly phrases and laugh together as dusk came and went and stars appeared in the sky.
The moon rose and they watched the stars disappear. He helped her rise and led her to the mat she had been sleeping on. The dog was already curled up at the edge of the mat. The twinge of regret that she felt as he walked away confused her as she lay on the mat looking up at the straw roof above her. The warmth of the dogs body against her own comforted her a little.
Lying on his mat, his mind briefly wandered to the other girls he had known in his youth. He remembered his cousin who had breasts larger than any mangoes on the Island and a bottom that protruded like a large watermelon.
“If the gods had intended to send him a woman, why not a very attractive one of his own kind?” he wondered, but then he immediately chastised himself for the thought. It was not good to spurn any gift of the gods, lest they depart and leave no others. He silently thanked them for the gift of the woman and promised to take care for her. Then he drifted off and slept more deeply than he had in a long time. For once, his dreams were pleasant ones filled with memories of his youth and much ripe fruit.
The woman lay on her mat unable to sleep. Gradually her eyes became accustomed to the darkness and she found them wandering over to the sleeping man. Despite his small size he reminded her of a large sleeping animal that if aroused might pounce on her. Finally, she fell into a fitful sleep filled with brief images strange and yet familiar.
He awoke with the sun feeling more energy than he had in a long time. The woman was still asleep and he watched her move in her sleep. She seemed unable to find a comfortable place on the mat. He walked over to where she lay and noted that she seemed to be healing well. Her breathing was no longer labored and the only bruise that remained was the one in the back of her head. He left the house and went to fish with the dog.
“Today is the day that I will walk” she said to herself as she finished the fruit and water he had left her. She realized that there was only one way to do it. She had to simply let go. She stood at the edge of the entrance and took the two steps to the wooden structure slowly and deliberately, Then she took the two steps back. She repeated this until she could do it without falling. Slowly, she walked away in the direction of the waters. Several hours later she was walking, somewhat clumsily, but on her own. Satisfied with herself, she walked towards the beach
The waters felt good against her sore body. She swam out letting the salt seep into the scratches that covered her body as a result of the falls she had endured as she taught herself to walk again. She felt the sting for a few moments and then dove down. She saw many beautiful plants some swaying with the current and some that were still. In the little caves that the collections of rocks produced, she saw many fish – some quite beautiful and others easily mistaken for a rock or sand. The beauty below her drew her. She kept coming up for air and diving down again.
Swimming back to the shallow waters she noticed smaller groups of fish under the smaller rocks and every so often under a larger rock or pieces of coral a larger fish would be surrounded by many small ones as if they were serving him. Large groups of identical fish, sometimes tan, sometimes white, sometimes yellow swam by. None appeared to be interested in her, which was fortunate as she realized that she had no idea which if any could cause harm. She thought to ask the man about the different fish when he returned as she wanted to learn which were good to eat and which were best avoided.
He had gotten quite a catch that morning and had been busy cleaning and drying them. He saw her as he returned. To his delight, she was walking on her own. Her long hair was wet, and he was able to observe more of her body than usual. As a result of long hours in the sun her body had taken on an attractive tan color. He thought that it would probably grow yet darker as time passed and this pleased him. With her hair wet he was able to observe that her bottom had grown a bit and would also grow larger. The erect nipples on her breasts bounced as she walked and his eyes as well as lower portions of his anatomy responded with appreciation.
She walked into the house, emerged with a shell and walked towards the berry bushes. He called to her and she emerged from the trees. He put aside his inclination to put his hands all over her body as she did the same. Instead, they stood looking at one another and smiled.
They sat on the sand and began to talk. She spoke of what she had seen in the waters and asked him many questions about the fish. She asked him questions about fishing and announced that she would go with him and help. She told him about how she had taken her first steps unaided.
“You are a brave and clever woman,” he thought but he could not quite manage to say this to her out loud.
She was so different than the women of his people. While he had not been much older than a child when the others had departed, he did recall how the men and women of the people behaved with one another, and although codes of behavior tended to exclude children, he was aware that among his people, the man was expected to make decisions. Overall, women tended to defer to men and did not often initiate conversations. The tended to be quiet, uninquisitive and even a bit fearful of their men.
By contrast, this woman made it clear that she had her own ideas and intentions, and although she did not appear to be deliberately disrespectful, she basically did as she wished. She did not wait for him to tell her what to do or help her recuperate. If men and women were supposed to behave differently, she appeared not to know this.
It occurred to him that there were some advantages to this. Once they learned to speak to one another, he would be able to speak with her about all manner of things, and he enjoyed her eagerness to learn. When she did say something or express something, he could trust that what she said was what she meant. There was no artifice about her. In some ways she was rather like a child, and in other ways, like a man with the body of a woman.
He suddenly realized that he had stopped talking and that she had walked away and started a fire. He walked over and examined what she had done and told her that while she had done a good job, it was important to put dry leaves at the very bottom, followed by smaller and then larger branches leaving just the right amount of space between them.
For a moment, he regretted his tone. Perhaps the sound of his voice had been too similar the voice of a parent speaking to small child, but he noticed her listening intently apparently oblivious to his efforts to secure his manhood. She was more interested in how to light the fire and asked him to show her. It was only after he promised he would show her where to find such rocks on the Island another day that she allowed him to get his pieces of flint and rub them together near the leaves. As the leaves and smaller branches caught fire, she clapped with delight.
The sun had gone down but there were few stars visible through the clouds in the sky. Occasionally he caught glimpses of the moon, which was small and thin. As he sat close to her, he realized that he was signing more as an excuse to touch her than because he needed to use his hands to communicate. He took her small hands and held them in his. When they went into the house and parted and he realized that he did not wish to sleep on separate mats for many more days.
She awoke before he did the next morning and watched the man sleep.
“Sleep well while you can beautiful beast,” she thought. “Today I will make you jump on me.” She bent down and lightly so as not to wake him up, she put her finger on a bead of sweat and put it to her lips. She gathered his fish nets together and walked down to the shore to wait for him.
He found her sitting at the edge of the waters holding his fishnets, and even as he tried to think of why this as not a good idea, it occurred to him that perhaps it was after all a fine idea. She was certainly much more clever than the dog and very agile in the water. Perhaps with her help, he would be able to catch more fish in less time. He picked up the net and together they walked towards the waters.
Once they were in the shallow waters, he explained how to use the nets to surround the fish and told her that after she had practiced swimming with the nets, they would swim into the deeper waters to find groups of fish. The basic idea was simple. She was to wait until he pointed to a group of appropriate fish. Then, positioning the net below as low as possible, they would raise the net as the fish approached swimming towards each other so as to encircle the fish.
They swam towards the waters where she had seen the groups of fish before and waited. Groups of fish passed by some white, some yellow and some with many colors, To her relief, as they were quite beautiful, he did not point to any of these. Every once in a while he pointed to a single fish of the edible kind, and she was pleased to learn that for the most part the beautiful ones were not the most tasty.
Finally a group of fish approached, she saw his signal and she held her net as he had instructed but raised it too soon. The fish were alerted and they were able to swim around the nets. He was elated. They had almost caught more fish than he had ever caught while fishing without another person. Surely, next time they would succeed!
She, however, was crestfallen and felt that she had failed him. “Perhaps it is better that you fish with the dog,” she signed.. “No,” he said and then seeing her face he smiled and added. “I much prefer you to the dog. Let's try again.”
Looking at her, he knew he had not lied. Regardless of her fishing prowess, she was a lovely sight in the waters as her bountiful hair moved with the waves like the plants virtually encasing her body. The next time he pointed to a group of fish, she did not make the same mistake. Holding her net low until the fish were near she swam towards him as he had instructed, and when she reached him, there were eleven large fish in the net.
As the fish were still alive he took the nets from her and told her that she had done well. Seeing the joy in his face she was pleased. “It is only morning,” he thought “and already, I have almost finished my work for the day.” And he had thought he had gotten a large catch the day before! He was not at all troubled that the day was young, and that he would have to find some other activity to pass the time , because he had some idea as to what that activity might be.
Out of the water the fish died quickly and she helped him lay them on the sand to bake in the sun. When they had finished, she took his hand and beckoned him to the waters. He followed her back to where they had caught the fish, and she began to ask him all of her many questions.
He told her to stay away from fish with big teeth as they had been known to eat off the entire leg of a person with one bite. He described them and told her that if she saw one it was best to slowly swim in another direction as quietly as possible. He showed her other things to avoid such as round black balls with many pointy branches that often lay in the shallow waters. He named as many things as he could, but he finally had to tell her that he did not know the names of all of the things in the sea. They were beginning to make up their own names when he noticed that they had drifted far from the shore and that a rather strong current was pushing them farther out.
Explaining to her that the waters themselves could easily be more much more treacherous than anything inside of them, he told her to follow him back. Turning sideways to avoid swimming directly into the current, he gradually approached the shore. For a time, she followed him but then swam directly for shore. Exhausted, she lay at the edge of the water and let the waves caress her.
The man, surprised to find her a strong swimmer continued swimming sideways as he had been taught. He did not know whether her actions were courageous or whether she was simply unaware of danger. When he finally reached the shore, he was some distance from her. He walked over to where she was lying.
She saw him walking towards her in the distance and smiled to herself. Pleased that she had been able to catch the fish, she was determined to catch him. “Come closer big beast,” she said to herself softly.
Seeing her exhaustion, he offered her his hands to help her up. Instead she pulled him down and feeling his wet body against hers, he did what came naturally. He was inside her and yet at the same time completely unaware of her. He imagined his penis to be a sharp blade and as he thrust it again and again, he imagined the knife striking all of those who had left him to rot on the Island. For a moment, he remembered the woman and hoped that he had not harmed her. One glance at her told him otherwise.
She felt him pulsating inside her. The pain of the first few thrusts passed quickly and was replaced by an overwhelming desire to have him deep within her. For a brief time, he was filling the void that had taken the place of her previous life.
She arched her back so that he might come in yet deeper as she dug her fingers into his back. The anger he had kept inside of himself for years to come to the surface as he continued to thrust in rapid succession and the rock inside of him began to grow a bit softer.
He heard her moan, and noticing her open mouth, he pushed his penis into it and felt her sucking it greedily as a baby sucking on its' mother's milk. After he spilled his seed into her mouth, he attempted to remove his penis but could not as she held it in her hands licking off every last bit of him. Tasting her own his juices mixed with his, she did not want to let him go.
Never had he known that a woman could enjoy this activity to the degree she appeared to be enjoying it. Excited by her apparent greed, he grew bolder and grabbing her back as he had seen the monkeys in the jungle do he pushed his penis into her smaller hole.
When he entered her anus, she cried in pain but did not stop him so he continued slowly at first and then more quickly, For her, even the pain itself was a relief obliterating all other things except their coming together. And then the pain gave way to pleasure until he finally exploded inside her and lay limp on the sand. The sweat of her back had mixed with his as he felt her tongue licking his chest.
They began to stir as the sun was setting. He felt her large soft hair covering his chest and remembered where he was. He did not want to move so he stroked her hair and gradually she began to stir smiling in her half sleep. They kissed and stroked each others bodies lazily as satisfied lovers do. She noticed a small cut on his lower lip that had healed long ago leaving a tiny rough spot. He moved his hands down her back and ran them across the cheeks of her bottom until he could feel the small indentations he knew were there. He rubbed the soles of her feet with his. She kissed his nipples as his hands moved up her legs and then between them to find her wet and juicy.
They made love again and this time there was nothing between them, no fears and no memories only the two of them making love very slowly their eyes locked together. And feeling this joining, he let his seed spill into her body fully aware of the potential consequences.
When they finally arose, she noticed scratches on his back in the fading light.
“I am sorry,” she said. “I did not wish to hurt you.”
“I will wear you marks with pride,” he replied. “And when they are gone, I hope that you will replace them.”.
The night was quiet. No sound, not a bird or even an insect broke the silence as they walked to the house arm in arm. Neither wished to speak. So in the dark moonless night at the entrance of their house he signed into her hands "My woman" and she responded "My man". As he led her to his mat, it occurred to him that his marriage had been as sacred and special to him as the greatest feast the people had ever had.
He didn’t what the future would bring but he knew that there would be a future. Once again the island would hear the laughter of children. He was no people's emissary. He was not the last. He was simply a man who loved a woman, and with her he would build a new life.