His Secret Place

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“I have something I want to show you.”
I look up at him from my journal, my pen poised on an “s”. His eyes glitter with eagerness, his smile mischievous and sly with some knowledge, some secret that maybe he doesn’t even understand. My legs are folded up in the huge armchair, my journal perched on my cotton-covered knees, my back pressed against a leather arm. I raise an eyebrow. He holds out a hand.
“C’mon. You’ll like it.” His voice promises so many things. The curiosity is too much, a bubbling mass of questions writhing like snakes in techni-colors. I take it.
I let him lead me out the door into the night. The moon’s light is so bright; as cool as her brother Sun’s light is warm, as puzzling as her brother’s light is self-explanatory. I let him lead me over the grass dotted with the night’s tears, gleaming like lost gems or fallen stars. I let him lead me through the trees where shadows whisper of danger and of a thousand stories waiting for patient ears to listen, over ground where paws and feet have pounded until the earth is smoother than marble. I let him lead me because I trust him, because I know that he wouldn’t hurt me for the world…because I know in some deep reach of my being that never comes out into daylight but only surfaces during a full moon, but until then simply hopes, that I am his guiding star; that I am his compass, that I am the reason he now guides me to his Secret Place.
Arrogance, maybe.
Instinct, probably.
But only my soul really knows as he guides me to somewhere where the world must stand still for him, where the world is silent and yet full of music.
He leads me to the river, where the water rolls and laughs with ease, a never-ceasing babble of voices that croon about love, about hate, about understanding, about belonging. We walk, pace after pace, down to a place where the willows clog the view of prying eyes, where the sharp brambles turn to soft grass and white sand. He pulls me through tangles, whispering reassurance as I stumble in the dim light. As he pulls me into his Secret Place.
It is a mass of willows and sand, a place where the river has slowed to nothing more than a snail’s crawl and has created an eddy, the most perfect circle I have seen constructed, so glassy that I fear to touch the surface less I shatter it. The trees reach to the sky where an opening lets it in…where the moon now hangs; a perfect orb of crystal futures and untold fairytales. The surface of the water is the color of a silver spoon, opaque enough to see its reaches, its nooks and crannies; this must be where Artemis comes to bathe. He turns to me, his face cast in shadow.
“It is beautiful,” is all I can say as his hand rests on my cheek, the other pulls me close.
“It’s my favorite place to go,” he murmurs.
I want him to say something like, “It’s even more special now that you’re here with me.” Or, “But it isn’t as beautiful as you.” But when he looks into my eyes, I see it in the silver brimming on his irises. He doesn’t need to voice those things – I already know them by heart.
He pulls gently away from me; I watch him draw his T-shirt over his head, unbuckle his belt…
I watch him stand naked under a full moon, his face turned up to her, her silver light playing on supple muscles and pale skin, turning his dark brown hair a seductive black. Each sparkle reminds me of everything he has said to me...loving words, thoughtful words, words that mean so much and that don’t require interpretation, for his voice speaks their meaning. Each ripple of skin makes my stomach drop and the corners of my mouth twitch. Each shadow reminds me of murmurs over criss-crossing phone cords where I listened to him whisper my name – lines of communication that could barely contain the burning fire inside my heart. His movements remind me of timeless laughs, immeasurable silences where we listened to each other simply breathe, countless asterisks emphasizing touches that we couldn’t give… The water envelopes him as a masterpiece consumes the master. He surfaces dripping with pearls of water turned to priceless, ageless diamonds in the moonlight. I want to capture him forever, paint him in Canary Yellows and Robin’s Egg Blue, Ruby Reds and Spanish Moss Green, and trace the lines of his smile in charcoal and pencil and ink…
“Come to me, my love,” he says. If addiction had a form, it would be that tiny, almost insignificant movement. If Opium had a voice, it would be his moan as I strip my protective shell away. As I drop my cloths to the earth, so I drop my defenses. Any shield I have is folded carefully and laid aside. Any doubt or fear softly buzzing in my ears is quieted so that nothing can be heard but the singing crickets, the prattling of a river, and the hums of this Secret Place. I let myself stand, unafraid in the light of the moon, tranquil with a hammering heart. I allow myself one Leap of Faith as I dive in beside him. The water is cool; is that an omen? The gurgle, the stream of pretty wiggling beads of water that my entrance creates makes the pool seem more than just a protective soap bubble of simple intricacy. It is the essence of something greater…
I let my lungs breathe in the air so full of the quintessence of life; I let it fill me, until he steals it all away with one kiss, so full of flavor, a pressure so gentle it’s like he’s afraid to break me…so full of hunger; of lust; of love unspoken, raw, bloody and ragged yet whole and complete…
Any person watching would see two teenagers naked in a river.
Any adult would question our motives and our safety…any person who depends completely upon a walker or a hearing aid would scoff, saying what did young people know about love? Love was only sex, money, drugs, booze and watching things blow up to our ignorant generation. Some our age would blush, some would roll their eyes, and some would ask what the point was. Others would make suggestive gestures or cat call until we looked away from one another in embarrassment. Nature sees two beings embracing one another…
And we see us, secure in our own vulnerability in his Secret Place, safe from an angry and chaotic world, from our own chaotic minds…protected by his Secret Place.





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