Monday, March 5, 2012

Do We Only Get One?

Kathleen Bradean

If pressed to pick only one, green is my favorite color. Maybe it's because I grew up in the southwest where the earth is ocher and rust, and the few hardy plants are dark, muted colors or the same gold as the dirt. Green was rare. Green was something you went to visit in a long car ride into the mountains or across the mud-red Mississippi into the southeast. Green was shoots of crocus pushing out from the crusted snow. It was weeping trees that trailed leaves in slowly moving rivers. It was warm, shallow water surrounding the tropical islands of the Florida Keys. It was decadent and lush.
Every forest is different. Ohio's leafy canopy sprouts from rich, dark brown soil. Colorado's is arid pines, until you come around the bend of a twisty mountain road and a breathtaking vista of white-barked aspen sweeps down the mountainside. The moss-covered forests the Pacific Northwest remind me of the Okefenokee Swamp in Florida, although they couldn't be less similar. Both are humid, but Florida is clingy heat while here the air is cool under the canopy. Spanish moss and cypress trees are muted, almost gray, but the Pacific Northwest is saturated with intense green.

We're backpacking a beginner's trail that winds around lichen-covered boulders and steps over narrow streams. Two hours later, it's still chilly enough in the shadows that I need my long sleeved t-shirt. When we pause to eat a quick lunch, a dog bursts out of the undergrowth, tail wagging, tongue hanging from its mouth. It looks over its shoulder a few times before two guys amble down the trail. We raise hands in a quiet greeting, because something about this cathedral of trees inspires hushed voices. The dog winds around their legs as it stares worshipfully up at them. Then it bolts down the path. We laugh; the men laugh; they follow their dog.

I absorb green like beach fanatics absorb the sun. My nose flares as I draw in deeper breaths because green is a perfume. It's verdant, but underneath there's that scent of mortality that gives it piquancy. Green creeps under my skin and into my brain. Maybe he notices while we try to count the rings on a fallen tree with a trunk higher than my waist, or when we squat beside a stream to watch a bug walk across the surface of the water, or maybe the transformation doesn't show. I feel unbound outdoors and start to unravel from the moment the trees surround me. Mother Nature, Gaia, whatever you want to call it musses my hair so it falls in tendrils over my face and pops open buttons on my blouse and tries to undress me the deeper I'm drawn into her world.

We hear a small waterfall so we follow a well-trod side path to see if that takes us to it. Shafts of daylight poke through the leafy canopy overhead into a deep, moist cleft of rock. Water churns white as it drops into a frothing pool then burbles happily as it streams away. No wonder human have worshipped at such places since the beginning of our time. I can feel my body everywhere, in places I've forgotten. A trickle of sweat makes my shoulder blades itch. Every step seems to rub my panties against my clit until it's fat and happy, engorged and pleasantly alert to the way his shorts cling to his butt as he hikes ahead of me.

I always wonder if he can catch my scent, if he's secretly smiling to himself up there, ahead. Or if he makes silent jokes to himself about pitching a tent. Or is he completely unaware how alive I am?

By the end of the trail, I'm ready to jump him, but frustration feels good too. I don't know the last time I wanted sex so bad. I want it now, but I want to enjoy waiting. So I'm playing a little game. How long can I keep myself from trailing my fingertips over the back of his neck as he lights the fire? Does he watch me unroll our sleeping bags in the tent? I'm on my hands and knees, legs slightly parted, back arched.

Tonight, we eat in silence, both of us hungrily eyeing the other while we gulp down our food. But I don't just want him hungry. I want him starving. I want him as undone as I am. I want his civilized mind to take a hike. Mine already has. No wonder the Greeks feared the Maenads, those wild women or orgiastic rites who ate raw flesh while in the throes of divine ecstasy. I could devour him right now. Swallow him whole. So I drag him close to the edge of control until his eyes are shadowed pits and his chest rises and falls with each breath. Even his voice has dropped half an octave. 

Come out and play, pagan god.

But for some reason he's still unsure. He paces with our camp plates in his hands as if he's forgotten what they are or what they're for. And with each half-angry step, he watches me from the side of his eyes. My patience is gone, so I bite his bottom lip and yank him into the abyss with me.

I wish I could watch us fuck. I wish I could land, silent as an owl, on one of the high branches of the pines around our little campsite. He wants me to look into his eyes. I stare at the smear of the Milky Way across the sky as I imagine the shifting golden light of the campfire licking over his muscles. A fine sheen of sweat covers his back and meaty butt as he hunches over me.

No one ever tells men how beautiful they can be at moments like this. How primal and perfect their arms are as they brace against the ground, how graceful their thighs and hips are as they grunt and thrust. How good a really hard cock feels inside. How desire transforms and reveals their true nature. How like a god and angels a man is when he's stripped bare. But we're not supposed to talk about that, ever. Because this is supposed to be bad. This is supposed to be the ugly side of men and women are supposed to despise it. But when we don't, and we want it, it isn't his power or dominance that we see. It is ours.

I've already come but that orgasm was different from the one that's building inside me. It clenches his cock like a wave amplifier. It pushes against him, almost forcing him out. Then it anoints his cockhead in blessings I don't bother to whisper.

I'm no longer looking at stars. I'm looking at him. He's no longer looking at me. He's trying desperately to hold onto that moment of perfect grace, that slice of heaven, that moment just before coming. Then his lips twist in anguish as he loses his grip on nirvana and comes tumbling down to earth, divinity lost, and rests his head between my breasts.
They always ask you what your favorite color is. I always wonder why we just get one. Green is perfect. Green is hope. 

Green is primal sex.  But so is red.

Red is... maybe another time.


  1. I am astounded by the detail in your perceptions. Magnificent!

  2. Lisabet - thank you. Now I'm all revved up to go commune with nature - so to speak.


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