The sun seemed to hang in the late-morning sky, as if it were Waterfallreluctant to reach its peak… spreading warm rays over blushing shoulders… adding weight to gravity’s ever-present burden. The grade was steep, the switchback a stern test for leg muscles, lungs in urgent need of a second wind. Brandy’s enthusiastic pace soon slackened to a shuffle… then stalled altogether. She rested.

Simon, two turns behind, made his way with ease—or so it appeared to Brandy, annoyed by her rapid pulse and hyperventilating ribcage. Before he could catch her up she forced her body to continue, determined, almost peevishly, to maintain the lead—his ‘hot pursuit’ appealing to her sweat-soaked vanity.

All around, wildflowers splashed the canyon walls with yellows, pinks, magentas; lizards rustled in the scrub brush; swallows streaked through up-drafts of fever-risen air. Brandy contemplated all with a childlike fascination… while Simon contemplated Brandy with fantasies taking flight:

… tucked-in blouse adhering to sweaty flesh like a soggy second skin… loosened of a sudden… billowing, ship's-sail fashion... now flapping in the escalated heat… her waist embraced by empty sleeves (too tightly?)… ouch... stopped short, she flinches...her left breast sheds a tear…

At last a breeze sprang up. Brandy unbuttoned her blouse. Air filled the dampened cotton, ballooning it behind from the small of her back. She glanced over her shoulder. Simon, already bare-chested, was tying his shirt sleeves around his middle. Brandy, at the next turn, did the same.

… scent of lilac, feel of sponge cake, taste of clotted cream... spiced with a tinge of rust.

She waited for him at one of the trail’s recurrent crooks, wind making auburn pennants of her unbound hair, out of breath, smiling nonetheless… moving on—and up—as Simon once more neared.

A moment later, he heard her (forecast) cry.

*

Brandy had been snagged by a scraggly branch of ironwood, its claw-like thorn still holding fast to her teat, a searing pain precluding her attempt to disengage it.

Simon, having quickly closed the distance, g i n g e r l y extracted the offending shrub. Once released, her nipple oozed a tiny bead of blood—which Simon cupped with his mouth and suckled therapeutically.

Pain-displaced-by-pleasure stirred a sensual swoon so powerful that Brandy might have climaxed there and then. But Simon's cure (too fleeting) quickly turned to vapor.

 

For a time the trail leveled off. Walking was less strenuous. Simon, once more loitering, fell behind. Brandy stopped at a boulder and settled down to wait—the breeze blow-drying her half-nude body, cooling it despite the fiery temperature, wrinkling the flesh round her perforated pap.

‘Jeezus, I can still feel where he sucked me!'

Startled, Brandy stiffened. Simon stood behind her, his shadow casting coolness where it fell, his palms, like fledgling wings, resting atop her shoulders. Something in his touch bade her relax, take note of the scenery; the canyon walls were closer, now, the nearby stream a torrent. Glancing down, she gauged the distance they had hiked; one third, perhaps. A cottonwood grove below appeared no bigger, no taller than waist-high bushes, while, above, the uppermost cliffs still looked remote. She tilted back, placed her hands over Simon’s, gazed up into his clear blue eyes—hoping he would ask… But no, he asked for nothing.

*

Again she stood; again he yielded her the path—though kept apace. Their strides, in tandem, matched as they reached another incline, where Brandy felt his scrutiny pierce her like a probe… then pass clear through… shining, prism-fashion, in the air before them both… colors rendered nebulous in the world her contours filtered... a world she deemed aloof and desperately forlorn.

… elbows lifted, flare to expose her mother-of-pearl-like armpits... droplets wander, group at her belt hoops, stain the seam below... buttocks bold and bouncing left, right, left, affirm near-perfect symmetry—thrown off kilter, of a sudden; ground gives way; she veers to break her fall…

Their rigorous climb made the prospect of a dip ever more enticing. Brandy’s modest sweat was now a flood from every panting pore. She thought of taking off the remainder of her clothes, and might have done so, had the ironwood not encroached so often. Treacherous stuff indeed, it never missed the chance to snatch a passing trouser leg—in lieu of naked hide. Instead she walked with arms upraised, fingers interlocked behind her tapered neck, underarms on display like pitted avocados.

The path narrowed, was blocked by more branches. Brandy, trying to avoid them, suddenly slipped; she lurched; she tottered. A hand arrested hers, yanking her to safety.

"Jeezus! I was nearly a goner!"

Relieved, she took a breath—that Simon's fervent hug obliged her to expel. Breasts compressed by chest, their unclad flesh converged, reshaped, adhered, then made a sucking sound when pried, at length, apart.

Brandy, heartbeat pounding, pointed toward the waterfall.

"It can’t be much further. Look."

Simon, in a daze, stood absolutely still… took stock; her sudden loss of footing, her nipple's penetration, represented incidents he somehow had foreseen.

Brandy, skirting the impasse, came to an ear-cocked halt.

"Listen."

Audible, albeit faintly, the drone of tumbling water echoed ahead.

"I sure do hope it’s big enough, and deep enough, to swim in."

*

At last they came to the switchback’s uppermost crest, descending then a slope that wound through giant saguaros. The waterfall, sight unseen, made a resonating roar.

Brandy, reaching backward with her hand encountered Simon’s (reaching forward). Thusly linked, the half-nude pair arrived.

*

A cataract stretched like a thirsty tongue from the overhead cliff face, lapping (with one luxurious slurp) at a pool below… around which sculpted rocks were embedded in a fine-grained sand. Brandy—shedding socks, shoes, jeans, and underpants all in one—crossed the intimate beach and plunged feet first.

"Ooo, you won’t believe how luscious this feels!" She swirled in circles. "Look, it’s clear; I can see my toes. And deep; I’m barely touching bottom."

Simon, more methodically, stripped and waded in. When the water reached his crotch he literally froze.

Brandy, shimmering naiad-fashion, dived below the surface… bobbing up beside him, her breasts resembled life buoys.

"Wow, the noise is deafening! Sounds like… what? Goliath gargling. Come on under."

Holding mutual breaths—noses jointly pinched—and pair submerged.

A madcap skirmish of bubbles marked the waterfall, its clamor thunderous, as the couple looked and listened, then popped up for air.

"Did you hear that? Did you see it!?"

Simon nodded, eyes doubly appreciative—as he ogled unavoidably Brandy's upper torso.

"I meant the waterfall, not my boobs."

She splashed him playfully, then, with a gesture, proposed they take another plunge—their features, re-submerging, lost amidst twin nebulae of shimmering effervescence.

Simon briefly glanced in the direction Brandy pointed… saw the mint-green underwater light refract, reflect, fluoresce … then let his gaze return… to luminous curves resplendent… to swirls of auburn hair that served as a liquid veil—clinging to proportions he hankered to caress.

They surfaced.

"That’s how shipwrecked sailors meet their doom, you know."

He missed her meaning.

"Mermaids make them ‘sigh' and 'glub-glub' drown."

Again she splashed him. Simon, numb past tolerance, fled the frigid pool.

Scrambling onto a sun-baked rock, he sprawled, face up, to thaw—and to resume a fond surveillance from the shade of his pronated forearm.

Brandy, seeking warmth herself, rose (like Botticelli's Venus) and stretched her glimmering body on the opposite bank.

… unaccountably hot her hand takes hold of mine… insistent fingers fondling… coaxing… ushering our return to the ice-cold pond… we sink… I stare… she turns whirlpools… lithesome pirouettes ... limber limbs effulgent in the turquoise-tinted bubbles (I ought to surface)... pulchritude enhanced by her molten undulations...(I'm out of air)... which I could watch... (Stay under)... for hours... (Submersed)... and hours... (Delivered)... as our mouths meet for the kiss of life (from drowning)... breathing, sharing oxygen, passing lungfuls to and fro... losing track of time, grown faint, our sense-of-self commingling...mine with hers and hers with mine expired...

 

Brandy, shivering, leaned her wet and dripping torso downward.

"Hey, you okay?"

He blinked.

"You scare me when you do that. It’s so eerie being gawked at by a man who doesn't see you, or who maybe sees right through you, or whose vision just go blank."

He tried to rally, reconstruct events, examine bits of evidence. Had she swum across? Her hair was wet, her nipples puckered, one so close, in fact, he felt it brush his lips…

… suspended… on a high-wire… or a clothesline... I'm a child again... of maybe ten or twelve... wearing blue pajamas... playing backyard games... a tightrope walker balancing none too steadily... whoops; I fall!

But managedwhewto catch the line… from which I'm hanging… I think I'm safe… except I have to hitch my bottoms up… they're sliding down… they're dropping… I need both hands, though… they're dangling… There's a woman underneath!… I cross my legs… I try to hide!… She's looking up… She's moving closer… Hey!… I think she wants to kiss me… Hey!… or suck me?… Stop! I squirm… She's smearing lipstick on me… Hey, I have to pee!… She keeps on doing it… Hey!… Feels funny… Stop!… Feels nasty… Hey, I really have to go!… She doesn't care… I'll have to hold it… Can't… Her mouth is really squeezing… Please!… She's making it impossible… Please, I…

Simon woke to find his semen spurting uncontrollably. Brandy swallowed once, twice, thrice, then let his member ebb; her lacquered lips transformed from carnal O to smile.

"It's perfectly alright. We have all day."

Shifting to her right, she brought her left breast into contact. Simon kissed it, licked it, sucked it, thought he felt it swell (as had its sister), then, easing out from under her, scrambled to his feet.

"Let’s build a sandcastle."

"Huh?"

He bounded to a spot beside the pool and started digging. Brandy, somewhat dumbstruck, shook her head in disbelief... recovered with a shrug... elected then to join him. Like a pair of diligent toddlers they worked side by side.

*

Ramparts grew due to Simon, while Brandy fashioned archways, thoroughfares and chambers. Both being fully focused, neither spoke a word…


as the sun created rainbows
in the waterfall's glistening mist…
appearing…
disappearing…
over turret, tier, and wall…
Simon’s sturdy bulwarks now encompassing Brandy's nucleus...
his straight-edged…
hers rounded, graceful, sensual, full of sweeping curves
that served to sidetrack
déjà vu
he paused…
compared his former visions
to the flesh-and-blood reality
of her flexing female forms
that he might touch
encounter tangibly…

"Do you think we need canals?"

… or let his mind's eye waver…
wander…

"Simon?"

… climb to heights un-reached…

Brandy, shading her eyes, tracked his to the cataract's (high source above them), detecting in his features… nothing in particular.

"Hey, snap out of it."

Simon's gaze persisted: distant, fixed, unblinking...

"Canals. You know, to let the water in?"

… tardy to acknowledge what was 'indisputably' real… for instance Brandy, straddling the outer wall, looking at him askance, then bending over, buttocks bulging, vulva fringed with sand, her sex resembling, from the rear, a sugar-coated cookie…

… reaching with my finger to collect a dewy dollop...

Feeling touched by something, Brandy shot a glance between her thighs. Simon was too far off, though, to be the contact's cause; plus both his hands were occupied; and his eyes, though not quite shut, were clearly looking elsewhere.

… stroke, massage, encircle, tease a quiver from her core...

Brandy gasped; then checked. Simon had not budged. Yet signs of her arousal—at his instigation(?)—were increasingly self-evident.

… savor then her nectar with my infiltrating tongue…

A singsong murmur rose from Brandy's usurped pubes. She stepped beyond the battlements—skirting Simon—and sat down a good ways distant, hugging her knees, rocking gently, helpless to suppress sensations that ensued. The whole of her anatomy—without the slightest impetus—positively hummed. Then all at once she trembled, not from cold. not from cold but from the sights she saw within…

of the waterfall bending like a halo…
Simon beneath it...
alone until she joined him…
whereupon things transformed within an envelope light;
his face
her face
shone upon one another
 with an incandescent glow...
palm prints pressing…
fate lines overlapping...
fortunes jointly told...
mated heartbeats concentrating pulse
throughout their coalescent organs
Brandy's loins
through Simon's lingual exploits
racked by raptures irrepressible

Flushed, disconcerted, shaken as by a daydream on which reality has encroached, Brandy looked at Simon and was shocked to note (again) that his proximity was 'removed'... as in much to far away to have accomplished said seduction (unless his tongue outreached his misbehaving muse).

Turning from his handiwork—the castle all but finished—Simon, via subtext, as much as said 'Touché.'

"Are we done, then?"

"Except for opening the sluice gates."

Brandy arched a brow; Simon gave no hint that his words were metaphorical.

"Well, let's do it."

Walking backward, she repaired to the poolside rampart (careful to conceal her licked-to-a-lather crotch). Simon dug a trench; Brandy tunneled through.

"Ready?"

"Wait." To gain a better vantage point, she clambered up some rocks. "Okay, I'm ready."

Simon broke the dike and, just in time, joined her... as water snaked its way from adjacent pool to drawbridge… filled the gaping moat… then overflowed it… rushed down central courts and inundated corridors… climbed up stairwells… seeped throughout the castle's labyrinthine innards… then finally settled like a cooled-off lava flow.

"It’s wonderful, Simon! Wonderful! Do you think that it will last?"

He paused… then answered solemnly.

"Nothing lasts."

She begged to differ.

"Some things do."

He shook his head… Then, in a lighter vein, he amended.

"Well, sand castles aren’t among them; they’re monuments no less fleeting than the affairs of mortal Man."

"You’re making fun."

"I guess I am. But, in the long run, nothing lasts."

"What about the love that helped us make it?"

He reflected.

"Love, like music, lasts while being played."

"Okay… Let’s play!"

Bounding from her stony perch, Brandy made a dash for the blue-green water. Simon, held in check, stood still and watched... as she crossed the pool... as she hauled her body out... as she lay, face toward him, beckoning... luring him to her arms as with a Siren's psychic call.

‘Come to me, Simon.’

Out of breath, my gasps raise gooseflesh… Or am I waiting, watching still?… Water trickles from my beard, anoints her skin like dewdrops… Held, as at a distance, I feel lashed to the mast of Self.

‘I love you, Simon.’

Rock, now sand, now aqua; I am  certainly advancing… Or retreating?… Am I moving to… or from… or not at all? I cannot say.

Inertia—offset by the pull of Brandy's summons—finally freed him. Simon walked… then waded… swam… traversed the gulf between his vision and the viable (or appeared to, as he felt her arms embrace him, as their naked bodies meshed, and as a pair puddles merged at their feet like ink in a Rorschach).

I see a mirrora full-length oval mirrorcontaining my reflection… bronzeits base is cast in bronzeits shape a monkey's… arms outstretched… its paws form swivel grips that hold a frame revolving slightly… slowly…

"Simon?"

Brandy felt him slipping from their here-and-now caress.

… it pans my torsosuntanned chest, to waist, to abdomen… thighs, knees, toes... the whole compressed… deformed... foreshortened…

"Simon, look at me."

… disappeared…

"You have to look at me!"

… transfigured… toes, knees, thighs again are visible... unto abdomen, waist, chestbreasts(!)huge, round, as the flipside swivels through… my features feminine, fair, familiar...

Brandy shook him.

"Don’t you hear me? See me?"

… fogging with my breath… I've leaned too close… I back away… the image opposite reappears… my face is hers... my eyes like emeralds... lips like succulents... hair like straggly burnt-orange tendrils...

Brandy kissed him; no response.

… the fog reforms; I exhaled… clears… displaying sky… the glass keeps turning… once more passes horizontal… I am I… Her… Us... congealed.

At which point Brandy, in frustration, forced him back against the cliff face and impaled her genitalia on his member (semi-stiff) until it grew engorged, imbued her with ecstatic palpitations. Eyes refocused, Simon greeted Brandy's cries with recognition. He was with her… in her… of her. They were shifting… changing places… she could feel a bed of sand and pebbles print her bulbous hips as Simon thrust and thrust and thrust with such exquisite penetration he was she and she was he the while their yearning laps engaged until the seed that sealed their fervid union spurt; she gasped; he sighed.

a single sea
whose high tide peaked
immersed both shores

they lay as one

 
and for a moment
or an hour
or an increment indeterminate
neither knew
where she or he
concluded or began.

*

 *

Wind swirled...

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