To Saunter Without Shadow, a story by Lee Musgrave at Spillwords.com
Denflinke Grafiker

To Saunter Without Shadow

To Saunter Without Shadow

written by: M. Lee Musgrave

 

Tossing and turning wasn’t helping for every sinew of my being was silently shouting ‘get up, get out and walk’. I listened, put my dress black slacks back on and headed outside. Duie, looking surprised and suspicious, dutifully followed even though it was the hour of deep silence. The time of night when one acknowledges and accepts the great change about to overcome your little corner of the planet.
Stepping off the patio onto the clammy beach, the darkness shrouding us left only the soft sound of persistent waves to guide by.
Pacing along the water’s edge where the pliant sand, splashing cold liquid and gentle breeze felt rejuvenating, directed my body energy toward purpose which in turn focused my thinking. Duie, however, looked perplexed maybe even incontestably concerned for I had a history of ambling at this hour whenever the city surrounding us crowded my mental landscape making me feel a need for rootless drifting. Not as a nomadic itinerant street gleaner, but rather more in reflection of Thoreau for as my legs moved, my heart pumped quicker and my blood circulated better delivering rich oxygen to my brain releasing my thoughts to more freely flow or at least sprout.
Is there a connection between mind and feet? It sure seemed so to me, but I wasn’t in the mood for perpetuating pretentious nonsense. I was seeking a more visceral, clearly traced, intertwining itinerary. Not a dip into the past, rather a leap into the present. So, I set off to experience every moment afresh while walking about Ocean Park instead of standing still to paint. I wanted to move to live. Not to get lost in bright lights and honky-tonkin, rather to experience something closer to serene exertion, more amenable to celestial musing. I didn’t want to stroll with a crowd needing to keep pace or to treadmill. I sought to move without weaving between. To meander without a course. To saunter without shadow.
As I moved on, thuds and swishes emanated from the obscure murkiness in front of me. Duie hesitated and searched the air with his snout flared. He looked to me for direction. “Go”. He vanished into the void and all was quiet. I continued on, but at a more cautious pace.
“Yikes … jeez, that’s enough,” said an exasperated, full-throated, feminine voice.
“Kind of late for a midnight swim isn’t it,” I said searching the opaque veil before me. “It’s ok, Duie won’t bite he’s just expressing his joy at finding you rather than a sea monster.”
I stepped out of the surf to gain height as I drew closer to the splashing about.
“Call him off please,” the voice sighed. “I’ve had all the licking I can endure.”
“Come Duie.” He emerged from the phthalo Pacific just as the buttery moon shown from behind a dark cloud. “There you are. Good boy. Where is our damsel in distress?”
“I’m not stressed,” she said as she rose from the surf. “I’m just exhausted and chilled.”
She was wearing a soaking wet tuxedo shirt, glistening silver earrings, and ankle bracelets, but nothing more.
“Come along with me, my place is just up the beach a tad. You can dry off and I’ll make us hot drinks. Were you attending one of the yacht parties?”
“Mmm, more or less.”
“I’m artist James Terra and you are?”
“Charisse Doris,” she said smiling broadly. “This is strange and funny, look at how we are dressed. Together we make one outfit. You weren’t at the party too, were you?”
“Well, I was at a party, but I’m sure it wasn’t the one you were at. I would have noticed you even if you were wearing a dress. Although, you look wonderful as you are.”
She didn’t blush or shy away from my obvious attempt at a foreplay tease. Though she did pull the clinging wet shirt away from her. Thankfully, it stuck even tighter the moment the next wave broke against her curvaceous skin.
“I know why I’m out this late or perhaps I should say, this early,” I said as we stopped to face each other. “I guess what I really mean is, do you need help of any kind? Ah, clothes, a doctor, the police, a phone, anything?”
“That’s very thoughtful of you. Some dry clothes and a hot beverage will suffice,” she said as we started walking toward my studio. “I made a rather quick decision to leave the party and this was the only thing at hand to wear.”
“Right, well go on in. Upstairs you can shower and I’m sure something from my closet will fit you,” I said. “Do you prefer coffee or tea?”
“Whichever you desire,” she whispered.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she gracefully ascended the stairs, the view was captivating. In fact, the image glowed in my visual cortex for some time before I realized the shower had stopped running and I hadn’t made anything to drink yet.
I selected vintage Flowery Earl Grey, put on the pot then quickly looked through the dirty clothes hamper under the stairs for some dry pants to change into.
While I was pouring our drinks, still in a mental fugue, I heard the hair drier go off and a moment or two later she appeared at the top of the stairs. My sheer tank top tee had never looked better.
She descended right into my arms and kissed me as though we had been lovers for years. Our entanglement continued in a torrid rush of craving as I carried her right back up to my bed.
The sun rose too early for our sated bliss was still fully engaged as she rolled over and looked into my eyes. “Ok James, did I fulfill your fantasy of seducing a sea goddess?”
“Yes, you were perfect and so much more than I deserve, after all the birthday party was for you not me, and turning 21 is a major milestone.” I typed with a smile as my shadow made its first appearance of day in the dawning light.

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