Dedicated to my sisters everywhere.
I lay awake in the night, waiting.
We had talked often of this night and our love. Yesterday had been the one year anniversary of our unfortunate encounter with this place when an angry and raging sea had vomited us up onto a lonely island. The wreckage that came with us and washed up in the following days convinced us that we were indeed alone. We were too weak to bury the corpses and watched as Nature went her constant, unerring way and picked the bones meticulously clean. I marveled at her apparent lack of concern for our fate, then realized that I had done the same with regards to her in the past.
At least we had each other. The thought of someone close by kept the panic of never seeing home again from rising too high and choking the sanity from our brains. We were indeed alone, but we were alone together.
The wind and the sun toughened us; browned our skin and bleached our hair, but we refused to become barbarians. We prided ourselves in the two huts we had constructed side by side amidst the palms with wreckage, palm fronds, and whatever else we could find. We laughed at their strange, ungainly appearance at times, but they were dry and represented home for us here. We surrounded ourselves with as many things as we could make and find that reminded us of our lives before and we spent hours daydreaming together about that far away place called Civilization.
I joked often about turning our little island into a resort and pointed out to Maria where the women could lay out on the beach with their oily bodies and smooth legs glistening in the tropical sun. She never showed much enthusiasm for my imaginary resort or women and chose rather to focus on her family, life, and us. I talked of Jean and the kids too, but the dream of the resort was less painful to think about.
We had chosen to live separately out of respect for our families in the event of a quick rescue. We were pleased with our self-discipline, and yet, as the days slipped by, the hope of rescue diminished to a dull throb and love began to grow and take its place. We did not discard the bands of gold on our fingers and struggled often with our dilemma. In this time of death and despair, something had chosen to blossom within each of us. We had accepted the emergence of our love as we had accepted our fate here and rose to meet the challenge.
A soft step on the beach behind me roused me from my musings and I turned to see Maria coming down from the huts. Her hair shimmered in the moonlight and fell in golden hue around her shoulders. I raised myself to one elbow as she knelt beside me and I read her desire in her eyes and in the smell of her hair as it brushed my face. Then she was in my arms. I kissed her eyes, the curve of her neck; my lips couriers of my love and desire for her.
Tenderly, I placed my hand beneath her skirt and began to caress her leg, moving my fingers slowly up her thigh. She shuddered beneath me, in desire I thought, and I entered her. We moved together, our bodies writhing, moaning in ecstasy. Warmth exploded from me and I swam in the sea of pleasure. I held her thus for awhile, basking in the glow of her thighs wrapped tight around me.
Maria trembled again and I opened my eyes to hers. She turned quickly away, but I had seen. I turned her face towards me, saw the tears glistening there, the speck of blood on her lip where she had bitten it in pain. Puzzled, I pulled her legs from around me and found them sticky and wet. Her legs were covered with cuts from the ankle to the thigh, ugly streaks of scarlet which dripped tiny drops of her blood. She read the question in my eyes.
“I used a piece of glass that I found on the beach,” she said. “I wanted my legs to be smooth for you.”
In a flash, I saw the resort in my mind’s eye, the rows upon rows of luscious flesh stretched out across the beach. Then the picture shattered before me in awful misery and the pieces fell down around me like Maria’s silent tears. Mine joined hers and as we wept, the moon disappeared behind dark clouds and it began to rain. We stayed huddled together on the beach and let the water wash over our bodies, two lovers lying broken on a deserted island in the sea.
Written 3/15/90 (Edited: 11/15/93)