and then there was one by pyritefortune

14 Nov

She is the one, the choice is made. I can’t see, now, why I would have looked at the others, even for a second. I am not a man who chooses lightly, but she is mine. Perhaps it is not even a choice, but predestined. Perhaps she has always been mine; each turn she made, each footstep in the dance, bringing the two of us closer. An infinitesimal gravity, inching her closer to me.

They flap and wheel about her; a flock of raucous gulls to replace the birds we left behind with the receding coast. Screeching her name, slopping their champagne with careless gestures. Parading themselves, cackling. Seals performing tricks for the benefit of the men at the rail of the upper deck who, in turn, joust for their attentions.

She sits, an island of stillness amongst the tumult, refusing to sully herself, saving herself for me. Head bowed to her book, against their crass coercion. I see a flash of hunger stab as she is forced to pause and flick the page, her returning fingers brush fleetingly across her thigh and rest, motionless, as her eyes dance on across the fresh leaf. From behind here I can’t see them clearly, but I picture them as blue; pale, a shade lighter than the ocean churning behind her. Startling against the dark, wispy hair, scudding around her face in the stiff breeze.

The page flicks once more, but I can’t see the cover. The hand shifts, briefly; Chekov. So she is educated; a student, catching up on a book list perhaps? But again I see the stab of hunger as the page is turned. So, a willing reader, then. Choosing to spend her holiday with Chekov rather than join the gaudy carnival of harlots. They shriek anew, daring her to follow them up the stairs and into the arms of the waiting men. One of  them hangs back and mutters something, hand poised on hip in angular rebuke. There is a certain likeness there, a slope to the cheekbone, half visible under the deflowering crust of paint. A sister, then; trailing a reluctant anchor and now, guilt safely assuaged, stalking off to rejoin the burlesque.

She inhales the newfound silence, stretching with a feline arch, and curls back into the chair. The deck is clear, the way is open, sooner than I had expected. Too soon perhaps? But I know the arch of her neck, the curve of her cheek, the soft well of shadow in the recess of her collarbone. I know her, she is mine. And the time is now.

As my shadow slides across her page she starts, her eyes flicking up from the book, alert, guarded. Her intuitive caution is tantalising, her eyes are icy blue, as they should be. She teases me, feigning demure, politely parrying invitation with excuse, and sliding silkily out of the chair. She retreats, carefully eschewing a backward glance, and yet the stiffened spine betrays her intoxicating panic.

I always keep a memento; a small token to remind me, once the infatuation fades, the heat, the urgency, thrill twined intimately with terror. I pause, and snatch up the abandoned book. I was right, Chekov, The Seagull. Slipping it into my jacket and retrieving the blade, I follow her quietly down the deserted companionway. Marsha is mine.


2 Responses to “and then there was one by pyritefortune”

  1. ingridfnl November 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Eerie but wonderful. I’m so glad you’ve joined!


  1. the couch by pyritefortune « the character project - December 12, 2010

    […] watched a much younger Marsha in And then there was one, and met Mark and his new sweetheart on the […]

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