Confessions of a Mistress (Part III):

Delights in Defiance

by Gwen Masters

The pickup was older than I was. Years of sunlight on original paint had turned it to the color of mellow limes. The rust spots seemed almost as numerous as the miles it had traveled during its long lifetime. Over the years it had hauled hay and corn, gravel and shingles, the occasional hunting dog and the frequent guitar case. Four bald tires carried a trustworthy engine. I looked it over and had to smile to myself. They sure didn't make them like that anymore.

The most memorable passages of our lives come to us in moments of simplicity. For me, one of those moments was in that old truck. My feet swung like that of a child as I sat on the tailgate. The old and coarse metal felt good under my thighs. The breeze caressed my face like the hand of a lover. Too much sunlight had turned my body supple and easy with the kind of relaxation found only in the heat of the approaching summer. The assurance was alive in both my body and my spirit, telling me that all was right with the swiftly tilting world.

Very little in life can prepare us for those moments. They are the times when a child realizes with adult clarity that he is wiser than he was a year before. Or that time when a woman touches her freshly kissed lips while gazing into a mirror and knowing that flush on her face is that of something larger than what she can contain within. It is the time of realizing that nothing has to be made of the world. No rules have to be followed within the confines of our souls. It is a moment of reckoning with oneself, and that moment of sudden shift comes without quaking or fear. The silence of serenity is perhaps the loudest voice of all.

The sunlight fell on the skin made bronze by thirty-something Delta summers.

His stride was just long enough to be confident yet short enough to show a boyish hesitancy. His smile was genuine and unafraid. He wasn't searching for approval in my eyes for he knew he already had it. He was instead searching for the constant light of acceptance, something he had never before found, something he drank of freely from within me.

At the moment when he took another step, one of the billions of steps he would take before the final one, the sun saw it fitting to fall in just the right way. The darkness of his hair became lighter. The color of his eyes became darker. The fine lines drawn of joy and equal heartbreak were etched on handsome canvas. I saw what he would be in twenty years. In thirty. In forty.

And what should have been frightening realization was simply serene acceptance. I would take every day as it came. One day would blend into another, and if I were lucky, I would see those years come to pass. For the first time I let the future present itself. And I found him in it.

I had no expectations. I had no obligations to him. I had nothing to keep me in this place. My heart and soul were blessed and changed, yet they were free. And perhaps that was exactly what held me. Blessings and change without the need for reciprocating leaves only faith. And faith is always simple enough to never present questions. I had faith in that one more day.

It was more than enough to provide contentment.

His hands slid up my thighs and made me feel even warmer. His eyes held mine without the need for words. A leaf had caught itself in his hair. It felt cool and slick in my fingers, in sharp contrast to the softness and warmth of the strands that held it prisoner. The greenery twirled on one broken stem. We both watched it move in the light with the motion of my fingers.

"Do you delight in everything or just the most mundane?" He asked me.

I thought long and hard. "I delight in the hidden virtues of the mundane."

He dipped his head and looked up at me from under the canopy of his hair. He was teasing me. His expression was one of gentle indulgence. "I have yet to decide whether you are incredibly brilliant or simply chock full of bullshit."

I snickered. His laugh answered. My legs swung faster. My knees parted a little more. He took the advantage to move between them and press against me. The leaf fell from my fingers and drifted to the ground. We both watched it fall.

"Don't you think the most mundane things hide the most valuable? Think about it. Don't you remember your grandmother or your mom hanging clothes on the line outside?" His eyes met mine. "That was so simple. So mundane. There is nothing more mundane than doing laundry. But it meant the most delightful thing, because it meant security. It meant warmth and capable hands and sweet smells. It meant everything."

His hand smoothed my hair back from my forehead. Once. Again. And over again as he pondered something. He spoke in the careful tone of thought. "But what if the mundane becomes too much security? What if that security leaves you feeling empty of something vital? Where is the balance between delightful and defiant?"

I traced one strand of gray that had invaded his dark hair. My fingers slid over his shadowed jaw. The stubble there was always soft enough to surprise me. The years had been good to him. His eyes searched mine. I grinned at him. "Delightful defiance is a good start."

It made him laugh, like I knew it would. And it made him kiss me, like I hoped it would. It made the pain disappear from his eyes, and I was grateful. His hands were gentle on me as he pushed me back to the bed of that old pickup.

I watched the sunlight cast shadows across my body as he rose on his knees. His old shirt opened under my fingers, one slow button at a time. The heavy snap of his jeans came free with the smallest of sounds. His hands smoothed my t-shirt over my belly, then up, baring my pale skin inch by inch. We reveled in the revealing. The simple mundane act of removing clothing seemed to take on new life and meaning. I watched him memorize me. The shirt came over my shoulders and caught on my hands.

Then his delicious weight was pressing against me and his tongue swept into my mouth. I invited him in with my kiss in the same way my body longed to invite him inside. My hands found smooth skin and he moaned into my mouth. The sound filled me and made me shiver. My hands moved down to find incredible heat as I tasted his captured breath. The bed of the truck was cool against my back. Birds sang from somewhere in the trees. Suddenly the defiance rose inside me, a primal need to claim and take that which I wanted, and security be damned. I didn't care about her. And at this moment, neither did he.

The fire in his eyes reflected more clearly than any words exactly what he wanted. The truck moved slightly with our weight. The springs creaked under us. A few pebbles of gravel shifted. The sun warmed my back against the lingering coolness of the metal. My knees found purchase and we both watched my hands clench the ridge of the old rusty toolbox. His teeth settled on my shoulder and I said his name. It was all the permission he needed.

He slipped inside me with more gentleness than I wanted. Motion became grace. Then grace became something more as I pushed back against his solid weight, hungry for what I knew he was capable of giving. The truck bucked under us when I showed him what I needed. He answered with a vengeance that told me he was simply waiting for that defiance to take hold. His hand in my hair released the barriers within. Only the treetops could hear the passion as I let it go. He gave me the freedom to demand and I took it without hesitation, beyond caring about the world beyond this.

The old truck rocked on sturdy wheels. Hunger became viciousness and I opened my eyes to see a man and a woman, reflected in shiny glass. His gaze fastened on our image. I could not tear my eyes away. Suddenly the mundane had no place here between us. We were teenagers again, learning to respect the wide horizons before us. His lips pressed to my forehead as he drove deeper. "We've got all night," he whispered in a voice ripe with discovery.

The toolbox opened easily to my hands. The hinges creaked. His laugh resounded all through my body. The slamming close of the tailgate made us both giggle like children. "Got to be careful, don't want anybody to get hurt," he drawled.

Our laughter rose over the sycamore and birch to twine with the maple leaves. Somewhere in the distance the river rushed past. Life moved forward with little fanfare elsewhere. But here, life was celebrated with the flush of discovery and the innovation of lovers determined to push the limits of imagination. His age and my youth meshed into the perfect compliment of delight. The old truck bore witness to the savage and the sinful.

And much later the moonlight shone quietly while we made love under the trees. Soft grasses soothed our bodies. Soft voices soothed our souls. He slipped into me with a gentleness that was more than welcome. I lay under him on the soft bed nature had made for this night. My fingertips lazily sampled his skin. His hands cradled my face. His thumb trailed over my lips and I followed by instinct, kissing his calloused palm. His pulse beat under my tongue. The strength of his heartbeat was all the security I needed.

In the moonlight I could see his eyes. They were calm and quiet; the healing darkness after the hurricane has passed. We were simple and sure. No words were spoken for none were needed. His motion was as unbreakable and undeniable as the turning of the tides. When something is shared it no longer comes between those who share it. We were defiant together. It made justifying or declaring ourselves unnecessary.

The moon rose high in the sky. The old truck stood guard beside us. The years of history shone in the rust and mellowed paint, in the old tires and the cracked windshield. His moan was soft in my ear as his body pressed deep. I closed my eyes and the image of him walking toward me through the pouring sunlight filled my being. There was no history, and tomorrow would take care of itself. There was only this. And that was more than good enough.

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