Gardens & Gateways

“Save me,” she breathed hoarsely. Her heart rate accelerated and hands on my hips.

“Can you save me?” Her cheek pressed against mine, her supple lips pressed to my ear, her hot breath sending tingles down my rigid spine. Her hand was on my crotch as she knelt down in front of me.

“I need you baby, I need you.” She started undoing my belt.

Every fiber of me chanted lines about morality and how this was wrong. She had such a hold over me. Looking up at me with eyes burning of lust and desire. Gazing upon me with a need I hadn’t seen before that held my own gaze and captured my attention. Her soft moans pleased my senses and her touch was sensual. What was I doing? How had it come to this indiscretion? Read more…

I shut my eyes tight. Flashes of memories and responsibilities came to me in this moment. My belt was undone, my zipper next. I thought I was stronger than this. No matter how ambiguous this seemed, the deception was clear. In my mind I reeled, disturbed by my stillness. She pulled my pants away from my waist. Peering up at me from under long clumped lashes, and makeup a shade too dark, her lips parted, breathing heavy with anticipation.

I groaned and in rebellion, trying to rouse my sensibilities and alert my conscience. No response. It was suddenly apparent to me how numb or absent I’d become, of my own volition. The realization depressed me. She massaged the center of my boxers between my legs. Having the desired effect, she appeared pleased at the change happening before her. Why haven’t I left yet? Where am I to begin with? I was neither drunk nor stoned, yet dizzy with the struggle. I let my eyes pass over the surroundings until I came to a single frame.

“Oh fuck,” I coughed out.

She looked up at me with a wicked grin, teeth flashing and lips curled up to her eyes.

“Like that babe?” She asked, barely a question.

She kept stroking, now with a bit more friction, and I stared deadpan at that frame. Within its black metal walls, a scene was trapped. It was a summer scene, staged in an open area. A park. The lighting provided by the sun and the sky was a perfect blue. It was a pleasant, happy scene as well. I cringed, surveying the frame’s contents. The scenery aside, there were two intruders present in the frame.

My mind absorbed by this scene, I barely noticed her.

Down there, addressing me.

“Getting bored?” She barely asked again. Her lips curled into that tight devilish grin once more. Seeming not to care about my distance, she grabbed the waistband of my boxers. My gaze had still been firmly fixed on the two forgotten characters in the frame when I was pulled back into present reality by her attempts at removing my underwear.

“What are you doing?” Pointless, but I asked anyway.

“Pleasing you babe,” she said so innocently.

Shit, there was even a twinkle in her eyes.

I was instantly reminded as to how I got here. Maybe it wasn’t true, or maybe it was. Somewhere behind the poorly done makeup, evil grin, and dead eyes, was something else; something that catered to me, or a part of me that I had long since ignored. She gave me something I needed, something I forgot I needed until we found each other. It was the type of story you hear about but don’t believe, a fairy tale even. She broke her gaze and eased off my boxers. I wanted her. I must’ve. Why else would she be here? Why else would all this be occurring?

I shook off my own questions as she slowly stroked my bare skin, kissing my inner thighs and working her way towards the focal point. I leaned my head back and exhaled a breath loaded with anxiety and worry. Why was I so panicked, what was the reason for earlier I wondered? There couldn’t have been too strong of a pull if I was so easily snapped out of it at her gaze.

She started kissing my bare thighs more passionately and stroking my erection. I groaned in pleasure. She hummed a sound of contentment in response. My head swirled. I ran my hand through her soft dark hair, massaging her scalp as she massaged me. My gaze fluttered around the room, my heart pumping and blood racing. I could start to hear the gears in my mind turning. A door had opened and a thought stepped through. I searched the room quickly for the source and didn’t seek long. My eyes met again with the metal frame that held captive the beautiful, pleasant summer scenery. This time my eyes were pulled straight into the confines of the scene and highlighted the two characters. There was a spark in my head as a light went on and illuminated the two.

A man and a woman. They looked happy. They were holding each other and smiling in such a way that emanated love. They weren’t just holding each other but were holding a secret, a secret passion for each other unknown to the world. It was in their eyes and reflected on their faces. The frame not only held a pleasant summer scene, but held a truth; A truth that the frame set out to remind me of, in this time of indecency. Where was I?

An alarm went off. I panned the room. This wasn’t my home. This is my sanctuary. She put her lips around me. I groaned. She sucked. I felt as though I was losing control. The alarm kept blaring. Everywhere I looked I saw the image, that truth. I slammed shut my eyes firmly and everything stopped. I could hear a river, birds, and the rustling of a light breeze through branches and bushes. I could feel the cool breeze on my face. I opened my eyes.

I stood in the centre of a wooden bridge that overlooked the river I had heard. On one side was an open endless field, filled with possibilities and wonder. On the other was a garden with blossoming flowers, fruit trees and veggie plants. In the distance I saw a house with a beautiful design. It reminded me of a dream I thought I’d once had. I looked at both sides of the bridge. Resigning to the rail, I leaned over. Peering down at the rushing water directly below this wooden bridge. It looked like a long way down. From the rail’s edge I eyed the structure that connected the sides of the river. It appeared sturdy and well built. It looked healthy.

I stood for a minute or five, just looking off into the distance. It seemed as though the river stretched for ages. No end almost. It was beautiful out and warm too. My face was soaking up the rays. I closed my eyes to enjoy and one image flashed before me; the scene in the frame. Suddenly I snapped my eyes open and looked to my left. The field? Nope, to my right. The garden. Next to the garden and the house were a few trees and a beautiful field enclosed with the garden and the house, by trees around the edges, healthy looking and luscious. It was the pleasant, happy summer scene. In person.

My jaw dropped open and the reality sunk in. Where am I? I asked myself. I turned around to face the other edge of the bridge. There she was, with her back turned to me. I approached her.

“Hello,” I offered the woman across from me.

Straightening up, her blonde hair shone in the sunlight, her fair skin glowing. She was wearing an all white sundress. She turned towards me. Her eyes were magical and her smile was caring. All of my senses flared up as the sweet scent of a flower garden rose to my nostrils. Her perfume. I stopped as she approached and met me halfway. This was the woman. The woman from the frame with the pleasant scenery. She held the truth.

“Hi,” she responded sweetly and warm.

“Where are we?” I couldn’t look away from her, my eyes were locked and I felt something inside. It was familiar yet foreign.

“You don’t know?” She smiled; the answer was obvious to her yet secret from me.

“I’m not sure… Should I?” I hoped she’d share the story. I raised my eyebrows.

“I suppose you’ve forgotten.” Her voice was calm and soothing. She looked down and walked past me to the other rail and placed both hands flatly on the ledge. She moved with such grace I caught myself having stared at her the whole way.

“Well, how do I remember?” I tried another question, knowing in my heart she had no answers to give, but trusting hope.

‘That’s for you to figure out.” She dropped one hand from the ledge and leaned her right side on the rail, seemingly inviting me to join her. I approached and joined my left side against the wooden support.

“Then why are you here?” I wasn’t losing patience, just craving answers. I liked my surroundings, her included, however I longed for the truth I knew she held.

“Why are you here?”

She returned my question without answer. Typical, I thought. It didn’t surprise me yet I didn’t actually know what to say. She had brought up a very valid point. Why was I here? Wherever and whatever here is, why am I a part of it? The only link I could find in my thoughts was the frame. Its contents were here. In this world.

“My picture…” I half mumbled but she heard me and nodded.

“What about your picture?”

I’d hit close to the mark. My head was swimming a bit and I tried to focus.

“It was taken here… with you and someone else.”

I felt really close to the purpose of my presence here. I started to nod, eyes wide and mouth cocked.

“Almost there,” she revelled I was indeed close to the truth she held. I met her pure gaze and she smiled. She looked out along the river for a moment then returned her gaze to me. She was ready.

“Where are you really? Close your eyes and think.”

I was caught off guard. Where was I really? I didn’t fully understand. I was here, wasn’t I? I looked around, puzzled, working through her words. She saw my confusion and giggled briefly to herself.

“Don’t look so lost. Focus. Shut your eyes and really think. Where are you?” She reached her hand up and stroked my cheek as I shut my eyes tightly. I could hear her words of encouragement and see nothing. I heard the birds and the river, then I felt something. Was she touching me? I heard the smacking of lips. Nature no longer sang to me and I opened my eyes.

I was seated in my home, my sanctuary. I had a visitor. She was between my legs and I was between her lips. I was stunned and it all came back to the forefront of my mind. A torrent of images hit me and I found the frame. The beautiful summer scene. The two characters. The woman from the bridge, and the man. The man looked familiar and suddenly the truth they shared clicked. I slammed my eyes shut again and the hurricane in my head drowned out the sounds of smacking lips and my heartbeat. The sensations of touch faded and nature sang to me.

The warm sun greeted my face happily and I opened my eyes. The bridge. The woman. I felt woozy. I fell. Thankfully the rail was behind me, I didn’t fall into the river. My behind hit the bridge and there I sat, head back against the wooden rail. The woman made no motion to catch me but she knelt next to me, brushing the hair from my eyes.

“ Find your answers?” She already knew my response to her question, yet she asked anyway. In her calm soothing voice I found some resolution and nodded slowly, still avoiding eye contact. I still hadn’t worked through it all.

“I don’t fully understand. If I’m there then how am I here, with you?” I felt accomplished in asking the right question, she could see the concern in my eyes. She nodded, offered a sympathetic smile and parted her lips.

“Out of a necessity, I assume.”

I understood what she meant. It made perfect sense but I still wasn’t totally clear on my need to escape.

“Okay, but why here with you?”

I furrowed my brow in desire of an answer and she greeted my gaze with her own look of confusion.

“What do you mean?” Her voice was tinged with an unusual note of wonder. I’d asked a question she didn’t expect.

“I saw the picture. I have the picture. You here, with that man. I saw the truth you two shared in that frame. The love…”

I looked away, the thought alone depressing me slightly. I didn’t know why it affected me; maybe I desired to know the truth she knew. Jealousy never looked great on me and she saw that. The look of confusion on her face grew and she averted her eyes. Silent in awe.

We spent a few moments wrapped in that silence, the birds singing and the river purring with the wind. Her gaze turned back to me, she had this look of clarity. She had figured something out.

“You don’t recognize… him?”

Her emphasis was on ‘recognize’ and she seemed to pause and hesitate with the final word choice in her question. She stared at me, wondering where I’d take her query. I thought about the frame; its contents, the two people. I imagined the man. I knew he was familiar. I’d known him once before yet I couldn’t place when I’d last encountered him. Even the first encounter was lost to me. I strained on the image. Nothing new.

“I… don’t know.”

She looked disappointed and her eyes fell to the bridge. I gazed at her, longing to achieve a conclusion for this visit, the questions stacking, when she decided to reveal something to me.

“He’s here now,” she said plainly, hinted with a sympathetic note. My eyes perked up and I looked around. He was here now. Where was he? I stood. She stayed kneeling. Watching me from below. Where? I wondered, scanning the scenery when I saw the summer scene from the picture. I blinked and in that split second the frame flashed before me and I knew. I looked down at her. The woman. There was a tear in her eye as she stood to greet my startled expression. My jaw dropped open, eyes wide and the whole world lit up with the realization.

She was the woman.

I was the man.

That was our world on the other side of this bridge.

And here we were; in the middle. Where two worlds collided. Where I retreated. Where I had escaped, to try and make some sort of decision or clear my head. Get Closure. I still wasn’t sure but now I knew. Why I was here. I looked in her eyes and knew her. She looked back into mine and knew I’d awoken. Her tears still rested in the corners of her eyes, and on her cheeks, but she was smiling. My head was pounding and my heart was racing.

“You remember,” she whispered through sad but smiling lips. I smiled in pained sympathy and, in passing shock, nodded.

“Yes… I do.”

She looked pleased and hurt by this change and looked away for a moment before returning to my gaze.

“What now?” I had to ask, I still didn’t know. I hoped that she, as my partner in this realm and co-sharer of the truth in that frame, would have an answer, or at the very least a suggestion. She looked all around and motioned at the surroundings.

“Now… You choose.”

This line caught me and I looked around. “Choose what?” I didn’t understand. Did she mean something literal? Or was it a metaphorical choice? I looked at both ends of the bridge. The open field behind me. The garden just past her. I didn’t know what the options represented.

“What do you mean?” I took a risk and asked. She must have some idea. She wiped her damp cheeks and straightened up. She returned to her earlier grace and through caring eyes and a soothing voice she explained.

“Don’t you see? You’re trapped between these two worlds. The freedom of the open field, the possibilities, opportunities and chances behind you. The life and nurturing garden, the solid foundation and familiar truths behind me. This bridge you built to connect the two. T o try and achieve both. That isn’t how it works.”

I understood. She was right.

“Why would I do that… I saw the truth we share…”

I meant what I said and she knew that.

“I don’t know. You did, though.”

Again, she was right. What do I do. The open field looked so endless and anything was possible. The garden looked gorgeous and the house was sturdy. My head swam. I looked at her. I searched her face for a clue but knew that the only answers were inside myself.

“What if I choose the field…?” I asked to see what she would say.

“Then the truth becomes a lie, and I disappear. You lose me.”

My mind instantly pulled back to my living room, and the girl that wasn’t the woman before me. I was confused.

“Haven’t I already lost you?” I was sincere in the question. She sensed it and responded honestly.

“If that’s what you believe.”

She had a point. It didn’t overtly make sense yet I understood. She saw my struggle. She took a step to me, placed her soft warm hand on my cheek, stroked it and I nuzzled into the warmth.

“Take your time, make a decision you believe in.” She dropped her hand and stepped away from me. I turned to the wood rail and approached it. We were silent for a while. I looked at the garden. I imagined the frame; Its honest, truthful content. I looked at the field; The wild, open space. I imagined the sensations id experience. I thought of the girl. I exhaled all of these thoughts and memories. I turned, placing my back against the wooden rail and stared out over the river into the bright, shiny blue sky filled with wonder. I closed my eyes.

In an instant, tears greeted my cheeks and the only thought in my head was the answer. It was the only truth that mattered. I opened my eyes.

“I know…”

She looked at me. She looked hopeful but reserved, as if she was scared to show herself.

“And…?”

Her first show of impatience since my arrival and I approached her. I placed my hand on her newly dampened again cheek and looking deep into her eyes, I saw everything I could want or need. Looking back at me, she saw the same thing. The truth was so clear. I kissed her. She kissed me back and everything felt warm. Nature sang its song around us and our passion was overwhelming. A new sound separated us. It came from behind me. Hand in hand we both turned and looked. The bridge at the field end had started to crumble and splinter. I smiled, she smiled too.

We turned and ran to the garden. Upon arrival we turned to watch the bridge finally collapse into the river, which washed away its remains leaving no sign it had ever existed. The field faded and there we were.

I felt happy, she looked happy. It made me smile and I held her. We separated for a moment and at arms length with her head in my hands I grinned a loving smile.

“So what now?” I asked passionately. She smiled, feeling my hands on her face, then gripping me tight she pulled me in.

“Now, you wake up.”

I opened my eyes. It was dark and quiet; no girl, no nature. I was in bed. It took a moment to process when a new sound entered my world. It was light breathing. I looked beside me and saw a peacefully sleeping familiar face. It was her. I was home and everything was where it was supposed to be, so I got closer to her and by doing so she cracked her eyes open and sleepily nuzzled into me. She was warm. I inhaled her sweet scent and exhaled happily. She murmured joy and I smiled. I cant believe I ever dreamt of anything but her. I held her tight and brought my lips to her forehead, kissed, then to her ear.

“Darling?” I spoke softly, expecting no response.

“Hmm?” She mumbled dreamily and somehow it made me even happier. I smiled, then as gently as possible I caressed her soft hair and told her the truth.

“I love you, more than anything. You are my world, this is the only truth that matters.”

I meant every word, and she knew it and felt it. She squeezed me and pulled me tighter, kissing my neck. I closed my eyes again and for a brief moment saw her in that garden in her white sundress, smiling, with the house behind her. The frame and its contents together again. The pleasant, happy summer scene, the woman and her man. The man I forgot I was. I remember now, thanks to her.

She saved me, and I’ll never forget.

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