dontravis.com blog post #356
Courtesy of Pixabay.com
Here’s the rest of Mark’s short story. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s one of his best. Let’s see how he ends the work. We take up right where we left off at the end of installment one.
THE SUN AND THE MOON
By Mark Wildyr
The notebook slipped from my fingers as the truth struck me. Jesus! “Sunshine!” Every morning he called me “Sunshine.” Helios, the sun! He’d used sun in the Greek and Roman and Egyptian personifications. Among all the other nationalities flowing in my veins, those were the ones we had talked about most! And that “green Phoeban fire”…bright green fire? I had green eyes. And I would singe his touch, shrivel his kiss, turn his passion to ash!
Oh, my Lord! Mike loved me! Loved me in a different way! I always missed the hell out of him when the Laniers went to their cabin on the lake each summer, but his yearning went beyond what I’d understood. Eros! He mentioned Eros. That was the god of Love. And Apollo, he wasn’t only the Sun god, he was handsome and desirable. Mike always told me how handsome I was, but he did it in such a way that I never suspected. “Gee, Mitch, you look like a million bucks today” was one of his favorites.
Thus is Venus fated to orbit second in his precious vortex.
Venus, the second planet from the sun. He knew that someday I’d get married, and he’d be second forever in my life. Venus? Wasn’t the she also the goddess of something? Love. He cast himself in the female role.
Did I really know Mike Lanier so little? Was he a total stranger to me? No! I knew him better than anyone in the world, his family included. We shared secrets they’d never know. How could I have been so dense?
I picked up the notebook and sat back in my chair. How would I have reacted? Right at the moment, I’d give him anything he wanted! Come back, Mike, and I’ll surrender it all. Give you everything! That was easy to say, even easy to mean. He was in the grave. Back then I’d probably have exploded and told him to grow up.
Moving in a trance, I collected my notes and his book and left. Halfway down the library steps, I almost dropped everything. I hadn’t considered the second part of the poem! Luna…the Moon. Had there really been a male Luna in his life? I plopped my butt down in the grass beneath a tree and opened to the poem again.
This sibling of Eros accepts my touch, my kiss, my timid caress.…
Yes, there was a Moon in his sky. And they got together. They... they made love.
Enriching my aura with a molten, milk-white nimbus.
I fought with my stomach, amazed such a fierce jealousy gripped me. Jealousy, not revulsion. “Oh, Mike! Why didn’t you let me know?”
The answer was crystal clear and unerringly on the mark. Because he knew me too well. He knew me better than I knew him. Sadly, I went back to the poem.
Selene’s time is tender but fleeting. Then again Hyperion’s son ascends…
Hyperion was a Titan and the father of Helios and Selene and Eros. “... obscuring my silver-footed king whose taste is oh so sweet, except… he is not my Roman Sol.”
Overcome by unidentifiable emotions, I closed my eyes and wept silent tears, uncaring who observed them. I wished I’d known he wanted something more; it would have been easy to accept his touch at that moment. Maybe that would have banked the fire.
After the school year ended, I worked up the nerve to ask Mike’s parents about the lakeside cabin where they usually spent the hot season. Still broken up over the loss of their son, they weren’t ready to return to the place where he’d spent his last decent summer, but they generously offered me the use of the place. After thinking it over for a week, I accepted. So instead of working as planned after my freshman year, I headed to a mountain lake or “tarn,” as my poetic friend would have termed it, on a sojourn for the truth.
Coming to the lake had been a mistake; Mike was everywhere in the cabin. There were pictures of us in his room. His twenty-two-rifle hung over the fireplace, his fishing rod and reel, his floppy hat, his very spirit inhabited the place. I masturbated that first night with a photo of a laughing, handsome Michael Lanier before me. What would it have been like with him in person? Then I tossed until I finally slept, waking once in the night to the eerie feeling of a presence in the room. Unafraid, I grinned lazily into the inky darkness and went back to sleep.
I used the Lanier’s canoe to visit everyone on the incredibly beautiful mountain lake. It was a smooth, blue-gray mirror about a mile wide, set in a small valley crammed with towering mixed conifers. I found a few handsome people, but none I could picture as the “silver-footed king.” Gradually, I wormed my way into the heartbeat of the small summer community to pursue my quest. I met a girl whose folks probably saved me from starvation since I’m not much of a cook. Julie was fun and knew all the summer folks. On the second Monday of my stay, I gnawed barbecue ribs while perched beside her in their lawn swing.
“You’ve met everyone.” She was doubtless exasperated I seemed more interested in others than in her. “Except Sam, of course.”
“Sam?” My ears pricked up.
“Sam Pritchard. He lives here year-round and takes care of the cabins over the winter. He always goes to visit his dad for a week or so after most of the summer folks arrive. He’s everybody’s handyman. Most of us can’t even turn on our own water pumps, much less repair them. So when everyone’s settled in, he takes off.”
“Doesn’t sound like my guy.” I relaxed muscles I hadn’t realized had gone taut.
“Your guy? You’re looking for someone in particular?”
“Just someone who was friends with Mike.”
“Mike was friends with everyone. He was a good guy Anyway, Sam just back to the lake.”
I smiled and changed the subject. It was easy; we just talked about Julie.
Meeting this errant caretaker proved no problem at all. The next morning, as I was trying to fry my third egg over easy without turning the yolk into something like dried plaster, a knock drew me to the front of the cabin. Who in the hell could that be?
I opened the door and stood face to face with Mike’s Artemis.
Mark ends his story here, leaving us to wonder if Mitch and Sam discovered anything between them. I’d say Mitch was primed, so who knows? A great story.
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