Dedicated with much love and affection to a special person.
The skein of geese swept low down the river, wildly honking as they talked amongst themselves. The leader was too busy piloting to chat. Eyeing the bridge ahead, he swept majestically upwards, taking the group up, over, and then swooping down the other side and out of sight. Distant splashing told the tale of their arrival further downstream. Shortly they would wade ashore and start grazing as they fed in the warmth of the late afternoon.
The sounds of the river generally were muted in the shimmering temperature of the end of the hot summer's day. The heat was oppressive and the towering clouds nearby spoke of a thunderstorm before long.
From the reeds close by where the boat was nosed in came the gentle cluck of a moorhen, still protectively watching her chicks, even though the second, late brood were now almost fully grown.
A gust of wind from the gathering storm rustled the reeds, the gentle noise breaking the quiet. The fisherman sitting in the stern glanced at the clouds, sighed inwardly, and started to gather his lines in. Finally, all done and tidied away, he pulled in the keep-net and released the meagre catch back to freedom.
The watching woman, looking at the dark clouds sweeping in, said, "I think we should just secure things and stay here to ride it out."
A quiet man, he nodded his agreement, and went forward to set out the hitherto unused anchor. Swinging it briefly, he threw it towards the shallows and waited as it sank; then, putting his weight against it to make sure it was gripping, he tied the end fast on the foredeck. He came back along the side deck of the dayboat, unfurling the canvas top to the cabin, springing the bungee cords into place along the sides so that the impending weather would be kept at bay. As he returned to the after part of the boat, a gust again stirred the reeds. This time the wind was heavily laden with the smell of rain.
A scant few seconds later the promise was fulfilled, as the first heavy drops splattered down in desultory fashion. He ducked quickly under cover as the storm broke with a raking flash of lightning and its accompanying growling roar of thunder.
The noise of the rain and intermittent thunder on the awning top made speech next to impossible. The man gazed at the curtain of water, visibility down to no more than a few yards. The woman glanced up occasionally; otherwise staying immersed in the book she was reading.
Eventually, as the dusky gloom of the storm closed in, she gave up the struggle. With no lights in the cabin, and now only the flashes of lightning to illuminate the page, the effort was too much. Bored, she studied the profile of the man opposite as he half-dozed in the gloom.
The face was rugged and lean, the neck powerful. His hair was flecked with grey, the beard grey, almost white. Had she been able to see them, the eyes were a deep ice blue. They gave him a piercing look, making his face seem stern, but kind, with laughter lines to soften the cragginess.
She leaned forward beside his head and stroked the side of his cheek with the back of one hand. "Penny for them?"
Without opening his eyes he laughed gently, softly, almost inaudibly in the noise of the drumming rain, and said, "Not a lot, really; the old days, I suppose. The madness of youth."
She giggled a little. "Do you remember, all that time ago, dancing in the storm, in the rain? It was like a pagan ritual, made me feel so alive."
Abruptly she stood up, half-stooping under the rain-drummed awning. Easily she slipped her light top off and threw it gently on the seat. She followed it quickly with the tracksuit bottom she had been wearing, skimming her knickers off at the same time. As she slipped them off, she eased her deck shoes off as well. In a slightly awkward, self-conscious movement, she brushed her hair back out of her eyes. Still stooped and with her slight breasts suddenly pendulous, full and swaying to her movement, she eased gently past him and stood in the open awning door. The skin of her front already glistened from the spray of the rain and her own perspiration in the humidity of the storm.
She stepped outside and straightened up in the downpour that was still going on, even though the eye of the thunderstorm seemed to have moved off upstream. Holding her head up and back, she opened her mouth wide to trap some of the water now coursing down her naked body. Her arms momentarily outspread, she pirouetted and dipped her dance to the rain gods. Beads of water ran down her bobbing breasts in rivulets, down to meet at the junction of her naked thighs and then on down into the wiry fur of her sex.
She keened an ancient chant now, still dancing but directing her movements towards the man, who smiled gently to the woman. It was a wistful smile of times gone by. Then, caught up in the magic of the movement, he too disrobed and slowly, almost shyly, joined his lady in that pagan dance of love. The pair, oblivious to the rain coursing down, danced, then clinched, as he kissed her neck and face, trying to kiss away the water.