© 2001, all rights retained.
his is my very first story of this genre. After a bit of doctoring and rewriting, I think it's ready to be shared. I should warn you, it's a bit verbose. I needed the therapy.
Shakuhachi and Cello in three parts
If you drive into Toulome Meadows, stop at the overlook about 15 or so miles before you get to the meadow floor. On the left you can see six peaks, three in the foreground with two more visible behind and between them and then one large peak perfectly centered further back. Straight ahead and to your right is a glacier-polished valley. Etherally beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it even now because the first time I saw that scene, was with Iris.
I first spoke to her in the parking lot of the San Francisco office where we worked. I had just parked after returning from a lunch time errand. She was striding gracefully through the lot towards me. All five feet of her. All 98 pounds of her. My heart thumped a warm surge through my belly. KKHI was playing a cello and shakuhachi piece. Flute tones floated around me while she, seemingly striding on the beat, was approaching rapidly, smiling shyly. There was something about her confidant walk that attracted me.
"Hey," I half shouted. "Come listen to this." I felt very daring, somehow, speaking so boldly to an almost stranger.
She stopped in front of the car next to mine, the eyes of her pixie face squinting slightly at me. Then she smiled, "Oh, hi. I recognize you now." She stood there, looking me in the eye, apparently listening to the music. "What is that?"
"Shakuhachi and cello."
She frowned and pursed her lips then shook her head. Just as I was about to say Japanese flute, she smiled and waved. "I'm almost late for a meeting."
I watched her little bubble butt as she strode towards the gate. I wanted her, now how do I get her? I thought about her the rest of the afternoon. I pictured her petit body, her oddly shaped face. I tried not to think about her sweet little butt.
I saw her in the hallway a few days later, striding along, gray skirt tight around her thighs, white blouse loosely covering her chest and waist. She ignored me and turned into the copy machine room. I grabbed a meaningless stack of papers and followed.
She was feeding paper one sheet at a time into the copier. I watched her deft, graceful fingers maneuvering the sheets.
"Hey, music lover. Did you make it to your meeting on time?"
She paused and looked over her shoulder at me, squinting slightly for a moment.
"Oh, hello. Yes, I did. Sorry I didn't have time to find out about that beautiful music."
I was frozen. I wasn't thinking or moving. I wasn't anything but eyes. A flush of pleasure surged through me as I watched her lips form words.
"My name's Iris Yamagawa."
I'm sure I heard her name because I had no trouble remembering it later. The delicate movement of her lips around those words had sent a tingle through me that kept my mind frozen.
She held out her hand. I took it in mine. Her hand was soft, very warm and smooth. So tiny. I heard a far away voice saying, "I'm Gavin O'Rourke. Glad to meet you."
"Me too." She swept up her papers and smiling over her shoulder, strode purposely from the room.
Back in my office I stared through the glass down the hallway imagining her figure striding away. Her office must be on this floor.
Getting hot for a co-worker is dumb, dumb, dumb. I should forget about trying to get something started. I should have followed my own advice. I am glad I didn't. Her last name I learned, means literaly mountain river in Japanese. The images that come floating into my mind; Climb a steep mountain, ride a rushing river.
A few weeks later, I worked until about seven. Grabbing my briefcase and coat, I headed for the elevators passing a cluster of terminals. There she was, staring intently at green letters on a black screen. Her tiny fingers flew over the keyboard. The clacking keys were loud in the large space around us. She must have sensed my presence for she turned and smiled.
"Hi," she said simply. A smile flickered across her face to be replaced by a steady little grin.
"Hi," I smiled back, feeling slightly flustered.
Inane questions flashed through my mind but I couldn't say a thing. I just took in her oddly shaped pixie face. I don't mean strange odd. She had a broad forehead and softly rounded, prominent cheek bones. Her mouth was small with full curved lips over a pointed chin. Not extraordinary but not ordinary.
I stared at her for a long moment. "Hungry?" I blurted, surprising myself.
She nodded, her expression not changing.
She nodded again. "Give me a moment."
"Sure." I draped my coat over the back of the chair next to her and watched her clack away. I admired her slim neck. I felt an urge to lean over and taste her skin. She stabbed a key and stood, turning toward me.
"I'll get my purse."
I nodded turning to face her. She looked up into my eyes, smiling questioningly.
"Wait for me here?"
"No." I grabbed my stuff and followed her down the hall, staring at her waist. So tiny. I wanted to try to circle her waist with my hands. My fingertips would probably touch.
Her cubicle was in the far corner of the large room. She retrieved her purse from a drawer and her jacket from its hook.
"Let's go." she said smiling up at me. She led the way to the elevators. Inside the car she punched the down button with a sigh and leaned against the side wall.
"I've never done this before." she said in a serious tone. Her face quavered. Just a little ripple of fear then she hid it.
"Me neither." I looked at her for a moment and nodded, making a little twisted mouÈ with my lips. "It's a little odd for me too."
I was about to reach out and cup her cheek in my palm when the elavator bottomed out and the doors slid back. Her eyes darted to the hallway but no one was there. She touched my arm softly for a long moment before brushing past me towards the revolving doors. She stepped inside and before she could start them round, I jumped in with her. She pushed against the door and I took wide, dancing steps behind her so as not to bump into her. I heard a soft laugh as we exited to the street. We headed for the parking lot, me staring down at her as we walked, she staring straight ahead.
"My car?" I asked.
"No, mine." She glanced up at me. "You don't mind, do you?"
"No, not at all." We walked to her car, our bodies a discreet distance apart. I couldn't take my eyes off her profile. How had she captivated me, I wondered. She moves her body with strength and grace. With a confidance that pleased me.
She opened the driver's door and threw her jacket and purse into the back then got in and leaned over to unlock the passenger door. I slid in and sat, putting my coat and briefcase into the back. She fumbled putting the key into the ignition switch. I stared at her profile, burning it into memory.
She sat still for a minute. She didn't look at me, seemed to be looking inside of herself. The street lights illuminated her blank expression.
"I carry a lot of baggage," she said softly, just her eyes turning in my direction, not really looking at me.
I felt goosebumps ripple down my neck. "It's okay. We'll figure it out."
She started the car and drove. That's all I remember until we got to China Town. We found a parking place just off Grant Avenue, fairly close to the restaurant zone, unbelievably. We walked silently into the restaurant and were seated at a small table for two against the back wall by a grumpy elderly Chinese waiter. I put my elbows on the table, my hands crossing, one over the other between us. She mimicked my position. I stared at her tiny slim fingers. I reached over and traced my forefinger down hers. I felt her eyes on my face. I rolled her hand palm up and put three fingertips on her wrist, stroking lightly, enjoying the feel of her silky skin.
We ordered. We talked. We ate. We watched each other, oblivious to everything else. As we left, I put my arm around her waist as if to guide her. My palm cupped her ribs, delighting in her warmth. She didn't move closer or away. She permitted my intimate touch, acknowledging it with a momentary smile in my direction.
We stopped alongside her car and she turned to me, looking up. She didn't speak for a moment.
"How tall are you?"
"Six feet. And you?"
She nodded as if I'd passed a test. "Five feet. Almost. Where do you live?"
"On Chestnut. A block from Galileo High." She looked away, her eyebrows furrowing.
"Shall I drive?"
She handed me her keys.
We didn't talk nor did we look at each other until I'd parked in my space under the building. She reached to open her door. "Wait," I said softly.
I got out, walked around and opened her door, holding out my hand to her. She took it and swung her feet out so that she was facing me, sitting. I offered my other hand, she took it and pulled herself to her feet, looking up at me, her head tilted far back. I felt a strong urge to stroke her lips softly with mine but she turned her head and leaned against me.
"This feels so natural, Iris, holding you. I wanted you the moment I saw you walking across the parking lot."
"Nice things happen in July," she murmured.
I spread my legs to bring my torso lower. I wrapped my arms around her and breathed in the soft scent of her hair.
.... There is more of this story ...