Even after so much time, I always thought I could feel that night over and over. If I closed my eyes and held very still, the scent of sea air and wood smoke would engage my senses and my mind would respond by igniting my body.
The caress of air across my naked flesh, the gentle lull of surf lapping sand, the warmth of bodies pressed upon one another. All of those memories would carry me back to a time when I was eighteen and alone in the world. Although it was a self-imposed solitude, it was unpleasant all the same.
I sat on the beach, having nowhere else to go. The ocean had drawn me, as it always did, and I hitched a ride from Alabama to a beach in south Texas, alone and hungry, but still better off, at least in my mind, because I was far away, and I was my own person.
Although my tummy rumbled, and I felt weak, I was blissfully happy sitting there. The loneliness had abated as I watched the tide come in. The stars above were brilliant and the beach had emptied of most people. When I looked around, I was filled with a sense of belonging to the scene around me. It was as if I was a lone rock centered in the expanse of white sand upon which I sat. This was my place, my rightful place.
Down a bit, and to my left, a crowd of kids about my age lingered, laughing, talking, flirting. Doing all the things that normal teenagers do. I did not envy them for they could not know the things that I knew. They would not know them for many years, if ever. I alone was master of my destiny, and I thought that even if I should die right there, sitting on that beach, then I would have died a better death than so many other people in the world.
Tears came to my eyes and I cried silently... tears of joy, tears of relief. Thank God I left when I did. Thank the fates that I had taken control of my life and walked away, not just a survivor, but a participator in my own life. None of those things made much sense to me, but I was overcome with emotion and a deep hunger to simply live.
As I sat there, tears drying on my face, a lovely woman passed by. She smiled at me and nodded her head. Eagerly, starving for kindness, I returned the nod and felt a great smile break across my face. She walked away, her swimsuit hugging her curves, her long blonde hair billowing out behind her.
I returned to my musings, wishing not for food, but for a pad of paper and a pencil so I could jot down my thoughts. I was completely lost in myself when the woman returned. She startled me with a soft tap on the shoulder and I jerked as I looked up at her. She wore that same sweet smile and held out her hand.
"Come on little one. Come join my husband and I. We're a lonely old couple and could use a bit of youth to make us feel good."
I returned her smile again, and took her hand. Together we walked a long way down the beach. I could see no destination at first, but eventually a plume of smoke began to take shape in the night. She was silent, but held my hand as we walked. I felt so safe with her. So warm and welcome.
The smoke soon became a low fire beside a tent, as it grew large on the horizon, and I made out the shape of a man sitting nearby. He rose as we approached and put his arm around his wife. In the light of the fire, I guessed the two of them to be in their forties, although they were both very attractive and youthful.
The man had black curly hair, long, casual, and roguish in style. His dark eyes glittered as he took my hand and offered me a place to sit. I was near tears again at their kindness and seated myself cross-legged in front of their fire.
"My name is Allie, and this is Peter. We travel a bit to see the world while we're still young enough to enjoy it. We came here in the seventies right after we'd met, and now we're back to revisit our youth." She smiled as she looked at Peter, the light of deep love glittering in her eyes.
"Are you hungry little one?" Peter asked, returning that loving look to his wife before he spoke to me. "We have cheese and crackers and I believe we still have a bit of smoked oysters left. You're welcome to anything we have."
I tugged at my leather bound braids. "Yes, thank you. I'm very hungry." I whispered softly.
Allie moved immediately to the tent and emerged a few minutes later with a Styrofoam plate heaping with pungent cheddar, small delicate wafers, oysters and a handful of fruit. She handed it to me reverently, as if she was afraid I would run away, that enigmatic smile still naturally in place on her lips.
I felt my stomach quiver in anticipation as the smell of the cheese struck me. Immediately I began to eat, forgetting about the two of them in my hunger. Some minutes later, the plate empty, I raised my head, expecting the both of them to be staring at me like the graceless fool that I felt, but I was pleased to see that Peter was reclining in a lounge chair, staring up at the stars, and Allie was draped across his lap. They had respectfully given me privacy as I gorged my empty belly on their humble, but appreciated offering.
"T-thank you," I whispered, "Thank you very much. I was hungry."
"Anytime sweetheart. Do you have a name, or do you prefer little one?" Allie asked kindly.
I grinned at once. "Sorry. My name is Rain."
Peter smiled and remarked what a nice name that was, but that he might slip and call me little one anyway because I was so tiny and delicate. He hoped I wouldn't mind if he did.
Laughing, I assured him I would not. Somehow, as we sat there, I began to tell them about myself, although they never once asked. I told them my age, and where I had come from and how I came to be all alone on a near deserted beach in south Texas. I found myself spilling over about the epiphanies I had experienced just before Allie found me. Sobbing with happiness, I exposed my soul to them and felt only warm acceptance in return.
"Rain, you're such a lovely young woman. I feel very close to you and appreciate the way you've opened up to us. I'm certain Peter feels the same way. All too often in this world, people tighten up and never allow those inner feelings to emerge. I can't help thinking that if more folks did, the world might become infected and this would be a much better place to live."
Allie's words calmed me and made me feel good about baring my soul. Peter nodded in agreement with his wife and I saw them exchange a meaningful look. She rose and rummaged about in a bag by her feet, finally removing a hairbrush and a spray bottle filled with what looked like water. Approaching me slowly, she put her hand on my shoulder and spoke close to my ear.
"I'm a hairdresser by trade, though I gave it up long ago. May I brush your hair Rain?"
"Yes." I replied, although I didn't know why I would agree to such a strange request. I only knew that I felt safe, warm, full and happy.
She sat down behind me and put both legs around my body. I felt her gentle fingers slowly loosen the small bands of leather that held my hair. I blinked my eyes and sighed as she worked on each tight braid, first working out the knots that had accumulated, then spreading each section away from the other until my hair hung free and loose.
"That's better," she whispered, "Now let's see if we can brush those tangles out."
I sat still and watched Peter close his eyes, a look of deep contentment on his handsome face. Allie's fingers were like magic. She held the brush loosely and worked on each section for a long time, humming softly under her breath. Floating on a cloud of happiness and well-being, I drifted away to another place, a place that I shared with Allie and Peter.
As I sat there, feeling so good, so sleepy and happy with Allie's long cool fingers entwined in my hair, I felt a hand on my knee. Opening my eyes, I saw Peter's face before me, his eyes staring intently, his hand softly stroking my skin.
"You're so beautiful Rain... so young and fresh. Your hair is the same color as mine and your eyes are so blue it almost hurts to look into them." He wore a smile, a smile that set me at ease right away.
Behind me, Allie murmured her agreement, set the brush down and began to spray the exposed parts of my body with water. Peter took a soft cloth and wiped away the water, taking with it the accumulation of dirt from the road. I felt their hands on me, but I was not alarmed. Instead, I was overwhelmed at their caring touches and their small murmurs of encouragement.
Dazed, and beginning to feel like I was in the middle of a fairy tale, I eventually felt hands tugging at my t-shirt. As if in a dream, I lifted my arms and felt the cool night air lick my body as Allie tugged the shirt away. Next, my embroidered shorts were unsnapped, Allie urged me to lie back against her, and Peter began to tug them over my hips and down the length of my legs.
When I lay naked before them, a blanket protecting my skin from the sand, I realized I was trembling with excitement. I should have been alarmed, but only good feelings washed over me.
Peter went on remarking how beautiful I was as Allie continued to spray me down in order to cleanse the dirt from my body. Peter's fingers and cloth moved to my breasts after she had sprayed them and I moaned low in my throat as he caressed my nipples, teasing them up and out to stand tall before his admiring eyes. I felt Allie's soft hands urging my thighs apart, her fingers spreading my lips, her mist of cool water landing on my rapidly heating skin, and always Peter with his cloth right behind her, washing me, making me clean, preparing me.
By the time they finished, I was a quivering mass of flesh. Their loving caresses had opened the door to extreme excitement and I only wanted them to continue... to love me... touch me... please me.
.... There is more of this story ...