This story appears here by kind permission of Ruthie’s Club, where it first appeared as part of the Housewife, 1946 series.
Marianne dreaded telegrams. Everyone did. The Great War taught her parents’ generation to hate them, and they taught her generation. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of telegrams blighted lives and loves and homes and dreams with the words,
THE WAR OFFICE REGRETS TO ADVISE OF THE DEATH IN ACTION OF…
For a whole generation, the arrival of a telegram was a bombshell.
The new war cruelly reinforced the prejudice for that generation and for their children. Now The Bomb was come, and the world was a more dangerous place than ever before. Why would anyone spend telegram money on good news? What decent person would needlessly cause the recipient such distress?
Sympathetic and experienced in these matters, the post-woman dallied after handing over the mail. She knew Marianne might need someone with her when she opened it. Unthinking, though, in her rising agitation, Marianne shooed her away. When it was too late, she regretted the woman’s departure.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” she called after her, but it was too late. Marianne wanted to run after her, to bring her back. She dithered until it didn’t matter any more.
She then had to dither about something else, to hold the dread moment at bay. She fussed about the immaculate kitchen, trying to find something to do, something to clean, something to tidy up. Something to make her too busy to attend to idleness like opening the post to discover if the respectably married woman was a respectable war widow.
“I’ll just have a nice cup of tea,” she said defiantly, and put on the kettle. While it boiled, she tried not to think about, tried not to look at, the thin, orange envelope with the tracing-paper window. Maybe if she ignored it, it wouldn’t be there. Maybe she should call her mother. No, she’d take too long to come. Warm the pot. Two spoons of tea. Let it draw. Is it ready yet? Why won’t this damned tea draw? Sobbing, she snatched at the cheap, frail orange envelope. It wasn’t sealed, and the dirty white manila telegram fluttered out.
POSTING CANCELLED STOP RETURNING CARNARVON CASTLE DEMOB KAAPSTAD LOVE JANNIE”
The Bomb had stopped the war. The Bomb meant Jannie wasn’t, after all, going to the hellhole of Burma. The Bomb, paradoxically, had made the world a safer place. How could that be?
Jannie had survived fighting Rommel in the Sahara Desert. Jannie had survived the invasion of Italy. He went ashore at Salerno and fought up the spine of Italy. He had helped build the Springbok Bridge, and he had seen Rome liberated. And that was enough. Jannie wouldn’t have to survive the jungle-green Burmese hell against the stubborn, suicidal, hated Japs.
He was coming home, to demobilize. The war was over. Life could begin again. Relaxing military censorship had allowed Jannie to send a good-news telegram—and he had saved a shilling by saying Kaapstad instead of Cape Town.
“He’ll be home for Christmas,” she thought, “God bless The Bomb.” And then she cried, and then she called her mother.
He wasn’t home for Christmas, or even—just—the New Year, but at least she didn’t have to lie awake at night, begging God to keep the torpedoes from his ship. The cursed U-boats had gone, at last. A couple of them had even startled the burgers by popping up inside Cape Town harbor to surrender.
With military censorship gone, Marianne knew Jannie’s ship, she knew the arrival date—2nd January—and she could wire the Carnarvon Castle
WILL BE WAITING DOCKSIDE LOVE MARIANNE
She wanted to say so much more, but a child of the Great Depression knew to save shillings wherever possible.
2nd January—die Tweede Nuwejaar, the Second New Year’s Day, the great Cape holiday—was the day that Jannie would come home to her. Starting long before dawn for her journey down to the coast, she dressed with care in the dress he had most liked her to wear-the creamy yellow one with the big, bold poppy pattern. It was now washed-out and worn, but no worse than the rest of her clothes—or anyone else’s—at war’s end.
Duke’s son—cook’s son—son of a hundred kings—
chanted Marianne as she drove down to the coast. When she finally got to Cape Town, she parked the 1935 Chevrolet on Adderley Street outside the railway station. She took her bag into the ladies’ public lavatory and carefully donned her jealously hoarded last pair of nylons. There had been no point risking snagging them on the long drive down to the coast. Using a matchstick to gouge out the last scrapings of her last lipstick, she carefully applied the scarlet and lipped a tissue to dab up the excess. She combed and re-pinned her hair into slick, raven sweepings and put on her hat and gloves.
She looked at herself dubiously in the mirror. She saw a respectably dressed young matron. But would Jannie still think her pretty after all his years overseas? He’d fought from Tobruk to the fall of Rome and just now spent weeks in London, the sophisticated cosmopolitan capital of the British Empire, awaiting the troopship to Burma. Would he still want the provincial little plaasvrou he’d married so hurriedly before shipping off to Suez, Cairo, and the Desert War?
An older woman next to her by the mirror asked, in thick, rasping Afrikaans, “You’re coming to meet your man off the big ship today?”
“Ja, tannie,” she acknowledged with the proper courtesy due to an elder.
“Jy is baaie mooi. You’re as pretty as a flower in the veldt, my dear,” said the older woman. “He’s a lucky man. He won’t be able to keep his hands off you.” She cackled lewdly and nudged Marianne.
“I hope so. He’s seen a lot of the outside world since he last saw this plaas meisie.”
“Ag, foie tog! He’s here, isn’t he? Let me tell you, my girl, the more a man sees of the world, the more he knows that the best is at home.”
Marianne faltered, and her head dropped.
“Nie! None of that!” snapped the tannie. “Don’t go spoiling your make-up. Leave that to him. Come along now.”
It was an elder, making a suggestion. It had the force of command. It was only good manners to obey. The tannie gripped Marianne’s arm and marched her firmly into the future.
Tweede Nuwejaar meant the Coon Carnival, and the ship’s arrival meant it was happening down at the dock. The brilliantly dressed troupes from Muizenberg, from Green Point, from Rondebosch, from everywhere, were competing in dancing and singing all the traditional Cape liedjies. As the Carnarvon Castle steamed across Table Bay past Robben Island, the various troupes ceased competing. Spontaneously they all sang Daar kom die Alibama, the song that remembers the day the burgers of Cape Town watched the Confederate raider Alabama capture the US ship, Sea Bride, in Table Bay.
“It’s almost like two different songs,” reflected Marianne. The liedjie was more about celebrating carnal lust than the Confederate Navy. Now why is that? she wondered idly and pat, in her mind’s ear, came her father’s dirty laugh and his voice saying, “Because, my girlie, most of life is about celebrating carnal lust.”
“Ag, nooit,” her mother would scold in reply. Marianne stood thinking guilty thoughts about her own carnal lusts these past years, alone in the bed where Jannie also belonged. She also tried not to think of what Jannie had been doing thousands of miles away in Port Said and Cairo and Italy and England.
Trying hard to brush the shameful and troublesome thoughts away, she craned her neck, trying to pick Jannie out from the thousands of waving young South African soldiers. They were crammed onto every possible perch on the huge liner. The hooting tugs nudged the liner up to the quayside. She almost saw him a hundred times, and waved anyway, like everyone else.
The demob process was slow, and the crowd filled the waiting time singing liedjies with the minstrels and dancing langarm, two-stepping sedately in the sweltering midsummer heat of the Cape New Year. The elderly fathers and the sons too young to serve were heavily outnumbered, and perhaps for the last time, many ladies danced with each other in the wartime fashion.
For leaving his family and risking his life abroad, each demobilizing man received a suit of civilian clothes and a suitcase, courtesy of a grateful Empire. A huge dockside warehouse had been turned into an enormous gents’ outfitters. The men trickled out, some looking awkward in their new civvies, and some defiantly still in uniform. As each appeared from the dark shed door, squinting into the sunlight there would be a scream of delight from a mother, a wife, a fiancée, a sister… A torrent of family members would fight their way to the front rank for hugging and kissing and crying and gruff handshakes and shoulder slapping. Eventually, the group would move off to a celebratory lunch, the journey home, civilian life, the future.
After two hours, many families had long left. Marianne was sweltering and grateful for her wide, shady hat. Her legs sweated clammily in her nylons. She was beginning to wonder how to check if Jannie was on the boat at all, when a familiar figure appeared framed in the dark shed door. He was still dressed as a soldier, with khakis and boots and webbing belt, but he wasn’t a soldier any more. They had taken away his rifle and they couldn’t discipline him for having his beret rolled up and stuffed into a khaki shoulder strap instead of on his head as per regulations.
He seemed taller than the Jannie she remembered. The boy-next-door who married her on his way to Tobruk had filled out strongly to full-grown manhood. He was carrying more muscle and his carriage was more confident, but there was no mistaking the tilt of his hips, the angle between his jaw and neck, as he stood, blinking, waiting for his eyes to become accustomed to the harsh, white sunlight.
He scanned the crowd, eagerly, smiling hopefully and not seeing that his wife had stepped two steps beyond the front rank, waiting for him. Waiting, hands clasped before her over her handbag, ankles together, in her full, three-quarter-length poppy dress with the bodice. Her impeccably nyloned toes peeked through her strappy Sunday-go-to-meeting high-heels, which had been the height of pre-war fashion. She hoped her seams were still straight.
“Marianne!” He dropped his kitbag and his stupid new cardboard thank-you suitcase and ran to gather her up. She hugged him fiercely, thinking, He’s much stronger than he was. He surprised her by pulling her hat off roughly, dragging it back so he could kiss her scarlet mouth. The kiss was urgent, demanding, rough. He never used to kiss like that, she thought.
He clasped her powerfully to him, crushing her breasts, and she hugged him back, thinking His chest is bigger, even. To her embarrassment, he pushed hard at the small of her back and pressed his crotch into her belly. She felt the iron bar of his erection pressed against her and blushed for him doing it in public. She felt shame for his crudity and shame for the answering flickering tongue of flame it lit in her belly. Her man was back and she wanted to get out of the public eye, to escape the embarrassment of his behavior, to have him urgently to herself where there was no embarrassment.
“Oh, Jannie,” she said, when at last she could speak, “Oh, Jannie.”
Too long separated, they did not know now what to say to each other. They stood hand in hand, watching the prancing, dancing Fishhoek minstrels pass by, singing Sarie Marais.
“The Yanks think that’s their song,” he said. “Only they play it slower. They call it Ellie Rhee.”
He collected his kit bag and suitcase and they walked across the car park to the old Chevy, his heavy Army boots crunching loudly against the tarmac. At the car, she automatically handed him the keys and climbed into the passenger seat.
“Shit,” he said, coaching it to chugging life, “this car needs a tune.”
“It drinks petrol. I had to bake melktert for Hannes to get enough petrol to come here today.”
“For melktert that skelm could have tuned the car and saved the bloody petrol.”
He never used to talk like that.
He put a big, sunburned hand on her thigh. She jumped a little, so unaccustomed had she come to being touched. He was looking at her. She had forgotten his eyes. How could she have forgotten his green, green eyes, with the whites so white, showing all the way round the iris?
He never used to look at me like that. Yes, he did. No, he didn’t. Not like that.
“So, mevrou, are we in a hotel somewhere?”
She laughed. “We are not. There is not one hotel room to be had in Cape Town. The whole of South Africa, it seems, came to meet your ship.”
She hesitated, uncertain now, in their strangeness, of herself.
“I have a picnic hamper in the boot,” she said, “I thought we might go to that farm in Franschhoek. You know, where…”
He knew. Where they had said good-bye on the way to taking him to the troop-ship to Suez. She was trying to play the tape backwards. He knew, guided the car out of the car park, and pointed its nose towards the distant, blue Hottentots-Holland Mountains. As the ill-tuned car chugged into the scenery, the newlyweds of many years’ standing began the task of getting to know each other again. They started by making conversation, by chatting politely like strangers at a dance.
He concentrated on his driving until they were clear of the city. When they hit the long, straight road that led past the distant Helderberg to the pass, his big warm hand appeared again on her thigh, and this time, she did not jump. She liked the feel of his hand, and moved closer to him on the seat so she could reach to put her hand on his thigh, too. Through the thick, rough khaki, she felt the muscles of his leg move as he changed gears.
“That’s a nice feeling,” she said.
“Ek, ook, skat,” he replied. Me, too.
She pressed a little on his leg, and rubbed her hand up and down. I am stroking my husband’s leg like I stroke a cat. How odd. How silly. Maybe I can make him purr? Lost in thought, she was a little startled to hear him gasp. She looked up. He was looking at her speculatively.
She never did that before.
“Trying to interfere with the driver’s concentration?” he grinned.
She noticed a tenting in his trousers. Oops.
“Shall I pull into a lay-by?”
She blushed. “You will do no such thing. Keep your eyes on the road.”
But she moved again a little closer to him, so she could put her arm around his shoulders. That meant that the other hand appeared on his thigh. He took his eyes off the road and turned to kiss her. The blare of an oncoming hooter got his attention back.
“This journey is too long,” he complained good-naturedly. “We should have tried Rondebosch Common.”
She snorted at his preposterous suggestion.
“This will be better,” she said. “You just wait.”
“I can’t wait. What am I waiting for?”
“All good things come to those who wait.”
His steered with one hand, put his hand back on her thigh, and imitated her cat-stroking movements. She played with his hair. It was too long. If he wasn’t coming up for demob, the army would surely have given him a short-back-and-sides. He slipped his hand down to her knee, down her calf, and hooked a finger round the hem of her dress. He glanced sidelong at her, checking if she would object. She contented herself with staring boldly at him with a slight mischievous smile, and he was encouraged gently to draw back the hem of her skirt.
So slowly, slowly he came up,
sang Marianne teasingly.
“Ja, for sure he wanted to naai her,” said Jannie coarsely.
“Ag, vuil!” she said, and flounced back across the seat away from him. But she wasn’t really cross, and by the time the passed the Helderberg, she was back next to him and the hem of her dress was halfway up her thighs and retreating steadily. As the badly tuned Chevvie struggled into the foothills of Sir Lowry’s Pass, his fingers finally encountered her knickers.
The chugging car wavered on the increasing gradient.
“Change gears for me,” he said, urgently, reluctant to use his hand for anything else. Giggling, she grasped the gear lever and changed down to third while he depressed the clutch.
“Oh, my, that’s nice,” she said. A little while later, they had to change down to second as they neared the top of the pass and entered the winelands of Franschhoek—“the French place”— where the Huguenots settled.
“Change down again,” he said, “My hand’s got stuff on it.”
“Ag, vuil!” she said again, but she changed down and didn’t flounce this time.
Jannie had been away for so long, but still he noticed himself automatically slowing the car to a crawl as they turned from the strip road in through the wide plaas gateway, blinding white in the savage summer sun. It was good manners to drive very, very slowly through vineyards, to keep dust off the grapes.
She watched him, with endearing schoolboy furtiveness, wipe his hand on his backside as he went up the garden path to the old Cape Dutch plaashuis. He also took his beret from under his shoulder strap and put it on his head so that he could bare his head when the motherly, aproned plaasvrou answered her front door. Marianne hastily put her hat on tried to compose herself so she could nod politely, as one respectable married woman to another, when Jannie gestured back at the car as part of explaining what he wanted.
When the door opened, it revealed the tannie who had comforted the doubting Marianne in the ladies’ lavatory at Cape Town station that morning. Seeing Jannie’s uniform, she realized immediately that he was fresh off the Carnarvon Castle. The big, round motherly woman beamed, clasped the embarrassed Jannie in a bear hug, and gave him a smacking kiss. She called back into the cool darkness of the house and her husband appeared to shake Jannie’s hand. The tannie bustled off into the gloom and Marianne could see the oom nodding vigorously in a friendly manner to Jannie. Clearly there was absolutely no problem with returning soldiers and their wives swimming in, and picnicking by, his rock pool.
Only when Jannie was coming back down the path did the tannie recognize Marianne sitting in the car. Her eyes took on an appraising look. Behind Jannie’s back, she threw Marianne a look of something firmer than encouragement and made a little gesture that the men used to set the sheep dogs onto the flock. It was an elder, making a suggestion. It had the force of command. It was only good manners to obey. Marianne smiled and nodded obediently. Jannie didn’t see.
The protesting Chevy struggled the mile or two down the dirt road. Marianne had to get out twice to open and diligently close gates. They carried the picnic hamper and the blanket down the steep, winding path to the pool’s edge. They stood on a huge boulder on the edge, looking down, many yards deep, into the clear, shaded water. Marianne remembered from their last visit that the water would be wrenchingly, bitterly cold despite the baking sun.
They stood with their arms about each other on the great boulder. Marianne was what she called “all hot and bothered” from Jannie’s ministrations of the drive up the pass and waited impatiently for his ardent overtures to continue. He took her in a gentle hug, kissed her deeply and stood looking down at her with his green, green eyes. That was nice, but it wasn’t enough. Hinting, she hugged his buttocks and pressed her groin into his, feeling the urgency of his need, but he didn’t respond.
Seeing her puzzlement, he said, “We can’t. Not yet. The plaasvrou is sending us a basket with the kleurling.”
“Ag, kak!” she said, frustrated and irritated into unladylike crudity by the plaasvrou’s well-meaning hospitality.
She never used to talk like that, he thought.
“It’s miles. She’ll take forever to get here.”
He shrugged. Manners were manners, especially manners to a hostess and an elder. Disconcerted by Marianne’s change in mood, he took the blanket down the bank to a place where a bather could scramble out of the pool. He spread it over the reeds, and sat down on it to remove his boots and socks. He lay back on the blanket and rolled around on it, crushing the reeds beneath into a flat mattress.
“Eina!” he cried as a sharp fragment pierced the blanket. He rubbed his crotch ruefully and looked up at her through his long eyelashes. She stood on the boulder and looked down on him, laughing.
“Careful of that thing while you wait,” she said.
He took off his shirt, lay back, and held his arms out to her.
“Come down here and help me wait,” he said, and sang,
Nooi, nooi, die rietkooi, nooi,
She kicked off her shoes and threw them for him to catch. With infinite care, she removed her precious last pair of nylons.
“That’s a good start,” he called approvingly.
Affecting disdain for his crudity, she carefully rolled her nylons and putting them safe in her handbag. She slid down the big boulder, picked her way carefully through the reeds to the blanket. Her slim, bare legs straddled his khaki-clad ones. She kneeled down over him, her skirt ballooning, and lay into his embrace, teasingly wriggling around to grind her belly into his straining erection. His hands slipped under her skirt and she felt him tugging at her knickers.
“Jannie! Nie, man! Die kleurling kom!”
“The kleurling will take ages, more is the pity. And when she gets here, you will be sitting quietly in your nice skirt. She won’t know you have lost your knickers in the bush.”
He wrestled her to the ground, using tickling as a weapon, and, as she screamed with laughter, forcibly removed her knickers and threw them into the rock pool. A poor swimmer, she gasped in horror.
“I can’t get those back…”
“Well, vroutjie,” he said, “you’d just better be nice to me, then, if you want me to get them for you.”
There was a scuffling up the bank and the kleurling appeared, panting, with a basket.
“Jislaaik, you were quick,” said Jannie to her.
“Ja, baas. The tannie said to run fast-fast. And to be careful with the basket. It’s got the good glasses in it.”
“All right. Baaie dankie. Here’s a bonsela for you for running so fast.”
He gave her half-a-crown.
“Baaie dankie, baas. Baas, must I come back?”
“No, we’ll come and say ‘thank you’ when we leave.”
The kleurling scampered off.
“Now I have you to myself,” he said, and lunged for her.
“Wait!” she said. “Be careful! Just look at these glasses!”
The basket had a bottle of the farm’s own wine, chilled and beaded, a huge bunch of grapes, a bowl of litchis and two exquisite Czech crystal wine glasses.
“Lewe Here,” she said. “She really wants us to enjoy ourselves.”
“Well, let’s do that,” he said. “Wine later. Afterwards.”
He stood up, unclasped his webbing belt, unbuttoned his khaki drill trousers, and kicked them away with his bare feet. His ridiculous army issue underpants followed them into the bush. Naked at last, he took her in his arms. She felt his hands fumbling at her dress. He undid the fiddly little hook-and-eye at the top of the zipper and drew the zipper tab swiftly down her back.
He was never able to do that from in front before, she thought.
And, without fumbling, he undid the three clips of her bra.
And he certainly didn’t used to be able to do that so slick.
And he drew her dress down, collecting her bra smoothly on the way. She stepped out of the crumpled heap. He stooped to pick it up and threw it onto a bush where it wouldn’t crumple.
And he’d never even think of that.
He bent gently to her breasts and kissed them softly. Oh, my. His gentle kisses traveled up her chest, her neck, her chin, until he was kissing her softly, insistently, on her lips as he held her arms in his powerful grasp. O, aarde… She could feel him hardening, his thickening erection thrusting between them, nuzzling between her legs. She wanted him. O, lewe Here, how she wanted him.
And then she gasped at the suddenness with which he threw her briskly backwards into the bitterly cold rock pool. It was cold, so cold. When she surfaced, panicking, she couldn’t even take a breath, it was so cold, so very cold. Knowing she was a poor swimmer, he jumped in next to her and she grasped him round the neck with her full strength. She wrapped her legs around his waist, and locked her ankles. He was dragged under by her and struggled to kick back up to the surface for a gasping breath.
“Ah,” he said, amused, “now you hug me?”
She expected him to penetrate her at last but such bitter cold could defeat the most ardent erection.
“So you don’t want me after all?” she teased.
He swam awkwardly over to the pool edge by the blanket as she clung to him. She wouldn’t slacken her grip and he was forced somehow to crawl out of the water carrying her, clinging under his belly like a baby monkey under its mother’s chest. He dragged her onto the blanket and lay covering her as they shivered in the blazing sun. Her grasp never slackened; she pulled him to her as tightly as she had strength. He breasts were crushed to his chest, her pubis ground into his.
As they kissed, he felt the warming sun beating down on his back and on the backs of his legs and he felt his erection burgeoning afresh. She felt it, too. It could not be otherwise. It grew between her legs, forced reluctantly down into the blanket. There was nowhere else for it to go. He yearned to draw back and thrust forward into her. He tried to do it, but the tightness of her gripping legs around his waist defeated him.
He saw the mischief in her eyes.
“Ah,” she said, “now you don’t want me to hug you?”
He groaned theatrically and then, as she laughed, broke her grip with a strength she did not anticipate. She found herself flipped over. One strong arm, like an iron bar, appeared under her belly, propping her up in a kneeling position. Was he going to take her like some beast in the field?
He yanked her, hard, first to one side, and then the other. Her knees splayed out on the blanket, seeking for balance, and, in a flash, she felt his belly on her buttocks, his weight pressing down on her, keeping her knees spread open. She couldn’t lift him. She heard his low, rumbling chuckle and felt him pressing into her.
He never knew that move before, that’s for sure.
The eagerness to penetrate that she knew was also gone. Gently probing, retreating, pressing, withdrawing, he teased and tormented her into becoming more “hot and bothered” than she ever had been before. His one arm remained rigid under her belly. With the other hand, he found her tikkelaar and rubbed it, gently but firmly, with a calloused fingertip.
“O, aarde. Jannie, that’s so nice.”
“Yes, I know,” he said, and artfully started using his fingernail. It was heaven. She felt herself dripping, and begged.
“Jannie, please. I can’t wait any more. Please…”
And he again pressed against her, but did not retreat, and slid a little way in.
“More. Please, Jannie. More.”
He gave her more, and more, and more. He sank slowly and deliberately into her while his fingernail kept remorselessly working at her tikkelaar. She squirmed and wriggled but had nowhere to wriggle to. She felt the feeling, the feeling she had yearned for all those years alone in Jannie’s bed, growing in her, and he hadn’t even properly started. When, at last, he was all the way in, he stayed in, gripping her hard and holding her still.
His finger changed to doing a sort of brushing tap on her tikkelaar, the same movement, over and over, unvarying, exactly the same, like a metronome. The whole of her universe collapsed slowly into her groin as she felt the breaking of the wave come slowly closer. The muscles on the inside of her thighs trembled and she stopped speaking coherent words and just gasped in time with his tapping.
As the wave, exquisitely slowly, began to break, he stopped. She gave a howl of deprivation and desperately ground herself backwards at him, trying to find enough friction to bring her wave crashing down onto the beach. He let her go and rested his hands on her waist, to help him balance against her onslaught. He pressed slightly forward to meet each of her desperate backward thrusts and held her gently while she sobbed and gasped until, at length, the wave crashed. She buried her head against the blanket, in her forearms, gasping.
But he was still stiff, granite hard, buried as deep in her as her could go. And now, she realized, it was his turn. He rolled her over on the blanket, lifting one leg high over his shoulder so he could rotate her without, for one second, retreating the smallest distance from the depth he was plunged into her. She ended up under him, with one leg crooked round his legs and with him gripping the calf of the other, pressing it back against her torso. She lay with her hands by her side, letting him do whatever he wanted with her.
And then, while she was still feeling the last tremblings of the wave-smash, he pulled slowly back until he was nearly out of her, and then pressed slowly forward again. Slowly forward, slowly back. The last butterfly flutterings in her belly were not allowed to die away but were kept stoked as he moved slowly backwards and forwards within her. She became aware that she wasn’t taking breaths, and deliberately breathed out and breathed in.
He slowly increased the tempo while she squinted down her belly and watched him pistoning in and out of her. His control slowly wore away and he began breathing harder as he pushed quicker and more roughly in her and she became aware of the approach of the next wave. Higher and higher it built, harder and harder he thrust, grunting and sucking the air through his teeth until, with the cry of a dying animal, he whipped the leg he held down over her belly. Leaning his elbow hard on her thigh, he gushed into her, thrusting and sobbing, and his gushing brought her second wave down, smashing onto the beach, as she gripped and scrabbled at the reed mattress through the blanket.
He double-damn’-certain-sure never, never, never, knew that before.
If she’d discussed it with anyone—which she never could, of course—she would have predicted an uncontrolled eagerness to spend himself and she would have had to wait until another time for her turn. Not this.
He subsided on top of her, panting. She thought he had gone to sleep when he grunted and rolled off her. He gathered her in his arms, all mischief gone, and said,
“I love you, Marianne.”
“I love you, Jannie.”
They slept in the sun and in each other’s arms. When they woke, they talked and talked and talked, of all that had been, before he went away and after. When the force of that dam-burst at last abated, he took her hand and guided her down his belly. She grasped him and he became hard again as she played with him, experimenting with him. He lay on his back and coaxed her on top of him.
“Be my jockey,” he said. “Ride me home.”
She mounted him carefully, thinking, I never knew this before. As she slowly sank down him, he grasped her wrists firmly. When she had gone as far as she could go, he pushed her up straight, even leaning slightly backwards, and clenched his buttocks to thrust into her well as deep as could be. Her head lolled back. Once again, she was finding it hard to breath as slow-rolling waves of pleasure washed through her motionless body.
He relaxed slightly, retreating from this ultimate thrust. She hastily flopped forward, pushing back, following him, desperate to have the waves roll back. Again, he thrust; again, she straightened, searching for the elusive pleasure. It flickered, coming and going in so fickle a manner that she grasped his shoulders and ground herself down on him, rising and crushing down desperately. Harshly, writhing, she rode him, breath hissing in her teeth. Awed, he watched her, holding her torso in his hands, giving her the support and balance she needed as she thrashed her head from side to side, hair flying, eyes tight shut but leaking tears.
She couldn’t ride him to a climax, though, and with a defeated, desperate wail, she rolled off him, clawing at him to roll with her, not to leave her, roll on her, pound into her until he blasted her to the relief she thought she might never feel. As she cried out, he felt her clenching him, milking him, and he erupted into her. She pulled him down on her, sobbing, returning to her earlier baby-monkey grip.
I never knew before that she could do that, he thought.
Barefoot and tousled, they walked hand-in-hand through the gathering dusk up the path to the plaashuis to return the farmer’s basket, the diligently rinsed-out wine bottle, and the precious Czech crystal. Marianne was uncomfortably aware that her rescued damp knickers were in her own hamper in the boot of the car.
The tannie raised her eyebrows enquiringly at Marianne. “Well?” was the silent, woman-to-woman communication, “is all well?” A corner of Marianne’s mouth quirked up the tiniest bit and the fleetingest of shrugs said, “It will be.” The tannie nodded, satisfied. That’s as good as you get in this life. Jannie and the oom, of course, were oblivious to the exchange.
“Wouldn’t you two like to come in and have supper with us?” said the tannie. “It’s no trouble.”
It was an elder, making a suggestion. It had the force of command. But…
“Baaie dankie, mevrou, but we must get home. His old ma and pa are still waiting by their house to greet him.”
“Ag, shame. Then of course you must go. And you two are going back home, now, to build a new life?” She looked at them sternly, under raised eyebrows, nodding to prompt their acquiescence.
It was an elder, making a suggestion. It had the force of command. It was only good manners to obey.
“Ja, mevrou,” they chorused obediently.
And they did.
|This page last updated 17th October 2002|