“The Kimono”, Chapter 27

Fox Pix

kitsune

 

Very recently I have picked up this story and now I am back in the swing of things. A push to the end but I know that won’t come until….well…..I think of it.  Or my characters push my hand and brush.  I believe strongly in trusting the personalities of your created characters.  They, their behavior, their quirks, usually give me a direction in which way to go with a story….or not.   Anyway, this is continuing on…

Lady Nyo

For Gay….

The moon peeked through the distant trees below Mount Gassan in the east.  This low to the horizon its color was a dark coppery-pumpkin as it hovered in the evening sky.  Its rising caused the very drunk men to pause in their good-humored noise as the women behind the screen heard their exclamations. How many times had the full moon risen, yet the beauty of its appearance, the miracle of its closeness always produced such awe?

A servant came around the screen and whispered something to Lady Nyo.  She, in turn, came to Mari and in a very low voice said that Lord Mori has requested her company.

Lady Nyo fussed a bit with Mari’s face, patting rice powder over her features, combed out her hair and gathered it half-way down her back with a twist of red paper.  From a small, wooden box she brought out a flask of scent and applied it between Mari’s breasts.  With a nod and a sigh, she was finished and bowed to Mari with a small smile.  Mari followed a serving girl to the lake where she found Lord Mori.  He gave a slight nod in greeting and turned, walking further down to a small stand of cherry trees.  Here there were no lanterns hanging from these branches silhouetting the cherry blossoms. Only the brightness of the rising moon and a small brazier gave light.  Quilts had been placed for them on the ground.

The servant disappeared, fading silently into the shadows surrounding the grove of cherries.  Dragonflies dipped and swooped along the shoreline.  The sound of the water lapping at the beach was amplified by the silence around them. They were far enough  they could not hear the others.  The sky darkened and rose- bottomed clouds appeared over the water.

Lord Mori sipped his sake and said nothing.  Mari didn’t want to break the beauty of the young night with conversation.  It was enough to enjoy the silence and the moon reflecting in the water.

Suddenly Lord Mori made a soft exclamation and pointed to some rocks at a distance, farther down the beach.

“There- do you see kitsune?  She has come for her own hanami.”

Night was replacing dusk and the shoreline was dissolving into shadows.  Mari could hardly make out the small form of a fox. She darted back and forth, from rock to rock, rolling over those at the water’s edge and pouncing on something, probably a crayfish.

Suddenly the moon rose high enough, beaming across the water and Mari could see the russet coat of the fox.  She had a tail that looked tipped in gold, illuminated by the moonlight.

 

“Kitsune

Has a long and gilded tail

She comes at night

Down to the glistening lake—

The moon rises to light her way.”

 

Lord Mori’s voice was hardly more than a whisper.  Mari was caught, spellbound by his words.  How exact, how clever his  tanka within a breath’s notice of the fox!  Mari knew she would have struggled with her thoughts, casting aside her impressions and losing the immediacy of the moment.  With Lord Mori it was as natural as breathing.

She turned her head to look at him as the moon went dark with a flock of passing clouds.  Lord Mori’s features were silhouetted against the shadows of the grove behind them.  How serene he appeared.  Mari touched the silk of his sleeve.  He looked down at her small, white hand and smiled as the moon reappeared in its soft brilliance.  The water was like a black mirror for the moon, so still and calm.

Lord Mori drew Mari close, she aware of the scent of sandalwood from his gown and the scent of sake.  He stroked her hair and Mari put her hand inside his kimono, on his breast, feeling  his heartbeat.  With all the strangeness of her present world, with all that was unknown before her, this, this—the warmth of his skin, the scent of him at least was real, had no unsettling magic.  She had enough of magic and whatever superstitions that plagued this century and this place.

Mari shivered.  Lord Mori chuckled and drew her closer.

 

“The moon is clear

I escort a lovely girl

Frightened by a fox.”

 

Mari knew the verse to be Basho’s, a very famous poem at that. She also knew Lord Mori had changed the word ‘boy’ to ‘girl’.

Lord Mori loosened the string of his trousers and pulled aside his robes.  He pulled Mari over him, making her straddle his hips.  Without a word he pulled her carefully arranged kimonos up over her hips and off her shoulders.  He held her breasts, now exposed to the moonlight in his large hands and bent her to him.  Only her obi kept her robes around her.  She felt his hand at her crotch.  It had been so long since they had mated, right before her miscarriage months ago.  She groaned as desire flooded her, stiffening her nipples, arousing her.

Lord Mori wasted little time, his own desire evident.  Pulling her arms around his neck, he lifted her onto him and with his own groan, held her to him like a vise, pushing his hips up and back, Mari’s head rocking with his motion.  Seeking her mouth, he finally kissed her as their coupling ended.

Later Lord Mori wrapped them together in quilts and Mari slept, her head pillowed on his shoulder, the warmth of his body a further comfort.  It was still spring, not near summer at all, and the nights were cold this near to Gassan Mountain.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

 

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