“The Kimono” Chapter 3

Know that this chapter has SEX in it.  If offended by the subject….Don’t Read.

MARI WAS CAPTURED within the web of a warrior with two swords under his sash, probably a very violent man, but one who wrote exquisite verse. Lord Tetsu caught her watching his face and abruptly ended his recitation of a poem. Without thinking, she reached out her left hand to his arm, her eyes swimming with tears. She was moved beyond measure with the contradictions of this man. She felt a tenderness she had not been able to feel for a long time. He grabbed her hand and pulled it into the breast of his kimono, staring at her. She, realizing he had mistaken her gesture, tried to pull back her arm, but the deed was done. Lord Tetsu stood up, pulling her to him. She shook her head.

“No, I am married.”

Laughing, he threw back his head. “Yet here you are in my chamber, naked, and you expect me to let you go? Remember you were brought here by magic and for my usage. Did you think the morning would be spent in poetry alone?” He grabbed her hands and the quilt fell off her shoulders. “I can smell your scent. You are aroused by your curiosity. You wonder what it would be like to be taken by a samurai, Woman-called-Mari. You will find out.”

He threw Mari on the futon and dropped his swords, laying them out of her reach. Untying his various kimonos, he discarded the two outer ones and left the white linen undergarment. He wore the trousers of the samurai and, with his eyes on the woman cowered below him, untied the

drawstring and let his pants fall to the ground. Mari’s eyes widened. He was a large man in life and equal to that beneath his kimono. He threw himself over her and in a low voice whispered, “Idu-go, Idu-e.” (“One moment, only once.”) He trapped her face in his large hand, his eyes holding her gaze. “The pain will be only one moment’s worth, you will fill with me and be grateful. Now, Woman-called-Mari, kiss me without struggling, for I like a docile woman in my bed.”

Mari was pinned beneath him and could only claw his shoulders. He raised himself and laughed, trapped both of her hands in his and pulled them above her head, grasping them with one of his hands. He crushed her mouth with a hard kiss. Mari moaned and spat at him, outraged at this treatment. He reached over the side of the futon and picked up a sash. Looping it firmly around her hands, he tied them to a pillar at the top of the futon.

“Stop it, stop it! I am a married woman!”

“Yet you are naked under me and aroused without my touching you.”

It was true. The sensible modern Mari was outraged at this behavior but her body was provoked in spite of her. Something stronger was at play than feminist convictions. She felt her body was abandoning her mind. Surely he knew she was not a peasant woman or a prostitute who would spread her legs for a few coins. With a mixture of tenderness and wildness, Lord Tetsu worked his way down her body, kissing her neck, her breasts and finally, her sex.

Mari’s plea for him to stop had changed to moans, the sounds of a growing desire. Her husband never made love to her this way, in fact, he avoided all such foreplay. Mari could not help but moan louder. Her face was a stretched frenzy, her eyes fluttering back into their sockets. Lord Tetsu then entered her. Mari gasped and bucked but he kept going until he was like a sword sheathed to the hilt. Her passion was now fully inflamed.

“Oh, untie me, untie my arms, please, let me embrace you,”

 

Mari begged. Lord Tetsu untied her arms but held them firmly. He moved in her slowly as she adjusted to him. Mari gasped, the sensations so strong she couldn’t hold back. The power of his thrusts increased as she tipped to the edge. With a yell, she climaxed, her body shaking, her voice something she didn’t recognize as her own. Moments later, Lord Tetsu joined in her delirium and with a groan, released himself. Joined together tightly, they lay panting on the futon. Mari had never experienced such intensity with a man. She curled into his arms and sobbed softly.

“You are a lovely flower. Your husband has riches he cannot count.”

Mari shuddered at the mention of her husband. She had never opened to Steven like she had to this man. It took a stranger for her to experience such arousal. The rest of the morning and into the evening they made love and wrote poetry. Mari composed haiku and recited her verses. He was tolerant of her efforts and threw back his head and laughed at her attempts to best him. At one point, he went to the chest where the black kimono lay and carefully placed it on the stone floor of the room. He brought back a quilted kimono and wrapped Mari with his now gentler hands. She thought it best not to ask whose kimono it was and was just grateful for the warmth. They drank the rest of the broth and warmed a bottle of sake.

Lord Tetsu was working on papers when there was a voice outside the shoji. He called out and two men came in, bowing deeply. They were carrying more scrolls and didn’t seem to notice Mari sitting on the futon. After bowing again respectfully to Lord Tetsu, they backed out of the room. He put the scrolls on the table and started to unroll one of them.

“Lord Tetsu,” said Mari from her comfortable place by the brazier. “It seems we exist in a parallel universe.” This seemed to be the only explanation for the situation in which Mari found herself.

Lord Tetsu grunted and shrugged his shoulders. “I have no confusion. I live now. You also live now. There is no riddle.” He dismissed her words with another grunt and sat down on his stool to read.

Mari thought it prudent not to interrupt him and looked around  the room. It was rather large, obviously a room for an important official. On one side, there was archery equipment, with bows of different lengths. There were lances and other swords and what she believed were maces. If Lord Tetsu was a bureaucrat for his Shōgun, he was also a warrior. Earlier, Lord Tetsu had opened the wooden lattice of one of the windows but the light was feeble. Mari walked over to the window and looked outside at a rolling landscape that appeared medieval. There were men and woman in distant fields, looking like tiny models of humans, working with oxen drawn plows and mattocks and hoes. They were planting some crop but what it was, she couldn’t tell. Obviously, it was not rice, for the fields were not swamped. Perhaps it was barley or millet. There was a small village in the distance where a few plumes of smoke rose sluggishly in the air. Farther distance, there were mountains rising one upon the other, the atmosphere playing tricks with the color of the ridges, fading from a dark color where nearest to a misty gray far away. Outside, well within her line of vision, flew three white cranes, rising in the sky like dull stars. She knew nothing was right or sensible today. She had appeared almost on a magic carpet, far from home and time. She felt a strange calmness, almost as if this was a natural part of her life to be savored, not dissected.

Early that evening, servants brought bowls of food. As they ate, Lord Tetsu talked of archery and the legendary Lord Tokugawa. Mari had noticed red oblong objects on the arrows where the heads should be. Lord Tetsu explained that these were “whistling arrows” used to announce the opening of battles. “If you ever hear one, duck,” he said with a chuckle. “I have seen a man’s head split in two like a ripe melon. We shoot

dogs for practice but first we scare them and they run. More sport in this.” Mari winced at his words but this was his culture, not hers. Lord Tetsu poured heated sake into two cups and offered one to Mari. She liked the taste but two cups later could feel the effects. Lord Tetsu was an old hand at sake drinking, for cup after cup disappeared down his throat. He didn’t seem to get drunk but Mari knew she could not chance doing so. Turning over her cup, she signaled that she would drink no more. As darkness fell, they talked quietly together, sitting on cushions before the table.

Mari knew this interlude had to end and asked a question. “Lord Tetsu, I know now how I came to be here, in this room, but how do I go back?” “I wrap you in the kimono and you go to sleep. You will wake up next to your snoring husband. He will be none the wiser for your adventure. What has been a day in your life with me will only appear to be seconds for him.” Mari looked down to her hands in her lap. Almost in a whisper she asked him, raising her eyes to his, fearful of the answer. “Will I ever see you again?”

Lord Tetsu sat back and looked at her. His eyes searched her face and he replied in a low and gentle voice. “Mari, Woman-who-is-Married, would you chance a change in heart? Would you leave your husband to become the woman of an old samurai? Would you wish such a thing? Think carefully, girl. My world is not yours. You might wither and die here. Would you chance leaving all you know for such a fate? Can a life be built on poetry?”

Mari’s eyes were now swimming with tears. She didn’t know the answers to what he asked but she knew something in her heart had opened. Something new had startled her and brought a glimmer of a different beginning. For the first time in a long while she was feeling alive and there was no way she could explain this to him. She didn’t understand it herself.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018-2020

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