Posts Tagged ‘Japan 16th century…’

“The Kimono”, Chapter 27….

September 5, 2017

 

Lord Mori

Warning:  a bit of sex in this chapter. Don’t read if this offends you.

 

I’ve been working on this novel for 10 years.  I  picked it up and put it down over those years but finally, it’s coming to an end.  it will max out around 50 chapters when it is completed.  It better end.

This summer and most of the spring I have been rewriting.  I’m posting this chapter for reader’s interest.  A few have been following this book for years.  It is not easy to come in the middle (or wherever) of a novel and it does cause confusion.  A quick view:  Mari is a 21st century Japanese American.  She is snatched by a kimono and brought to the 16th century in a mountainous region of Japan, Akita.  It is not clear to the characters of the book who is controlling the kimono.   The pix I posted at the top is a Japanese actor, 48, who is a physical representation of what I think this Lord Mori, this rather lax daimyo, looks like.  At least it’s something to look at.

Lady Nyo

The Kimono, Chapter 27

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 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 the 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 away 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 this 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.  She felt the soft beating of his heart.  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 hakama and pulled aside his robes.  He pulled Mari over him, straddling his hips.  Without a word he loosened 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 pulled 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, making her aroused.

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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