Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beauty Displayed


To take advantage of a short cut to the building where I needed to be for an appointment, I slipped through a small tulip garden sheltered by thick evergreen hedges. In that corner secluded within the expanse of a larger city park, I came face to face with the serendipitous nature of beauty. Although not by design, my approach must have been almost soundless. I was struck motionless by the pleasing sight of a young lady on a south-facing park bench, awash in light, soaking up all the available sun.
Unaware of my presence, she sat with her face turned upward as if gazing into the source of heat and light. Her eyes were closed; her long chestnut hair hung down over the bench’s back. Her hands seemed to be clasped behind her, a pose that arched her spine and thrust out her bosom. Her hips flared out from her waist; her legs were spread in a most unladylike position. And oh, yes. She was as naked as she could be while still wearing clothes.
Following the example of her face, her breasts rose proudly from the exposed expanse of chest; a sweater and blouse were wide open and held away well down her arms from the rounded shoulders. After the dip at the end of the rib cage, her abdomen rose gently to a low mound around the depression of her umbilicus. Her skirt was gathered loosely below her waist, exposing as much of her legs to the sunlight as if she’d been wearing a bikini. Low-heeled shoes remained on her feet. Her knees were bent as she perched on the edge of the bench and her thighs were wide open, unhindered by the folds of skirt tucked onto the seat behind her. The panties she wore were a pastel blue, lighter than the color of the sky.
I know now what it means to be struck dumb. I understand the feeling of being frozen in time. I would swear that for a small eternity nothing moved, no birds sang, no wind whispered. Afraid to fracture this frail tableau, I remained standing perfectly still.
I don’t know that she was beautiful, nor was it important that she wore very little. I stood simply amazed by the play of light and color on her skin. The shadow cast by the rise of one breast enhanced the cleavage between the two; the other breast glowed in empathy. Like castles guarding hilltops her nipples stood proud in the April morning air, steadfast on the long slow rise and fall of her breasts with her breathing. The taut expanse of her abdomen called to mind visions of gentle virgin slopes waiting for the plough. The muscles in her calves and thighs were well defined, as if she could be a runner. No tremor disturbed them as they held the limbs in a tight V. Heaven, as I said before, was a pale blue.
With her eyes still closed, she removed her hands from behind her and stroked her thighs, almost as if she was massaging the heat and light into her skin. A shiver, brought on by a cool breeze that tweaked her nipples, ran across her chest with the majesty of an undulating earthquake. She opened her eyes and looked directly at me.
There had been no time to improvise an excuse for peeping. I expected fear and anger, shouting and a scramble to cover up but that didn’t happen. She looked into my face. She looked directly in to my eyes. I don’t believe anything was said. Becoming engulfed in the smile that filled her eyes kept me helpless, unable to move, to speak. Peripherally was I aware of her fingers carefully buttoning her blouse and sweater. Somehow my brain registered “no bra,” and filed that information. Then, in one fluid motion, she rose from the bench and picked up her bag. Her skirt instantly settled about her knees. With a still brighter flash of smile, she nodded her head towards me in greeting, as strangers will. And disappeared.
I felt as if I had been standing there for hours, as if my life had undergone a complete turn around. My chest was tight; I found I was holding my breath and quickly let it out. I wanted to run after her but had no strength to follow her. I had to sit down; I needed to reconstruct my life
With long slow rhythmic breaths my body regained its equilibrium. This mind, however, will never be the same.