Syncopation, Part 1

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Dust particles floated in the sunbeam that cascaded through the small window. “Terry’s Cleaning” stretched with the dark blue shirt as the wearer stooped and shifted boxes that had sat undisturbed for decades, transferring them down small stairs that protested under the use. At the bottom of the stairs, a dark haired girl opened them. Some of the dusty boxes went to a large room to await further judgement, and some out by the road, where they joined other discards in a pile with bags of garbage, and a large sign that read “estate sale” and had a smaller “sold” sign across it. Other men in navy shirts stacked wooden pallets between rows of green apple trees dotted with white flowers, similar to a stack behind a red wood barn with a sloped roof. The sun’s rays, no longer the bright yellows of the mid day, had stretched on to a shade of peach as evening settled on the little farmhouse. The screen door pushed open, spring stretching with metallic twangs, then banging shut again as the girl walked through, fanning herself with a sheath of paper. Grey strands of cobweb tangled in her ponytail, and dark hair clung to the sheen of sweat on her neck. She settled into the swing, and rocked back with flip flopped feet, still fanning herself. Each movement of her wrist caused the ribbon that bound the papers to dance. She tipped her head back, resting it against the faded wooden slats, and closed her eyes. She rocked for the space of a few minutes, as the peach sky moved on towards orange, listening to the sharp chitter of the crickets’ song. When the sweat no longer dripped beads along the nape of her neck, she opened her eyes, and with gentle fingers untied the ribbon from the packet. Setting the stack on the swing beside her, she picked up the top sheet and started to read the words on the page. ****** Dearest Joshua, It seems hard to imagine it was just last week that I stood, my hands clasped to your calloused one, standing with my head on the hard muscles that broaden your shoulders. I feel worlds away from you here. Everything is so different. Sunday night, Jane and I wandered from the abandoned sitting room through the vacant dining area, up the stairs and fingered the dings and scuff in the doorways to the bedrooms. The open space encouraged us to explore corners and closets. Monday morning, we dressed with hasty fingers and high pitched giggles. Papa was a long time in the barn, but when I offered to help he shook me off. His face was drawn, and I could see he was picking through the mares tails despite the harness already draped from the solid bodies. Mother stood in the kitchen, her eyes resting on the pine in the side yard. The early morning sun glinted off the moisture dripping down her cheeks. Once we were loaded, Jane and I scooted against each other on the board in the wagon. Her soft fingers interlaced with mine, warming not just my fingers but my spirits as well. The clip clop of the team’s hooves on the hard pan echoed hollow, seemingly louder for the silence we maintained. The frame houses we passed were old friends, their faces known, as well as their fringes of laundry and scatters of chicken, dogs and children. I know Papa said moving is the only option, but I wish I were still there in Polk county. At the railway, the Jones boys grabbed the small carpeted bag that Jane and I packed with our things, and Mama’s matching larger bag. They tossed them into a car right behind the growling, belching engine. Mr. Fendler took the team and wagon. Jane and I pressed lump after lump of sugar to their lips. I never wanted to see Lady leave, but they were already sold. Her velvet lips tickled my neck as I buried my face into the shaggy hair on hers, breathing the scent of the sweet hay she ate, combined with the warm animal scent. It’s still hard to remember that she’s not out in the barn. Papa says we can take out a buggy from the livery sometimes, but it won’t be the same. We were quite early to the depot, by the time the train pulled out with us on board, the sun had slid past its zenith. Jane and I switched from seat to seat, peering through the windows out at the darkening world until all that was visible was our own reflections. Eventually, we slept in our seats, rocked by the motion of the car. Almost as if we merely blinked, the sun was rosy when the conductor’s voice woke me announcing the City. I could feel the tickle of loosened hair from my ruined braids, and it reminded me of the last time you and I were together. My face heated and I turned it to the window, brushing my hair smooth then returning it to the plait that controlled it. Jane’s soft hand in mine was a lifeline I clenched as we stared open mouthed at four girls waiting together for the train.They ignored our stares, their chatter unstopped as they waved their hands with animated movements. Short dresses hung from their frames barely brushing their knees, and shivered with each movement they made. The shortest one glanced at me as she released the smoke from her cigarette through perfectly pouted red lips. Like the others in her group, her hair barely brushed the nape of her neck, and was sculpted into waves, at least, that is what was visible beneath her hat. Mother pointed out that none of them were wearing wedding rings, and from this I was reminded of how you always seem to touch and stroke my hair whenever we are together. I wonder why those girls cut their hair so short. Jane and I found no end of things to stare at as we walked along the sidewalk, trailing Mama and Papa. The buildings cast shadows: rose high into the sky, blocked the sun. Automobiles spewed out dark smoke that burned the eyes and throat if you breathed in as they went past. Delivery men shook their fists at the autos, and I could hear their shouts when one was cut off by a particularly daring driver, his flapping coat causing the drey horse to toss his head and snort. We did eventually find our way to our new home. It is a lovely white frame house, with a wrapped porch that joins another, sharing a common frame. The wooden swing that hangs there is my favorite place. When I sit there, I can see down the street, all the other houses shoulder to shoulder with ours. I have spent many an hour since we arrived kocaeli escort sitting and daydreaming of you walking up the sidewalk with your lips smiling at me. Mama is not impressed with this use of my time, and every time she sees me woolgathering, she assigns me floors to sweep, or dusting. But even those chores are not enough to drive thoughts of you from my mind. I await your response with bated breath, Stella ~ My Dearest Stella, I cannot tell you the joy I felt today when I received your letter. It was all I could do to keep from opening it right there, but I decided to wait so that I could sit on the bank of our favorite pond while I read the words you had written. It must be very exciting for you to be in the City but I know you must miss being home. It’s very hot today and I’m sorely tempted to go for a swim. I remember with more than just a happy thought our time together in that pond. Hearing your lilting laughter echo from the rocks and feeling your hands in mine are memories I will cherish forever. You mention that the girls in the city wear their hair short. I do hope you do not cut yours. I believe the sight of your long, dark hair flowing over your wet shoulders in this pond will always be the most beautiful I’ve ever beheld. I miss you terribly, Stella. I know I should not commit such thoughts to paper, but the one memory I have that makes your absence bearable is the memory of what we shared that last day. That one special moment on the edge of this pond, or when we kissed in the tall grasses of Father’s South Field were the happiest of my life. I can still taste the sweetness of your lips and hear your soft whimpers as we shared our bodies in that last, fleeting moment. Those are memories of you that will forever keep me warm, even in the coldest of nights. Father says I should be looking for a wife soon, but the thought of spending my life with any woman but you is impossible for me to imagine. I spend my days working on the farm, trying to dull the ache your absence has left in my heart. At night, I can only gaze at the stars and wonder if you see them too. Forever yours, Joshua ~ Dear Josh, How wicked of you to mention our last time together! Yet, how I ache to be there in your arms again. I wouldn’t change a thing, even though I know it was a terrible sin. Papa has gotten a job working for the grocer. He climbs the steps slowly when he returns home, immediately sits down in his chair, his head tipped back and eyes closed. Despite this, you can see that he and Mother spend less time heads bent together over the account book, lips and eyebrows drawn. He gave Jane and I each ten cents the other day. Imagine that, we had twenty cents between us to do whatever we wanted. We went to the store and bought some penny candy. Later I looked at the selection of books, but settled on a copy of Harper’s Weekly. I try not to, but I wish for you to be here and put your arms around me. Your letter hurt me though. I cannot imagine you marrying someone else. How ever would I be able to handle the idea of you loving another girl? Would you take her to our pond, too? At night I lay here in my bed, listening to the sounds of the house. I can’t stop myself from thinking of you, your strong shoulders, muscled from work. The way your back felt warm under my fingers. How you looked down at me, the green leaves of the apple trees over your shoulder in monochromatic agreement with your eyes. The fresh scent of the crushed grass we laid on. As I think of these things, my skin feels heated, and I am aware of every movement. If I cross my legs, I get a rush through my core. The cotton of my nightdress drifting across my breasts as I breathe feels like sandpaper, but it also pleases me. I have no desire to cut my hair, but I do get jealous of the girls in the short skirts. They look so carefree, and I would like to feel that way. As always, your loving Stella ~ My lovely Stella, I am sincerely glad to hear your father has found gainful employment. He has always been a good man. I should be very happy for you and your family to be doing so well. If I were to bare my heart though, I cannot summon the joy I know I should feel for you. I am lost without you near me and every morning I feel empty knowing you are no longer just down the road. My days are spent alone now, but my thoughts are filled with your memory. You should have your mother make you one of those short skirts. You are far too lovely to remain hidden behind the long dresses of the common girls of our small town. You are in the city now and like a butterfly, you should be proud of your beauty Yesterday, I walked through the meadow below Pine Bluff where we used to picnic. It was as green and beautiful as it was that first time we kissed. I remember every moment so vividly and as that memory once again became alive within me, my body responded in ways no true gentleman would admit, especially to the woman he loves. It was as if I could again feel your body against mine and I longed to once again hold you in my arms. Even then, Stella, I desired to have you right there in those lush fields. Oh, I know I should not say such things. We are told that it’s a sin to love so thoroughly before marriage, but am I supposed to deny my true feelings and to pretend my love and desire for you are less than they truly are? I’m glad you do not regret that last day by the pond. I do not, and I cannot believe that sharing our love as we did that day could possibly be wrong. If I could, I would surely choose to do it again. I dreamed last night of just that. I once again saw your shy smile as I lowered your dress, and felt my body stir just as it had when I finally saw the true beauty of your body uncovered by clothing, finally freed from a girl’s innocence. As those thoughts consumed me, I felt the same arousal and breathless need I felt for you on that day and my body reacted as any man’s would when he is in the embrace of his woman. If such a beautiful release must mean I am weak of morals, then consider me damned because I feel no shame for reliving that single most glorious moment of my life. I only wish I could live it again, with you in my bed. Please know, I have no love or desire for another kocaeli escort bayan and that pond will remain ours alone, forever. You, Stella, have my love and my devotion, always. Joshua ~ My dearest Joshua, I did it! Mother doesn’t know, I used the sewing machine and made myself a dress like my new friend’s. Doris lives in the house connected to ours, and has helped me by loaning me a dress I could use as a pattern. I worked on them in the evenings when Mother was at her church circle. Those dimes Papa gave me have stopped going to candy, but rather they go to for cloth. I traced the parts of the lent dress and added a little for a seam allowance. I treadled the Singer whistling until all the pieces were assembled and the seams hemmed. Every morning I duck over to my new friend’s house. I unbutton the country dress and push it down, revealing the short skirts of my new dress. The early morning air chills as it nips my calves with its sharp teeth, sending the tremors through me, and my step feels bouncier as I walk up the street, the hem frolicking with my spirits. Doris presented me with a new hat, its sloping shoulders hang low over, slouching over my head, and emphasizing my brown eyes. But it is a bit large to go my braid; Doris has very short strands. She marcels them into waves. I long to feel the fingers of the wind ruffle through my hair. But as long as it currently is, that is not a possibility. I must say that it makes me very glad that you are not sharing our pond with another girl. I have been tormented as I work, and at night while I sleep with images of you with Elizabeth Bennett. I could see her blond hair tumbling down her shoulders as you drew her dress down, and I felt both a rage and great sorrow to think that you would be embracing her with those arms that I wanted wrapped around me. I know she is a great girl, she won the spelling bee every year, and her father has that large farm. But you have my heart, and I do not wish to share your affections with another girl. Please don’t think poorly of me; you must think I am a jealous and selfish person. After all, you are so far away, and yet, I still don’t want to think of you spending time with someone else. I wish you were close. So close in fact, that I could have those arms around me. I remember you pulling the pins from my hair, so that it fell from its knot in curls. Your lips were on mine, hard yet smooth, leaving me breathless. I held tight to you, the only thing that I noticed, for the rest of the world, the crickets humming, the grass moving in the breeze, even the pond itself, had all receded. There was just you and my need to be possessed by you. I could taste the salt on your neck, and I remember sliding my hands under your shirt, tugging at it to free you from its restraints. Your skin was golden in the sun, your hair dark and curling. I didn’t realize that it trailed all the way down your chest. But it invited me to touch it, and to keep touching all the way down its trail, till I was reaching under your trousers. I’m sure I acted like the harlot; I ran my fingers across your chest, up to your hair. Burying them within the soft strands, I pulled your face to mine, and pressed my lips against yours. I found that I was consumed with a need to touch you, and to have you touch me. Now, I know what the fires of hell feel like for I burn nightly to feel your touch again. When your fingers grazed my skin, you branded me as your own. I long to be yours, in fact as well as in memory. I imagine you; I see you on the streets of the city and I laugh aloud and rush to greet you, only to find that it is your memory that I rush towards. Longing to see you, Stella ~ Stella, It warms my heart to think of you wearing such a dress. How beautiful and free you must seem! I would be so proud to walk the city streets with you at my arm wearing your skirt and hat. I am sure the boys are sneaking glances at your legs when they believe you are unaware. You must not worry yourself over Elizabeth Bennett. Have you forgotten the annoying pitch of her laugh? Being close to her would be akin to damning myself to a lifetime of listening to chalk squeak on the board! Besides, Andrew Bailey has asked her to the Fourth of July Dance this year. I truly hope they are happy together. I could go on about this year’s harvest or about the sale of father’s pigs, but I honestly hate to waste the few, precious words I may share with you on such paltry matters. What I would wish is to see you in your short skirt and to kiss your smiling face again. I have relived that last day with you a hundred times, Stella. So much so, that I have taken to spending my few free hours by our pond, skinny dipping as we did that day. I close my eyes and I can still see the wonderfully pure radiance of your skin and hear you sigh as my hands touched you in places that no one ever had before. You were as beautiful as the sunrise, Stella. I could never tire of seeing you that way any more than I could become weary of seeing the full moon in the sky. I should be ashamed to admit such things, but as I lay, naked, by the water’s edge, I felt the excitement of your touch again. I could see you under me, with fear and longing in your eyes as you gazed up at me. It was a magical moment when we became one and even the tears you shed were as much in joy as they were from the brief pain. I do hope you remember that as fondly as I. As I lay there, Stella, my touch became yours on my body again. I could feel my heart beating so strongly, just as it had then and my manhood became convinced I was once again within you. I could so clearly feel the warmth of your body and sense the deep cadence of your breath. Forgive me for living it again without you, my love, but that memory is all that I have left. I will cherish it always. Your loving man, Joshua ~ Dearest Josh, How I love my short skirts, now that I have been wearing them everywhere. My one irritation is I still have to hide when I leave the house. Mother surely must notice that my waist looks thicker when I leave, a skirt and blouse under my dress will do that. So far she hasn’t commented on it, or the time I have put in at the sewing machine. I have a small stash of cloth izmit escort that I bought on sale at the Ben Franklin store. My favorite is still the navy gabardine, a stretchy cloth that clings to my hips, but is cut to swing when I move. The first week I wore my short skirts, I felt my face burn every time I passed people on the street. Every new set of eyes seemed to be drawn to my bared knees. I had to stop myself from turning around a rushing back to change back to my country dress. The very worst were the boys. They are very sly about it, pretending to gaze at other things, but their gaze sliding over you, burns through whatever clothing you might be wearing leaving you stripped. If you look at their eyes, you can catch the movement as they stare. After the first week, though, I noticed I stopped feeling exposed, and I started meeting the eyes of those I had previously avoided. Many times they blush a deep red and look quickly away, but there are a few boys who look straight back into my eyes and grin back. Just the other day I saw one of these boys. He didn’t even try to hide what he was doing. These boys here in town can be very forward and I am glad you are not so. I am sure they would not look quite so intently if you were walking with me as my skirts swished against my stockings. A most unusual thing happens when I am wearing my skirts though, and it particularly happens when I run across these unpleasant boys. It must happen because I am so embarrassed by their looks, or perhaps its from my brisk walking. I’m not sure the cause, but I seem to be sweating. Or at least that is the only explanation I can come come up with for my panties appear to be wet. It is rather embarrassing to admit. I come home and quickly take them off, pushing the old sodden pair deep into the dirty linen pile. I am very wicked, because I don’t put a clean pair on right away. But the fresh air rushing in to bathe my heated parts feels lovely. Josh, I am truly glad to know that Elizabeth Winslow doesn’t attract your attention and that you still think of me. But I don’t understand; how can my touch and yours be the same? We are separated by hundreds of miles now. If only it could be. I would like nothing better than to hold your hand as we walk along the sidewalk, me showing you off to all the girls. I hear Mama coming home from the store. I must hurry to mail this. All my love, Stella ~ My beautiful Stella, I can only imagine how radiant you must be these days. To have such freedom to wear such clothes, even if only away from home. It must be truly exhilarating. I am torn though by the thought of other boys seeing you so. I find my stomach aches at the thought of their leering glares, but part of me cannot truly blame them. If only I could be walking with you on those streets. Then they would not dare to be so bold. Not if they knew what was good for them anyway. I would never let anyone bring harm or shame to you, Stella. For one of them to even attempt such in my presence would be extremely unwise. I do know that the blush in your face when they look is as beautiful as the sunrise though. Did you know your brown eyes sparkle when you blush? They are enchanting to behold. I have thought about you cutting your hair and I hope you do not. I think of how it moves like a living thing in the breeze or how silky it felt against my skin when your head rested on my chest. It would be an awful shame for you to trim it away. One does not throw away a bolt of silk because it is out of fashion. I haven’t had time for our pond of late. A summer storm blew in last Tuesday and the roof of Mr. Holland’s barn fell in. Father and I, along with Jimmy Baxter have been working from sun up to dusk with him to make the repairs. The oppressive heat doesn’t make it any easier and both Jimmy and I have been working without our shirts on. Father and Mr. Holland gave us that look, but we both just laughed. I think Father wanted to laugh as well, but he’s far too serious to let me know he actually approved of me being in such a state. I’m writing this by candlelight tonight. It has gone from being a blistering hot day to a still dreadfully warm night, and even though I am nearly exhausted, I cannot sleep. I have stripped down to my skivvies, yet my skin still is moistened by the constant sweat. Yet, I don’t think this is the same moisture you spoke of. I remember so clearly that day when I removed your panties and felt that same moisture. Your womanhood was so perfect, so intoxicatingly beautiful, and it was so very wet that day as well. I remember how your face lit up when I touched you. It was but a gentle caress, but it caused you to whimper in a way that I had never heard before. Do you remember us lying by the shore while I kissed you? When my fingers were touching you there? You felt so soft and wet and your hips rolled slightly toward my touch, as if you wanted so much more. Even thinking of it now causes the same reaction in me as you did that day. I’ve become even hotter than the night can explain. Stella, I am almost breathless as I write this. My skin tingles with something I can only describe as my desire to be with you again. I’ve grown hard in my hand and know there is but one way for me to sate my need, one way save having you with me at least. This is how my touch can be like yours on my body. It doesn’t have the pleasant warmth of your hand or the soft, enveloping wetness you had when we made love, but here and alone on my bed, I am still able to feel that glorious moment of our union. I may be consigning myself to hell, Stella, but I just cannot help myself without you here. Every day reminds me of how much I miss you. With all my love, Joshua ~ Darling Josh, Don’t be angry with me, but I cut my hair.You know I have long wanted the marceled waves. It happened last week, before your letter arrived. Doris and I sat hips touching on the swing, rocking, feet swinging. Hidden, slipped between our brushing thighs was the shine of the silver flask she normally carried in her garter. The first sip of the gin it is filled with burns, and tastes vile, but the by the second or third sip, I found you don’t notice. Taking turns, we sipped, while I fanned myself. “It’s so hot, my neck sweat has neck sweat.” Her response sealed the fate for my locks. “My neck is never hot, the breeze blows on it. You should cut your hair like I do. You’ll like it. Its easy. I can show you how.” I thought of how you looked when you ran your hands through my hair.

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