Lately, both of them had begun to seek more of each other’s company.
He often came over to her house and they would usually sit in and chat, even foolishly argue about things too trivial for dispute. But then, this was expected of the next door friends who grew up together.
They had shared many adolescent, innocent, adventures so common for their age. Until tonight.
It was the first time this familiar room looked so misty, even the street outside was eerily quiet. Somehow everything was so surreal tonight.
Her parents left them home and had gone for an evening out with friends. Quite comfortable being alone together, they chatted innocently until dusk subtly crept into the night. Somewhere during this transition, they drifted into a dazed silence, with growing awareness of the hushed surroundings and increasing consciousness of each other’s physical presence.
In the ominous wilderness of the dark, this was an unknown mystical state where the overpowering consciousness was of their heated body fumes and a numbed silence.
But she always lay on that couch while he relaxed on the floor, stretching out his legs, the back rested against that seat. So what was this mysterious game she now played? Why did his heart pump so madly? Why didn’t they talk, if only to break this silence? She just stared at the TV screen, her eyes wide, the lips pouted.
As he mutely stared into the glowing tube, he felt her breathe through her half-open mouth, taking long, even breaths. He sensed her chest and her taut abdomen rise and ebb with each shallow breath. Her silence entranced him. Why didn’t she look at him! Without a look or a whisper, she barred him from disturbing that eerie intimacy. Cautioning him, by sending furtive warnings, intimidating him.
Ever so slowly, she folded her knees to the chest. The contour of her waist, and now pronounced, rounded, hips presented a subtle invitation, a daring challenge. He felt his palms grow moist, he sensed deepening warmth in the groin.
It was a story as old as the millennium. They were the survivors, inheritors of the primitive heritage of life. Learning their respective roles through ingrained knowledge. In the recently gained awareness of her abilities, she was toying with him. In her mysterious female way, defying him to get to him. Effortlessly, instinctively, she was playing out the love game.
Ever so slowly, almost petrified of causing the slightest of disturbance, he stretched out his legs.
She held her breath; the game had begun.
He folded his arms behind his neck, opening his body to her. Surrendering himself, inviting her.
She knew he was ready now. The time had come. Her fingers gripped into the cushion, the nails biting into the fabric.
His throat grew hoarse, he wanted to cough the dryness away.
Through his courage, he felt weak. In the masquerade of masculine strength, he felt petrified. How did she gain these mysterious powers? Vigilantly hidden from him until now, entrapping him.
A strand of silky hair slid from her shoulder and partly covered her face. Somehow he knew he had to uncover that face again. But courage was something he could not find within. He felt his breathing grow heavier as if she had cast a spell on him.
His breath stuck, he had to pull harder. Run! Break free!
‘Why wouldn’t she remove the strand of her hair?’ his thoughts screamed, ‘I couldn’t do it! Didn’t she know I was scared?’
He held his breath as her free hand rose hesitantly to her mouth. She bit the tip of her thumbnail. Then ever so faintly, her other hand loosened its grip on the cushion and grasped it tight again. Come! She had commanded.
The fever spread to his face, his hands grew warm in anticipation, his thighs were on re. He clinched and unclasped the fingers as he waited for his own next move.
Silently, almost on a prowl, his body rose on the hands and knees.
She felt his motion, but her eyes still gazed into the radiance of the tube. For a moment he hesitated. She held her breath, the moment suspended in the air, and then with a subtle arching of her back, summoned him on.
He was very close to her now. He saw her flushed face; in anticipation of what she knew was to follow. Her knuckles grew white on the cushion, he noticed a shiver run through her body.
She still didn’t look at him.
Yet he knew her eyes would be searching, even pleading. But it would all be so futile now.
He reached for that strand of her hair... his fingers touched her burning cheek.
The role was reversed. The primitive mind had taken over and the body knew what it craved. He was the hunter, aware of the jungle around him. He saw the numbed, hypnotized prey under the hiss of the serpent. He smelt her fear and wanted to smile, he had grown so confident.
For centuries these had been his domains, his territories. He has prowled these forests since time eternity, he had mastered the art of confident ambush.
For the first time, she turned her face towards him. Their eyes acknowledged the inevitable.
Suddenly there was a wild commotion in the jungle.
As the birds uttered noisily into the air, the panther leaped, the deer bucked. But it had all been worked out.
Calculated long before the hunter or the prey suspected.
Such were the ways of the jungle.
Such is the legacy of life.