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Edited Words: 152,263
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November 26, 2006

Heaven on Earth

She opened the big Victorian door with a gentle smile and greeted him with a warm embrace.

"Can I come in for a wee?" He asked, feeling suddenly embarrassed that he would use such a childish word.

She led him up the stairs and into a room that smelt of her hair; like a yoga retreat; rich with incense and exotic oils.

"Your hair smells like a yoga retreat." He remembered telling her the first time his face had become lost under the cascade of curls covering the back of her neck.

She laughed. This is a strange man, she thought.

"Welcome to heaven." She said.

On the walls were her pictures: stylized line drawings of landscapes, trees, and birds, all brightly computer-colored. Raised and set into a recess was a platform into which a futon mattress had been squeezed. Next to the bed, opposite a painted chair, were a guitar on a stand and a bamboo flute. A case of books was next to the door. On the partition between the kitchen and living areas sat a salt lamp, slowly ionizing the air. This was micro-heaven.

For three hours the wind serenaded them in their ecstatic silence. Neither knew where one ended or the other began; there was only love and rose petals, only deeply listening eyes and bodies; pushing, receiving, and surrendering.

"Are you always happy?" He asked her.

"Most of the time I'm pissed-off and difficult." She said. "It's only when I'm with you and the three other people I know that I'm like this."

He realized that she was joking and chuckled.

"How long have you been like this?" He asked.

"I became aware of it when I was sixteen." She replied. "I just seemed to be happy most of the time and it seemed like I was getting happier. I've been getting happier year-after-year."

"So you were born like this then?" He asked.

"I guess so. I remember in school we were asked to write about a traumatic experience; the worst thing I could think of was when I saw a cat get run over." She said. "When my dad read what I'd written, he laughed and said, 'That really is the worst thing that ever happened to you, isn't it!'. I feel very blessed."

"You've been through all of that in past lives." He said. "I feel blessed to be attracted to someone who is so happy. It indicates that to some degree the drama of my past is no longer alive in me."

"You've got juggling balls." He said as he picked them up and began to juggle.

After doing a few tricks he asked, "Can you juggle?"

"Yes." She said. "But let's juggle together."

"Okay, let's begin." He said and threw all three balls at once; they struck her body and fell to the floor.

"You make me laugh." She said, cuddling him again.

They walked arm-in-arm to the sea, hands around waists, the rain slowing soaking their hair as they splashed through the bright city lights.

When they reached the seafront, the wind, no longer hindered by the white Georgian façade, was unbearable. He moved her to his leeward side and she snuggled her head into the warmth of his heavy cotton coat.

The sea was being blown into a roman battlefield; ranks of tall waves stood in rows, each crested with thick foam. The moon-lit ripples in the steely troughs shimmered in anticipation of their approaching glory.

They huddled behind a building which sold tea when it was light, dry, and calm. A man disassembled the sail of a wind-surfing board.

"Have you been out in this?" he shouted incredulously.

"Yeah," said the middle-aged man in the wetsuit, "I've traveled fifty kilometers today. I came from Selsey."

He turned back to her and pulled a bag of raw chocolate from his pocket. Her eyes widened.

"Would you like some chocolate?" He asked redundantly.

"Yes!" She said enthusiastically.

He broke a piece off and placed it between her lips. She lowered her head as she bit into it and looked up at him with eyes that gave him permission to be as naughty as he wished.

They met in a church. Parachutes were hung from the roof forming a soft canopy and a bunch of sage burned next to the turntables. Everyone was barefoot, gyrating, and dancing as if no one was watching.

She was like a happiness magnet; beaming with joy, bouncing like a child, and radiantly smiling. She thought he was an unstoppable ball of energy moving around the room. Every time he passed, they looked into each other's eyes and grinned.

She sat down and he sat next to her. She didn't want to talk.

He leaned over and whispered into her ear, "I love you."

She breathed in deeply, filling her chest, and responded, "I love you too."

They met for a salad in the lanes. Then he went to her yoga class and he took her from there to a café where she watched him eat risotto.

"You can only really love someone else when you love yourself." He said in agreement with her. "I don't actually need you. I love myself. You're superfluous. In fact, I'm going to turn and face away from you."

He turned his chair, moved his plate, and continued to eat. She started to laugh and so did the waitress who was wiping the table which he had moved his plate to.

She went to stay with her parents in Suffolk for a week where she saw some old friends and played the piano. He wanted to be with her and expected to see her when she returned. But then an old friend came to stay with her for a week and he had to wait. He felt the pain of dashed anticipation although he quickly accepted it.

The next day he bumped into her coming out of a car park. It was a miracle. They walked together to the smoothie shop where he bought a deep-red acai berry smoothie and to the raw food shop where they got chocolate. She said she was walking to the well; she needed to fill two plastic demijohns with water from the organic food shop.

Standing outside the raw food shop he said, "I feel nervous because I don't want to say something stupid."

"You don't feel nervous around me do you?" She asked.

"A little bit." He said.

He moved really close to her, almost touching his chest to her face and asked, "Is this too close for you?"

"No, it's fine." She said.

"There's this whole thing about personal space." He said. "There's a distance at which someone is too close and a point where they're too far away. Go and stand on the other side of the road."

She stood about fifty feet from him somewhat further down and on the other side of the narrow but busy street.

"We can still talk." He said at his usual volume, while grinning.

Able to hear him, she said, "Someone else could just come along and start talking with me because they wouldn't even know that you were there."

"I'd look stupid then," he said, "even more stupid than standing here apparently talking with myself."

They came together again and he kissed her lips. And then he kissed her neck and then her lips again. They began to caress.

"Isn't life wonderful." she said.

They began to make love outside the raw food shop. They made love with tongues and hands all over Brighton: beneath a tree, against a shop window, in the park.

"No one knows what happening with us." He said. "They're just walking past. If only they knew. They're not even paying attention."

"I've seen a couple of people smile." She said. "But they don't see it as anything unusual because when people have strong auras they define what's appropriate."

After two hours of walking through the lanes, giggling at the feel of sensual cushions and the look of Tibetan hats she said, "Let's keep this magic going."

"That's a great thing to say." He said, at once thinking that his response was not such a great thing to say.

They crouched on the pebbly beach, huddled up against the wind and rain, and kissed.

"Shall we go now?" He asked.

"Yes." She said.

"Nice one, Duncan!" — Charley (Santa Cruz, California, USA)

"It's a sweet story." — Rosita (London, UK)

"You write lovely stories." — Rosie (Washington State, USA)


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