The Naked Tree


“My lover put his hand to the door,
And I was thrilled that he was near.”
(Song of Songs 5:4)

* * *

Oh, why did he have to return? I had found a kind of tranquility after he had left. Free from the daily torments of his nearness, the constant agony of unrequited desire, I could at least exist in some form of composure.

Tedious? Yes. Apathetic certainly, but for the most part beyond the rack of incessant craving.

When he was away, I could hardly work. My paintings were tasteless, unexciting, fit only for those for whom “a tree must look like a tree.”

When he is present my brushes seem to take fire, and if I shall never be another Michelangelo or Picasso, at least my work takes on passion. Yet, the price in anguish is so high.

My mind and body are at war with each other. When he left, I thought for ever, I longed to hear his footsteps and his singing in the shower. When he slipped from the bathroom to the shower naked, thinking I was not yet out of bed, I loved the sight of his body – the early morning erection of his young manhood. These sights and sounds I longed for.

When he is present, I must fight my craving. My rational self says, “No, this is too evil, against all nature.”

My body cries out, “You need him, you must have him, there will be no rest for you until I am sated with him.”

I hear him now approaching my studio. “Please don’t let him come in…Oh yes, make him enter.”

He comes in and stands watching me work for a while, then asks, “Busy?” I smile and nod.

“Thought I’d go over to Granite Hill and see Ted. I haven’t seen him since I got back. Could I borrow the car?”

“Of course,” I say, “The keys are on the kitchen dresser. Will you be long?”

“Be back for lunch,” he says, returns my smile and leaves.

Four days since he arrived unexpectedly. Four days and he has hardly left the house – hardly left my side.

What does he want of me? If I work in the kitchen, he asks, “Can I help?” If I say, “No,” he sits at the table watching me, making desultory conversation. If I work in the studio he sits there, just gazing at my work – or is it me? I don’t understand what he wants and dare not ask, because whatever his answer I know I shall be devastated.

I get on with my painting. Yes, it is a tree. It is even a tree you will recognise if you know our inland arid regions. There fetiş escort you will see a solitary tree struggling for survival in a vast plain of salt bush.

My tree on the canvas is bare and bent, cringing away from unendurable heat in a mighty dust storm. It is stark, naked and twisted by the harsh elements it is constantly exposed to.

I began this work the day he arrived. He is, like me, an artist. He will be able to read my work, and know that it speaks of my inner chaos. Does he know from whence that chaos derives? Please don’t let him know this, for I could not support his abhorrence of me.

I work not noticing the time pass. I hear the car approaching. He has returned. I must prepare some lunch.

I go to the kitchen as he walks in through the back door. He smiles, so I smile back.

“I must have stayed away a long time,” he laughs. “Did you know Ted finally married Sandra and they’ve got a baby.”

I say to him, “No, I don’t get over to Granite Hill, and haven’t seen or heard anything of Ted since you went away.”

For some reason, the mention of a baby sets me off. I feel my nipples stiffen and there is wetness at the top of my legs. It takes such a little thing to arouse me when he is present.

I can’t go and relieve myself now. It must wait until after lunch when I can pretend to go to my bedroom for a “little nap.” I start to prepare lunch.

I try to make conversation. “What’s Ted doing these days?”

“He bought the garage at Granite Hill. Seems to be doing all right. I never thought him and Sandra would get together, but they seem incredibly happy. Beautiful girl, they’ve got.”

The thought of another’s happiness intensified my own misery.

He goes on, “They’ve called her Rebecca. Nice name, sort of sexy, somehow.”

“Rebecca was the name of a beautiful girl in the bible,” I say. “She was loved by Isaac, and they got married.”

He laughs and says, “Well let’s hope Ted’s beautiful Rebecca finds an Isaac to love her, one day.”

We eat in silence. We finish and he says, “I’ll clear up. You go and have a rest.”

I go to my bedroom and manage to give myself some release from the tension. I sleep for a while, then return to my work.

I am alone for a while, but now he comes in to sit and watch. I want him to go, and I want him to stay. I gaziantep fetiş escort don’t know what I want. In his presence, my landscape becomes even harsher.

“Why are you so unhappy?” he asks.

I play the game of “Whatever do you mean?”

“I see it in every line of your painting,” he says. “It is the most desolate work you have ever done.”

“Oh, it’s just an ordinary landscape,” I say. My stomach lurches and I must struggle to control my shaking.

He looks at me, then at my painting, and back at me again, and says, “Hmm.” He leaves me.

Alone, I have to sit down. I am quivering all over as if I am sick. Tears of self-pity well up in my eyes. I don’t know how to pray. I gave up that “superstition” long ago, but I want to pray now. I try.

“Please, don’t let this go on. Please, please, take this away from me. I have suffered enough. Suffered all the years of loneliness and this anguish of desire. I have fought it and shall go on fighting it, but if you can do all things, then make me not to feel any more.”

I finish and feel ridiculous. I stop work and leave the studio. Wandering aimlessly, I go out through a little gate in the back fence that leads to a field and beyond the field a small coppice.

One of the gum trees catches my eye. I must have seen it hundreds of times before, but now its shape fascinates me. It is tall and straight, its limbs reaching upwards towards the sun. Its leaves move slightly in a gentle breeze, flashing in the way of gum leaves, grey-green and silver.

I think of the desolate tree on my canvas, the portrayal of my own inner strife, and long to be as the tree I now stand before, flourishing and at peace. I turn back to the house and re-enter my studio.

He is there, staring at my painting. As I enter, he moves to face me. There is a strained look about him. I do not know what to do or say. We stand looking at each other, then he moves.

He comes towards me and lifts me in his arms and carries me to the old couch in the corner. I can feel his hard manhood pressing against me and I know what he is going to do.

I must fight, I must protest, but he is strong and my throat is dry. I struggle, but he lays me on the couch and undoes my painting smock. I am naked beneath it. I see his penis as he lowers himself between my legs. I manage gaziantep fetiş escort to cry out.

“No, don’t, you mustn’t do this to me. Please don’t.” I beg him not to, but he is too powerful for me. I feel him against my opening and cease crying out. I pray again.

“If I go to hell for it, let me have him just this once. Let the longing be over, I want him so badly – have wanted him for so long. Please, just this one time.”

He has entered me and I am overwhelmed with exultation. I hear my voice crying out, “My love… my darling… so long…do what you want with me.”

I wrap my legs round him, screaming for him to fertilise me, to fill me up, to make me a whole woman again.

I feel his need – the need I have never been sure of and did not dare challenge. Now his urgency presses in on me, deeper and deeper and he pours himself into me, and as he does, I hear my own shrieks of ecstasy. “Oh, God for how long have I waited for this moment?”

We are still. I know what follows. He is a man and he will be as all men are. He will withdraw from me and turn away. Like many he may be disgusted and hasten to leave. Having spent his passion, he will no longer want to be in physical contact.

(He will be like that other one who spoke of love when he desired me, but expressed rejection in every fibre of his being when he was glutted. He fled from me when I told him I carried our child.)

He does not move. Why does he not move? Why does he remain inside me, slowly slackening?

He has not spoken from the time I entered the studio. Now he speaks.

“Mother, you can’t know how much I love you and have wanted you.”

I try to speak, to tell him of the long agony of my desire for him, but all I can choke out is “My love.”

He is lifting me in his arms again. What is he doing? Where is he taking me? I have no will or desire to resist. The barrier broken down, I long for him to do with me what ever he wants, for what he wants is also my longing.

The bedroom! He lays me on the bed and comes beside me, gently caressing my breasts. He speaks loving words to me softly.

“I shall never leave you again mother. I shall stay here and work with you. It has been so long and I’ve wanted you so passionately. I kept away for as long as I could, but I had to come home and find out. Now I know.”

We both know and are safe in our love for each other.

He is taking me again so tenderly, so slowly.

The fullness of physical love, the multitude of explorations that sexual ardour offers and demands, lies ahead for us.

This tenderness is sufficient now, and is restoration – like the rain that comes to our arid plains and makes them alive with flowers and brings the naked tree to leaf.

“My lover put his hand to the door,And I was thrilled that he was near.”(Song of Songs 5:4) * * * Oh, why did he have to return? I had found a kind of tranquility after he had left. Free from the daily torments of his nearness, the constant agony of unrequited desire, I could…

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