And way way back, in the days when men seemed to fall off the trees like ripe apples at Lindsey’s feet, there was Newman.
By some arrangement of Megan’s—roommate with Lindsey in that funky cottage in the cedar grove while they both returned to Hometown U. to finish their bachelor’s degrees—her old pal was coming by on his bike after returning from a couple years in the East Indian ashram. Only Megan never mentioned it to Lindsey. And she never made it home from her hot date the night before.
Lindsey was out in the yard reading and sunning topless when she heard the “ting” of a bicycle bell.
“Shit.” She rolled over, fumbling for her shirt.
A deep chuckle. She squinted against the sunlight. A dark silhouette split the rays, then shifted, walking the bike closer.
“Hi. I’m Newman.” He dropped the bike, stepped over to her blanket.
She blinked up at this sleepy summertime vision. Sunlight caught in his long blond hair and beard, gilded his deeply tanned skin. He was tall, shirtless in ragged cutoff jeans, a single strand of blue glass beads around his neck dangling some kind of medallion. He was grinning.
Lindsey got herself together and stood up, tugging her tank top down over her shorts. “I’m Lindsey. Can…. I help you?” The rehearsed line from her part-time waitress job popped out.
He tilted his head like he was thinking it over, then reached out a hand and took hers, but he didn’t shake it. He turned it over and gazed at the lines on her palm.
She retrieved her hand, brushed her palm over her hip. “Uh… are you lost?”
“I don’t think so.” Another slow smile. “You must be Megan’s roommate. Is she ready? We’re going for a bike ride.”
Lindsey shook her head. “She didn’t mention it. She… she’s not home.”
“Hmm.” He took that in calmly. “Well, Lindsey, how about it? I was thinking over to Mosquito Lake, take a swim.”
It was easy in those days, all the time in the world and life meant for exploring. Mosquito Lake was a leisurely ride. More a muddy pond, really, lined with rushes, shallow and warm in the summer sun.
Newman flattened a sort of nest in the tall grass, and they dangled bare feet in the water, watching the red-winged blackbirds flit around as he told her about his travels, and his studies with the “Teacher” at the ashram. Then Lindsey finally put it together: he was the one Megan had said was studying to be… what was it? A Buddhist monk?
“Here’s a good way to practice, you can learn to tune out bodily distractions. We’ll just lie here in the mud. Just feel it and let it pass over you, let the bugs crawl on you and be part of it.”
Okay, she was game. So they stripped and lay there in the mud and Lindsey almost thought she could do it, ignore the grit on her skin and the flies landing, and she tried to be serene and let time be only the moment. Like Ram Dass advised: Be. Here. Now. But then something wiggly was going on under her thighs, some creature burrowing. She gritted her teeth and kept her eyes closed, desperately willing it away, but there it was, some bug or crawdad crawling higher between her thighs and what if it bit?
She cheated and brushed under her leg, pushing the bug away. Then squinted to see Newman sitting up, caked with mud. He gently touched her hip, lifting a squirming worm off her. He smiled.
She shook her head. “I don’t think it’s working.”
He just kept smiling, shifting to lower himself onto her. He settled his weight carefully over her, pressing her deeper into the mud. She felt strangely disembodied, while completely aware of his chest against her breasts, the gritty slippery feel of the mud oozing along their joined skin, his penis settling soft between her legs. Some part of her mind was asking all the usual questions like what the hell was he doing? but it was all so oddly peaceful and nonthreatening. He didn’t move or grind against her, just lay still over her, not crushing her at all, and a new kind of light and warmth seemed to radiate through them both. Serene.
And Lindsey thought maybe she was getting it. It was about transcending physical desire, making a spiritual connection, all the things the hippie songs and poems talked about only she’d never understood really even though she’d smoked her share of pot and sampled the psychedelics. But now she couldn’t help feeling a hot twinge in her loins, wanting to pulse against him. He really was gorgeous and his hard bod on hers felt good, and how could he just lie there so still and not give way to it? Maybe that was what they learned, studying to become monks.
Lindsey felt her face flushing and suddenly she could feel the flies and bugs squirming again, and was that something else stirring, hard, between her thighs?
He sighed. She was too confused.
“I think that’s enough for me!” She pushed against him.
“Okay.” He smiled and lifted quickly off her, then plunged out past the cattails into deeper water, waving her in for a swim.
The next day Megan told her he’d left for India again. Lindsey chalked it up to Transcendence 101.
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