Both newly divorced and trying to make sense of their newly acquired freedom, Janice and Cedric simultaneously gravitate to live model drawing classes and swimming, their increasing acquaintance leading to a more private modeling experience. Great story, with wonderfully descriptive narration and profound insights into the void left by the absence of a long attachment, whether pleasant or not. A lovely non-threatening interlude for two people looking to get back in the game. This story has a sequel entitled Further Explorations.
Sure enough, it was Cedric! Quite impressively dressed in the black of his hair colour—cords, suede shoes, velvet jacket and fine polo. In spite of blushes on both sides, recognition did not falter.
“Well, well. Worlds are ridiculously small. How come you’re here?”
Cedric fumbled a few moments for words… at length to come out with the routine truth… “I left a book here a few days ago. I just came to collect it. But fancy us both knowing Marcus!”
“We follow life’s currents, its winds and waves…come on, sit down.”
* * * *
How ideal! Everything laid on! It would have really spoiled things if either of them had overstepped their customary manners and tried to arrange a meeting, as the telephone advisers always said, in a neutral public place.
Janice put on an album of Beethoven String Quartets and kept the volume low, but with quite a lot of bass. The music blended, unobtrusively, with their sensations. Its sombre explorations penetrated their minds, their hearts, their groins, punctured their inhibitions, free their breath. Ripples registered on both sides. Their dark outfits made a spectral blend, poised to melt into each other. The non-verbal was sustained, as they mentally undressed—first each other, then themselves, down to their bathing suits, at the water’s edge, ready for the plunge.
* * * *
“Well,” she giggled, “first leading question, what do you do? You give the impression of having quite an exciting occupation.”
“I’m a journalist, articles about fashion and health products. And how about you?”
“The dreaded legal profession, highly stimulating at times, but it does stress me.”
“You’re not alone; one does need things to counteract the stresses.”
She gave him a sustained gaze. “Hmm, hope I’m not being intrusive. I’ve been keeping an eye on you in the swimming pool for some time. You’re looking really good now—got into swimming well…must admit I was a bit worried about you before. You seemed a bit head-heavy, imbalanced. But now you’ve accepted your body, toned it up and relaxed the tensions. It’s the best exercise, you know involving all of you.”
“I guess I’ve conquered some fears. I’m so glad to do it properly…” he grew a bit shy and hesitant. “It started… when you bumped into me and gave me those tips on how to improve that really clinched things for me, and…”
“Don’t be shy,” Janice patted his knee to assuage his hesitation.
“I had seen you before! At that party here… you did that beautiful dance; your skirt billowed.”
“Then to see you in your bathing costume.”
“And when you did, you took the plunge, bless you.”
“I just had to come in the water with you. And then, when I saw you at the art class, I was just dying to pose for you. I was secretly longing for the model not to turn up so that I would have my chance.”
Janice unbuttoned Cedric’s jacket, felt his shoulders and his chest. “You’ve got your body in trim and you can really carry yourself in trunks. Clothes look good on you, but your height of fashion is around your loins.”
* * * *
The jacket dropped to the floor. Elation welled up in them both. Chemistry and magnetism made their chain-reaction. Slowly edging their heads towards one another, lips meeting eyebrows, eyelids, cheeks, chins, each other. Two deep drawn breaths were held for an ecstatic clinch with tongues. Her hand rose to his crown, massaged him through that full, drawn-out embrace.
His left hand unbuttoned her jacket, feeling her shoulder pressing from waist to hip. Breeze-like, his right raised her skirt, to rest on her thigh as high as was aesthetic at that moment. Her centre took the signal, hips pressing forward. The two of them had dived and surfaced in love’s stream. What a catch for her—this controllable gentleness combined with fathoms of passion—and for him, this beauty of experience that he could now match. Aquiver, they drew back.
“You’re so lovely,” he panted, “I want to see you undressed.”
This novelette tells a story of emerging or perhaps re-emerging sexual vitality, as told from both male and female perspectives. While it describes adults, it has the quality of being both a projective look by adolescents, toward their sexual future, and retrospective looks by adults, toward their earlier, and now re-awakened sexuality.
Much of the sexual energy is diffused in the telling of the story, and the climax (which is both literal and figurative) is really a plateau. The reader could stand on it, along with the protagonists, feel satisfaction at having reached this place, and then gaze out and wonder, "what new sexual adventures await these two sexual adventurers?" It's certainly not "deep" as one commentator suggested, but the novelette is introspective, and does build to a satisfying conclusion. It is work of surface textures, well suited to the milieu of swimming. Definitely well worth reading. The author also has poems and original artwork that build on this motif of sex and swimming, at eroticpoems.org [Dreamers Reality] & [Valterra magazine - Bathing Girl]
Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to ‘spread their wings’ and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other’s minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other’s depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even does into ‘dreamscape’, making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced…
They beamed at each other, sizing up their physiques again, comparing their respective performances which had led up to that climax. Then Janice breathily broke the silence. “You were an astral rocket, surging, grounding, resurging.”
“And you the booster supreme.” After a final hug, they wistfully shrugged, along with smiles and suspicions of tears. “We’ve both got our planes to catch, darling…we’re all wired up.” They turned their backs on each other going down their separate lanes.
Janice and Cedric’s bittersweet parting, executed with watertight composure, froze that moment of perfection. Their state-of-the-art arrangements, so efficient in sustaining long-term contact were so effortlessly executed—miraculously, none of the hitches either of them experienced with their other contacts—that they simply had to have been exquisitely premeditated, but all the more because, regarding functioning in the immediate present, they were both prone to fumble and stutter.
Yet, there was a sense of permanence in that kaleidoscope world of fleeting acquaintances. Shattering glasses always sharpens, enriches the vision. Closet pyromania fantasy makes every dreamer dynamic—visions of the inferno, crashing of all solid architecture, but with the stench of charred flesh blanked off. Such an abundance of good looks and vibrant expressions passing by on the streets; it felt that any one of them had destructive potential, mighty cataracts at close quarters. The diffusion of that potential sustains the world’s equilibrium, global spark potential
David Russell doesn't hold back in Further Explorations. I enjoyed reading about Cedric and Janice. They share so many of the same qualities, thoughts and experiences. Reading about characters with a lot in common was a breath of fresh air, as most wo/man pairs are drawn together by their differences, opposites attract and all. Cedric and Janice, on the other hand, are drawn together as if they are one being no matter how much physical distance is between them.
As Cedric and Janice take off to different parts of the world, we get to experience the depth of their understanding of each other, their wild experiences, and how they communicate with one another. For example, Chapter 15 was especially memorable because their instinct told them that their beings had fused, that they were in absolute synch wherever in the world each of them was, whatever the physical distance between them.
Further Explorations is a great read because David really focuses on getting into the character's mind. This novel does a great job communicating the experiences of Janice and Cedric, and pulling your mind into their connection. David's descriptive writing is rich and any woman who loves a slow burning read will enjoy Further Explorations.
b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums: Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’
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