Wildflowers along Lake Bled
Ana, at home in Ljubljana. The mother of his child had shown him the door after he informed her of me and his time at Lake Bled. The Church of Trnovo on Saturday (April 6, 1833) at the tenth hour, I fell in love with him. I watched him drunkenly mingling with the innkeeper's daughter, Zalika from my window. It set me on fire. It wasn't until the dance at the Kazina that he finally approached me with a glass of brandy and his book.
My trusted maid sat in our carriage car outside the cottage; rolling her eyes, sitting tight for me. Me, remaining in my blue and cream blossomed gown, concealing the blue lacy undergarments we'd purchased a day ago in Kranj, the bag hiding the purchase still down the stairs in the back of our carriage car.
He ripped the gown off me quick, and I remained standing there in the cold lakeside cottage that possessed a scent of wildflowers, fresh bed sheets and rest for some. Not us. Our fumbling feet, his grip on my thighs, adrenaline and the laws we were going to be utterly breaking - socially and under the eyes of God. He didn't see that my knickers were too big for me since he was occupying his time with pulling them off with his teeth, untying the strings on my corset without turning away from my eyes. Lips separated with hunger. Eyes looking so hard they infiltrated through my smooth pale skin in the dusty light coming in through the split in the drawn curtains. He sat on the end of the bed as I laid there. He wore his trousers and belt, his shirt the only thing he'd given me a chance to take off. A crumpled pile on the heap of wood of the fire we were going to ignite.
He intensely stared at me. Hairless, similar to a girl. Not the woman Ana who shared his bed. He reached out to stroke my leg. Gradually. His eyes, cutting a cautious path over every last trace of my exposed skin. My breasts, small bumps with unbending pinnacles, ice to the touch. I wanted to apologize for being seventeen when I needed to be older. Closer to his age. I wished my breasts were bigger; I battled the urge to fold my arms and legs, to slither into a ball under the sheets and conceal far from his devouring eyes. I asked my maid to thump on the entryway after ten minutes, yet she didn't, and I couldn't move, his eyes still on me. Fingers stroking my thigh, getting nearer. This is the thing that you needed; I let myself know. I laid there like a body prepared for a post-mortem examination. Little. I looked anyplace but at him, at my body that wasn't my body any longer and thought about whether this was what love felt like. His words are meant for me; I let myself know. What sweet words.
Fingers. On. Me. There was a woman in the curve of my back; his appetite was electric, my head falling back, body ruffling sheets. I felt needed, and I needed to melt into his hands and mouth. I tried to unwind into him. However, the air was still chilly from the lake, and my breasts small, and my hips hardened, not having any desire to roll open, not wanting his touch. This man, seasoned as my father if he were still alive. This girl, needing to get away from this body. The curve in my back vanished, and the woman with it. I lay like a child with legs spread open to the world and trusted it would end, my heart thumping, muscles gripping in peaceful resistance. His eyes, drilling into me. Stop. Continue onward. Misleading emotions settled between us; our shoulders pulled rigidly. We continued onward.
I dressed in a small chamber close by, efficiently missing his craving eyes. At my naked body in the mirror, I grinned. Chest and cheeks red with a wild touch of womanhood.
The Water Man of Ljubljanica
Orange bright candlelight and wavy pubic hairs on the back of the basin. A lady does not live here. We are in your rented bathtub in Ljubljana. Not far from 4 Wolfova Street and my window. My knees against the hard metal bowl, already numb. I feel the floor dunking in the center with the heaviness of our bodies and secrets. Having a feeling that we are tipping off the edge of something. We are losing ourselves, toes packed against the walls, your foot hindering the drain to do its job. A puddle of water to pad my sore knees. Your eyes taking a look at me with the hunger of an empty river. They slip shut as you grab my head and draw me to you; to push me away. You possess a scent reminiscent of laurel along the Ljubljanica, and the water continues getting in my mouth and drops bounce off the broad of your back onto my red-beaten chest.
Are you thinking about Ana or is it that wicked Zalika - The innkeeper's daughter? Pondering where she is and what amount of time we have left together? I can feel it in the stiff arrangement of your spine. I need to influence her to vanish from your mind, so I love you harder. Steam rises. My lips are trembling off, and you are pulling ceaselessly to tell me I am hurting you, and your eyes are not shut. You are not feeling me. I am suffocating in the water; in your mistaken quill. My knees are stinging, the bones shouting at me to get up and flee from this bathtub and this foolish poet.
I can tell you, France, you've heard the voice as well, the one that visits us when we are as one. It says that you are wrong for being drunk and naked in a bathtub with a twenty-two-year-old young lady who ought to be at home preparing for her marriage to Josef. You detest yourself for each minute you take from Ana or that wicked Zalika but how you want, and how she wants. How Zalika tosses her head back and glances at you as she sees right through your drunken soul at the Casino Society; considers the parts you despise most and takes them for herself. To love, to torment.
I stripped my garments off piece by piece while your back was turned, taking out your quill and ink. Take a look at me. At the point when did you quit looking at me? Those eyes, the ones that ate me up that night in Lake Bled. When despite everything you had the sentiment to pause, the tickle of skin not yet addressed by the tips of your fingers. Your need for me surpassing your guilt. Simply let go! I needed to say when you couldn't come; when you quit even trying. Muscles made warmth through memory, not want. I crave, I want. My throat would close around the words, not your hands. My hands holding my pillow during the night until the point when sleep only hushed the young lady inside me who whipped only at loneliness; urgently to get away from her skin. To slip into yours.
You rationalized: you had work to do at the law office. Ana and the children were getting back home soon; she would catch us. You had to stop by the Dolenc's Inn for more brandy. Don’t I have Josef to entertain these days? I laid in your bed with my body on your sheets and sat tight for you to see that I was bleeding; each stroke of your quill was another appeal my lips did not express. You couldn't quit thinking of Ana, your law, or your children. It was never only me in the bed with you. It felt like a nation. I laid on those chilled sheets that remained frosty regardless of to what extent I sat waiting for you. I didn't know whether I could stay there any longer in that bed with a man who shut his eyes when I touched him, unfit to hold his eyes to see my beautiful smooth pale skin. Bare. His true love? His Primicovi Julji! A girl ate up, somebody – a woman? – Left in her place, delicate and fledging on the sheets as the words of your quill. I didn't know how to leave.
Take a look at me, I asked, lying on my back as you remained over me, fingers grasping the backs of my knees. Eyes shut, lines over your brow, you battled the voices that instructed you to turn away. Take a look at me. I viewed your eyelids crush, ripple, never opening them. You came, shrieking. Injured. A creature crying, creeping into a plagued Kranj for your last breath. I slipped. Blurred. Fell. Your eyes, they opened. But, me, I was no more but just a girl in a window.