Oh my stars and garters, darlings*, so much stuff to tell you! I’ve emerged from a cavern of intense essay- and presentation-writing to give you:
[unrelated to writing] HAPPY OPENING DAY! I don’t care what the calendar says, I’ve got my Phils jersey on, and it is the first day of summer. Bring on Doc Halladay…
I Do, Two news: Do you live in, around or remotely near Bristol? Want to get some goodies and meet cool people? Awesome! On April 14th at The Old Market Tavern, at 7pm, Charlie Cochrane and Bruin Fisher will be causing mayhem of some sort or another.
(Unfortunately, I can’t get away that evening, but we may be doing something similar in May. I shall keep thee updated. In the meantime, go there and annoy them for me, please.)
*Apparently I bounce between writing like Stephen Fry and Dooce. Er, yay?
And, just because it’s lying around, a little free fic to celebrate the end of an unholy frickin’ freezing winter.
Spring is Coming
There do be so many ways to tell when spring is coming.
The easy ways everyone knows. The sun comes back, lights the sky through evening. The breezes coming off the sea are sweeter, don’t bite at the skin and make one long for the hearth.
Ways I learned after I came home from the sea. That bread rises faster in a warmer kitchen, that flowers bloom different, the daffodils breaking up through the earth.
Ways that are just mine, when me man comes home after his day in the fields. All winter my Matty do sit by the fire and whittle and plan and tell me tales. And come spring, when I’m just about to throw him out in the snow for all he’s my heart, he goes out each day to plant.
The sea took my leg, so I do not work in the fields. I would do nothing, but for Matty, who loves me. Matty whose house this was, before it became ours. Matty who farms while I do the women’s work, make the bread and do the washing. I should be mad, or proud, but truth is, I’m warm and fed and the way my Matty looks at me, I know I am in no danger of being thought a woman. The way he makes the blood rush through my body, I know we’re men together, the way I pull him to me and press our bodies together.
My Matty comes home at the setting of the sun now and his mouth is dry and hot until I give him beer and he tastes so good. He tells the stories in the winter, and sometimes tells me poems, but summertime, I do tell him stories. I tell him my poetry too, though he does not know the words, the language of mae hen wlad making him smile. He calls me Huw-bach, and has learned nowt more, but we love the poems all the same. I’ll not see that land again in this lifetime anyway, and I remember less of the tongue every summer.
What I see are low hills, green all the year round. What I see is the bay, and Portsmouth far away, when I can make it up the hill. When Matty goes with me. We do not go into the city, and why would we? Everything we need is here. My boy-bach’s farm, and the way he smiles at me. Our cow and pig and the chickens I feed until I cook them. The little bed of flowers he did plant for me, my first summer home from the sea when the leg that’s not there screamed in agony, and I did not know if I’d live or die.
Matty knew. He is a farmer; maybe he knows these things. And spring is coming because the sun stretches higher, the bread rises better, and I smell the sea and it is good. And spring is coming, because here is my man home from the fields and he’s wrapped his arms around me and isn’t he helping himself to a kiss?
“Nearly done the planting now,” he announces proudly, and I smile and kiss him, and go to dish supper up. It is very plain, but good. Like me, I think.
Matty eats hungrily, one portion then another. I eat less, but I am not a small man, for all that so much of me is missing now. I clean up, and tell my love the story of Rhiannon and Manawydan. Not the poem as I learned it, because I want him to hear about another farmer, another crofter. He smiles, and likes my tale.
“Are you very tired?” he asks me, and I shake my head. Sometimes I am, especially in winter. Sometimes I ache so bad. Sometimes in summer I get to missing the sea, but spring is a good time.
Spring is a very good time, when my man smiles at me like Matty is now. “Huw-bach, come to bed with me?”
“Are you very tired?” I counter, knowing the answer is ‘no’. Or, maybe, ‘yes, but I don’t care’. One or the other and it doesn’t really matter, not when Matty banks the fire and strips for bed, not when I sit on the edge and take off the peg I walk on now, not when his arms come around me and he presses kisses along my face, soft kisses, gentlest things I ever did feel my whole life long.
Nothing matters when he lays me down, his body wiry and strong, and I’ve not gone soft either, and we take great pleasure looking at one another. Even me, my ravaged body – my Matty whispers my name, and kisses me, long blond hair tickling and trickling over my chest.
And he’s as lovely as they come, and so I do tell him as our bodies come together, rubbing and it feels so good, kissing and hands everywhere, and afterwards we lie together and sleep in one another’s arms.
There wasn’t much spring at sea. It got warmer, maybe, if we were near to the right part of the world. Seasons were funny, then. Now they’re regular as the moon, and I can tell spring coming. When God pulls back the winter, and the breeze is sweet, and my man is whistling when he comes home smelling of sweat and the fields, and when he comes home to me.