Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Spring Sprung
By OFW editor: Carlos J Cortes
Published: August 06, 2014


First, he was aware of his body; but besides volume, darkness and time, Jonathan did not feel anything in particular. He sensed his chest rising and falling at intervals. Later, reddish light seeped through his closed eyelids. A pleasant sensation. As his awareness sharpened sluggish senses, a faint pattering sounded from the window.
A faraway tap dancer launched into a Double Buffalo, paused, and burst with a Cramproll. Jonathan lay savoring the new day, as a miser would his treasure, absorbing the perception of his surroundings, opening his eyes, a little at the time: first, a slit to let in a trickle of light filtered by thick lashes, then fully to shapes, colors and shadows. Then he saw the bird.
The robin was busy on the window ledge, pecking at seeds on a tin can lid, oblivious of anything but his bounty. Jonathan gazed past the feathered harbinger, and for the first time in many months, felt a clear impression of happiness. The air through the half-closed window was crisp, with a tang of new life and damp earth. Past wrought iron grilles, he peered at a limpid blue sky and the trees’ incipient greenery.
Spring sprung....
Jonathan chortled at the memory of a preposterous verse:
Da spring is sprung,
da grass is riz;
Ah wundah where da boidies iz.
Da little boids is on da wing.
Ain’t dat absoid?
Da little wings is on da boid!
He tried declaiming it aloud—in his finest gangster’s voice—but laughed himself to tears before the second verse.
When his eyes cleared, Jonathan gazed with a pang of grief at the abandoned lid; the spring messenger startled away by his hilarity. He frowned, his gaze darting to the lid, the half-open window and the drawn curtains. Maria. It must have been Maria. She must have laid the seeds on the windowsill.
Jonathan relaxed to fill his mind with Maria’s image, her shapely lithe body, her garçon hairstyle and her gorgeous legs. The tip of his tongue licked parched lips, as he thought of her legs, smooth, soft, and with delicate clefts behind her knees. A long time ago, in a Victorian novel he’d read, the hero would stand for hours at a tram stop, to catch a glimpse of his love’s ankle. Ankles are important. The shape, texture and grace of an ankle will bestow a wealth of information upon a shrewd observer about a leg evolution, all the way to the waist. Fillies could also be appraised by their ankles. Maria’s ankles were slender but shapely. How can something be slender and shapely? Jonathan frowned. Well, perhaps not slender as in bony, slender as in nice.
Something strove to stir under the sheets. Jonathan reddened at the thought. Spring.
An idea nibbled at the edges of his consciousness, vague at first, slowly focusing, like shapes seen through gauzy silk. When the concept gathered substance, it whisked away his last vapid threads of sleep. Jonathan pursed his lips. Maria. “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.” Wasn’t that the army proverb?
She had been around for... yes, six months, or so. She had a gorgeous smile and her eyes sparkled. There was laughter in her eyes. What if—?
He put the idea to the test, to find flaws on his reasoning.
Maria was young, he was young, and spring was all around.
Fine, the concept was intriguing and so far it made sense, at least to him.
She was single, he was single and the sap rushed through the trees. The conclusion was obvious: no time like the present for seduction. Aristotle would turn on his grave at the syllogisms’ logical structure, or the lack of it, but Jonathan felt deliciously wicked. Yes, seduction sounded fitting.
He glanced over to the window with a brief pang of nostalgia for the departed bird and set out to concoct a suitable strategy. Victory favors the daring.
As soon as she stepped into the room, he would open with small talk: the morning, the weather and spring.
“What a wonderful morning! It was nice of you, I mean the tin and the seeds. Thank you. There was a robin when I woke up. Yes, definitely, a robin. Spring is here. Can you smell damp earth? See the new shoots? Beautiful, aren’t they? My, but you look radiant.”
She would smile, wide, and the dimples on her cheeks will light her elfin face.
“Maria.” Jonathan feasted on the sound, rolling the ‘r’ in the Spanish pronunciation.
Other women could be painted in sounds, shapes or sensations. He dreamt Maria in dimples: behind her knees, on the crook of her arms and her cheeks, where his wandering eyes nestled when she was around.
Afterward, he would show interest in her job. Dedication and proficiency—coupled to awesome responsibility—were demanding issues in her chosen profession.
Jonathan pondered that other than working and studying she did little else. Too much work and no play.
Then he would fire a broadside. What about dinner?
She would open her eyes wide, blush a little and nod before smiling. Her dimples would take over her face and the sparkle in her irises would put the sun to shame.
Dinner, however, would be only the beginning. In reality, it would be a night out. Jonathan pouted. These things needed careful planning, like a military operation: discipline and flawless tactics.
The first item on the agenda would be dinner at a nice place; Zoltan’s was just the ticket. Table for two, at the rear, cozy. The menu? Now... that would be a vital element in the master plan and required careful scrutiny. First, a few tidbits and a glass of sherry, perhaps shrimp and Palo Cortado, yes, definitely shrimp... on the shell. The shell bit was important, perhaps pivotal. She would fumble and he would use his nimble fingers to help her. That would set the mood. Jonathan glanced at the abandoned tin lid. He might feed Maria the peeled bits, and like a robin she would peck them from his fingers. Nice thought.
The entrée. Something light and fluffy, perhaps tiny pastry cases filled with marinated salmon. No. Too messy. Foie, that was it. He would order foie gras with Melba toast and half a bottle of good Sauternes. Perhaps ‘92 or better still ‘95, would Zoltan would have any 95 left?... what a splendid year!
After the sherbet, Zoltan would insist on his Goulash and a bottle of Bull’s Blood. Zoltan, the indestructible Magyar, swore that his forebears—the fierce mountain warriors of Bickaver—eventually sprouted horns from liberally ingesting the thick wine. If the legend were true, Zoltan should have had a splendid pair by now. The goulash a memory, Zoltan would insist they burp. The issue was critical; Bickaver Bull’s Blood could have nefarious effects unless the drinkers burped. Maria would blush but they would oblige to make Zoltan happy.
Finally, they would have dessert, perhaps Baklava dripping with honey and topped with ground cashews, coffee and petit fours. Jonathan would hold her palm and read it. Naturally, he would run a finger over her long life line, then he would point at the head, heart and fate furrows and... there! Tucked at the beginning of the heart line, he would discover a definite, world-shattering romance, with a dashing palm reader!
Night would be young and they would stroll for half a block—barely touching the pavement really—their hands busy at interlocking fingers. They would cross Fraser Avenue and breathe salty air, mouths redolent of heady wines.
At Bella-Bella, they would nestle into a corner, order Mojitos... or perhaps Margaritas, and listen to the wistful notes of Miguel Canosa’s horn. Maria would lean her head on his shoulder while he whispered Ezra Pound’s choice stanzas.
Do I not loathe all walls, streets, stones, all mire, mist, all fog? All ways of traffic?
You, I would have flow over me like water....
Later, much later, they would walk along the shore and the surf would lick their bare feet. The brisk waves slapping would rock more gently and his heart would ride at anchor, like a sailing boat whose sails slide slowly down on to a deck. He would stop. He would draw her near to swim for an instant in her dark irises; his body would thaw and unseal, incandescent before searching for her lips.
Jonathan batted his eyelids repeatedly and smiled.
Yes. A splendid program. He would call Maria.
With agonizing difficulty, he twisted his head to the opposite side of the pillow. There he sought—stretching his neck—a slender plastic tube. He gripped it between his teeth and blew twice into the mouthpiece.

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