The Fantasy of a Young artist-boy

daveskinnydipperHe recognized the McHenrys’ truck by the particular chug-chug-clunk sound of its motor. His heart did a song and dance knowing what the sound of that vehicle meant. Either Rory or Dale or both of them had come to cool themselves off in the pond. Even the thought of the teenager brought the now welcome stiffness to his pajama pants.

He listened for a few minutes. The sound of only one truck door opening and slamming. He rose and knelt in front of his window to peer between the silo and the line of oaks that blocked the view of the road and field where the truck was parked. He could see the single darting beam of a flashlight making its way toward the pond. The figure was still too far away to tell who it was, and his heartbeat choked him in anticipation. Fireflies danced like miniature amber lanterns in the deep blue night. The singing insects of summer were alive with a new song, masking the crunch of footfalls on dry grass. Zac picked up the miniature binoculars and held them in front of his eyes, focusing until he found the dark figure moving toward the pond. At last he was beyond the trees moving toward the silo. He was tall. Long, light hair swayed at his shoulders beneath a cowboy hat. Rory. His breath caught.

Once he passed the silo Zac could see him clearly. He had the flashlight in one hand and a bottle of either beer or soda in the other. He paused at the edge of the pond and sat the two things he carried on the ground. He peeled himself out of his pullover T. He kicked off his shoes, removed his socks, rolled them in a ball and stuffed them inside one of the shoes. Zac’s pulse was thick in his throat as he watched him unsnap and unzip his jeans and slip out of them. His naked body glowed like blue marble in the warm moonlight. Even deep in shadow his stature was like a work of art. It was because of the sublime perfection of men like this that songs were written, legends born, dreams fulfilled or hearts broken. Beauty, not blood made princes of this sort.

Zac was breathing so heavily it fogged the lenses of the small binoculars. He looked down the edge of bushes that separated the pond from the Weston backyard. Sheets were still strung on a clothesline waving in the light breeze. Down there was where he needed to be. He pushed his feet into his soft slippers. In a hollow house he had to make as little noise as possible. He knew every floorboard that squeaked and once past his bedroom door, he tiptoed a hopscotch pattern over them to get to the stairs. He walked down these close to the wall where the boards were less worn, stronger and more quiet. At the bottom he listened. He was safe. His parents still slept soundly.

On the back porch the breeze caught his hair and billowed through his loose pajamas. The night was cool and pleasant. The moon was just bright enough to illuminate a path between the wind-tossed sheets to the cover of the bushes at the edge of the yard. He made his way to these, and then carefully, pulling back branches, found a spot of bare earth where he could sit and observe the pond unseen by anyone.

Rory was naked, seated on his discarded jeans, close enough to the pond to have his feet dangling in the water’s edge. Zac could see his toes wriggling upward, forming luminous ripples. He was leaning back sipping from the bottle. His silhouette was rimmed with pale light making his skin look like deep blue silk occasionally dotted with firefly glitter of perspiration. He was humming a tune that was familiar but unnamable. A hand skimmed down over his chest and abdomen and rested comfortably just below his navel in the nest of hair. Zac studied him like he was the sculpted work of a master on display in a museum. Every contour where light found a hollow was more beautiful than the previous.

He finished his drink, set the bottle down, rose and stretched wide and luxuriously, allowing the breeze to find its way over and around his naked flesh. His long hair whipped like a flag in one direction until he tucked it behind his ears and slowly waded into the pond. Then he dived in deep and the wave plumes showed that he aimed toward its center. A moment later he came up, wiping his wet hair backwards away from his face. It was in that precise moment, as he stood wet and gleaming in the light of the summer night, that Zac envisioned what he was to him. He was the embodiment of love. A real-life Cupid. A God of Desire. Not the fairy tale version of the chubby little boy with wings, but the slender, glorious young man. Clouds moved high behind him in the dark starlit sky giving him the appearance of having lustrous, ever-changing wings. The vision enthralled the younger boy.

He watched him for more than an hour doing nothing special, but making each second feel momentous to Zac. It was like his mind was preserving each movement as if it were a vital brushstroke on canvas. He had nothing to compare what he was feeling against. It was new and wild and filled him to the brim. He was possessed by it.

The Art of the Heart By Dan Skinner:




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