(Written on the Big Island of Hawaii – originally a blog entry on The Moronosphere titled Lying on a Beach)

This one isn’t fiction, if I recall correctly, but was just written to capture a feeling of person, of  time-and-place.


I was lying on the beach – or as much beach as you get on Hawaii’s Big Island, which is more a giant hunk of lava than an island, and thus more generally rocky than sandy. I was in shady spot under a small palm tree, dozing after a picnic lunch and an hour of snorkeling just above Pu`uhonua o Honaunau.

As i drifted out of sleep, i noticed a woman sitting on the lava-rock wall near me

My best guess, though it can be hard to tell, is that she was in her late fourties, or her early fifties. Her hair, cut short, was a sort of color that made it hard to tell her age; hard to know if it was more gray or more sandy brown, but it was certainly somewhere between.

She was on her cell phone, facing away from me. She was loosely wrapped in a faded pāreu that looked like it was once vivid purple. I noticed her, at first, only because i could hear her voice. But then i payed more attention to her because i liked her tanned back. She was the color people get when they live here, that deep sort of tan one gets from being in the sun every day, not a vacation tan. She had the sort of athletic, muscled frame that ages well.

And then, as she moved her phone from hand to hand, the pāreu that was all she had on above the waist fell, and exposed her. I didn’t see it happen, but the faint squeak she let out drew my eye; it was uncharacteristically girlish compared to her phone voice.

I missed seeing much of her, catching only the side of her breast as she covered back up; but clearly the local man sitting nearbye with his ʻukulele did not, for i heard him saying it’s ok, Lady, I don’t mind at all, in a casually good-natured way. She made some reply about living on the far side of the island, and that there, she was naked most of the time, and so didn’t care.

I decided i liked her. She reminded me of a woman i used to know, Karen; a woman I’d long had a crush on, though with whom I’d never gone beyond kissing and some drunken, naked groping in the hot tub. Like Karen, this stranger wasn’t particularly pretty, but had an earthy, hippy-woman beauty. The kind of woman who is at ease with her body, wears what fits and is comfortable, and who is far, far sexier than she’d ever imagine herself to be.

I was on my back, arms stretched back behind my head, my old, sun-and-salt stained boonie hat tilted forward to shade my eyes. I carefully maintained the look of someone sleeping, my eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses. And I watched her, and thought about what she would look like the rest of the way naked, should one see more than tanned back and the side of one accidently exposed breast.

She finished her phone call, and then stood up and looked around; she looked at me, and, i assume, figured me to be asleep. I’m an inveterate girl-watcher, and though i tend to practice the notion that when I’m looking at a pretty girl, she should know she’s being looked at (i.e. i nod and smile when caught looking), i’m also pretty good at the corner-of-the-eye method, looking while seeming not to.

She stood, turned side-on to me, and picked up a t-shirt (an over-sized red tank, roughly cut to bare the midriff), and dropped her pāreu.

Her breast, the one I could see, was lovely; almost as tan as the rest of her. I imagine they were fine and high when she was twenty, because now, at fifty, they retained a beautiful shape, yet with a natural sag that is so much prettier than most surgically enhanced breasts.

Her nipples were like little cocoa-covered truffles; chocolate brown, big as gumdrops. My mouth watered as I lay on the coarse sand, and i asked her, silently, to turn more and give me a front view.

She didn’t; she pulled on her shirt, and then turned the rest of the way toward me (or rather, toward the ocean, since she had already dismissed my existence). She took up the pāreu, pulled it loosely ’round her hips, and tied it in front; this covered her bikini bottoms from the rear, but in front, only a slip of fabric covered her.

She picked up a pair of surfer-style board shorts, old and worn and faded like her pāreu, and then casually pushed down her bikini-bottoms, stepping quickly and efficiently out of them and into her shorts, then straightening, pulling them up just slowly enough to let me see her shaved-bare pussy, just glimpse enough to fill my mind with an image that will stay a while.

And then her shorts were buttoned over her tanned belly, and she turned and waked away; and I wanted to follow her, and… And what? Thank her? Ask her out? Tell her what I was now imagining, where I wanted to put my mouth? Tell her how much I wanted to taste her now while she was still sea-salty and beach-sandy?

Maybe I should have. Maybe this would have made her day, knowing she made mine; maybe she would have gone home and slipped a finger between those smooth lips the way I wanted to, and thought about the sunburned, tattooed tourist who said sweet or dirty things to her on the road between sea and parking lot. Or maybe she just would have driven home smiling.

I didn’t though; I didn’t get up; though I did roll over, to hide the reaction my own body had to her. And I thought those thoughts and half wished I’d gotten up; and half was glad I hadn’t.