It was a pristine day. A perfect day.
Monsieur Nhoc has just come down the stairs from his apartment over his bookshop near the lake. He bows to madame who lives not far, whose name has bypassed his memory, which is actually getting really bad.
He likes her, and her tiny dog that looks like a wound-up toy. He may have a chance to know her better, as she looks like someone who would want to know him in return.
It must be admitted that he often sees her naked as she walks her dog, her large rump and breasts free of heavy covering, white as snow. That is his little private pastime.
Today is an important anniversary that even his poor memory can remember. It is a good day for it, the best that he can ever hope for.
The memory of a day a long time ago warms him from within.
Spring is really here after such a long winter. He has been watching the tulips growing daily in the ground of rich dark soil on the left hand side of the esplanade.
They nod now in the breeze, pretty in their vibrant colours and one of the best sights as he can hope to see in this life.
A nice couple that he sees almost everyday strolls by now and they smile at him as usual.
“Bonjour, Monsieur. Comment ca va?,” they say together like a well-synchronised couple. He looks back and admires the woman’s huge bulging behind waddling along side her man’s also very round cheeks, sadly pink and pale.
It does indeed go well today.
People in this small town has got used to this friendly and rather odd Asian man now as he walks daily on his esplanade or sits in his bookshop during week days.
Gertrude has been watching him for some time. He seems the loneliest man on earth as he sits in his shop and punctually takes his walks. She has been following him at a distance and knows his route.
Now and then she would walk from the opposite direction and said good day to him. He would smile, a gleam in his eye. The good-looking old devil was probably a ladies’ man in his day.
Looking back, Nhoc sees his adopted world. His carefully selected books pack the shelves that he can still see through the big front window. He is proud of his selection which is probably the best collection in town for discerning readers.
The comfortable chairs near the glass that his customers can sit and read before they buy or borrow his books are empty today as the shop is closed. His paintings hang on the wall.
On wintry days when snow is thick outside and ice extends from the shore on the surface of the lake, his bookshop is a very warm and comfortable place to be.
His apartment up a narrow flight of stairs from the shop is cosy as well.
He switches the electric blanket under the bed sheet on so that the bed is sometimes too warm, before slipping in. When the lights are off, he opens the curtain fully so that he can see the mountain range from bed, and then undresses. Even at this age, he loves to sleep naked.
He then often tiptoes a little dance which sometimes turns into an expansive sweeping of arms and legs, everything swinging free. C’est la vie.
In the trials and tribulations of this life, happiness is in the end found in this simplicity.
This is the tenth anniversary of his Perfect Day. It was a warm and his heart was bursting with the second love in his life. He could do nothing more than to lay on the bed or sit up in it, stunned. Every second and minute needed to be savoured and kept forever. Hours flowed by. He still could do nothing else.
In his heart now is the same feeling, fainter after the years but unmistakable. The sensation of the heart being gently cradled and squeezed at will by a soft caring hand. The feeling comes back when he thinks of his Love, anytime and anywhere.
But not long after the Perfect Day came Imperfect Night.
Nhoc can still hear his Love’s wise parting words, the sound of her gate closing behind him, and the longest walk of his life away from it on a one-way street into the night.
He is outside the village now. The esplanade has become a track between pine forest and the lake lapping on pebbles. He turns left into the tall fragrant trees and climbs to a small level clearing surrounded by tall dark pines. He often comes here to sit on this grass and dreams.
What does one do with a wine glass overflowing with the purest love that no one will drink? Pour it into this soft carpet of pine needles.
Over the years, a small waterfall of his semen had soaked repeatedly into this earth under the pine needles to seep to that waiting womb half way around the world. But no womb waits now.
As Gertrude sits at her usual spot behind a big pine tree, Monsieur Nhoc kneels at his usual spot. He unbuttoned his bulky coat, then his trousers. His penis hangs out now over the mossy grass that it will soon fertilise.
This is the moment that Gertrude has been rehearsing in her bedroom. She walks straight up to him. As he hears her steps crushing on leaves, Nhoc looks up. Gertrude does all she can to stop laughing at the expression on his face, as Nhoc tries to cover himself up.
“Bonjour, Monsieur Nhoc. It’s me, Gertrude.”
“Er, bonjour…What are you doing here?”
“Sorry, I have been following you because you look so lonely.”
“I am lonely.”
“Wait then,” says Gertrude.
She sits down in front of him on the mossy ground then lays back, pulls up her skirt and opens her thighs wide. A patch of bright sunlight falls on her short wispy blond pubic hair that gleams in the light.
The man’s penis pokes out from behind his hand. Gertrude now holds the man’s bottom and gently pulls him towards her.
“Come in, Monsieur,” she says.
She lays back again and feels his hardness pushed inside her. Her rather strong smells mixes with his and that of the decomposing carpet of leaves. She is concentrating now on his movement, not wanting to miss the bus.
Monsieur Nhoc is in a hurry now, charging ahead like a water buffalo, his hands in the wet leaves. Gertrude wills herself to come at the same time as her man who is flopping on her ample breasts, into which he is pushing his face as he grunts and gurgles.
Now, you did that well, Gertrude, she congratulates herself. Here is the old man, a grandfather really, that she feels sorry for, safely between her legs. She hugs him now firmly, pressing him down into her as far as he would go.
“I come to your house tonight, OK?,” she said, as she helps to dress him. “And we’ll do more of this.”
“My perfect day,” Monsieur Nhoc mumbles to himself as they walk together arms in arms through the trees.
“I guess it is,” says Gertrude with a satisfied smile. And for me too, she thinks.
There will be many, many more.
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