Flashback Friday -- Episode 57, AIRY NOTHINGS

“…. To give these airy nothings a local habitation and a name…”  Shakespeare

Peeing off the Garden cabin porch at midnight in late June and staring straight up into the brilliant Milky Way, I heard a slight rustle of leaves.  I bolted back into bed and pulled the heavy quilt up to my ears.  Did David, my roommate hear it?  I had moved into my room in late May, the first inhabitant in the under-finished, newest cabin way up the hill by the garden; David, a sound sleeper, had moved in a couple days after me.  We had been together in that space for four weeks.

Then, a rapping, rapping, lightly tapping, gently at my door.  It’s not a black bear, I thought, nor a raven, nevermore. Which happy, horny hunk can this be??  I stepped out onto the porch, peering into the darkness, naked and shivering to face RR who seemed restless.

“I can’t sleep.  Can I come in?”

“But I have a roommate”, I whispered.

“Ohh…I didn’t know.  I’m sorry.” He sounded disappointed, crestfallen, agitated. I gave him a warm embrace.

“Are you O.K.?” I asked, holding him in my strong arms, nurturing him, the father in me sensing the lost, lonely son in him. RR is in his early 20’s; that makes me three times his age. “Just roamed the garden, walked all over to help me relax,” he appealed.  “I’ll just keep walking ‘til I get tired.”

I had no intention of taking RR in, and I was so relieved that David was my reason. I had extended my friendship, my nurturing earlier that day to RR, when he helped me with the garbage run. It was my turn, and I appreciated his strong muscles, crushing wooden boxes by jumping on them violently, lifting the 100 lb. bags of slop into the large cart and pulling the whole thing down the back path, up a hillock and way over to the container on the far side of the property. “What a strong sweetie,” I had thought.

On our way back like a giddy child RR chased the snow-seeds from the cottonwood trees; we sniffed garlic and parsley; we stretched out in the new garden. …”I mind how we lay in June, such a transparent summer morning… (Walt W.)”; and, we slowly gathered a bouquet of field flowers, sniffing each one at several stops along the way.  RR’s jasmine aftershave drowned the slight honeysuckle smell of his skin, and the field flowers didn’t stand a chance. He showed me his special hiding place, trusting me, all the while; he took out his newest knife and handed it to me, closing the trigger on the switchblade clumsily. “Oops, I thought”, taking it into the palm of my hand.  He carefully, then, showed me how to release and strike an imagined victim.

The Saturday before RR and I had connected over my latest poem, meant for a dramatic reading with two voices, and he had agreed to be the voice of “youth” with D. reading the mentor’s role, the “warm wise elder.” I was also strongly attracted to his physique, showing through his baggy, lower-ass hugging trousers, and tight, black muscle shirt.  I especially loved his soft, clear skin. That morning he had stood splendidly naked in the men’s room for at least an hour dabbing olive oil on his powerfully muscled thighs and soccer-ball butt, especially.  In the variegated, new garden of men in June at Easton Mountain, he stood the fairest, fresh flower of them all. 

I could tell that RR looked up to me as a poet. He loved his lines, acquitted himself well, and bowed to huge applause that talent show night among the members of the International Association of Spiritual Psychologists. He was PERFECT for the part!  I knew that the response he would get would feed his hunger for recognition and respect.  I also knew that his Greek good looks, discus-thrower’s body, fair complexion, powerful haunches and boyishly, long hair, even with his baseball cap reversed on his head, would cut a dramatic fit for the strongest lines I had yet written. It was A MOMENT!  I raved about RR’s reading, and he loved it: all that positive attention. I loved doing that for him!

(Copyright 2007 Frank Crowley) Our thanks to Frank for letting us use this essay, which he wrote in 2006, shortly after his first visit to Easton Mountain.