Coauthor submissions

Canvases – a tale of two lovers and the insignificance of time. Yuri

-

The years slide by and seasons pass with a grace that can only be described as seamless as she trimmed down the tiny branches of the bonsai(1) Sakura tree. The miniaturized plant's older sibling towered above the woman, shedding its thousands of pink petals like bloodied tears. The woman's hair was knee-length, the color of a candle flame and swept down over her features like strands of water. Her eyes, clouded, opaque violet, stared endlessly upward, vacant and unseeing. Volumes of heavy silk layered over her shoulders, falling onto the ground where it pooled with all the shimmering colors of spilled gasoline.

Blindly, her small hands seemed to float as her fingers circled the miniature tree, quickly finding the too-long branches that stuck out at odd angles, silken petals caressing like tiny tufts of cloud. Squiggles of multi-green grass inched up between her bare toes. The sound of tapping footsteps broke the steady fall of settling petals and a soft smile parted her salmon-colored lips. Something smooth and hard was slipped above her hear ad she reached up the feel the familiar curl of lucky bamboo. It twisted around on itself like a sickeningly broken finger. Her smile widened.

"You've returned to me, Katsuya(2)."Her words fell crisply from her lips, unrevealing the fluttering of her heart.

A bright laugh was her reply followed by a kiss placed upon her temple. "I have."

The blind woman reached over her shoulder, taking a hold of recently shortened strands of smooth, grainy hair that she knew to be the same color as the darkness she now lived in. the face of the owner of the hair withheld eyes so blue that they seemed almost black against gold skin marred with laugh lines. There were no such things as wrinkles upon that much-loved face.

"You bonsai is coming along beautifully, my Dearest." The one named Katsuya said, her broad, plump lips tickling the other woman's ear.

The blind woman smiled wider. "Is it?"

"It is an article of perfection. Tiny, beautiful beyond compare, and yet so high maintenance."

She laughed, her giggles tinkling like small jadestone bells. "You were supposed to be describing my bonsai tree, not me."

Katsuya joined in the laughter. "Can I not describe both together? You are very much like the tiny Sakura you've worked so hard to create, Nagareboshi(3)." Hands settled on the blind woman's waist, pressing two bodies gently together.

"Then you are like this bonsai's sister tree: equally beautiful, but stronger, taller, and wild, growing at its own rate of desire. My inspiration."

Katsuya smiled into the smaller woman's neck.

"How was your journey, my Love?" Nagareboshi asked, her milky voice falling quiet.

Katsuya hummed, her solid alto resonating between the both of them. "As well as can be expected."

"Casualties?"

"Grim questions for a former geisha(4) to ask."

Nagareboshi chuckled and shook her head, turning in her lover's arms. "'Geisha?'" She echoed. "A maiko(5) that was scolded for paying more attention to the other women instead of the client can hardly be called a former geisha." She chuckled somewhat bitterly. "Geisha are trained to charm men, not other women."

Lips painted the color of red maples brushed against a pair the color of salmon. "Silly," was all that was said.

Neither could remember when they had first met, their lives slipped into place beside one another so perfectly that they might as well have been brought together and betrothed during infancy. They fell into step beside on another just like summer followed spring; always hand in hand so that you could never really tell where one began and the other ended. Nagareboshi, trapped by blindness and affection, stopped counting her birthdays; age was of no consequence or importance so long as Katsuya was by her side. Years blended together, unimportant; she wondered if they were old now or not. Time moved gradually and slowly enough that it was impossible for her to tell if she had changed much, if at all. How many years had it been? Seven? A hundred or more? Nagareboshi did not now and she did not care.

Finger wove together like the strings that made up fabric and the slender tentacles(6) of the wind nipped at their ears and braided the two women's hair, carrying with it the soft, distinct smell of cherry blossoms and pond water.

When Nagareboshi still had her sight, she remembered how Katsuya used to fancy that they had a dragon living in their pond. It was the luck that helped them remain together, she had said, and buying new koi fish to put in the pond for it to eat every month was the least they could do in return. She had painted a depiction of what the Luck Dragon looked like: snake-like, blue-scaled, and wild but wise-faced, for her lover. Katsuya had loved it. It still hung in their bedroom as far as she knew in between their uchikake(7).

"I have a gift for you, my Dearest." Katsuya whispered. Nagareboshi felt her heart soar, as it did every time her lover expressed affection so sweetly. Her opaque eyes watered and she felt that their passion had not dimmed in the least throughout their life together. She still blushed and swooned like she did when they first kissed.

Katsuya led the smaller woman into their house, her sandals clicking on the stone path, which was warm from the heat of the sun and the color of obese thunderclouds. Nagareboshi's bare feet were nearly silent like the rest of her.

The blind woman's face glowed with delight as her fingers flitted over the paintbrushes and bottles of ink. She ran the soft pad of her thumb over the sides of the containers, feeling the kanji pressed into their sides to identify the colors. Canvas paper sat in her lap and Katsuya watched as Nagareboshi marveled at the smoothness and texture of the paper.

"You like them."

Nagareboshi seemed overflowing with joy. "I do not know how well I could paint though! It would a mess of scribbled colors!"

The dark haired woman grinned. "It would still be beautiful. Nothing you paint could ever be anything else. No matter what it looked like."

Nagareboshi took on a thoughtful expression, her eyes staring blankly toward the heavens. Slowly, she smiled. "Give me your hand." Katsuya did so and tilted her head confusedly as the smaller woman removed the lids from the paint jars. Her smile nearing a smirk, the opaque-eyed woman dipped a paintbrush into the ink and began to brush along her lover's hand, up her wrist, and over her forearm.

Nagareboshi's logic was this:

She was blind, but she had loved to paint and still loved to work with her hands. She could not see the canvas and anything she painted upon it would be something she could not imagine, because she would not be able to tell where the brush had landed last compared to where she placed it next. Katsuya, however, was a different story. Katsuya was not a blank piece of paper, and though she could no longer physically see it, Nagareboshi knew every arch, bend, and contour on her lover's body. So, instead of paper, she would paint a masterpiece over her lover, using Katsuya's skin as the canvas.

The ink soaked into Katsuya's golden skin, wet and cool and black. She recognized the beginnings of a Sakura tree, its bark deep black as it twisted and curled up her arm. It was not long before she found herself discarding her kimono, painted silk tumbling to the floor like over-sized, rippling leaves and exposing her bare body to the sweet-smelling summer air.

Black branches continued growing over her skin, twisting and turning, over her breasts and along her neck. Red-pink blossoms began to bloom from the branches, gently cradled by small nests of messy green leaves. Even when she leaned forward to capture the lips of the smaller woman, Nagareboshi's paintbrush did not falter, ever following the well-known trails of her body.

Her nails were coated in red dragon's fire, and the Sakura tree spread over her entire form like a deadly rash. Nagareboshi's lips caressed every spot she planned placing a blossom upon and Katsuya marveled at the liquid flames that consumed the tree on her skin in reflection of how hot she physically felt. She lied back as her blind lover painted her feet, smearing the ink on her back across the floor like a mess of cold, black blood.

Nagareboshi abandoned her brush quiet suddenly, unable to keep her hands and lips away from Katsuya's painted body any longer. The smaller woman's salmon lips were consumed like sushi and layers of clothing were stripped and tossed to the ground like a snake shedding its outgrown skin into scales more beautiful and sensitive.

Breath steamed while feathery touches wandered and tickled places unseen by the light of day. The hot breeze that slithered its way through the doorway turned beads of burning sweat into chill ice that melted in seconds.

The passion was palpable and it never dimmed or faltered, growing and sparking like the string of a firework. The reaction was explosive, full of color and joy as it grew rapidly before settling down and dying with grace and satisfaction. It left both women in a contented, sleepy state; soft smiles adorning both faces, bodies nearly braided together.

They slipped through time, the years, the seasons, together, always together, seamlessly, hand in hand. Time was of no importance, because it would always be spent in the company of the other, which was all that counted. Days were indistinguishable from the others, but each moment was treasured and remembered and held sacred and close to the heart. No action, however small, was insignificant. They never seven noticed when or if they died, so strong was their bond, their souls willingly locked and chained together by the want, the need, to continue to be beside each other until all collapsed and the world itself crumbled beneath their feet.

There was no love stronger.

-End-

(1)-Bonsai- A tree that has been trimmed and forcibly grown to be in a miniature state.

(2)-Katsuya- A Japanese name that's usually for a boy. I have a fetish for girls with boy's names.

(3)-Nagareboshi- Falling star

(4)-Geisha- A woman trained in many arts of entertaining. Literally means "art person."

(5)-Maiko- Apprentice geisha

(6)-"…slender tentacles…"- I'm comparing the feeling of the wind to the tentacles of a squid or octopus.

(7)-Uchikake- Ceremonial wedding kimono