Wednesday, September 10, 2014


By ATJ Cember

They sat enfolded, with Aryeh’s back against the tree and Elana cuddled between his knees, leaning against him as if in an armchair. She stared outward onto the hills with their trees, all the scenery low-magnitude and undramatically rolling.
“It really, really feels like we’re the only ones”, she said quietly and breathlessly, as if with trepidation.
“You mean, on this entire Earth?” Aryeh asked gently, taking one hand to carry away a stray wisp of his own long hair, the other to get one of Elana’s.
She nodded, leaning her cheek against his upper arm and feeling him tighten his grip. She became suddenly aware of what could only be called the essence of gravity—she was falling, being pushed, being attracted downward irrevocably and rightly. Warm lips grazed her throat.
Elana could almost feel the organs inside Aryeh’s body. She lay twisted and pinned beneath him. His forearm pulled her torso into his with what seemed like unceasing, undirected force.
“Eva”, Aryeh whispered. “God just created you and you landed here in the Garden of Eden, naked but for this pendant with the Star of David and before you know it you’re flat under me, who waited in unidentifiable hunger, against the Earth, which is new and pure just like you. And perfect.”
Aryeh reached up to touch the small trunk of the olive tree and with his other hand grasped her hip bone.
“Perfect, perfect, perfect…”
Breathlessly, other words spilled from his mouth: Hebrew, Latin? Elana in her near-delirium wasn’t sure. She couldn’t identify the tongues he spoke in, she wasn’t properly registering certain consequences of his roughness as hurt but instead as warmth, something pleasant that she should crave. She couldn’t keep up with the ways his body and his mind roared their insatiability, the way whitewater does as it tumbles in raucous elemental joy over boulders.
She stared, numb with sensation, at the vague outline of the olive trees against the sky. A fluff of fog and starshine illuminated it behind the leaves. Suddenly, she felt a sort of sickening fullness. She was being penetrated, being crucified without warning. Both of Aryeh’s hands held hers as far away as her body would let them, her knuckles scraping against the tree roots. His forehead was pressed against the soil, next to hers. Individual ribs knocked against each other.
“You’re mine”, his whisper insisted into her ear.
A distant moan of bodily pain resonated in her chest, then drowned in a nearer gurgling of harmony and existential satisfaction.
“I’m yours”, hers answered to the evening universe above, comprehending the expanse of the cosmos, the spray of leaves, the man inside her to be all one.

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ATJ Cember is a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania who is supposed to be making intellectual contributions to the world that do not include writing fiction.


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