Cialis Moment

It was one of those achingly long July evenings. When Night comes softly up to Day, one arm round her shoulder so gentle she doesn’t even know it’s there. Heads bent close, so the wind brushes her copper bright curls among his darker locks. In the hush she turns to him, lips parted, but words unsaid, waves still along the shore to hear, gulls etched in the sky seem to hang, the lone crow on the bare spruce branches bunches to take off but doesn’t loosen his grip. Meadow grasses bent like archers’ bows hold their arc. We all know what is coming but ain’t it fine how slow Day lets each polished moment fall.

Cory and Barb had us all down for supper that night. I could see the fire in the open field as we made our way down the hill. Their place sits clear of the forest with the bulk of the hill to break the easterlies. South from their doorstep only the steady pulse of the lighthouse on The Rock breaks the horizon. West you can look up Blue Hill Bay to the mountains and the narrow opening of The Reach where the schooners and steamers passed through on their way Down East, and round to the North where the lights of the Harbor let you know we are not completely alone. There’s a little path from their doorstep to the shore where his punt is hauled up and, a little way out, the Barbara-Cory rides her mooring. Any way the wind has a mind to blow all he has to do is pull the curtain back, or step out, coffee in hand, and know how she’s taking it.

It was a night of salads and pies and casseroles on the kitchen counter, guys around the fire in the firepit out front one hand in a pocket and one around a cold beer, women around the picnic table. All watching the flames rise and the sun set.

We remembered the old days and how the old timers rigged a trawl or made cider or dried cod. Swapped tales of wild lobster boat captains. Shared the finer points of gardens and gathering chanterelles, clamming hotspots, and how the hunting might shape up come fall. Talked the rise and fall of the price of lobster and the fickle fortunes of the halibut season just past.

The level in the bottles went down with the sun. GG took the salmon off the grill. Cory’s dog, Gus, made off with the cheese and snacks on the table. No one noticed until he came back for the dip and took a sheet of tinfoil with it.

Far out over the southern horizon the sky darkened. Cory fetched another stack of slab wood and threw it on the fire. The sparks spiraled up and night crept in a step to embrace them.

Barb moved to get plates.

A little after sunset, Dute cruised in, snagged a mooring, and rowed ashore. Dute’s boat missed any definite class. Not a lobster boat but not for show either. Not made and kept for work with stacked tubs and lines and gear stowed ready to hand, but not polished and bright and buttoned down either. More than you’d need to get back and forth and not enough to make a statement or a fuss but plenty to let you know he’d arrived.

He wore shorts despite the chill and she a billowing skirt. He introduced her offhand, like maybe she’d only hooked up with him when he landed on the beach and he hadn’t had a chance to study up on her name quite yet. Wendy. Her handshake was stronger than his. She wandered in looking for a glass and he stayed by the fire staring into the shifting flames.

“Been out long Dute?” asked Cory.

Dute’s lips moved as he counted. “Four days, I guess,” he said finally counting them on his fingers to be sure.

“You ever been to Jonesport, Benjy? “ he asked.

I hadn’t.

“Well, they got this bar right where you come off the wharf. Don’t even need to go up into the town.”

GG remembered it used to be the village store.

“Fellow found out he made out better selling beer,” said Billy. “Started out just dividing the store in half, made a bar in one end and kept the store in the other. After a time he let the store go.”

“Whatever,” said Dute. “Nice place. Don’t even have to walk up into town.”

“What’d the fourth month think of you taking off this time of year?” asked Billy.

“April? Oh, she’s mad as hell. Said I went out with another woman,” Dute said. He watched Wendy carry a drink across the field. “Guess I did.”

Plates went round. Some sat on log ends, some at the table, some on the porch steps. I perched on the edge of the porch and watched the first stars embroider the hem of night.

Wendy left the fire, moving like she heard something coming in with the tide and the flow of night. Moving like she was dancing with a presence more than a partner.

“The porch is still warm,” she said. We listened to the surge along the shore and around the ledges between the islands. The lights in the Harbor as far away and glittering as the stars.

“I love that we can’t hear the world being busy,” she said. “I love how far away it all is. I thought I’d go crazy over there.”

“You mean the melted ice creams and T-shirts?’ I asked.

“And plastic lobster bibs and fudge and collecting postcards of the things you wished you’d done.” She laughed. “Can you believe, a couple of weeks ago I was in the snowfields in Utah. Hiking in the glaciers.”

I didn’t ask how she got from the glaciers to hopping aboard Dute’s vessel. But I liked the way she leaned in to tell the story about singing to let the bears know she was on the trail. The night wind pressed her dress against her thighs and the last red glow of sunset and the firelight flickering made her face a play of shadow and her eyes sparkle. I liked her hand on my arm when she made a point and how her eyes widened.

Out to sea stalight glinted on unseen waves like the whole mass of night was on the move.

Billy and Dute and Wendy moved away toward Billy’s place. They wavered as they walked, bumping into each other. The footsteps wove a darker, tangled trail through the grass already wet with dew. Their laughter rang through the air still soft with the day’s warmth.

There are times when the goddess comes all bright and glorious. Then her eyes radiate wisdom and their light is deep and powerful. Times when she lets her hair down and shakes it wild around her. When her smile is full with clear intent.

“I don’t know Benjy,” said GG. “Look like a Cialis moment to me.”

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