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The Peach Orchard

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Amateur

A narrative from Ms. Gimply’s collection.

My brother, Johnny, told me that Mark had come back. He was living in the same city where I lived in a group home for the disabled. Mark had been my brother’s best friend since primary school. They had been inseparable until Mark left for college ten years ago. Of course, I had known him well, too, as he had been an almost permanent fixture in our home. Now his marriage had broken up and he had returned to join a small local law firm.

My emotions were mixed on hearing the news. Of course, I looked forward to seeing him after all those years. But the prospect brought back all the dreams and yearnings that I secretly harbored. It was with Mark that I had the only erotic encounter of my life. It had been in a peach orchard.

But let me start at the beginning. Johnny and I are fraternal twins, although he always refers to me as his younger sister. Technically, he is correct since he was delivered first and I arrived an hour later. That hour was fateful because my brain was deprived of oxygen. That left me the way I am now – without speech and with arms and legs that move unbidden and refuse to do what I try to tell them. Actually my right foot works enough for typing into my computer and to work my speech synthesizer. (I know this sounds like a “feel good” movie script, but I can’t help that.)

The synthesizer mounts on my electric wheelchair next to my foot. With it I can express my basic needs to my attendants and others. I hate it. It sounds like a demented robot. I call it “Hal,” after the ornery machine in the Kubrik movie. I can clearly tell whether I wanted another bite of sandwich or a spoonful of soup, instead. But I can never use it to communicate what is really in my heart and mind. To be fair, it had gotten me through high school and a two-year Associate of Arts degree in the community college. (It took four years to complete.) The only sounds I can make, otherwise, are grunts and moans signifying “yes” and “no,” understood by family and close friends. The people closest to me can read my meaning in my eyes.

I completed high school on time, along with Johnny and Mark. Johnny had been a really good brother. He never treated me as fragile and defenseless. He teased and rough-housed. My right foot could deliver a mean kick if I caught him unawares.

Johnny even called me “Spaz,” sometimes, when our parents weren’t around. If I couldn’t land a kick, I could get even with him by refusing to help him with his English and History homework. His strong points were in the Chemistry and Physics labs. (They never let me near those labs. I guess they feared broken glassware and disrupted experiments.)

I provided him with emotional support. In spite of his brash exterior, he was vulnerable in many ways. I was the only one who could see it. Our parents were clueless. All through our teen years, Johnny could never form a satisfactory relationship with a girlfriend. He was always attracted to the wrong ones. He poured out his woes to me and I understood.

High school was really rather pleasant. Johnny was always there, watching and protecting, although few people could see it. Some people teased me but Johnny always took it up with them and it stopped. Once, there was a really obnoxious group of boys who imitated my jerky motions and my attempts at speech. Soon after the teasing started, they were in a fight with Johnny and Mark in the boys’ locker room. They were all suspended from school until a hearing was held and they were readmitted. I remember the cuts on Johnny’s hands and the way that Mark’s lip was swollen. None of them ever said what the fight was about. But, the teasing stopped.

My own strengths in school were in literature and writing. The written word is my passion and my life. I write fiction, poetry, essays and reviews that let my soul show through to the world. I have sold several of my pieces. Of course, I publish under a pseudonym and let Johnny receive the payments for me. Any income I have that is “on the books” will make me ineligible for disability payments and other public support. (That whole system is seriously screwed up. But that is a topic for another time.)

I write with a touch screen and a touch pad. Johnny, now a computer consultant, rigged it up for me. The software is amazing. To begin a word, my toe selects a letter from the screen. Then it displays all the common words I might be trying to write. Then I can either select one or continue with a second letter that shows a selection of less common words. Then the process continues. It was a bit daunting at first, but when I got used to it, I could type like the wind. I use it to surf the Internet as well and I correspond with many people by e-mail. My foot driven computer interface is my lifeline to the world.

But, enough about me. I set out to tell you about Mark and the peach orchard. He had come with my family to the farm where people pick their own peaches. It was an annual ritual that we had honored güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri for as long as I can remember. Johnny had pushed me over the rough ground in my manual chair until we reached the trees. He paid no mind to the way my body jerked and flailed with the bumps. Mother scolded him, but I couldn’t object. He was my rough-house buddy and my protector.

The others dispersed with baskets. I sat in the partial shade of a peach tree and absorbed the cooling breeze. Mother had dressed me in a scanty sunsuit left over from the year before. She seemed not to recognize that I was growing and was no longer her baby. I had no bra in spite of the obvious presence of my new breasts. I made up my mind to speak to her. (Of course, Hal would do the talking.)

Mark was the first to return. He had a small basket of peaches. As he stood by me, he selected one of them and bit into it. All my readers have seen what happens with a ripe peach freshly picked from the tree. The juice exploded from the fruit and flowed down his chin and his hand and then down his arm to his elbow. A few drops fell to the ground. I laughed in my own way and then signaled with my eyes that I wanted a bite, too.

He held the peach to my lips and I took the biggest bite that I could manage. I didn’t even attempt to stem the flow of juice to my chin and to my chest below. Mark watched for a long moment and then pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He slowly wiped my chin and the went to my chest. He didn’t hurry.

A random move of my arm slipped a strap off my shoulder and exposed one breast down to its pink nipple. Mark still did not hurry. Finally, he took the strap in his fingers and lifted it to my shoulder and covered me. “Nice,” was all he said. Soon the others came.

When Mother bathed me that evening, I took stock of my naked body. I was becoming a woman. I liked the way I looked, even if I couldn’t control how I moved. I noted my new pubic hair and decided that it looked like the down of a peach. My body spasmed at the thought.

I lay awake a long time that night and thought about Mark and the orchard and about my blossoming womanhood. For the first time, I thought seriously about how my life was going to go. I knew, then, that when high school was over, I would need to go out into the world and not stay home.

After graduation, I found a group home in the city. With disability payments and other support services, I could afford it. Poor Mother was reluctant to let me go but, at the same time, was visibly relieved to be rid of the daily grind of attending all my physical needs. I was happy to be off, but at the same time, was filled with trepidation.

I settled into life at the home. There were attendants around the clock. They did good work but did not display much enthusiasm for it. Of course, they were paid minimum wage and did not receive any benefits to speak of. The woman in charge was a bitch. She was hung up on rules and procedures and didn’t see any of us – residents and attendants – as real people. To her we were clients and employees. We all conspired against her.

But, I had the chance to be minimally independent. With my electric wheelchair I could get to a supermarket, a little movie theater, a bookstore and a farmers’ market that opened on Saturday’s during the warm weather. The nearby community college was short trip in the home’s van.

Living with my body was hard. Attendants were in charge of it. Often they were new people whom I didn’t know. I missed poor Mother’s attention, even as I was glad to escape it. I even missed Johnny’s silly horseplay. At least they had accepted my body as it is and not as some clinical object only to be kept clean and decently covered.

I decided to treat my body as if it was not part of me. It was just an unfortunate object that had to be catered to. I thought about the line from Yeats that lamented that his soul was tethered to a dying animal. My animal was not dying, but it was not much use to me except as it provided physical support to my brain and, yes, to my soul as well. That strategy worked for me during the long days of being bathed, dressed, fed and otherwise ministered to by attendants.

At night, alone and under the covers, the strategy did not work so well. In bed, my body was undeniably a part of me. I couldn’t masturbate in the usual way. My hands refused to be guided there. However, I found that I could clench my legs together and slowly and rhythmically move the right one to stimulate myself. Then, invariably, my imagination turned to pictures of Mark and the peach orchard and my downy teenage pubic hair.

I think I never actually had an orgasm that way. (I had read all about the subject on the Internet.) But warm sensation washed over me and even calmed me and led to sweet sleep. But in the morning I was estranged from my body again.

Now, I have claimed to you that I write professionally. At this point, you must be doubting that. I set güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri out to tell you about Mark’s return but I have strayed from my topic. Let me go back to it.

I often visited home on weekends. Johnny or my mother made the trip to the city to get me and returned me on Sunday. Not long after Mark returned, Johnny invited him there for Sunday brunch and to watch a baseball game on television. I was there. When Mark arrived, he greeted me with a hug. He was older, of course, and showed a bit of sadness around his eyes. He seemed genuinely glad to see me.

Of course I was glad to see him, too. I had left Hal at the home and couldn’t really tell him so. I let my eyes talk for me. I joined him and Johnny to watch the game.

At the end of the day, it was decided that Mark would take me back to the city. It would relieve Mother or Johnny of the trip and was the most sensible thing to do. I wasn’t really consulted. Of course, I could have objected to Johnny with my eyes and he would have changed the plan without question. I did not object.

Johnny lifted me into Mark’s car. I liked the easy contact of our bodies. Before he closed the door, he kissed me on the cheek and said, “Bye-bye, Spaz.” Then he turned to Mark and said, “If she has to pee before you get there, then good luck to you both.” I would have kicked him if my right leg was not already imprisoned in the car. Then we were off.

There is one advantage to being speechless. It is that the person you are with must do all the talking or else there will be silence. There were long silences, but he opened up about his life and his marriage. His wife of two years had left him. She had left him to be with a woman! I know that we live in new times, but that kind of news still shocks me. I felt his disappointment and sense of inadequacy. I imagined her lying in his bed and wanting to be with someone else. I decided that I hated her.

At my place, he lifted me from his car to my chair. I liked the way he felt. My body was alive and well! He rolled me into the reception area and then took his leave with a little kiss on my cheek. I liked it. It felt different from the one my brother had given me. Later, in my bed, I revisited the peach orchard.

I did not want things just to end that way. I thought that, perhaps, he did not want it to end either. A few days later I sent him an e-mail:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Thanks
Date: July …..

Hi Mark:

I got your e-mail address from Johnny. Thanks for the ride home. In spite of what my wicked brother says, I can hold my bodily functions quite well and can go on very long rides without imposing on anyone.

It was so good to see you after all this time. I’m sorry for your unfortunate marriage. Remember, whatever happens, I’m on your side!

Since we live so close together, let’s stay in touch.

Thanks again,

Joni

His response was warm and kind. He agreed we should stay in touch. He reminisced about our friendship going way back to childhood.

We exchanged notes from time to time. At last I screwed up my courage and wrote:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Can we see a movie?
Date: August…..

There is a foreign film festival at a theater near my place. I would love it if you can see some movies with me. That is, if you can bear to be seen in public with a “spaz” like me. I can get there in my electric chair and you can walk. No, you will not have to deal with my “bodily functions.”

Seriously, I would like that. Let me know.

Love,

J.

He replied that spaz or not he would go anywhere in the world with me but we could start with the movies. He was a delight to be with. He had firm opinions about the films we saw. I had opinions that were equally firm that I told him about in more e-mails.

It took a long time to muster the courage to send him this:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Peaches
Date: August….

Dear Mark:

Remember how we used to pick peaches when we were young? Now I have been reading the ads in the newspaper that say that the peaches are ripe at our old peach orchard. I would like to go back there, again. I would especially like to go with you andto relive old times. Are you up for that?

For old times sake,

Joni

I was relieved and delighted when he agreed. On a Saturday in late August he lifted me into his car and fastened my seatbelt. He stowed my manual chair in the trunk and we were off to the peach orchard.

The place had changed little in the years we were not there. He rolled my chair into the orchard. He was much slower and gentler that my brother would have been. I was able to restrain my wanton limbs, mostly. He parked me under a tree and set off with his basket.

I had won a nasty fight with the attendant that morning. I had insisted on wearing a peasant blouse that güvenilir bahis şirketleri left my shoulders and upper chest bare. I also insisted on going without a bra. Of course, I saw her point; the bitch in charge would take stern measures with any employee that left a resident not properly covered. Finally, Hal and I had won the argument. I got my way.

I basked in the partial shade of a peach tree and remembered the times I was there when we were young. Mark returned with a full basket. He lifted a peach and bit into it. He was looking straight into my eyes. The juice poured over his hand and down his arm to the elbow.

I asked for a bite with my eyes. He placed it by my lips and I bit. The juice flowed from my chin to my chest and to the space between my breasts. All he said was “Deja vu,” and pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He did not hurry. He wiped my chin. Even through the cloth, his touch was sensuous. He moved to my bare shoulders and chest and lingered there. Then he pulled my blouse down to reveal my breasts to just above my nipples and moved the handkerchief there.

He kissed the tops of my breasts, first one and then the other. He pulled up my blouse and looked directly into my eyes. “Even nicer,” he said and then kissed me softly on the lips.

He was silent on the ride back. His touch as he lifted me from the car was especially gentle and lingering. He kissed me again on the lips before he rolled me into reception. He left me with half of the peaches.

I was difficult for the attendants over the next few days. I insisted that I would eat peaches with all my meals. Of course, with them cut into slices and fed to me one at a time, I couldn’t recreate the effect that I wanted. My nights were turbulent. I couldn’t find comfort with my usual movements and the peach orchard would not come to my imagination.

The next morning I wrote:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Thanks for the peaches and the …
Date: September ….

Dear M:

Thanks for the peaches and for the lovely day in general. Thank you for the kisses. I have waited for years for them.

Now I need more. Will you be my lover?

Joni

I waited for two days before I sent the message. I was really frightened that he would reject me. The next day his reply came. He wanted to make love with me he said. We only needed to arrange a time for me to come to his place anjd suggested the following Saturday. I replied that Saturday was ideal.

In the interval, I was delirious with anticipation. I was especially nice to the attendants and even to the bitch. But on Friday evening I received his e-mail and my heart fell. I immediately wrote a reply and sent it:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Don’t be a jerk!
Date: September ….

Damn you. No, you are not taking advantage of me. I am taking advantage of you! I am a spastic cripple who has little chance of attracting a man. I want you. We will not ride into the sunset together and live happily ever after. But we can be together for now – for a month or a week or a night. I want you! I want to get laid! I want you to take me.

Don’t be a jerk!

Joni

I regretted it as soon as I pushed the icon to send it. I cried for almost an hour and then set myself to send a saner (and more persuasive) message:

To: Mark…..@…..com
From: Joni…..@….net
Subject: Sorry
Date: September ….

Dearest;

I’m really sorry for the last message. I wrote it out of frustration and anger. What I should have said is that I appreciate your concern for me. I know that you have always protected me. I remember your swollen lip after that fight in high school. I knew the fight was about me. I wanted to kiss your lip and ease the hurt, but we were so young then.

I have wanted you since you covered my breast in the peach orchard all those years ago. You were so gallant. In my dreams I have longed for you to uncover more of me instead.

I am not a prize. You are on the rebound. Any sane person would say that we shouldn’t. However, there is far too much sanity in the world. Be crazy with me. Please come for me tomorrow.

Love,

Joni

He was there in the morning. I lied to the woman in charge and told her that he was taking me home. Before we went to his place, he drove us to the nearby farmers’ market. We wandered from booth to booth. He bought me flowers. We did not linger much longer except to buy a bag of late season peaches. He put the bag in my lap and I anticipated the rest of the day as we moved on.

His place was small and comfortable. As soon as we were in the door, he kissed me and removed my jacket. Then he removed his own clothes down to his tee shirt and briefs. With my eyes I asked him to undress me, too. That was easy as I had told my attendant to dress me in loose fitting sweat pants and shirt. I wore no bra. I was soon sitting only in my panties. He slipped out of his remaining clothes and I could see that he wanted me.

He turned to the bag of peaches and selected one. He took a bite and then the familiar juice poured down his hand and his arm. Of course he put the peach to my mouth and I bit and let the juice flow down my chin and my chest to my breasts and my navel.

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