It was hot.
Not the dry heat of summer where you a cooling breeze can provide some relief from the prickliness of the air but a humid heat. A humidity which was cloying and cruel with its promise of the sweet release of rain. A humidity where sweat beads ran down inert spines sheltered in the shade of large Queenslander verandahs dotted all over the coastal landscape. A humidity where the touch of another human was something only done out of sheer necessity or sheer lust.
Maggie wiped her damp handkerchief across her forehead, glanced at the sweaty mountain of a man across from her and remembered days when not even weather like this could keep her away from him for long. Even in the company of others, when social proprietary dictated some modicum of restraint, they would glance at each other with barely contained longing and lightly touch each other as they entered the others’ orbit.
The sweaty mountain snored.
He never used to snore in those days, or he did and she didn’t notice as she slept so deeply after the constant melting of their bodies, their sweat, their souls. At the time she could never imagine a time when she wouldn’t want to have his scent lingering on her skin.
And then the baby came.
The presence of two males with demands upon her made her more possessive and less eager to share her body as freely as she once had. The baby could not be denied his share of her core being but her husband could. Her husband understood or said he did, and withdrew his demands in an effort to make her happier in the hope that once again lightly touch his arm to show her desire in the heat of day.
But the touch never came.
More babies arrived as the demands upon her increased and her need for his passion faded. Summers passed as the children and the distance between them grew until the children were adults and no longer demanded their share of her time, her attention and her body.
And still the touch in the heat of the day never came.
The children moved from the family home and brought home the occasional lover for their approval but none yet had struck her as being destined to stick around as the secret glances and lingering touches that she had experienced ever seemed to be apparent.
A lightning bolt flashed on the night’s horizon as a rumble of rolled across the corrugated roofs dotted across the nearby hills. Relief would soon be here she thought as the welcoming breeze of relief washed across them on the verandah.
Lazily, she watched the storm approach across the sky, smiled and looked across at the sweaty mountain she had married and who was no longer asleep; instead watching her intently with a look of patient devotion on his face.
Quietly, she stood up and walked over to him and lightly touched his arm.
The rain had finally arrived.