Wednesday, January 25, 2012

618 - With Bare Hands

“Grandmama!  He didn’t!”

Kyriala’s grandmother leaned over the ceremonial cloth spread on the carpet, waving her glass for emphasis.  “He did!  He did indeed!  I hid him behind my pillows, wrapped in a sheet, disguised as a bolster, while my papa tore my room apart, certain that someone was threatening my virtue!  I sat in bed leaning against my pillows, my sheets pulled up around my ears, my nightgown rucked up enough to show my knees... but safely hidden under the bedclothes.  I nearly smothered the poor boy pushing him flat with my back.”

In deference to her age she sat, her chairlegs on the cloth while the younger women lounged on cushions all around, all of them dressed in the peculiar white gowns of the sequeretiras.  Platters of cakes and chocolates and red-fruits as big as a baby’s fist were scattered between the cushions, crumbs and flakes of icing and kaf droplets spread like comet tails.  Tall spiralled clear glasses, some still standing partly full of foamed wine, stood amongst the kaf pots and the cream pots and the sugar bowls.  A silver mask lay, like an inside-out face, tipped to one side, the ribbons to hold it on trailing in the cream. Some glasses lay empty, dregs dripping onto the marble, like forgotten wounded on the edges of the rug.

Ky put her head down.  “Oh, if I knew what really happened the last night of wedding seclusion I’d have run screaming!  Grandmama that is scandalous!”  The other women half lying around the circle smiled.  Trathila's mask lay discarded by her body-sized pillow.

"If there's any time to say such things, this would be it." The elderly woman smiled beautifically.  "And that poor, half-smothered boy... wasn't your Grandpapa, either!"  She hiccupped and put her fingers over her smile.

Daurama refilled her glass and leaned back with half-lidded eyes.  The unmasked masker, Trathila, smiled and drew in a full lung of Arkan herb and held it before wafting her words out with the cloud of smoke.   

“You have a scandalous story, Daurama.  I can tell.  Let your about to be married daughter know the worst.”

Sera Liren laughed. “Oh I can’t... my darling daughter will think I’m talking about her beloved father, rest he in Selestialis...” She paused.  “But then what is a mother to do?  I will tell you Ky... in general... this is from older women before I was married.  My grandmother told me to lie still, let my husband do whatever he wanted and stare at the ceiling... endure for the Empire." She sighed. "An auntie took me aside later... but another auntie told me...” she put one bare hand over her mouth for a moment as if to pull the words out.  “Some men... um... like to be boys... even with their wives.”

“How is that possible?  Mama you’re teasing me!”

“No, no,” Trathila said and bit into a piece of chocolate cake and licked her fingers.  “There are... certain appliances... things... that a woman can use.”


Skala’s mother snorted.  “Or the most manly, manly, manly man will want you to spank him in the privacy of the bedchamber.”

Ky nearly choked, sputtering into her glass, trying not to snuff wine through her nose. "Oh.  Oh. Oh, dear.”

“With your bare hands.”

“Not all men of course.” Trathila, as their expert and a midwife friend of grandmama, picked up the thread.  She offered Ky a redfruit dipped in chocolate, floating in the foamed wine.   

“From what you’ve let slip you probably won’t be asked to paddle the shen out of your groom but some men...”  She continued over rising, slightly drunken giggles, “... some men absolutely adore it.”

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