I looked at my watch again. She should have been here ten minutes ago.
I checked my phone. Nothing. Perhaps she had decided she wasn’t coming. I wouldn’t blame her. I was surprised that she had even agreed to meet in the first place.
The door opened again, and a woman walked in. Finally, a likely candidate. She looked older than the twenty eight years I had been told she was, but she had warned me of this. Nevertheless, she was an attractive woman, and a few heads turned towards her as she walked through the cafe, looking around for someone.
We had agreed a code. I would be pretending to read a copy of an obscure newspaper from her home country. She had told me where I could buy a copy, and told me I had to be early. I had been there at 8am and bought the last copy. It was all nonsense to me, so I just looked at the pictures, trying to get myself into the right mindset for the story I was about to hear.
She made eye contact with me, then looked down at the newspaper. She smiled slightly, the smile lighting up her face. She ran her hand nervously through her shoulder length black hair, slowing her pace as she approached.
The closer she got the more attractive she appeared. She was wrapped up tight against the cold outside, woolly hat, heavy coat, thick boots. Only her pretty face was on show. If I hadn’t known I may have struggled to guess her ethnicity, but having discussed her origins in depth over email I knew exactly where she was from.
She extended her hand to shake mine, and introduced herself. I responded in kind. There was a real warmth in her greeting, and I instantly felt at ease. She shrugged off her coat, revealing a thick woolly sweater.
“So you are the author?” she asked, her accent thick but perfectly understandably.
“Well, yes, in my spare time,” I smiled.
“I love your work,” she said. “That’s why I contacted you.”
“That’s really nice of you to say,” I replied.
There was a short pause.
“So, you want me to write your story?” I asked to break the silence.
“Yes,” she said, looking a little nervous. “I will tell you everything, every detail, and you can write it as you wish. All I ask is that you let me read it before you publish, make sure there is nothing to identify me or him.”
“Agreed, I will use false names,” I said. “And you can correct my typos!”
“Ah, I think my English is not so good to do this!” she exclaimed.
The waiter approached and we ordered. I had never interviewed anyone before, and I wondered how to start. My guest looked at the table, then into space behind me, casting her mind back those few years to when the story had begun. Then she started.
Elina could not remember a time when there had not been fighting. The sound of gunshots and distant explosions, the planes flying overhead, the constant suspicion and fear, they had just been a normal part of her childhood.
Her village was remote but there was regular fighting only a few kilometres away. Just over the hills was a village which in many ways was similar to her own – poor people living in ramshackle single room huts, scraping together a living from the land. Families doing the best they could in the circumstances: parents bringing up children, trying to shield them from the hardships and conflict.
To an outsider, it would have been difficult to tell the difference between the villages and the people who inhabited them. The words they spoke, the songs they sung, the words written on the signs marking the outskirts of the villages, they would have been equally incomprehensible but seemingly indistinguishable from each other.
But to Elina there was all the difference in the world. One morning she and her classmates had been led by a teacher to the top of the hills and shown the village in the distance. To the teacher the village was not similar. In fact, it could not have been more different.
The people who lived in that village, she explained, were different, were vermin. A special class of criminal, sub-human. They were responsible for all of the ills that the children suffered. They poisoned the water and stole the livestock. They had a deal with the devil and were his representatives on earth.
Elina could see some of the villagers in the fields, working just like she had seen the people of her own village work. They didn’t look all that different. Perhaps their skin was slightly lighter (a sign, her teacher explained, of the fact that they were lazy, spent hardly any time out in the fields), perhaps they were slightly shorter than her friends and family (their souls were closer to Hell, the teacher explained). And this is what scared her most. How could people who looked so similar be so different? Would she know if she met one?
One day the radio said that the war had ended. The government had fallen and a new one was to be installed. For the first time there were to be elections. The people would choose who ran the country. The radio had spoken with hope, as if this was a good thing, but the village people muttered darkly. There were more of the devil people than there were of Elina’s people – an election meant a devil President, meant the devil people taking over. One day the local school was opened for voting, but nobody went.
Traditionally girls got married young in the village, but so many young men had gone off to fight and not come back, either dead, missing, or settled somewhere else, that girls greatly outnumbered boys. Thus Elina made it to eighteen without ever having had a boyfriend, and was certainly not alone in doing so.
Though attractive, she was shy, and although she was asked out on dates a few times, none of the guys who asked her ever appealed to her. They were all loud, boisterous and heavy drinking, not features she found attractive. In different times she may have come under family pressure to marry, but her father himself was constantly drunk and so was in no position to put pressure on her to do anything, and her mother had some sympathy with Elina’s reluctance to marry a similar man.
The living conditions in the village afforded Elina little privacy. The only time she had to herself each day was when she made the trip to the shower block three times a week. The water usually ran cold, but with the door closed, isolated from the rest of the village, it was a time that Elina treasured. When she went at a busy time there would soon be a knocking on the door, someone else waiting impatiently for their turn, but if she went early enough she could get a nice long session to herself.
One day she felt a funny feeling between her legs. It was a part of her body that she had never really thought about, and certainly not been told about at school or by her family. She had studied the basics of biology, and knew how babies were made, but that was it. There was no sex education, no talk about masturbation. She put her hand between her legs and noticed she was sensitive down there. She rubbed gently and it felt good.
It was still quiet outside: she knew that few people came down to the showers this early and so she could be alone for some time yet. A little nervous but intrigued by her new discovery she started gently rubbing between her legs, getting a really good feeling from it. She found that the nub at the top of her feminine parts, for which she had never even been told the name, was particularly pleasant to touch.
Over the next few weeks she began to look forward to her showers more and more. As soon as she was in the stall and undressed she would get her hand between her legs and start to touch, developing her skills as time progressed, learning what she liked, what felt good. To her amazement her normally small dry lips swelled and became moist as she touched. She still didn’t understand why, not connecting this with the functional act that had been described at school, and was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. Was it just her, she wondered, or could all women feel good by touching between their legs? Why had no one ever told her?
Elina started to find that as she touched she started to think of men, thinking of them cuddling her, spending time with her, even taking their clothes off in front of her. She imagined her fantasy boyfriend, who was very different from the guys in the village. He was caring and shy and smiley. If only such a guy existed. She dared to think that perhaps he could even touch her between her legs. Would that be a strange thing to ask?
One night Elina felt the twinge between her legs as she was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. Although her family all slept in the same room she thought them all asleep, so she slipped her hand under her nightdress and started to touch herself. It was only a few minutes later, totally wrapped up in her fantasy about her perfect boy, that she had suddenly heard something behind her. It was her mother, who had awoken and noticed what she was doing.
Her mother clearly did not approve. Despite her protests that she was an adult, her mother placed her over her knee, lifted her nightdress and spanked her. Elina was confused, embarrassed and annoyed at the same time. Confused because she didn’t understand what she had done wrong, embarrassed because her mother had seen her touching a private part of her body, and annoyed because she did not think it was fair for her to be punished when she was old enough to be married.
Elina had always loved to be out in the open. She was always warned not to go into the hills – it was too dangerous, she was told. If the devil people found her up there they would kill her and eat her. The people from Elina’s village had a special stew that they made with whatever meat they could get their hands on – they told her that the devil people used human meat in their version of the stew.
But Elina always remembered her trip into the hills with school when she had been young. There were the most beautiful flowers up there, all kinds of colours. There had been a shimmering pool of clear blue water, surrounded by the special flowers, which Elina thought must be the most beautiful spot in the world. It had always seemed strange to Elina that this area of outstanding beauty could be so dangerous, could exist so close to such evil.
The day after she had been spanked she was feeling rebellious. She was an adult now. She would do as she pleased. So she went for a walk in the hills. It was blissfully quiet and deserted. Eventually she reached something that looked extremely out of place in the natural paradise she was walking through. A barbed wire fence spanned the landscape, preventing her further progress.
Standing at the fence she could see neither the other village nor her own village. She could no longer reach the point where she had once stood and looked out over the other settlement. She remembered standing there as a child, seeing the other village in the distance, the villagers going about their business. It seemed just like her own village. She wondered how different it really was. Perhaps the similarity was just a deception, perhaps they really were evil. Or perhaps they were just like she was, perhaps they had been told the same about her village. There were clearly some secrets that she was not privy to.
Elina started walking in the hills regularly. She tried to avoid the fence, thinking it as an ugly blot on the landscape. She didn’t really want to look beyond it, see that other village, be faced with the questions as to what it was really like, whether they really were the enemy. If they were the enemy, then she was in danger up here. And if they were not… well, that meant everything she had ever been told was a lie.
One day though she ventured further than usual, and there was the fence – but it was not the fence that made her jump with shock, her heart start to race. On the other side of the fence, looking straight at her, was a man. He just stood there, silent, looking straight at her. He was about her age, and he was the most beautiful guy she had ever seen. Although she knew she should run, she was drawn to him.
Her body resisted every step, her brain telling her that he was about to pull a gun, shoot her dead. Nobody even knew she was up here. How long would it be before they came looking for her? How long before they found her? If he took her body to put it in a stew, her mother would never even know what had happened. But it was that which convinced her to move forward. The stew. Her adult brain told her it was a stupid story. It couldn’t be true. And if that wasn’t true…
Elina stopped a few metres from the fence, about the same distance from it as the guy was on the other side. For a long time they just stood there, staring at each other. He had the most beautiful brown eyes, eyes that melted you, eyes that you sunk into and could never escape. His clothing was similar to that worn by men in Elina’s village, but there were subtle differences. Though Elina felt disloyal for admitting it to herself, his clothing looked so much better than the clothing her brothers and friends wore.
“I’m Lukas,” he said, making her jump.
It took a while for her brain to process what he had said. They were words she knew, but pronounced in a way she did not.
“I’m Elina,” she smiled.
He said something back, but his reply was initially completely incomprehensible to her, and he could obviously tell from the expression on her face. He repeated it, phrasing it differently, saying it slowly.
“Pleased to meet you, Elina.”
“I… I shouldn’t be here,” Elina told him, determined to turn and leave but rooted to the spot.
It was some time until he replied.
“Me neither,” he said.
There was a strange symmetry to the conversation that confused Elina. Here was a guy, clearly from the devil village, evil personified, yet he seemed so like her. This was a no man’s land, where neither of them were supposed to be, yet both had defied the rules.
Suddenly Elina felt an urge to ask a question. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer, she wasn’t sure how he would react, but she had to know.
She started to speak, the words tumbling out, but the expression on his face showed that this was no use. Their language was clearly similar enough that they could converse, but only slowly, carefully, not like this.
“I… we were always told that… your village was… bad,” she said, desperately hoping not to offend him. “I… were you told the same thing… about our village?”
Lukas paused, then nodded slowly.
“We were told that they would send beautiful girls to try to lure us away,” he said, smiling. “I never believed it until now.”
“You are here to lure me to my doom?” he asked, still smiling. “To take me away and hold me prisoner forever?”
Elina felt a twinge between her legs.
“I can’t lure you anywhere,” she smiled, and pointed to the fence.
“Pity,” Lukas replied.
The two sat on the grass on their respective sides of the spiked fence, and as they talked they became more and more used to the cadence and tone of each other’s strange tongue, having to repeat themselves less and less, speaking more quickly, even gaining the confidence to joke and pun.
The similarities between their villages was astonishing. Elina could not believe that all these years two such similar peoples had been separated by these hills, hating each other without knowing why. Neither knew of any instance of a villager from one settlement so much as exchanging a greeting with a villager from another. Yet here they were, talking away like old friends.
Eventually Lukas had to go home, and reluctantly they parted. Neither made any suggestion of meeting again, but Elina desperately hoped she would see him again, and she later found out that he hoped the same of her. She spent more and more time in the hills, now every time approaching the fence, hoping to see Lukas there, sometimes waiting for hours. And eventually one day he was there.
Their meetings became a regular event, something Elina very much looked forward to. She was incredibly attracted to Lukas, and thought about him most of the time even when she was not with him. Including when she was in the shower. Every time she touched herself now all she could think about was Lukas, and those beautiful eyes, that exotic voice, his stories that were at the same time familiar and foreign.
Her teacher had been right. The people from the other village were very different. Lukas was unlike any guy in her own village. But in a totally different way to how she had ever imagined. He only drank on special occasions, and even then not to get drunk. He was kind and funny and caring. More perfect than the perfect guy she had used to imagine.
And she found that when she thought about him, somehow the touching felt much better than it ever had before. Somehow it filled her body more, made every part of her tingle. And it made her body beg for his touch. All she could think about was his hands on her, holding her, making her feel safe.
But that fence stayed between them. It was a physical barrier, yes, but representative of something far more. Even were she to manage to get over the fence, into his arms, they could never be together. It would never be allowed. Though she now knew that the differences were a lie, that the evil was not the other village but the fence which divided them, she knew that she would never convince her friends and family of this.
So they stood, knelt, sat or lay on either side of the fence, just a few metres but a whole world apart. They never spoke of the future, of how much longer they could do this. They never spoke of the fence between them. When they were together, there was nothing else in the world other than the two of them.
Then, one day, Lukas said something which Elina was sure she must have misheard. His dialect was still strange to her ears, and sometimes she did misunderstand him. But when she asked him to repeat himself, he rephrased it and the meaning was the same.
“Do you want to touch?” he asked.
She couldn’t think of anything to say in reply.
Eventually she said, “I wish we could.”
Lukas stood and started to approach the fence. The fence was about four metres high, and quite thick, with coils of spikes everywhere. Lukas walked down the fence a little, and Elina followed him. The fence, like most things in the villages, was badly constructed and maintained. They reached a point where the constructors had somehow failed to join up two pieces of barbed wire, leaving a small gap. Elina had never noticed it before.
Pushing himself against the fence, Lukas somehow managed to squeeze his hand part way through it. Elina pushed her hand through too, and their fingers touched. A jolt of electricity shot through Elina’s body as they made contact, a thrill like nothing she had ever experienced before. She looked into his eyes and knew that she needed him, could not bear to be without him.
The next morning in the shower she touched herself with the same hand, the same fingers, as had touched Lukas’ fingers the day before. Another thrill went through her body, which became hotter and more excited than it ever had before. Even under the freezing cold water she was warm. Her lady parts became more and more sensitive, more and more pleasurable to touch, the outside world shut out now, her mind focussed only on her body and on Lukas and on that moment when they had touched through the fence.
Suddenly her whole body was filled with the most intense pleasure, her mind went totally blank, every nerve on fire, the most intense feeling of wellbeing she had ever experienced. She had no idea what had happened, but as her body finally started to calm, leaving her with a feeling of satisfaction she couldn’t explain, she knew she wanted it to happen again.
Elina and Lukas were meeting most days now, rain or shine, always at the point of the fence where they could push their fingers through and touch. It was frustratingly little. If only they could put their whole hands through, hold hands like her brother did with his girlfriend. If only they could kiss. How much she would love to kiss him.
Each time she showered her hand went straight between her legs, and her mind straight to Lukas. She imagined him naked, using what little experience she had of seeing guys without their clothes on to fill in the details. She imagined that it was him touching her, that he could hug her, hold her. And almost every time she achieved what she later found out was an orgasm.
The others in the village noticed something was going on. Elina was walking round with a constant smile on her face, and disappearing somewhere on a daily basis. People became increasingly suspicious. They started to insist that she participate more in village life, cutting down her opportunities to escape into the hills. On some occasions people tried to follow her, but she always gave them the slip.
Elina knew that her relationship with Lukas was becoming increasingly dangerous. It was only a matter of time before someone successfully managed to follow her. She dreaded to think what would happen if she was caught, but she feared more for Lukas than herself. The men from the village still often carried guns around, and if they saw her and Lukas together they may well shoot him through the fence. Elina could not take that risk.
One day, with the heaviest of hearts, after hours of talking about everything and nothing, she told Lukas of her concerns and her decision. They could not see each other anymore. She would not be coming into the hills. She told him that there was a guy in the village that her mother wanted her to marry. He wasn’t quite as bad as the others. So she would marry him, and she would keep the house and bring up the family.
Lukas took the news well, much better than she had expected. His life, as it so often did, was mirroring hers. The people from his village were becoming suspicious of his long periods of absence. And he too was coming under increasing pressure to marry. Whilst Elina had always had the excuse that there was a shortage of men, that fact worked against Lukas. There were numerous girls who wanted to be his wife. He said it modestly, not boasting. Elina was not at all surprised to hear it.
“Including me,” she said, quietly.
Now Lukas did look surprised. Elina was surprised at herself for saying it, but she knew it was true. She had always thought of marriage as a bad thing, committing herself to a man she couldn’t stand for the rest of her life. But over the last few months she had started to see it very differently. If she could marry Lukas, she would be the happiest girl in the world.
“Can I see you one last time?” Lukas asked.
Elina could not refuse.
“On Friday, at midday,” he said.
Elina told her she would be there. They touched through the fence, their now traditional goodbye.
“Elina?” Lukas said, as they started to head in their separate directions.
“Can you cover your eyes next time, wrap some cloth round your head or something? I’ll try to bring a surprise, but I don’t want you seeing it until I am ready.”
It was a strange request, but it was the last time she would ever see him. She’d do anything he asked.
Elina was at the fence in plenty of time on the Friday, a thick piece of fabric with her that she had practised over and over again tying over her eyes. As soon as she was there she put on the makeshift blindfold and waited to hear Lukas’ voice.
The wait seemed to be forever, and she wondered if Lukas had been unable to come for some reason. Or perhaps he had decided that it would be too hard saying goodbye. Perhaps she never would see him again. She told herself that she would wait by this fence until he arrived, even if it was days, months, years.
Then suddenly she felt something behind her head. Someone was taking her blindfold off. Her body went into panic. The very last time she came and she had been followed. How could she possibly explain what she was doing here? She leapt up, thrashing around, making contact with the person who had been fumbling with the knot. Finally she composed herself enough to pull off the blindfold and stare at her assailant.
Her mind struggled to process the image her eyes were sending back. She looked through the fence then back into those brown eyes that were but a few centimetres from her own.
It was Lukas. She looked through the fence at the empty field on the other side. How was this possible? In her mind the fence had been built up to be an impenetrable barrier, a permanent divide between her and him, but here he was, large as life, stood in front of her.
Lukas spread his arms and she wrapped herself around him, holding him so tight, desperate never to let go. She didn’t understand how or why. Perhaps it was a dream, that could be the only explanation. But she was going to enjoy every second of the dream until she woke up. She squeezed him so tight, his body warm against hers, feeling his heart beating a fast rhythm.
“But… how?” she asked.
Lukas did not reply immediately.
“We have a saying in our village,” Lukas replied, slowly. “Nothing is forever. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I thought it meant us. But then I realised it must mean the fence too.”
Elina looked back at the barbed wire stretching as far as she could see. The fence still seemed to be there.
“So I walked and walked,” Lukas continued. “I knew it must end somewhere. And about 5 kilometres down there the fence runs into thick forest and then… just stops.”
“How long have you known about this?” Elina asked.
“A few weeks,” Lukas said. “But I didn’t want to risk coming round. I thought… it might be different if I was on this side. Maybe without the fence between us… who knows what would happen? But… today was my last chance.”
Elina had still not let go of him. She had never been held by a boy before, but she loved it. All those months of him on the other side of the wire, of dreaming about him but never being able to do anything more than touch fingertips. Yes, it was different now he was on this side. It was so, so much better. And so much worse too.
“You… shouldn’t have come,” Elina said, worried, tears welling up in her eyes.
Lukas looked concerned. He loosened his hold on her, but she did not do likewise.
“How can I ever leave you now?” she asked, tears now streaming down her face.
There was a long pause. Lukas looked as if he didn’t know what to say.
“If we never see each other again, at least we’ve shared this moment,” he said at last. “Many people never get to experience something like this.”
It wasn’t enough for Elina, and the tears continued to flow.
“And besides, nothing is forever,” Lukas said, repeating his mantra. “One day this fence will fall, and I will be able to walk across these hills to your village, and propose to you in front of everyone, and everyone will be happy for us.”
The thought was no consolation. The villages had been separate for the whole of Elina’s life. The war might be over, the peoples officially at peace, but nothing had changed. The fence remained, and the divide between her village and Lukas’ was far greater than any length of twisted metal. Perhaps one day when she was old she would see it, but she could not wait that long.
The two walked hand in hand across the hills that Elina knew so well, Elina making sure that they kept well away from her village and any path on which anyone might be walking. The feel of her hand in his was exquisite, and once again she felt that urge between her legs. It had something to do with Lukas she knew, but she wasn’t quite sure what. Was it her body’s way of telling her this was who she should be with?
Eventually they came to the pool, that beautiful twinkling pool of perfect aqua blue, surrounded by trees and flowers, a little oasis from the troubles of the outside world. The sun shone brightly and warmly, reflecting off the ripples. Elina had not been here for a few months, so much time had she been spending with Lukas at the fence. But now she was here with him. It was so much better. She didn’t want to think about the fence, about everything it meant. This would be her forever memory of him.
If she had been here alone she would have stripped off and gone for a dip. She couldn’t swim, but the water was not too deep, just right to submerge your body whilst still keeping your feet on the bottom. But today she couldn’t, she was too shy to undress in front of Lukas. They lay in the sun together, but Elina kept glancing over at the pool. Lukas gave her an inquisitive look.
“It’s so hot, isn’t it?” he said.
“Yes, it is,” Elina replied, smiling. Was he thinking what she was thinking?
“Is it deep?” he asked, glancing over at the water.
“Not too deep,” she replied. “Just right.”
“Must be nice on a day like today,” he hinted.
“Yeah, it’s perfect,” she replied, smiling.
“I will if you will,” he said teasingly.
Elina thought about her village, about the man her mother wanted her to marry, about the drudgery of married life, about the constant struggles, the fear, the sadness, the hatred. She looked at Lukas, who should have been the embodiment of everything that was wrong. It was his people who had ruined everything, who had killed her friends and family, who had brought so much trouble to her village. That’s what she had always been told.
But right now he summed up the exact opposite. He was hope and love and happiness. He was everything she didn’t have in her own village. He was everything she had come to this oasis for. He was the green of the grass and the blue of the water, the rays of the sun and the smell of the flowers. This might be her last day of true happiness, and she was going to seize it.
Elina pulled off her threadbare dress, letting it fall to the ground, the bright sunlight illuminating her bare skin, her thin body, her grey underwear. She kicked off her shoes and reached behind her to unfasten her bra. Now was not the time to be shy. The buzz between her legs was radiating out, affecting her thinking, giving her the confidence to expose herself for him. She let her bra fall and made no attempt to cover herself.
Finally, hoping he wouldn’t be able to see the fact that her lady parts were moist and swelled she dropped her knickers, glad of the thick fuzz of hair which covered her crotch and let her keep her secret. She looked down at Lukas who was still lying on the ground, his eyes wide, taking in her exposed body. She thought she could see something protruding inside his trousers. Her mind raced as she called on her rudimentary understanding of male biology to understand why.
She ran over the soft grass and lowered herself into the pool, the water cold but not freezing, the chill taken off it by the warmth of the day. The pool was shallow around the edge and as she stood in it and faced him her whole body was on show to him. She didn’t mind at all.
“Come on!” she urged.
Lukas stood and pulled his own shirt off. His body was lean but rippled with muscles. He was heavily tanned. It was clear that he spent a lot of time working in the fields with his shirt off. If she lived in his village she would spend all her time in the fields. She’d seen guys working in the fields shirtless before, but she’d never felt any attraction to them. But the sight of Lukas’ bare upper body stirred something inside her she had never known was there.
Lukas kicked off his shoes and removed his socks. That bulge in his trousers was all the more obvious now. He pulled his trousers and underwear down in one motion, and now Elina could see what had been causing the protrusion. His penis was hard, large and erect. She couldn’t help but stare, fascinated by it.
Lukas joined her in the water and they splashed about, laughing and joking, making the occasional accidental contact and then, as they grew more confident with each other, rather less accidental contact. His hand brushed her boobs and she felt that strange urge again that she couldn’t place, pleasant but unnerving at the same time. Her eyes kept running over his body, distorted below the waterline.
His penis had started to contract once he was in the water, but as they got closer and made more contact it started to stiffen again. She wondered if he was feeling the same glow in his penis that she was feeling between her legs. She wondered if he had the same urge to touch himself that she was having to touch herself.
The contact became more frequent and more intimate, the two making less and less effort to pretend that it was inadvertent. Elina had a good feel of his penis, and his hand found its way between her legs, sending a jolt up her body. She had fantasised for so long about having him touch her down there, and now it was happening she knew it was the right thing.
Eventually they ended up in an embrace, and for the first time their lips met. Elina had seen people kissing before, but her own experience had been limited to kisses on the cheek from family members. This was altogether different, their naked bodies pressed against each other, her boobs compressed against his chest, his penis pushed against her stomach, his arms holding her tightly, her lips tingling as he kissed her ever so gently.
It was awkward at first, neither experienced in the art, but they were willing learners, and, wrapped in the curtain of trees, they had nobody to disturb them. They kissed gently but with passion, looking into each others’ eyes, neither worrying about their lack of technique, both focussed only on showing the other their feelings in a way that until today had been denied to them.
The two lovers eventually climbed from the pool and lay in the sun, allowing the warmth to dry their bodies. They were so close to each other, closer than they had ever been able to be before, no fence between them now, not even their clothes to form a barrier. Elina’s body pulsed with anticipation, but of what she wasn’t sure.
After a while Lukas rolled onto his side, and indicated that she should do the same, so that he was behind her. She did as he asked, and he wrapped her still damp body in his strong arms, instantly sending her happiness up a further notch. He started to gently rub his hands up and down her body, and her skin felt a special kind of sensitive, his touch making it come alive everywhere his hands went.
He massaged her boobs gently and she let out a sigh of pleasure. None of this made sense to her, but it didn’t matter. Things didn’t need to make sense today. His hands ran down her body again, and one ran through her pubes, her legs parting slightly as it did. His fingers ran the length of her lady lips, gliding easily over her moistness, sending a feeling of pleasure rushing to her head.
He started to stroke gently, not with the expertise that she had mastered, but still giving her a lovely feeling washing up her body. She placed her own hand on his and guided him, focussing his attention slightly higher on that little nub that seemed peculiarly designed with no other purpose than to feel good when touched. She could feel her face contorting with the pleasure and excitement, but she didn’t care. This was her, and it was a her she wanted him to see.
“Do you know why you get wet down there?” Lukas asked.
Elina had some ideas about the reason, but was embarrassed to say what she was thinking.
“So that my penis will slide inside you easily,” he explained, still rubbing her between her legs, letting his fingers slide between her lips up to her opening, but not inside her.
In her state of pleasant relaxation, giving in to the pleasure, it took Elina a few seconds to process what he was saying. Was he really suggesting that he put that huge thing inside her, that they have sex?
“It is what men and women do when they love each other,” Lukas reassured her, clearly detecting her uncertainty. He kissed her tenderly on her neck. “I’m told it feels good.”
Elina could feel his erect penis pressing into her back, and it was certainly true that her body seemed to lubricate itself down there when she was around him, or when she thought of him, as if it wanted her inside it. She had never had anything inside her before, but if it felt anywhere near as good as his fingers on the outside…
“OK,” she whispered. “I’d like to try it.”
Lukas pulled one leg over her gently, pushing hers slightly further apart. She felt exposed but safe, her lady parts tingling with anticipation. He pressed the head of his penis between her legs, against the opening, without applying enough pressure to push it in. The unfamiliar sensation sent a thrill of nerves and excitement through her body.
Her rubbed her incredibly sensitive lips gently with his fingers, the pleasure now feeling like torture, so desperate was she for more. It teased and aroused without satisfying, every stroke making her body demand more, demand fulfilment. For the first time ever she had a feeling of being empty, of needing something inside her, and she knew what that something was.
“Please,” she asked, hoping he would understand.
At first she thought he had not heard her, or had ignored her, but then she felt him gently slipping inside her. It felt like a tight fit but not unpleasant. She wriggled slightly, pushing herself back against him, wanting to be as close to him as she could, wanting to feel the warmth of his body.
He slipped further into her, and she found that the inside of her vagina was as sensitive as its surroundings. He fitted snugly, like she had been designed for him, and she knew instantly that this was right, that this was how it was meant to be, that this is what her body had been demanding since she had met him, but she hadn’t understood.
Lukas started to gently slip his penis in and out of her, the gentle thrusts feeling strange at first but settling into an uneven rhythm, giving her a feeling she had never even knew she missed. His hands worked up her body, eventually settling on her chest. She had never seen her boobs as a source of pleasure before, but he was teaching her plenty today. She knew nothing now except her body and his, melded into one.
Elina could hear Lukas breathing heavily, making the occasional sound of pleasure, and could tell that he was feeling good just as she was, that they were sharing the rewards of his actions. He was not the strange creature she had been told to expect, but was just like her, and together they were so much better than apart.
His thrusting picked up speed and confidence, his hands roaming her body, his lips on her neck, kissing, nibbling. She could feel her body heating up, in that state she had only experienced in private before, focussed only on more and more pleasure, blocking out the world around her.
Suddenly she felt a twitch inside her, and Lukas let out a half-sigh half-groan. At first she was unsure what had happened, but as she felt his body relax around her, his thrusting slow, she realised that he must have climaxed, and felt a rush of delight that she had given him that ecstasy that she knew the climax brought.
His penis slipped out of her, and his pleasure was replaced with frustration that swelled and filled her, a sudden feeling of emptiness, of loneliness even though he was still holding her. The frustration subsided and her body still tingled, not so aroused now but still sensitive, begging for more. She turned to face him and their lips met, sharing a tender kiss, the passion having drained slightly but the love burning hotter than ever.
They lay in the beating sun for a long time, a cocktail of emotions mixing and distilling in Elina’s head, but their talk keeping a safe distance from any topic of importance. Eventually Lukas challenged Elina to climb a tree, teasing her for being a girl, telling her that she would be too scared, too weak. Still naked he ran to the nearest tall tree and climbed confidently, disappearing up into the branches.
Elina had always been close to her bother growing up, and when she was younger they had regularly climbed the trees in her village. Not to be outdone by Lukas she strode towards the tree next to his and started to climb, the tree rough against her bare skin, the twigs poking into her unprotected body, but she climbed on regardless, determined not to be beaten.
Reaching the higher branches she saw Lukas sitting on a large branch in his own tree, waiting for her. He looked impressed when she made it, and even more impressed by her bravery as she leant dangerously across for a kiss.
“You are not like the girls from my village,” he smiled.
“You are not like the guys from my village,” she replied.
“I wish I could take you back, just walk round the fence, back to my home,” Lukas said, ignoring her nudity and looking her straight in the eye.
“I wish the same about my village,” Elina replied sadly. “If only they could find out what you were like.”
“Our people are not bad,” Lukas said seriously. “We are just normal people, trying to get on with our lives. If there was no fence, if there was no hate, we could all work together, all be friends.”
“Yes, but that will never happen,” Elina said, feeling overwhelmed by the stupidity of it. “You will always be my enemy, and I will always be yours.”
“We will never be enemies,” Lukas said, simply. “Whatever anyone tells us, we know the truth.”
And yes, she did know the truth about him. When a man has held you, kissed you, been inside you, told you his secrets, his hopes, his fears, when you have delighted in his pleasure and given yourself to him completely, when you have trusted him though you have no reason to do so, and he has returned and repaid that trust, how can he ever be the enemy.
“We are not enemies,” Elina confirmed. “We are… lovers.”
It seemed such a strange thing to say, but the instant she said it she knew it was true.
They could have stayed up there forever, and nobody would have ever found them, but the branches they were sitting on were unstable, and Lukas was becoming increasingly worried about Elina’s safety. His concern for her just made her love him more, and she needed to embrace him again.
Back on the ground they embraced again, and Elina started to touch his penis, hoping it would react to her attention, desperate to be filled once more by him before she had to leave him forever. To her delight as she touched it started to stiffen slightly, started to fill out in her hand. She felt her own body, still unsatisfied from earlier, starting to warm and enliven with anticipation. Lukas looked at her with admiration, made no attempt to stop her.
She sat up now as he lay on the ground, her knelt with her legs on either side of his, gently experimenting with his manhood, desperately hoping she could return it to its fully erect state as it had been earlier, that it could once again go inside her and unite them. Without feeling self conscious at all she started to touch herself with her other hand, trying to mimic the rhythm, to keep their pleasure in sync.
The roles were reversed from before, and now Elina took the opportunity to explore Lukas’ body, taking her time to touch every part, feeling his muscles, running her hands through the hair on his chest, gently feeling his balls, rolling them in her fingers, memorising the texture of his sack, the skin, the hair. When this had to last a lifetime, every second mattered.
Her body awoke and tingled, her hand constantly returning between her legs, but now also brushing her boobs, even that spot on her side that Lukas had discovered felt good to the touch when she was aroused. She had learnt not just about him, but about herself too. Though his hands twitched with desire to touch her, he allowed her to have control, to bring their bodies to arousal so much slower than he had, to tease and experiment.
She told him she loved him, that he was beautiful, that she had known he was special since the first time she had seen him, that the last few months had been the best of her life, that she couldn’t imagine life without him. He replied in kind, not hesitating to declare his own love for her, detailing her every perfection, her hair, her eyes, her face, her body, the way she laughed and even the way she looked so sad when the time came for them to part.
As he spoke she gently took him inside her again, letting his now fully erect manhood slip inside her moist vagina, the entry so much more comfortable this time, the feeling of control giving her confidence, making her body thrill at the possibilities. She loved him for treating her as an equal, letting her be in charge, rather than ordering her around as the guys in the village did. She loved him for caring, she loved him for loving her.
She started to gently thrust, the pleasure seeping up her body, but her own enjoyment secondary now to his. If he was never going to see her again, she had this once chance to thank him for the happiness he had given her, to give him a memory to live with forever. She watched his face as she let him rub against her insides, seeing him screw it up with pleasure, desperate to earn a moan or a groan or a grunt.
Elina started to ride harder, her body rewarding her for her efforts, her boobs bouncing, Lukas’ eyes watching them, his face lighting up, Elina realising how he saw her, how arousing he found her, and riding harder, amazed at her ability to give him so much pleasure, determined to make him lose control, lose his inhibitions, make him call out in pleasure.
She rode harder still, his manhood pressing against the sensitive walls of her vagina, filling her body with pleasure, her boobs bouncing furiously now, and then he groaned and she felt so much achievement, and she rode harder and he groaned again, his face almost unrecognisable now as he was overwhelmed by the pleasure, Elina sure her own face must be similarly distorted but not caring.
The effort was too much and she slowed, riding more slowly, taking a rest, regaining her breath, feeling him still hard inside her, watching him watching her, his eyes roving all over her bare skin, and herself looking down at his exposed body, amazed that she could ever have won a guy so strong and fit, the physical pleasure multiplying, the intensity almost too much to bear.
She started to ride hard again, and she knew now she could not last much longer: the intensity was too much, the emotions unbearable, the climax inevitable. She kept expecting him to climax as he had before, denying her the finish, but he didn’t, and she couldn’t wait, and suddenly she felt the most intense shock run through her body, far more powerful than any she had experienced before, and it filled her and it stayed there, seeming to last forever.
Elina tried to keep thrusting, but she was tired out now, all of her energy sapped, and her lady parts were so sensitive now it was almost painful to continue. She let herself fall onto him, wrapping herself around him, letting him slip out of her, feeling so impossibly content.
It was Lukas’ turn to look frustrated now, and he took his manhood in his hand, thrusting it furiously until he came, his cum erupting onto her stomach. Elina thought about wiping it off, but she was feeling too sleepy to do anything. She lay down on top of him, snuggled up, and closed her eyes.
The shouting awoke her. As she stirred she could feel that she was lying on top of Lukas, who was also awaking. The sound hadn’t come from Lukas, so where had it come from? They were alone here, and nobody ever came this far into the hills. She looked around sleepily, hearing another shout.
Suddenly a panic flooded her body. There was a man standing there, a man she recognised as one of the most connected men in the village, a businessman who knew everyone and was respected and admired. Elina rolled off Lukas, but suddenly realised she was naked and quickly covered her body with her hands. Lukas did likewise.
The man was staring straight at them, and she could tell her was enraged. And he was holding a gun. He shouted again, so furious that she could not make out what he was saying. Elina scrabbled over to where she had discarded her clothes nearby and started to get dressed. The man paused where he was, not that many metres away, letting her regain some modesty. But when Lukas started to stand the man held out his hand and made it clear that he was to stay where he was.
There was nowhere to run. Elina had never been that far from her own village, and she knew nobody other than her friends and family. She may have been able to hide out in the hills for a while, but they would have found her eventually. Besides, if she tried to run, she couldn’t rule out the possibility that the man might shoot her. Certainly he would have no hesitation in shooting Lukas if he tried to escape.
Sensing that Lukas posed the greatest escape risk the man concentrated on him, dragging him to his feet. Elina watched helplessly. The man ordered Lukas forward at gunpoint, refusing to allow him to reclaim his clothes. He marched Lukas back to the village, Elina in tow, and threw Lukas into his basement and locked the door behind him. He ordered Elina back to her home. When she refused, he called her mother who dragged her there.
The story was interrupted by a shrill ringtone. My guest apologised and glanced at the display. Her face lit up and a smile quickly spread across it.
“My husband,” she explained.
She apologised again and answered in her native language, the sound strange after hearing her speak in English for such an extended time. I looked around, wondering if anyone had been listening in on the story, but everyone appeared preoccupied by their own conversations and lives.
The woman apologised a third time as she ended the call.
I had listened in silence up to now, allowing the story to flow, but it appeared that she had been distracted and she did not resume the story. I sensed perhaps she did not want to relive the traumatic end to the tale. But the call had convinced me I could ask the question. She had found happiness now. I had to know what had happened to the man in the story.
She paused for a long time after I asked, her expression serious. Then the smile broke out again.
“That was him,” she said, pointing at the phone.
“But… how?” I asked.
“This is why I want to tell the story,” she said, slowly, considering how best to phrase her explanation.
“I see every day war and fighting and hatred on the television, evil people doing evil things. And I have experienced much of that in my life. But in every war zone, in every conflict… these people are human beings… there are always people with compassion, who will put themselves at risk to do the right thing.”
She paused again, a tear coming to her eye.
“Love is more powerful than any bomb or bullet – it will win against hate, every time.”
She looked down at the table, supporting her head with her hand. She was finding it difficult to continue, but she spoke again.
“I am locked up in my house, not allowed to see anyone other than family. My mother, she doesn’t understand. She tells me I am confused, delusional. My sisters, my aunties, my uncle, they all ignore me, shout at me, hit me. But my brother… I didn’t know but… he could see…”
She tailed off, and took a few moments to compose herself.
“He hates Lukas’ people with all the passion that everyone else does, but – he love me, and he could see I love Lukas. And he does something incredible. He is supposed to be guarding Lukas, but he let him escape. He even give him some of his clothes to wear. Then he comes to my house and points a gun at my mother. He’d never have shot her… I hope not… but he let me run out.”
“I find Lukas in the dark and we run and run. We don’t think about the danger, we just run. It takes weeks of hiding and running and stealing to stay alive. But we make it to the border, and we hide in a goods train leaving the country. It is still a long, long journey, but eventually we make it here.”
She tapped on her phone a few times, then held it up so I could see. There she was in a white dress, glowing with happiness, and beside her was a man, smartly dressed, also smiling. Her story had painted a vivid picture of him, and it was strange to see what he really looked like: he was different to how I had imagined, but together they looked the perfect couple.
“So you will write the story?” she asked, tapping the button on the side to turn the phone’s screen dark.
“I will,” I promised.
“And make sure to tell people,” she said, pausing to consider how best to phrase her parting comment. “Tell people that nothing should ever stand in the way of being with the person you love, the person who makes you happy – nothing.”
I promised, and she bade me goodbye, disappearing into the crowd on the street outside. Somewhere thousands of miles to the east of where I now sat the fence continued to run through the hills, separating the two villages, maintaining that hate and fear that existed for reasons nobody really understood.
But there were two people it could not keep apart. It was just one story amongst thousands, but a story that stood out because it was about love rather than hate, hope rather than fear. And for that reason, it was a story worth telling.