Karin Schimke

Out of the blue

The day is a blue gem, the sky an almighty perfection.

The walk down to the beach is first away from the ancient convertible mini on a dirt track, and then down a slope. Totius is wearing white PT shorts and a thin, ratty T-shirt tied around his head to keep sweat out of his eyes. His arms, back, chest and legs are bare, brown and bristling with bleached hairs, his feet are sure on the stones in their home-made moccasins. He is carrying a canvas bag with apples, bananas and sandwiches, and he has a 2lt Coke bottle filled with icy water under his arm.

The ubiquitous shotgun, in its khaki bag, is slung across his shoulder.

We walk down the steep rocky slope. Stones knock against each other, things buzz around us, waves lollop into the little bay we’ve found. My legs are strong; my nostrils are flared towards the sea air.

On the sand, we undress, both of us brown and blond and in our element. We walk to the rocks, to the water, and feel the cold tugging at our bare bottoms. On the sand, we bask and doze. The sun is a cotton blanket and when it gets too hot, we throw it off and dive into the benign waves sloughing in lazily. The icy water firms us again after the gentle meltdown on the sand.

I’m on my back, the sun is resting on my closed eyelids. Totius’ breath is near my side. He is more restless than I am. His head is on my stomach, then he turns on to his front, leaning on his elbows, and watches the rocks over the pillow of my tanned torso.

“Hhmm, babie, jou vel is mooi,” he muses. “Hier’s sand op jou maag, kom ek lek dit af. Lekker sand innie tanne,” and he laughs at himself.

I summon a lazy laugh: “You’re so silly.”

My legs are drawn up. If I crack my eyelids, I can see the snatch of blue in which we sway like kelp in crystal water. Totius brushes my stomach with his left hand. His left-handedness, his madness, his nakedness are as mesmerizing and dangerous as the beatific sun.

We’re squidgy and spineless, as harmonious as the rocks and the rough brush on the slopes around us.

A voice calls. A voice that comes from someone who is not naked, not absorbed, not part of this picture. A voice that has business; a pinprick of intrusive activity.

“Now what’s this oke up to?” Totius’ muscles wind in.

“Oooo, jirrrrre,” he says softly, “jy moet net nie hier kom sukkel nie.”

I pull the sarong and the bikini top towards me across the sand and sigh as I lock them around me again.

The voice belongs to a simple fisherman, but Totius, like a meerkat, is on his watchful hind legs.

The world has shrunk.

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One comment on “Karin Schimke

  1. Hi there,

    I’m so glad to see that someone is writing a book on this topic. Are you almost there? If you are still looking for stories/interview subjects, I’ll be happy to talk to you.

    Best,

    Chien-Chi Huang

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