One Summer Morning

by Biff Spork

Chapter 7

My mother makes a spectacular eggplant dip called baba ganoush. Using triangles of pita bread to scoop it up Mani and I gobbled a tub of it and moved on to some delicious egg salad sandwiches where the 'egg' was mashed tofu. We washed all that down with cold coconut milk kefir and topped the feast off with some juicy cherries, such a deep purple as to seem black. I won the pit-spitting contest. Mani maintained it wasn't fair because I have such a big mouth. Though we were stuffed by that time, bananas seemed to slide down without taking up any more room. I saved the oranges for the end so I could peel them and insert them into Mani one segment at a time.

We leaned back against the driftwood log with our legs spread and our full bellies sticking out like tiny pregnancies. Mani said if we wiggled our toes it would help settle our lunch and we might not explode. So we sat there wiggling our toes and giggling and it did seem to help. I peeled an orange, pulled a segment free, removed all the little white fibres and laid it against his lips. He opened his mouth and I pushed the segment inside. He groaned and chewed slowly while I prepared another segment. As soon as I saw him swallow I laid the next segment against his lips. I got two oranges into him like that before he held up his hand and begged me to stop.

"We have to walk this off," said Mani while I cleaned up the remnants of the meal and put stuff away. He went back to his tarpaulin shelter and returned with a small bag around his neck. "C'mon," he said. "Let go to Hiram's Falls."

We strolled up the beach towards Johnson Point. Just before we reached the Point we came upon Peter and an old woman stretched out on a blanket in the sun. Both were naked.

Mani led me up to them and we sat down on the sand nearby. The old couple sat up and we greeted them. I was introduced to Peter's wife, Mary. They were both well tanned but covered with about a million wrinkles and so many lumps and sags they looked like a different species from us.

"We thought we might go up to Hiram's Falls this afternoon," said Mani. "Has anybody gone up the trail today?"

"No," said Peter. "You've got it all to yourself."

"That's great," said Mani. Then he turned to the woman and asked, "How's your back, Mary?"

She said it was a bit better and Mani then turned to Peter and asked, "How's your feet, Peter? Are you still getting those cramps?"

"Yeah," sighed Peter. "They come and go but mostly come...."

"How about a quick foot massage?" asked Mani. "I can show Kevin here what you taught me."

"I'd love that," said Peter. "Please."

Mani moved closer and sat cross-legged close enough to Peter's feet so he could lift one up and hold it in his lap. He looked at me and said, "Sit like this and I'll show you what to do."

I sat down cross-legged, picked up Peter's other foot and held it in my lap. Peter lay back, smiled and closed his eyes. Every time I thought I had Mani figured out he would put me in some surprising new situation, like this.

"Okay, Kevin," said Mani. "I'm gonna tell you about foot massage. Peter, you correct me if I say anything wrong. Kevin, just use your two thumbs like this." He showed me how to press my thumbs into the sole of Peter's foot and then rub them around. We moved up and down the soles of his feet. Next we pressed and pulled each toe and then went back and gave the soles another round of pressing and rubbing.

"If you see a diagram of the nervous system," said Mani, "you will see that almost all the nerves in the body end in the bottoms of our feet so it's important that those nerve endings get stimulated, that they get a bit of attention and affection. It wakes them up so the whole nervous system is more alert and ready to take care of business."

We finished the foot massage by gently caressing and petting each foot from the ankle down. Then Mani said, "Mary, do you want me to do your back?"

"Oh Mani, that would be lovely," she said and rolled over onto her stomach. Mani stood, pulled me up and positioned me standing beside Mary's waist.

"Kevin," he said, "I'm gonna take a little walk on Mary's back and I want you to stand there so I can lean on you. You don't have to do anything except stand there."

Then he steadied himself by holding onto my shoulders and stepped onto Mary's back. With his heels right on her spine he slowly inched his way up her back til he reached her shoulders. Then he stepped off and had me switch sides. He then moved slowly down her back digging his heels into her spine every inch or so.

Mary sighed in satisfaction when he stepped off her back. "Oh, thank you Mani. That was just what I needed. You've got magic feet."

"Mary, that was just those cookies coming home to roost. Thank you for making them for me."

Mary's smile wrinkled her face totally but there was no mistaking the affection that shone out of it.

"Thank you, boys" said Peter as we left.

Almost immediately we left the beach behind and walked into the forest on a narrow, barely discernible trail. We had to walk single file but since I was following Mani's lithe naked form I was happy. I marvelled at how his simplest movements could give me joy.

"Peter usually keeps an eye on this trail," said Mani "and knows if anybody goes up to the falls. It's not really part of the nude beach so it's nice to know if anybody is there or not. There almost never is since hardly anybody knows about this trail."

I loved how the forest silence was so different from a mere lack of noise. It felt like an immense silence, somehow full and expectant as though listening. The spongy forest floor was cool beneath our feet, very pleasant after the hot, gritty sand of the beach. The trail wound through giant trees hundreds of years old, trees that were there before this area was colonized.

A half hour later we came to a forest pool filled at its far end by a tall, narrow waterfall. "Welcome to Hiram's Falls," said Mani. Mist from the falling water shone with rainbow colors in the sun.

Mani removed the bag from his neck, stood at the edge of the pool and dived in. I followed him into the clear cool water and down to the sandy bottom. The pool was about eight feet deep, twenty feet wide and fifty feet long between the falls and where it trickled out in a shallow forest stream. I followed Mani underwater as he swam upstream like a dolphin. We surfaced by the falls and floated there in the mist. The gentle current carried us down to where we had dived in and Mani pulled himself out onto the shore.

"C'mon," he said, picking up the bag he had carried. "It's bath time, you dirty boy."

He walked away from the pool into a sunlit area free from undergrowth and pulled a bar of soap out of his bag. "Generally I depend on the ocean to keep me fairly clean but I like to come up here every few days and just get rid of all the salt and other dirt. Now, you come over here and let daddy give you a good wash."

I went over and stood in front of him and he began to lather me with his soap. After he'd rubbed the bar all over me he put it down and then just scrubbed all over me till I was white with soap suds. He washed everything, from my bum hole and penis to my armpits, toes and ears. Nothing escaped his searching fingers. Then he reached into his little bag and brought out a plastic mug. He filled it from the stream and poured it over my head and continued to fill and pour until he was satisfied he had washed all the soap off.

"I could just dip in the stream," I offered.

"No, no," he said. "That would just pollute t he stream. You think fish like to live in soapy water? I don't think so. When we wash the soap off over here the forest can use it like fertilizer and it won't bother the fish or the other life in the stream. Now, you wash me."

I did exactly what Mani had just done to me, soaping and scrubbing every place on his body. It was a lot of fun since by now I knew exactly where his most ticklish spots were and could ravish them by slippery surprise. I loved to hear Mani laugh. When he was squeaky clean and I had rinsed the last bit of soap off him we returned to the pool and again swam to the waterfall underwater. Walking behind Mani in the forest had been a delight for my eyes but swimming underwater behind him was even more beautiful, he was so graceful and moved through the water so effortlessly. Though it was cool, the pool water was warm enough so we could relax and didn't need to thrash around like we did in the icy ocean.

The sun dappled the pool's shore and we pulled ourselves out to dry in a spot of bright warmth.

"I said we'd meet my Dad at five-thirty and I'm guessing it must be about two-thirty now," I said. "So, unless we want to run all the way up that trail from Johnson Lagoon, we should probably head back to the beach now."

I checked my watch when we got to the campsite and it was three o'clock. Mani was surprised and pleased with the clothes I had brought for him. The bright orange t-shirt complemented his natural coloring and contrasted perfectly with the green shorts I had picked out for him. He hung the shoes and socks around his neck saying he preferred to go barefoot until we reached the parking lot. I sat him down and had the pleasure of combing his hair. I knew I would never tire of taking care of Mani. Then he combed mine.

We put the camp away, though Mani said he didn't think anyone would take advantage of his absence and there wasn't anything worth stealing anyway. I had put a spare t-shirt and shorts into the little back pack I bought for Mani and we distributed the rest of the stuff, thermoses, food containers, my camera bag and binoculars between the two packs so neither of us was heavily loaded. By three-thirty we were on the way. We came within sight of the parking lot just after five o'clock and I pulled Mani off the trail and behind a large tree.

"We probably can't hug for a few hours now," I said, "so I want a good hug and kiss to carry me until we go to bed tonight."

We put the packs down, wrapped ourselves up in each other and got lost in a kiss. Clothes definitely muted the experience, but it was still wonderful. When we pulled apart Mani sat down and put his new shoes on. We strode into the parking lot at quarter past five.

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