A Tumble of Oranges - by Julie Harris

Squeeze out yellow paint. Add a bit of red, tiny touches of blue for shading, green for stems. Mix and mingle, swirl into circles with pebbled textures. Stack them high – ripe and delicious. My “Bowl of Oranges” is shaping up nicely, when a knock on the door startles me.

I quickly wash my brushes, fling open the door, and there she stands, a slender stranger swaying to distant music. She’s dressed in a low-cut bodice and loose-fitting, fluid skirt a shade or two redder than my bowl of fruit. Behind her, falling snow creates a curtain of white.

“Come in out of the blizzard.”

Her bare skin is warm to the touch, lit by an inner fire.

“I could paint you?” I stammer, nearly struck dumb by the sight of her.

“I came to dance!” She holds out her arms, kicks the door shut with one well-clad foot. Her high heels begin tapping exotic rhythms. The slowly burgeoning music drowns out the sleet slashing at the window.

“Tango,” she whispers in my ear. “From the Latin tangere, which means to touch.”

Cheek to cheek, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to burning thigh, I lead her in the dance. Somehow I know every step, every bend and twirl.

I was born to feel my own heartbeat throbbing in her scented wrists and hair.

“What a gorgeous painting!” she cries.

I dance us over to my still-wet canvas, carefully remove one orange from the precarious pile, hand it to her with a Latin flourish. She peels it without missing a beat, holds a segment between her teeth. I reach for it with my mouth. Her lips and the moist fruit both taste sweet with a hint of tartness.

I was born to kiss those ripe lips.

The screaming gale outside, the crescendo of hypnotic music, our stamping feet and whirling bodies all create an avalanche of sound and motion. My “Bowl of Oranges” tumbles out of the canvas, filling the floor with fruit. I dissolve into laughter.

Ripe oranges, swirling red skirts, blizzard seeping through the door – I was truly, truly born for this!

1 Like