That Special Woman
Ha, who was he kidding? When was the last time Adoracion had invested himself into a woman of worth? Like most sailors, and pirates in particular, Addie’s bedmates had always gone by the name “Olympia.” Prostitutes who would either come out to the ship when it was near port, knowing that the men would all-too-eagerly pull them up on board, or those who filled the shore-line brothels.
But if you could find a good woman to love you – a woman who liked you for more than what was in your pocket and wouldn’t run off to the next sailor the second you finished; a woman who held you in bed and gave you more than a dark pit in your soul when you went back to sea – you were a lucky man. Adoracion had only been close to having that sort of thing once before, and even he felt proud of it when he thought back now and then to Martine.
Adoracion had grown up on ships. Read: Adoracion had gone through puberty on ships. He hadn’t been much older than 16 when someone finally realized the poor kid was confused by the faith he had been taught in the church-run home he’d grown up in, and his body’s pretty stiff demands.
“I don’t know,” Addie, thin and carved from wiry muscle, said. His eyes dropped to the ankles of the man who stood before him, studying how the guy’s boots interacted with the clay step he was standing on.
“Hush, boy!” the man responded in their shared tongue, Spanish, as he looked over his shoulder at the kid and smiled. “Just let me take care of you. You’re too damned old to still be in this position.”
Adoracion lifted a hand to run over his tied-back hair uncertainly.
The other sailor knocked at the door in a little pattern he must have done a hundred times.
It wasn’t that Adoracion didn’t want this. He had wanted it since before his short hairs had come all the way in. Hearing men talk about it all around you conditioned you to wanting these things. It was just that he was a little nervous. A little uncertain. How a man “performed” in these situations was always extolled as his measure. The importance was broadcasted as being very important. What if he was no good?
The door opened and Adoracion squinted. The face of the figure in the doorway was cast in shadow by the dimness of the building’s inside, but her body was touched by sunlight in places that suddenly seemed sacred. Her round, soft breasts beneath the too-thin fabric of her dress. The press of her hips against the material. The sway of contrapposto in her stance.
The other sailor spoke to her in a voice heavy with el pasión. His exact words were unimportant to the youth behind him, whose eyes danced over what he could see of the woman from where he stood. The other man stepped forward, wrapping his arms about the waist of the woman in the doorway, and Addie watched with more hunger than shame as the two embraced in a familiar manner, and lost themselves a moment in flirtatious kisses.
There must have been an introduction of sorts, however, for after the other sailor had finished kissing at the woman’s throat, he stepped aside and gestured in Adoracion’s direction.
“This boy, Martine. He is not yet a man.”
There was a moment of silence as Adoracion stared quietly at the faceless woman, and she, presumably, at him. And then she extended her arm from the doorway, her hand beckoning gently to him the way the sailors said the sirens or mermaids did. And yes, they were right. It did you make you step blindly forward.
Martine had been more than a body. Through the long overlay in port, Addie had stayed close to her, sharing meals, conversation and, of course, her bed. Perhaps to some it was a strange relationship, especially considering the difference they had held in age. But it had never seemed twisted to Addie. Just…different. An example to him of a good relationship, and not these whorish ones his lot were quick to encounter…