Co-written; Emily wrote her parts. . . though she never saw the finished product. . .
This was it. She would never find another place as amazing, as beautiful, as. . . all-enclosing Nirvana as this. Not that she was feeling any Buddhist inclinations right now, far from it; it was her own special brand of heaven. The amazing artistry of the sculptures, the age of the buildings, the improbability of her being here, and most of all the subject of the visions in front of her. . . if it could be said that her mind and soul were having orgasms, she would heartily agree that this was such a situation. And her body felt as into it as if she was being touched in all her most tender places as well. . . it was truly a completely encompassing experience.
I had once described Khajuraho as the pop-up book for the Kama Sutra, to general hoots from the less stodgy members of the archaeological and historical community. Legend has it that when the moon god saw the young maiden Hemavati bathing in a river–gods allowed to be peeping Toms, of course–her beauty was such that he descended to earth to engage in a passionate affair. Before his return to the celestial realm, he swore she would soon bear a son who would one day erect a great temple to celebrate the beauty of their divine love.
Kinda story that gets you right there, huh? No, not there, higher. . . well, there too. In fact, not one but eighty-five temples were built, though only a very few of them featured exquisite sculptures, right on the outside walls, of men and women joyfully engaging in the most intimate and erotic of arts.
So you can understand my interest in it, as well as any sensual redhead who’d ever heard about it.
By the end of the fifteenth century the temples were abandoned, quickly hidden deep in thick jungle, until their accidental discovery in 1838. But only twenty-two remained, which made me wonder, considering all the variations of sex that survived, what might have been on those lost ones. . .
She found one panel that particularly entranced her, and she quickly put her hands in her pockets of her jeans–not easy, considering how tight they were–to keep from playing with herself–in public, this time–as she allowed her mind to float away and picture herself in the scene. . .
I came around the corner and instantly spotted the redhead, who seemed to be blushing from more than just the sun on her pale skin. I could barely see more than just her profile, but still thought he could spot a gorgeous blue eye above a slightly chubby cheek. And of course that amazing red hair . . . and she certainly seemed to be in the right place; I could easily picture her up on the stone, a celestial maiden pouting and posing while acting out every page of the Kama Sutra. . .
Going back to my personal project of photographing every square millimeter of every building on the site, I nevertheless found time to observe her, wanting to see her walk, wondering just how beautifully she moved in those tight jeans. . .
And I was already thinking of ways to shoot her against the sculptures. . .
Unbeknownst to me–so she thought, anyway–Emily was keeping an eye on the guy with the camera, because he seemed more interested in the sculptures than her. Howz that for an ego? Sheesh. Still, if he was some kind of expert, taking photos for his thesis or something, it might pay to hang around and learn something. . .
And then I turned, grinned at her, and took her photo.
She laughed. That’s better. . . like I had any doubt! Wow, that made me inordinately happy. Now I owe him one. . .
Having gotten my point across, whatever that point might be, I went back to shooting the sculptures, waiting for her to make the next move.
Which she quickly did. “Hi, I’m Emily.”
“Really? You don’t look like one.”
Big smile. “I was hoping you’d say that. What name would you give me? Colleen?”
“Even better! Now then, tell me about this place.”
I noticed she didn’t ask for my name, but didn’t bother with that as I went into professorial mode, telling her about the Chandella Dynasty and so on, while I enjoyed staring at her incredibly cinnamon-colored hair.
But if I expected her not to notice, she proved herself more observant than I’d thought. “Like it?”
“Good. . .”
“The sun on a brunette’s hair looks red. The sun on a redhead’s hair looks like Heaven on Earth. . .”
“You sweet talker. . .”
Before either of us knew it we were sipping tea in the shade–after I made sure to check where I’d left off on the photos–clueing each other in on what we were up to here. She told me she was basically traveling around the world, and liked it here so much she wanted to learn the local seductive dance. I wasn’t sure if dancing was what she had in mind, considering the statues, but I cut her some tight-fitting slacks, to use a local idiom. It helped her cause that a ten-day festival of dancing performed on the temple grounds was currently underway.
“I’m on a crash course to learn enough to at least tell what moves they’re doing, if not actually join in.”
“Because you’d fit in so well.”
Impish grin. “Can’t you tell by now that I’m the standing-out type?”
“Of course. You’re a redhead.”
She rolled her eyes, but giggled too.
“Want to go see some more sculptures?”
“Surely. I haven’t seen stone people fucking for a while.”
“You do know only about ten percent of the sculptures are sexual?”
She waved that away with a hand as she got up and led the way back to the temples. “Not interested. If it ain’t dancing’ or fuckin’, don’t bother me.”
“And here I thought you were a virgin.”
“You did not!“ She stopped in her tracks, turned to look at me, saw my big grin, and kept going.
“Now that you are learned and most experienced,” I laughed, “does that imply you have to give yourself to the first man who propositions you?”
“Oh, no indeed,” the playful redhead replied in the same vein, though you could tell she wanted to giggle. “Now that I know what it is all about, I shall be most discriminating indeed. Even discerning. . . possibly particular.”
“Nice word power.”
“And I certainly wouldn’t want to get you jealous. . .”
“What was your name again?”
“Ouch!. . . hey! You haven’t told me your name yet!”
“I was wondering when you’d get around to asking. I didn’t think you were that particular.”
“I just said I was!” This time she did giggle. “I almost feel like I’m back in London, with all those punkers coming on to me. You’re smoother, though. Thanks for that.”
“You’re welcome. . . I think. You live in London now?”
“For a while, before I went back to wandering. I miss it sometimes, especially the coolness and the fog. I do love the fog. It makes everything very mysterious and soft-edged. Here the sun is so hot and strong it seems to expose every tiny detail, illuminating things that would perhaps be better left hidden.”
“Ugh, last thing I need in my life is another mysterious chick!”
“Deal with it!” she laughed. “And that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to look at other possibilities, you swine. As a redhead, I’m allowed to get jealous.”
Instead of the appropriate “You wish, you hypocrite,” I kept to her mood with “What happened to innocent until proven guilty?” I even put an extra whine into it to amuse her.
“Wrong country, bub. Could you reach into my backpack and pull out my sunblock?”
“Good idea. Redheads don’t tan, they fricassee.”
“Yes, my dermatologist says redheads are dry and easily irritated.”
“Still talking about your skin?”
She made a face at me, but had to laugh at how perfectly I’d made that work.
Unfortunately by the time we got back the tourist gangs had arrived, though we did manage to worm through them until we arrived at a place where a not-bad-looking blonde was gawking up at a particular sculpture in puzzlement, while everyone else was wearing a combination of amused, amazed, and aghast.
Puzzled herself, the redhead looked up at what everyone else was staring at, no doubt a particular sculpture the tour guide had pointed out. It took her a while, but finally she figured it out, if her laugh meant anything. “That’s clever! These guys sure knew how to slice up some stone.”
The blonde next to her suddenly gasped as she finally understood what everyone was talking about, her hand covering her mouth in the classic involuntary gesture of pretend innocence. Turning her head away, she looked at us in confusion, then despite herself looked back. “What in the world. . .”
“What did you expect to see on this stop on your tour?”
“Well, temple carvings.”
“Here they are.”
“Don’t leave much to the imagination, do they? Oh my gosh, three. . . four together! And right in the open, where everyone can see! I wonder what kind of mind it takes to think of such things!”
“People who think of nothing else!” the redhead laughed, enjoying herself. She could easily imagine herself living in those times, relaxing all day except when being interrupted by talented practiced men for some amazing sex.
And those who want to carve me, immortalize me, of course.
The thought was so pleasant that she led me over to a side where there was no crowd and posed in front of the carvings, trying to imitate the positions behind her with her dancer’s body. . . alone, of course, without the aid of males.
That’s okay, done that before. . . am I blushing?
“What are you thinking about that’s making you blush?”
Answers that question. “Guess!” she snapped.
“Yeah, I know that, but which one in particular?”
Her blush grew, so she turned away, anything to keep me from seeing it. . . and saw something that made her blush even more, though she sounded incredibly delighted as she squealed, “That monkey’s trying to join that three-way! Get a photo!”
That told me all I needed to know about her. . .
“I wonder if we’ll ever find out exactly why they carved all these beauties.”
She sounded so wistful I knew there was nothing I could say to equal her state of mind. The guide, however, was just coming around the corner and couldn’t resist showing off, of course. “One theory was that men who came would see these carvings, get their desires out of the way–”
No one around here will use the word “masturbate” or any version thereof, she realized.
“–and be free and pure when they approached their god’s temple.”
“Kinda like porn today,” I deadpanned, which made the redhead giggle.