This Magpie Tale is made up of an army of arms
Krezlyn did her best to surpress a gasp that morning when Arfvak arrived at her door wearing a sleeveless shirt. It was not that she had never seen a man’s bare arms before, but not the arms of a man she knew rather well.
Krezlyn had problems with men’s bodies in general. She could never allow herself to eat asparagus and shielded her eyes when she passed the spires of the churches in central Khizi. Anything phallic disturbed her, though she had never seen a phallus but had heard them described in her biology class.
She could not help but notice the dark sprouts of hair protruding from Arfvak’s arm pits. Something she had never thought about but was not surprised by since she had heard that men have hair in the oddest places. She also had a reaction to the odors of men. Arfvak had excellent hygiene, but on that warm morning she could smell a distinctly male scent that was a bit disturbing to her.
“It’s such a lovely day, why don’t we walk to the ridge. I am sure the view will be glorious,” Krezlyn suggested.
“But I thought you didn’t like taking the path up to the ridge,” Arfvak said, perhaps sensing her true motive of not wanting to be seen in the village with a man whose arms were exposed.
“Well, just this once,” she said. “Auntie said that the wild strawberries are plentiful this time of year. That would be a nice treat.”
“Yes, it would…” Arfvak knew that something was odd, but he wasn’t quite sure.
They slowly walked up the hill, and a couple of times Arfvak grabbed her hand to help her up the path. His hands and arms were certainly stronger than hers but not the brutish claws of so many of the men in the village. When they started seeing each other, her aunt and neighbors were pleased since at 19 they were “beginning to wonder…”
Indeed, Krezlyn didn’t dislike men. She loved authors, composers, poets, and painters, all of whom seemed to be men. She had heard about the Brontes and Emily Dickenson but had never been able to find their works since they were all banned since the Revolution and seen as remnants of the decadent past. So she wrote her own short poems in secret, often writing about what she imagined life would be like in London or Auckland.
She had convinced herself that Arfvak was an artist himself. He was a baker’s apprentice, working for his uncles who took over his father’s Tsarist bakery that made decadent wedding cakes and sugary banquet desserts. His uncles had transformed it by only icing the cakes with red and yellow dye, and Arfvak had become an artist in sugar and flour with his imaginative representations of the hammer and sickle.
Finally at the top of hill, both of them were winded and let out a gentle sigh in unison as they sat on the grass. Arfvak’s male odors were quite intense now, and Krezlyn was thankful for the gentle breeze that blew them towards the valley and away from her.
“Such a glorious day,” Arfvak said, and without looking, Krezlyn realized that he was leaning into her. “The only thing more gloriously beautiful than this day…is you.” It was then that she noticed that his socks were almost the same shade of blue as her dress and eyes. She tried to concentrate on that as the next event transpired. Away from the village there was no one to witness it, and she let her mind fly away into the cobalt imagination of the sky of her dress and his socks.