by Vielle 04/07/09
Hannah began to feel disturbed as she started to really think about it. Only now, after all the planning and anticipation, did she really clearly think about what it was going to be like. She had been furtively thrilled about the prospect of being naked this summer, envisioning tanned young men on the Solvie beach longing and lusting after her. That had been her fantasy, the fantasy that had led her to diet stringently for months. She had been so determined to defy her mother that she hadn't really thought about all the implications of a family reunion at a nudist community. Now, that the bus was nearing her destination, she began to envision something different, that is, the looming prospect of hanging out, eating, watching TV, playing Frisbee, all in the nude, completely nude. Anxious thoughts raced through her consciousness as quickly as the landscape raced by the bus window. "Oh my God," she mouthed silently, looking out the bus window, she was really doing it; she was going to be totally naked, every day, with her brother and her father. They would be nude too. How would she react, she wondered? How would they react to her? She had been so confident before, but now she was suddenly nervous. Would her brother tease her about her body? Would he poke her, like when they were kids, give her titty-twisters? Would her father be awkward and distant because of her nakedness?
Until now, she had been nothing but ecstatic about her trip. It wasn't that she had just turned 18, or even that she no longer needed her mother's permission to visit Aunt Lana. She was going to see her father, and her big brother, for the first time in four years.
They had flown over from Australia and arrived at Hannah's aunt's yesterday, and the three of them were planning to spend the summer together, before she headed off for university in the fall. She had been looking forward to it for months, and she'd missed them both, especially after the messy divorce where her dad and Paul had gone to Australia, and she'd been stuck with her mother. It had been a long four years.
Hannah stared out the window of the bus, absently watching the passing hills, thick with fir and pine, as her thoughts drifted to Aunt Lana's place, and her 'liberated' lifestyle. Aunt Lana lived in a nudist colony, somewhere that Hannah hadn't been allowed to visit since she was nine or ten years old, after her mother, Sheryl, had declared it 'perverse' one day, and barred the family from visiting. She knew something must have happened to change her mothers' opinion on the place, or of Aunt Lana, but Hannah had been unable to find out what it was since then. Every time she brought it up, her mother would get annoyed and raise her voice, but then, her mother had a knack for the dramatic.
The thought of a nudist colony raised some trepidation in Hannah though, visiting it for the first time as a grown up. The last time she'd been there, it was just fun in the sun, really innocent, but now, being eighteen, she had a hard time divorcing nudity from sex, and the thought of being naked around all those unknown men sent an excited quiver through the pit of her stomach.
Her musings were interrupted as she noticed the signpost for Inneston. This was her stop. She gathered her bags, and began to make her way down to the front of the bus, and when the bus finally stopped she stifled a giggle as the driver almost flew from his seat to help her with her bags. Hannah knew wearing a short skirt today would provide some advantages. Besides, she liked the feel of the sun on her skin, and the weather was gorgeous.
The walk to the Mini-Mart only took five minutes, and the closer she got, the more nervous and excited she became. Paul would be here to pick her up shortly, and she was dying to see him. It'd been so long, with nothing but emails and the occasional phone call on her birthday, and she wondered what he looked like.
She wandered into the Mini-Mart, got herself a coffee, and took a seat at the window in the small cafŽ section, where she watched the locals wander in and out. She'd just got a refill when she saw her Aunt Lana's old blue Datsun chug its way into the parking lot.
Hannah's face lit up into a smile, and her stomach lurched with nerves, excitement and curiosity. She screwed her eyes up, trying to catch a glimpse of her big brother as she grabbed her bags, and headed for the door. On her way, she spotted a stand of sunglasses, and quickly glanced in the mirror, giving her appearance a once-over and fixing her blond hair.
She stepped outside at the same time as Paul got out the car, and she grinned at her brother, recognizing him immediately. He was taller than she remembered, and he didn't look like a boy any more. He seemed confident, strong, adult, and his face was different, more mature, serious, yet there was something essential about him that was still her brother.
She dropped her bags, and he swept her up in a hug, laughing.
"Good to see you Sis."
"Good to see you too."
Driving to Lana's, Paul talked about his life over the last few years. At completion of high school, he scored high on his tests and had every intention of going to college, but on advice of a friend, decided to take a couple of years off. His first summer after finishing high school, he landed a job on a fishing boat, thanks to his friend whose father owned the boat. They hauled in Australian salmon, flounder, squid and even the occasional shark. He saved enough money to travel and spent several months traveling through Micronesia, New Guinea, and Indonesia with his girlfriend, Kate. They tried kava kava together in Vanuatu, shared with them by a village headman who still ascribed to the Cargo Cult belief that John Frum, a long lost American WWII soldier will someday return to Vanuatu, like the second coming of Christ, except that he will be bringing "cargo" of manufactured goods to give freely to the people. Paul said it was a mystical experience that brought the two of them together more than ever before. They ended up in Bali and fell in love with the place, in spite of the masses of tourists. There is nothing like sunset in Bali, he explained, the sound of chanting and bells from the Hindu temple, while children played in the canals, their school uniforms discarded on the muddy bank, folk dancers who are so frenzied they've entered a trance, possessed by a god or a dead hero. He took a job in Bali scouting locations and hiring extras for a movie producer from New Zealand who was filming a movie there. They lived in a teakwood and bamboo house in Bali for a year, living simply and happily.
Through Paul's long monologue, Hannah sat quietly, just looking at him. She nodded and offered the occasional "really?" sometimes a "that's amazing," or "that must have been exciting." He pressed on steadily with his story, but would turn and look at her at key moments with an intense gaze as if to see her reaction, then he would turn back to his driving. Every time he looked at her like that, she felt a chill down her back. There was something different about Paul, Hannah realized. That intense look he gave her, it was imbued with confidence and life experience. The brother she used to know was not like that at all. That brother had been soft spoken and hesitant, a kind but timid soul. That shell of her brother had been shed and discarded, replaced by this poised and self-assured man.
And another thing, he was cute. Yes, she acknowledged to herself, her brother was actually cute. His face had filled out. He looked more masculine than before. But his face was also animated as he spoke. He expressed himself now. He was engaging. He was actually interesting to her. If her girlfriend, Lindsey, were here, she would be all over him, Hannah thought.
Parallel to her realizations about her brother's augmented magnetism, Hannah was feeling increasingly reflective of her own shortcomings in the area of interesting stories the more she listened to Paul's rambling about his adventures and romance. She had no personal anecdotes to balance his psychedelic description of tripping on kava kava with his soul mate or his harrowing tale of battering to death, with a fire extinguisher, the snapping shark that had been pulled in on the gillnet and had almost bitten off his foot. The tables had been turned; now Paul was the confident outgoing one, and Hannah had become shy and hesitant. Four years ago it had been the other way around. Hannah, not knowing what to say about herself, waited for her brother to continue after every pause.
Just about a month ago, he had the shock of his life when he discovered his, then fiancŽe, Kate was having an affair with a Thai businessman who owned a vacation home in Bali. It turned out she wasn't his soul mate after all. "The mind blowing thing about it," he told Hannah without hesitating, "Kate had always told me she was a virgin. She had this religious thing going on. She told me she wasn't going to have sex until we got married. For the three years we were seeing each other we were abstinent, or at least I was, plus, I didn't go out with anyone the year before that when I was trying to get her to go out with me."
"Wow," Hannah said. Paul was silent for a moment. Hannah couldn't think what to say. She was trying to absorb everything Paul had told her. She was feeling intimidated by the breadth and intensity of his life experiences. She couldn't really say she'd done anything accept go to school and date a few guys. She had a job at a fast food place called Burger Queen, a run down knock off of a better known royalist burger chain, but she hated the job and quit after two months. She didn't want to tell Paul about it after his long narrative about his exploits. Instead she asked, "So, did you date anyone before her?"
"Not really. I went out with a girl in high school named Lorna, but we only went out twice and it didn't go anywhere. I was a bit of a geek at the time I suppose. She liked the hoodlum type. It was doomed from the get go."
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