She found it while leafing through her leather bound edition of Leaves of Grass. It was a shade leaf of cannabis indicus the size of her palm. She’d placed it there at a different time in a different world.
Looking up from the page on her pagan promontory perch, the vast expanse of the sea to the western horizon became dearly desiccated by the visceral, visual recollection of overlooking a desert; so endlessly featureless from afar, so constantly alive wherever one looked down at one’s feet. A sort of reverse twist on “the grass is always greener.”
They were camping on the east rim anticipating a lunar eclipse soon after sundown, which announced its advance by gradually saturating the entire vista in the golden orange hues of grain, pebble, rock, boulder pixel remnant shards of this shedding mountain perch with the prism of the western atmosphere casting a glow around their elongating silhouette creeping eastward into the illuminated scene.
He passed her the freshly rolled joint she’d awaited since he’d proposed this entire weekend a month ago. She’d always been curious about the stuff but found no reason compelling enough to risk jail just for kicks. She found Zeke to be more than enough. She knew a lot of people who abandoned the club during music breaks to “get high” out back with the band while she stayed behind and worried for them. She knew Zeke went out with them most of the time, but she didn’t know him until the night he picked up her empty glass on his return, went to the bar and brought her a fresh one.
“Nothin’ like another cool one after goin’ out there with those folks and dryin’ your whistle,” he said, standing there watching the band get reorganized.
"I don’t go out there, but thanks for the drink anyway. I haven’t wet mine enough yet.” She immediately tried to inhale the variety of possible nuances those words conveyed and didn’t exhale until she realized none of them were wrong; she’d long admired him from afar and was loath to pass up a chance for friendlier proximity now.
When her kissed her at her doorstep and left she realized a friendlier approximation was far from adequate. The next time she saw him the mutual beam connecting them was visible to anyone who cared. Like love struck zombies they got their drinks, moved to the back and sat together at an empty table without looking at anything but each other.
Although she’d always taken rejection as “their loss”, she couldn’t help but clarify something that had bothered her for the two weeks since he’d walked her home. “You were welcome to stay the night, you know?’
“Yeah, I got it that might be the case, but I have to get an overt invitation to begin assuming anything. I am too familiar with the influence of alcohol to make me perceive everything going my way until my face hits the floor and the morning after trying to recall from whence come vague memories of something too intimate to be so forgotten.”
“I’ve never made the first move, men seem to begin the groping and I either grope back or back off. I was out of my element with you. Would you get me high far away from police so I can enjoy it?”
His face lit up. “Oh, wow! This is perfect. I am going to harvest the first buds of this year’s yield next month and was planning to take some to the wilderness to celebrate the lunar eclipse. Would you come with me?”
She watched him separate the glistening purple-green bundles from their stem and expertly gather them between the sheets of zig-zag paper into the perfect cylinder he licked, sealed and declared to be the lunar fatty. He lit her first toke with much pagan fanfare but said not a word thereafter, just watched.
Their slowblime lovemaking fell in pace with the nature of their surroundings as the sun disappeared leaving the glow of the roach the only light for light years until half the eastern horizon became engulfed in the maw of a gigantic moon reflecting the sun in silver light upon them snuggled between the sheets. As the fullness of the moon grew perfect the earth interrupted the sun with a shadow on a further desert as it began to eat the moon in turn. The wolves, who’d been harmonizing to the lunar tune as their pitch rose with it, slowly became a random cacophony as it disappeared and revealed stars once obscured by its brilliance. Their shared orgasm occurred at the peak of the howling at the dark of the moon in the middle of the milky way and they remained in afterglow until the moon and vulpine harmony returned in full.
She returned the leaf to its place between the sheets of onion skin vellum pages, closed the book, scrambled off her perch, grabbed her cane he'd carved for her from the stalk and made her way home to the ferryman’s house.