A green snake winds its way through the rushes and heads toward the cool waters. The horse is hobbled above the river bank and grazes peacefully. He raises his head and snorts with anticipation. The Bee Girl slides down the bank and breathless, runs her hand over my face and hair.
‘It’s hot,’ I say.
‘Then come in the water,’ she says stripping off her dress and stepping into the mud. She glides over the water, green and deep, and dives, her white feet disappearing behind her like a fish’s tail. She rises from the water and facing me, waves me in, but I shake my head, remembering to smile. She is surprised, but turns away and swims a bit more, before coming out and wringing the water out of her hair. She shakes herself dry in the torpid air, and straddles my body.
I don’t say a thing, but close my eyes to the green world: green grasses, green water, green willows, green snake. She climbs off and sighing, lies next to me, not speaking, not knowing what to say.
‘Have I done something to offend you?’ she asks.
‘I have things on my mind.’
‘What things?’ she asks.
She can’t conceive that I might not be thinking of her day and night, the way she thinks of me. Running to meet me, she has told me that she has waited for the day to be done and her restless night to pass, so that she can go out into the woods to her hives and to me. I often feel her heart thundering when I hold her and see the reproach in her eyes when I am late. She clings to me at parting and says silly girlish things.
‘I’m going away. Just for a while,’ I say, out of the blue.
‘But why? Where?’ she asks.
‘I’ll be back.’ And now I am happy again, happy in the lie, not knowing why I said it, and take her on to my lap and stroke the length of her back and cover her mouth with kisses.
At the outskirts of the borderlands, the horse and I gallop, free and unfettered. One day, I see her in the distance. She has come all this way on foot to look for me and tell me of her deepest longing. She approaches timidly, her eyes full of love.