Deo volente
(God willing)

A short story by Carl Dow
Editor and publisher
True North Perspective

To him all women were beautiful, simply because they were women. Many were like a melody. Some were downright symphonic.

When he first met Elizabeth his premise on women remained unchallenged. As he heard her talk about her present life, and how it came to be, he had a clear sense of melody.

She said she had grown up around here. Her father was a teacher who took his students into the dense bush for nature studies in-the-rough. She knew where there was good canoeing, easy to get to. She had taken a couple of years at university, seemingly aimless, but in fact supporting what she was doing now.

He said he would like to come for a few days, or perhaps a week, or more. He asked about space, and about privacy that would muffle cries of ecstasy from his companion.

Her face suffused, but it was a blush of ready sharing rather than injury. Her voice was quietly resonant as she described the three available rooms, saying there would be no problem with cries of ecstasy; she would be the only other person in the place.

They talked about practical things: like how much; how often he would want her to change the sheets; breakfast down here or in bed. She said that though it was billed as Bed and Breakfast, she would make other meals; better guests eating here than elsewhere.

As he listened he began to sense symphony.

He said that what he really needed was a retreat; that he would come alone, for a week, only to study and to think.

"Ah! no cries of ecstasy," she said with fallen face and hint of winsome smile.

Standing as she spoke she displayed a lithe posture of surrender, holding both her hands up at either side of her head, index fingers and thumbs just touching, but not snapping. She held for a moment, as if she'd been caught by a still photo in a dance of compliance.

He was thinking symphony accelerando.

She went back into the kitchen. He sipped his coffee and read a local newspaper. When she returned she said she'd been figuring costs. She gave him totals he considered quite reasonable. He took her card and made note of her quotes.

When he stood to leave, their eyes locked. He told her when he was likely to come. She glanced away: up went her arms again in her supple gesture of torso and limbs, her fingers again touching as if they were about to snap, but again, they didn't.

Demure, eyes bright, she said, "I'll be here, in all my glory."

"You've got plenty of that," he said, elbow to side, aiming at her a quick forefinger with a cocked thumb.

His mien appeared so suddenly stern that she faltered uncertain; then reassured by the just discernible turn of the corner of his lips, she once more radiated deference.

Outside, straddling his motorcycle, his mind's ear was hearing Gloria in excelsis Deo. As he felt the engine catch and resolutely tremble between his thighs, he was certain, Deo volente, that when he returned, he would hear cries of Gloria! from Elizabeth in symphonic vibrato.