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Edward Burne-Jones

Rudi and Gerti went sailing

But Heinrich Muller did not

As he had broken his leg

After falling from a horse

It was a fine day

But a husk of black cloud

Hung over the distant horizon

Which promised later storms

Heinrich had written a short letter

From Dante Gabriel Rossetti

It read

Poor old Ned’s affairs have come to a smash altogether….the Greek damsel beating up the quarters of all his friends from him, and howling like Cassandra…

She tried to drown herself in the water in front of Browning’s house & c – bobbies collaring Ned who was rolling on the stones to prevent it, and God knows what else

Heinrich turned to Maria who was hiding amongst the almond trees

You are really the most complete bitch

 

Rudi had anchored the sailing boat about a mile from the shore

Why did you wear such a ridiculous outfit Gerti?

I just thought it would be usual as we were sailing

You will not be able to swim

Why?

Because your clothes will drag you down and you will drown

The mermaids will hold you under

Then I shall remove my clothes

What about the boat?

What do you mean?

Well if we both swim and the boat tides away then we will both drown

Rudi was wearing a pair of loose canvas trousers and Gerti watched as he busied himself with the sail

He was standing close to her when he removed his only garment

Gerti pretended not to notice and bagan to watch the mermaids frolicking in the shallow rising waves

As her friend adjusted the red sail she felt his penis brush against her cheek

I will swim now do not follow me just stay in the boat as the waters around here can be quite unpredictable

Rudi dived into the lake and Gerti watched as he swam strongly away

She could not move as her body was in spasms

Her cheek felt like that a hot knife had scarred the skin

Her thighs felt damp

But the expected pleasure was false

Her bladder was full and she needed to express herself

What are you doing Gerti?

Why is your position so strange?

Are you unwell?

No I have a full bladder and am pissing

In the boat!

Well where else was I supposed to go?

You told me not to leave the boat

I will clean up my mess when we are ashore

You are such a savage

No just natural

 

Maria was paddling in the shallows

Do you love me?

I hardly know you

Then why do you write about me

I have not written about you

It was not my creation

Today is a hot day

Each day is hot

Do you like hot days?

I find them pleasant

Would you like to be in the sailing boat with your friends?

Yes

Then why did you beak your leg

I did not break it deliberately

I was thrown from a horse

 

Rudi was back on board the sailing boat and was drying in the sun

He had remained naked

Gerti looked at her pool of urine which had collected in the lowest part of the boat

She ran her foot through it making random patterns

 

Heinrich Muller had slept in the fine sun and when he awoke Maria was not within view

Maria where are you?

Do not play games

If you are in the waters come out immediately as you cannot swim

If you become troubled then I will not be able to rescue you and my friends are distant so you will drown

You are not entertaining me

You are becoming tedious

With difficulty Heinrich rose to his feet with the aid of his wooden crutch

My crutch has more care than you

It cares for me

It enables me to move

You are such a bitch I do not know why I ever liked you

 

Rudi and Geri were sailing towards the shore

You have not taken your eyes off my balls for the whole duration of this trip

They are not for you

I have promised them to another

Please dress

I will dress when I reach the shore

Then I will look away

Please do

 

Attached to an almond tree was a note similar to Rossetti’s

Only one word had been written on it

Geometrical

Heinrich limped as he walked between the almond trees

Why are you playing games Maria?

 

The jetty was quite near when suddenly Rudi threw the anchor into the lake which startled Gerti

Why did you do that?

Because Heinrich has lost Maria again

You can see him almost in tears looking for her amongst the almond trees 

Then we should help him

No let us watch

 

I do not care if you are gone Maria I am well rid of you

I shall return to my relaxation and my care for you will cease

I do not care if you have drowned

Really I hope you have drowned

Everybody should swim

I can swim

Rudi can swim

Gerti can swim

Maria cannot swim

Maria is a bitch and is also very stupid

Only stupid people cannot swim

 

Rudi had dived from the boat again and was swimming towards the jetty which he reached a few minutes later

Gerti resisted the urge to join him and watched as he walked towards Heinrich

Maria has gone missing again

She is most probably hiding amongst the almond trees watching us

Where is Gerti?

In the boat

Why did she not swim ashore?

Because she pissed in my boat

Why?

The usual reason

Why do you not just love her?

I do not desire her

Then touch her

She repulses me

But many find her beautiful

Oh yes she is beautiful but I still find her repulsive

Would a normal maiden spoil your sailing boat?

Perhaps it was an accident

No I accidently brushed my penis against her face and she caught fire immediately

That is a funny way of showing desire

She wanted to spoil what she could not have

 

Gerti was watching her friends talk

She was sitting against the mast of the sailing boat

I will not hide amongst the almond trees

He will love me

The trees are naked

They should not be naked but full of blossom

He should have embraced me and kissed me

 

Without removing her sailors suit Gerti dived into the lake and began to swim away from the shore

Within a few minutes she began to tire and soon the waters began to claim her

A mermaid pulled her towards the bed of the lake where her sisters were gathered

We will return you to the shore but for a while you will be an almond tree

Maybe a season or a season or two will elapse before your lover touches the bark

He will then embrace the tree and in turn embrace you

The tree will blossom

You will be loved

And one day when you are very tired you will walk naked into this lake and you will become as we are

Sisters of the deep

 

A summer later both Heinrich and Rudi visited the lake again

Their loss was great

But they had returned to the exact summer spot

They looked at the ragged sailboat at anchor away from the jetty

Poor sad boat

It experienced no love

The almond trees were naked as they had been the previous summer

Sad almond trees

Never loved

They bore no fruit

Heinrich who was well again walked towards the trees and touched the nearest one

It moved and he found himself touching a woman’s nipple

Touch me embrace me

He embraced the tree with all his strength

Hold me tighter

In his arms he was holding Maria

Love me for an hour and we will abandon to the lake side

 

Rudi had followed his friend

He hugged a tree

There was no response

Hug all the trees bar one and the tree that you do not love will be Gerti

If you do not love her then do not assist

 

Heinrich and Maria waked towards the lake shore where she lightly bathed being careful not to swim

Come to me if you care for me

I find you repulsive

You do not find me repulsive

You adore my beauty

That is why I drowned myself

So that I might have you

 

Rudi looked at the furthest tree which exhibited its feminine shape in the dappled summer light

Come to me

Touch my breasts

Caress the blossom of my being

 

Without thinking Rudi touched the furthest tree and found Gerti in his arms

He ran his hands over her rough skin

It will change in minutes do not fear

The silk of my skin will return

 

Rudi waited for an hour and carried Gerti towards his friends

Heinrich was sitting on the grass next to splendid picnic

Maria was still in the shallow waters but was wearing a light shift

Gerti sat down next to both Rudi and Heinrich

She ate thinly and spoke to both men

In a relaxed manner

 

At times during that hot afternoon

With her hand resting calmly on her chin

Gerti occasionally looked at me

As I wrote single words

On many sheets of paper

And pinned them onto the almond trees