Gates of Heaven

The wrought iron

hung on two hinges

between two

posts without a

fence, just a

gate set at

the entrance of

a garden to

which he had

come as a

stranger in need

of comfort, any

comfort, but

a glass of water

would do, with

or without the

glass. “May

I help you?”

she asked.

“Excuse me,” he

said. “Could I

trouble you for

a drink of

water?” He looked

nice enough, tall

and slender and

sad about the

eyes. What kind

of a man asks a

woman in a

sheer cotton

dress for water

in the cool

of the shade

beneath the

branches of her

trees in the middle

of the day? “I

could just take

a drink from

the garden hose,”

he ventured. “Go

ahead,” she said

and he turned

on the hose,

held the spout

to his lips and

drank deeply.

When he had

done he did

one thing more.

He placed the

end of the

still running

hose over his

head and let

the cold water

play down over

his neck and

wet his hair,

his long dark hair,

gasping as he

did from the


and explosion

of cold upon

his flesh.

He let out

an expletive

and as he did

she felt her

loins loosen.

She invited

him in. “Are

you hungry?” she

asked. “Would you

like something to

eat?” “Yes,”

he said and

opened the gate

after he turned

off the water.

The fact he

turned off

the water and

opened the gate

where no fence

stood and might

have walked

around without

formality let her

know she’d

made the right

decision, the

right choice.

She had been

alone a long

time. She

wore sheer white

cotton dresses

because she had

been alone a

long time.