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Read "Louka in Autumn" by Ken Barris from the Short Sharp Stories Anthology, Adults Only

Ken Barris

Adults OnlyAerodrome has shared Ken Barris’ short story from the second SHORT.SHARP.STORIES anthology, Adults Only: Stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality edited by Joanne Hichens.

In “Louka in Autumn” Mark Berger runs into a woman from his past, Louka. Seeing her again stirs up memories of their time together as he deals with his recent divorce. Looking back twenty years Mark recalls that “Love with Louka is ecstatic pain, knowledge withheld, territory unknown – the mystery of Louka remains extreme, is never resolved.”

Read Barris’ story:

I go for long walks along the Cape avenues, the oak trees shattering form, exploring every branching possibility, the leaves splattering colour, their own flesh lignified, crumbling, becoming dust with such beauty, their maroon and ochre fires drifting along the gutters.

I think of Louka from time to time. I think of her in the present tense. She has maroon lips. She takes her lower lip between her teeth when she reflects on grave matters. Her hair is completely white, always was, trimmed short enough to leave her neck naked. Her thighs are slender and curve in slightly, she has the proportions and long muscles of a dancer. She reminds me of a waterdrop falling, something shaped by gravity and surface tension and air resistance only, fluid becoming itself at all times and then finally splattering to destruction against the logical obstacle. Yet there is quicksilver in the way she comes together again, resuming selfhood without a trace of embarrassment or care at the leave she has taken.

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