A/N: Hello dear reader! I haven't written anything in a while and I was just in the mood to spend a lazy afternoon doodling on the internet. I was just imagining I was Mary Ann observing Gilligan and thinking nice thoughts about him. Hope you enjoy it :)
The Mate Was A Mighty Sailin' Man
He's flexing his muscles again. He always does that when he thinks no-one's looking, down on the beach (where he is right now), or hidden away in his hut, standing in front of the mirror, having first checked outside to make sure the coast is clear. He takes off his shirt, and then his undershirt, and he peers at himself from all angles, in the mirror if he has one, or twisting his head as far around as he possibly can, like an awkward bird, trying to observe the movements of his biceps and shoulders.
I've known Gilligan for so long now, I'm more familiar with his routine than even the Skipper. Gilligan likes to explore on his own after his chores are done- sometimes even between chores, and if he can get away with doing no chores whatsoever he'll sneak down to the lagoon before lunch for a swim and a shower under the waterfall. I don't creep around following him or anything, I just...
...well, perhaps I do, to some extent. My reasoning is that Gilligan is such a walking disaster that if anything happened, at least I would be able to run for help.
Gilligan has never been anything other than skinny. When he raises his arms you can see his ribs, subtly shaded in gentle undulations beneath his skin. But three years of living on the island has broadened his shoulders a little; all those bananas he eats, not to mention the endless supply of pies I bake for him, have put maybe an inch around his waist. It's not much, but we're talking Gilligan here, the man with the metabolism of a hummingbird, constantly having to eat to keep his strength up.
I realize I just called Gilligan a 'man'. Well, he is! Unlike Ginger, I happen to think Gilligan is a man, and a very fine one at that. In my opinion, you don't need to know or have done certain things in order to be considered a man. Gilligan is courteous and kind, sweet and gentlemanly. Perhaps Ginger is used to more forward types, the sort of man I wouldn't want to meet on a dark night, in which case Gilligan will never stop being a boy in her eyes, but to me he has all the qualities I would ever want in a man. The only thing I wish is that he were a little more confident in himself. Does he see what I see when he looks in the mirror? I doubt it, and that makes me sad.
Gilligan has acquired a light golden tan. I'm not sure how, seeing as he never takes off that worn and rumpled rugby shirt, but he has, and it's the most beautiful colour I've ever seen. Like butterscotch. It reminds me of the pans of creamy fudge Aunt Martha would make on chilly afternoons in the Fall, how the kitchen would be filled with such a warm and sweet aroma that even the mouths of the cows in the field would water.
He raises his arms above his head and stretches. His stomach pulls in and a gap appears between his lower belly and his denim pants. I feel warmth creeping into my cheeks, and I look, unashamedly. Then he breathes out again and its gone.
He stoops to pick up a pebble and skims it out across the lagoon. His back muscles flex and stretch. What did that wolf on a surfboard, Duke Williams call them? Deltoids? Latisimus dorsi? Whatever they are, Gilligan has nice ones. The sun gleams on his skin and runs its fingers over his shoulderblades and while I wish I had the courage to throw caution to the wind, I resist the sudden urge to run down the beach and fling my arms around him and press myself against the warmth of his back.
I remember how he stood at the bows of the Minnow before the weather started getting rough, pointing out landmarks along the coastline as we motored gently away from Honolulu. His feet were planted apart, his balance perfectly kept, as we landlubbers held onto the railing and each other for support. I remember how the Minnow dipped into a trough and a wave splashed him right in the face and he carried on as if nothing had happened, as though it were a daily occurrence. Of course, knowing Gilligan as I do now, it most likely was a daily occurrence...possibly even an hourly occurrence. He just took his hat off, wrung it out, stuck it back on top of his dripping hair and pointed at another landmark, and then turned and flashed his beautiful dimples in my direction.
He skims another stone across the water and shields his eyes with both hands to watch its progress. It skips thirteen times and then vanishes beneath the surface. "Lucky number thirteen!" he shouts, unaware that I'm watching him from just off the lagoon path, smiling at him, my heart beating just a little faster at the sound of his voice. I hear that voice sometimes when he's not even around, I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes I'll be busy with my own chores and I'll hear my name being called, and I'll ask him about it later and he'll shrug his shoulders and insist it wasn't him.
Finished with pebble skimming and examining his muscle movements, Gilligan picks up his undershirt, shakes it out and pulls it over his head. He tucks it neatly into his waistband and again my eyes fall to his hips and legs and the way his pants fall in loose creases down to his big, battered sneakers with the trailing laces. He grabs his rugby shirt from the sand, flaps it in the air like a flag and pulls it on, getting caught in it for a moment before his glossy, dark head finally emerges from the proper opening. He pulls the hem down to try and remove the creases but they're permanent creases now, even after washing. The shirt once belonged to his brother, but I doubt his brother would want it back now.
With a sigh, I turn away from the tree I've been leaning against and face inland, away from the beach. Show's over, I tell myself, and then I smile fondly. Watching Gilligan skim stones across the lagoon while shirtless is like observing one of the Seven Wonders of The World, something so beautiful it takes your breath away. Knowing that he's going to be heading along this very path any minute, I step up my pace; like a Howell, I don't run, I just walk, very fast. And then I hear it, and as always I can't tell whether it's real or just a murmur in my head. There are too many other sounds obscuring the source; birds, banana leaves rustling, distant monkeys chattering, waves shushing on the shore. I hear Mary Ann, soft and gentle, like a warm, tropical breeze, and I long for the day when I'll finally feel brave enough to answer it with a soft call of my own.