Y is for…Yearning

By Vita Forest


Derek and Billie, Billie 4 Derek.

Billie eyes widened as she stared at the words she had written on the page.  Her pencil hovered in the air, then she scribbled through the words until she tore the paper.

Sometimes when they talked, she looked at his lips.  At his lips forming the sounds that she was hearing.  Except sometimes she wasn’t really listening to the sounds.  They were secondary because what she was thinking of was – what would it be like to kiss those lips?

Sometimes when they met, she thought how easy it would be to reach out and hold him.  To just reach out and wrap him in her arms.  They were standing so close!  It would hardly be any effort at all.  She was standing right in front of him, not across the city, or across the uni, or across the classroom, or across a table.  They had covered all that distance that had separated them their whole lives, but this is where she had to stop.  Her arms could not breach that gap.  Billie had to content herself with hugging her books to her chest.  As if they could give her any comfort, as if they could warm her, as if they could make her feel.  (Actually they could comfort her and make her feel, and actually they did.  Jane Austen did provide comfort.  So did Shakespeare.)

Billie watched Derek.  Often she would deliberately sneak into the lecture hall late so she could sit behind him, away from him.  For the sole purpose of watching him.  At times that was better than sitting right beside his physical presence.  Which she sometimes found unbearable.  The yearning could be too much.

He would usually text her.

U here?


He would turn at that and scan the hall.  His face would break into a smile when he found her crouched behind her laptop.  She would remain deadpan but would raise a hand in greeting.  Then he would wink at her.  She would wink back.  And then he would turn away.  Which was lucky, because by then, she was probably blushing.  She could only do deadpan for so long.  And the blushing was getting worse.

Billie hoped he hadn’t noticed.

So Billie walked up to Derek and always stopped that arm’s length from him.  Though her heart pulled her closer towards his heart, but she would resist it.  Grip her books and resist it.  This terrible, delicious yearning.  This torture.

Billie supposed she should do something.  Throw caution to the wind.  Take his hand.  Kiss him.  Tell him how she felt.  She almost laughed.  What a ridiculous idea!  No, much better to stay in this state of friendship, good friendship, close friendship.  She didn’t want to lose that and if she said anything and he laughed…  It would be beyond awkward.  Beyond excruciating.  It would be devastating.

So she watched him from across the room and waved at him and winked at him and texted him and talked to him and laughed with him and was with him, in a way.  She was with him.  And that was what really mattered, wasn’t it?

K is for… Kiss

By Vita Forest


He thinks he has stuffed things up.  He thinks he has ruined everything.

Arriving late at the party to find Billie dancing, dancing, hair flying around her, as she leaped and sang.  Derek had never seen her like that before.  And he had been watching for a long time.  He circled the group, just to watch her, just to enjoy the sight of her.  Then, when he could bear it no longer, he tapped her on the shoulder, her hair flicking him in the face as she spun around.

“Derek!” she shrieked, “You’re here!”

As if it had made her night.  As if they hadn’t seen each other just the day before, and the day before that.

She had flung an arm over his shoulder and pulled him into the circle.  He had wrapped his arm around her waist.  (Funny how he could remember it all, the choreography, the song, the hand placements, now, when it had all gone wrong.)  How long had they stayed like that?  Attached?  He had spun her out and back, she had circled his neck with her hands and looked into his eyes as she shimmied her hips in time with the music.  He had sung drippy lyrics to her, singing along with the song, while clasping her hand, his other on his heart.  They were playing, they were acting, they were hamming it up, it wasn’t real, but it was more real than he had ever been.  They were playing at being in love so they didn’t have to continue this stalemate they seemed to have reached.  Then a slow song came on and he pulled her right into his arms and she had stayed there.

It wasn’t showing off anymore, it wasn’t pretending.  Her arms were around his neck and his face was nuzzling into her hair as he held her close to him.

Derek steered them away from the circle, off to the shadows.  Then he stopped dancing and leaned down and kissed her.  It wasn’t pretend either.  His hands on her back, pulling her to him.  She was kissing him back.  He couldn’t believe it.  Then the song was over and she pulled away from him, staring at him, right in the eye.  As if she didn’t quite trust him.  And in that moment, Susie came over and pulled her into some kind of congo-line arrangement.  He had panicked and left.

This morning, he had panicked again.  She was waiting at their usual table.  Derek could have told her it had been real, that he had been dying to kiss her for so long.  But instead –

“Hi Billie.”


“What was that last night?  I was so wasted, I was out of it.”

How could she possibly answer that?  Except with that disdainful stare thing she did?  And a sniff.  Was that of distaste or of disappointment?

“Yeah me too,” she said coolly.

He had smiled at her stupidly.  But she didn’t smile back.

He thinks he has spoiled it.  He thinks he has ruined everything.  How hard was it to just say the words?  To let her know?  Why is he so afraid?



E is for … Everything

By Vita Forest


What do I like about him?  Where do I start?

We can talk, really talk and he listens to me.  He’s a really good listener.  He hears me.  He asks questions and remembers things I’ve said.  He’s not black and white about everything.  He is curious and open-minded, even about some of my crazy habits – and not in a patronizing kind of way either.  He makes me feel like I am just about the most interesting person he is ever likely to come across.

There are little things too.  He reads.  And not just magazines.  We can talk about books.  Can you imagine?  Sometimes we curl up together and read, not talking, reading.  He likes Margaret Atwood, Tim Winton and Wallace Stegner.  He has read Michael Ondaatje – and not just The English Patient.  He has books beside his bed.  He makes time to read.  There was this one day we had a picnic and we hardly spoke – just lay there beside each other, barefoot in the sun.  Reading and sipping red wine out of plastic glasses and holding hands.  (He has a very good picnic set which lives in his car – a good sign, I think).

He is calm.  Things don’t get to him.  He puts things in perspective and doesn’t make a big deal of nothing.  He doesn’t fly off the handle.  He is peaceful.  Maybe that’s because he gardens.  Nearly every day.  He potters about with his plants.  His garden is really beautiful.  And he likes to visit them.  He is a garden nerd like me.

And he has integrity, in his work of course, but in how he lives his life.  He likes being part of a community.  He likes to contribute and he is happy with what he does.  He takes the time to acknowledge that.  He is loyal.  He cares for his family (who are lovely by the way).  And his friends love him, they are very protective of him, and I think they have accepted me.  I think I have their tick of approval.  They are looking after his heart.

We have the same outlook, the same ideals.  I never used to think much about that, I never used to think it mattered, but it does.  This is so easy, so good.

He is an optimist.  He has a lovely way of looking at the world. And being around him make me feel positive too.

And I like the way he looks, which always helps…

He makes me feel calm.  And he makes me feel happy.  Well, you noticed the way I have this silly grin on my face.

And he is kind.  Do you know how much that means to me?  That did not used to be on my list, but now it’s right up there at the top.  He is a kind person.  He helps people, he is thoughtful.  Not in big showy ways – which I don’t believe in anymore anyway.  He is a genuinely good person.

I’m waiting for the rose-coloured glasses to come off.  I’m waiting for the honeymoon to end, but at the moment, what do I like about him?