Tag Archives: Communication

A last farewell…

Your time on earth is over and what’s left is the rest of us – and a void the size of the Grand Canyon. Those who got to know you, who now miss you, have to find a way to cope without you. You touched so many people and changed so many lives, including mine.

We talked a lot through the years, about everything. Your youthful, honest, kind, loving spirit was in every exchange. You gladly shared your sprightly personality, your hilarious jokes, the amazing stories from your eventful life. You enriched my days. Every time my phone beeped, I hoped it was a message from you. I grew fonder and fonder of you by the day.

When we finally met, you gave me six wonderful days with you. On the first day you took my hand, looked into my eyes and said, “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for so long, I can hardly believe you’re actually here. You’re even more beautiful than I had imagined.”

Over the next few days we laughed and cried, we talked and embraced – and exchanged the words we’d both wanted to say to each other for a long time. Then you sang to me, three times. Your voice was rugged, the words were sincere and your heart and love was in every phrase. I tried not to cry, as I sat on my knees in front of you while you held your hands on my cheeks and crooned softly as you looked into my eyes.

Thanks to you, I had six perfect days that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Then I had to leave and you slowly got worse – but we managed to stay in touch and exchange sweet messages of love every now and then. We talked a little on the phone on a few occasions, reminded each other of the words we’d exchanged in person and talked about what we’d do when we next met – although we both knew that’d never happen.

When you took your final breath, we had nothing left unsaid. It was still a shock, although it was expected. I’m hurting now for purely selfish reasons – because I’ll never get to spend another day with you, I’ll never get to hear you say “I love you, sweetheart” again and I’ll never get to hold you in my arms again…

But you were ready.

You were fine about leaving your earthly existence, because you’d lived “the perfect life” and because you knew you’d end up in a good place, based on the life you’d been living and the way you’d treated people. I know you wouldn’t have wanted any of us to be sad, you would have wanted us all to follow our dreams, to never settle for less and to celebrate a life well lived.

I’ll love you and keep you in my heart forever, for all that you were to me. Knowing you made me a better person. You reminded me that not realising my full potential is not an option. That it’s up to me to do what it takes to live the life that I want and deserve – just like you did. I’ll never meet anyone else like you, but at least I got to meet you.

I’ll treasure that for the rest of my life. Thank you. For everything.

140 Words #9

“Nick…” she whispered and put both hands on my cheeks. I stood dumbstruck wondering if I should touch her, but didn’t have much time to do anything before she leaned in and planted a soft kiss on my mouth. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for the seconds it lasted. “That was beautiful,” she finally added after a long silence of looking at each other. She took a step back, smiled, turned around and disappeared through the door.

‘Thank you…’ I muttered to myself, long after she had vanished and would be unable to hear me. I allowed my knees to bend so I could slide down along the side of the worktop and onto the floor. I was overcome with emotion, unable to prevent a single tear from running down my cheek as I registered an unfamiliar feeling: happiness.

140 Words #5

His hands held firmly onto my hips, pulling me against him, the friction increasing rapidly with each urgent thrust.

Then suddenly, he stopped. I held my breath, hoping it wasn’t over.

He moved me from the chair and sat down on it himself before guiding me onto his lap, facing away from him. The dance began again with a renewed vibrancy. I arched my back against him, reaching for the back of his head as I felt the climax approaching. I could hardly breathe as a violent wave of shivers hit me with the energy of a runaway train, leaving me unable to keep my legs on the floor. Moments before my own orgasm was over, he joined me.

His grip around my waist loosened and I rolled down his arm, hitting the floor with a gasping sigh of relief

Don’t Wear Any Panties…

I was in Honolulu, living on the money my father had left me in a trust when he passed away. Going to Hawai’i was a desperate attempt to be anywhere but London where the skies were always grey, and flying to the other side of the world where the sun was a permanent fixture seemed like a great solution.

In spite of having grown up in a society where you don’t talk to strangers unless you’re in a pub, where personal space is incredibly important and general correctness is valued above all else, it didn’t take long for me to feel right at home. I’ll admit that, at first, it was a bit of a culture shock. As it turns out, pale skin and red hair makes you stand out in a place like Hawai’i – in a good way. On the first day I was there, I walked down Kalakaua Avenue and got the attention of a local gentleman. He raised his hand, stopped next to me, looked straight into my eyes and said “you’re beautiful” before walking on. I was so perplexed that I was unable to react until he was out of sight.

And this was just a taste of what was to come.

One evening I was sitting on the Waikiki Beach, watching the sunset, when a man who looked like he was in his mid- to late 30s sat down next to me. He was no more than 5’8, had pitch black hair, sunglasses and was only wearing a pair of loose fitting jeans.

‘Amazing sunset, isn’t it?’

‘So it is,’ I confirmed, turned my head slightly and looked directly at him. When we got eye contact he revealed the brightest smile I’d ever seen.

‘What brings you here to the island in the sun?’

‘I needed a time-out, I guess.’

‘It’s safe to say that you’ve come to the right place for that.’

‘It’s amazing how quickly it gets dark once the sun starts to fade. It’s like turning off a switch and suddenly it’s pitch black.’

‘It’s the time of year too, it’s still winter here in January.’

‘You’re from here?’

‘Born and bred. I moved to the mainland for a few while but came back a few years ago. It’s a different life here. How long have you been?’

‘Two days. I already feel at home here. The heat, the people, the surroundings… and I’ve only seen Waikiki.’

‘Then you’ve seen nothing yet,’ he chuckled and lay back onto his elbows. He was toned and slender, his chest defined and hairless. My eyes travelled down his exposed torso and stopped by his jeans. While we’d been talking, the sun had disappeared into the horizon and he pushed his sunglasses up onto his head. His eyes were a dark velvety brown. I couldn’t figure out why I was so drawn to him, but there was something about his demeanour that triggered my interest.

And that smile. That smile that I couldn’t stop looking at.

‘What are your plans for the rest of the evening?’ he inquired. Before I could answer “nothing” he went on, ‘…because in three hours there’s a band playing at Keone’s on Lewers Street, just up the road. Walk up Kalakaua Avenue and Lewers Street is right there.’

‘OK, I’ll… come.’

He smiled once more at my unsubtle innuendo, took my hand in his and kissed it as he looked deep into my eyes. ‘Yes, you will,’ he stated, stood up and that was when I realised he actually had a white shirt with a light pattern with him. As soon as he’d put the shirt on, leaving it unbuttoned, he reached out his hand once more to help me up. His other hand went around the small of my back and pulled me slightly towards him. My chest was so close to his that I could feel his heartbeats against my t-shirt. He was exactly as tall as I was. His skin and hair smelled of the sun and the sea.

He finally let go of my right hand and slid it around my upper back, embracing me so that our bodies finally touched. As his mouth found mine, I let myself go and embraced him in the same way he already had me. The fact that I, the English rose, was in the arms of a total stranger on a beach in Hawaii was almost laughable. I didn’t even kiss on the first date, usually, and that was after an evening of wining and dining.

Yet here, with the sound of the ocean in my ear, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. He kept his hands on my back and ran his fingers through my hair with one hand. Eventually he kissed his way across my left cheek and down, resting his mouth in the crook of my neck and sighed into my ear.

I could feel his growing erection against my pelvis and an urge to strip him down right there washed over me like a tidal wave.

‘I’ll see you tonight,’ he whispered into my ear. ‘Don’t wear any panties.’

With those words, he kissed my hand once more and walked up towards Kalakaua Avenue. I just stood there, perplexed, and realised I didn’t even know his name.

The Disappearance of Higgins

It was nearly 7p.m. and I was running down Bow Street on route to the Covent Garden underground, where I would meet my date for the evening. I was late, for no apparent reason at all, and as I approached what felt like fifty miles an hour I regretted wearing my stupidly high heels and summer dress.

As I passed the Fielding Hotel, I crashed into a man on his way out. To say that I went flying is an understatement. It was as though it happened in slow motion: the first thing that went down was that my bag released itself from my shoulder, turned on its head and threw up all the contents onto the street; my right shoe slid off my foot and hit said person on the head – followed by me grabbing onto the first thing I could, tearing off the arm of their jacket in the process. And yet, even after all that, I fell flat on my face – still holding the torn-off arm.

I’m fairly certain I’ve looked more elegant.

For a moment I just lay there, in shock, trying to figure out if I was still in one piece. Before long, a pair of black shoes appeared in front of me, followed by a man kneeling before me and offering me his hand.

‘You alright?’ he asked as I let him help me up. ‘Allow me,’ he chuckled, knelt down again and put my shoe back on my foot. As he stood back up, we finally saw eye-to-eye. It was difficult to tell his age. Certainly in his late 40s, at least. He was overall broad without being overweight, his hair was greying and he was wearing big glasses that looked like something out of the 60s.

‘I’m so… so sorry about your jacket,’ I muttered in horror and meekly handed him the black sleeve. He was wearing a white shirt underneath. ‘I’ll replace it!’

‘Never mind the jacket,’ his deep, velvet voice assured me. ‘Are you alright?’ he repeated.

‘Superb,’ I responded as I looked down myself. My right knee and ditto arm looked like they belonged to a 10-year-old that liked running down hills in the summer. Before I knew it, he was back on his hands and knees, putting my mobile phone, two pens, note pad, digital voice recorder, a packet of Extra gum and antihistamines back into my bag. I thanked my own good sense that I’d put the condoms in the pocket with a zipper. ‘Thank you, you didn’t have to do that,’ I offered as he handed it back to me.

‘You’re a journalist?’

‘What gave me away?’ I grinned.

‘Well, you’re no doubt late to meet someone and I need to change my jacket,’ he smiled. ‘It was nice… running into you.’

‘You too.’

Without much further ado he went back into the Fielding Hotel and I decided to text my date and inform him that I was running late. So to speak. Then I walked the last three minutes to the Covent Garden underground station, arriving fashionably late at 7:12p.m. to the obvious question: “What the hell happened to you?”

As I turned up for work Monday morning, half an hour late, the first person I met was Sandy. We both worked on the entertainment section of the newspaper where she basically did the celebrity gossip and I did, well, real news. She made no excuses for her taste for gossip and I no excuse for my distaste for it. Together we were a formidable team, even though she was 47 and I was 30.

‘How was your date?’ she asked and handed me a cup of tea.

‘Who? Oh, he’s 32 and still lives with his mother.’

‘Say no more. Did you hear about Drake Neville?’

‘Who?’

‘You’re kidding, right? Well, I suppose he may be a bit vintage for you. He’s a highly intellectual singer/songwriter who had some hits in the 80s and early 90s, went on to acting in some HBO TV-series in the US, did a degree in law and was going to appear at the Old Vic from Saturday.’

‘That’s an eclectic CV. Was?’

‘Nobody knows where he is. He never showed up for a sitzprobe on Friday evening and they couldn’t reach him on his mobile either on Saturday or Sunday so a colleague went to his hotel room yesterday and found signs of a struggle, apparently. There were torn-up clothing, his glasses were broken and the way the furniture was arranged suggested something had happened.’

‘How odd… So he’s doing “My Fair Lady”, I presume?’

‘Yes, he was going to be Higgins.’

‘He may still be Higgins.’

We both sat down with the rest of our colleagues to hear today’s brief by the editor. Our colleagues were mainly men in their 50s, except for the editor in chief who was a woman – though she was of ditto age as the men, and behaved more of a man than they did. They were all afraid of her because she had more balls. This taken into consideration, it surprised us all to see Carole really distressed. Carole McKenna never got distraught.

‘You’ve probably all heard about Drake Neville by now. We will make this case a top priority. Katie, you will focus only on this case. Go out, talk to colleagues, trace his steps, talk to the hotel and report back to me. Use your investigative skills for something useful,’ she said as she walked slowly towards me, her voice shaking. ‘We will find… this man. Do you hear me?’

‘Sure thing,’ I stated, not actually daring to point out that my actual journalistic skills were more in the regions of reviewing plays, operas and musicals. Maybe do the odd quickie of an interview with an actor or singer, but that was usually the extent to which my skills were required to stretch. Now I was suddenly going to be thrown into an investigation?

‘Why her?’ Stuart Summer asked from the opposite side of the table. She quickly turned her head and sent him a glare that made him cower ever so slightly in his seat.

‘Because,’ she spat and left the room.

‘Thanks, that explains it,’ he mumbled sarcastically as we all got up and sauntered back to our computers. I eyed Sandy and she sent me a look that told me she knew what this was all about. As we sat down and booted up our laptops she moved her chair closer to me and demonstrably looked around to make sure nobody was paying attention.

‘Carole had a monster crush on Drake Neville after a brief meeting in New York in the late 80s when he was playing some club. Apparently they met afterwards, had talked a bit and he had kissed her goodnight.’

‘So he was a stud, then?’

‘Yes, back then. He’s getting on a bit now but he was quite a charmer. He had one of those voices that could make devils cry, both when he sang and when he spoke. I can’t believe you haven’t heard of him!’

‘I’m really bad with names, but I’ll probably recognise him when I see a picture. Will you find one while I get another cuppa?’

As I returned to our desk she had Youtube up on her screen.

‘This is from a private gig he did last year, seemingly. That voice…’ she muttered. I stopped behind her back and leaned over her shoulder to get a closer look. I nearly dropped my cup as the camera zoomed in on his face – as I realised that Drake Neville the man who had introduced himself to me as Daniel three days before.

Nothing Ever Really Changes

I stopped by the entrance to the museum and pulled my phone out of my pocket. Another message: “Take your time, I’m sitting on a bench opposite Nelson.” I took a final look down myself, feeling relatively confident in my tight jeans that accentuated my rounded bottom and a top that accentuated my waist and chest – giving me the hour glass shape I knew he couldn’t resist. I had also chosen my shoes wisely, because I knew he’d notice. To top it all off I wore my hair down, my dark red curls bouncing off my back as I approached him.

I’d pulled out all the stops. For old time’s sake.

As I walked down the stairs to the square itself I saw him on a bench across from the statue of Nelson, as promised. He was staring into his music player as I slowly walked over and stopped in front of him. Once he realised I was there he slowly looked up, taking in all the sights in the process, yanked the earplugs out of his lug holes and stood up. For a moment we just lingered. I bent my head backwards ever so slightly to meet his eyes as confidently as I could.

He didn’t say anything, just looked down at me over the bridge of his nose, before bending his knees and picking me up by snaking one arm around my back. As a reflex, I put my arms around his neck and took in the scent from his skin. It seemed like he, too, was trying to give me a trip down memory lane by putting on that perfume he knew used to drive me wild. He rested his mouth in the crook of my neck and sighed, hugging me tighter with the arm that held me up and slid his fingers through my hair with the other.

When I opened my eyes and looked over his shoulder, I realised that we’d attracted a curious crowd who wondered what was going on. I helped myself down, sliding slowly down his chest and torso, until my feet once again hit the ground. He still held me against him, refusing to let up until I took a physical step back.

‘It’s good to see you,’ he finally said, his voice dark and soft, like chocolate. ‘Thank you for coming.’

He looked how I remembered, but better. He’d toned up, his hair and beard had traces of gray and that “something” I’d never quite been able to put my finger on that made him irresistible… well, that was there too.

‘For old time’s sake, right?’

‘Right,’ he chuckled. ‘Shall we?’ he added and offered me his arm, like a proper gentleman. I slid my hand in between his rib-cage and his bicep, giving it a little squeeze. Probably as a reflex, he momentarily flexed his muscle, quietly reminding me that he still “had it”. A completely unnecessary exercise, as he’d already done that by lifting me off the ground using only one arm a minute or so ago.

We walked up St Martin’s Lane on route to Browns Restaurant, where he’d suggested in a previous message, in complete silence. He just touched my hand as I clutched his bicep, repeating to myself that it was “just a lunch”. That he’d married Rose and she was probably waiting for him somewhere, alongside their – probably – four kids.

‘Let me get that for you,’ he said as we reached Browns and opened the door for me. We were immediately shown to our table, that he’d booked in advance, and given menus. We both ordered beef with fries and salad. I made sure I got a glass of red while he stuck to Guinness with his upscale pub lunch.

‘What brings you to town?’ I finally asked, having gulped down a third of my glass of wine in one gulp.

‘I’m back at work, singing. Can you believe it?’

‘No,’ I said earnestly. ‘I didn’t know you’d started singing again. The last time we spoke…’

‘A lot has happened since the last time we spoke,’ he interrupted me. ‘I met a miracle worker that got had me doing yoga and breathing exercises. But don’t worry, I haven’t gone all zen on you,’ he grinned. ‘It took a while but for the past few years I’ve been welcomed back to the stages I never thought I’d grace again.’

‘I’m happy for you,’ I offered. ‘How’s Rose?’ I asked, getting it out of the way as quickly as possible.

‘I hear she’s fine. We haven’t had much to say to one another in the past four years or so.’

‘Right.’

‘I’ve enjoyed being on my own, putting things into perspective, finding myself…’

‘I thought you said you hadn’t gone all zen on me.’

He laughed out loud.

‘Did you like who you found?’

‘As it turns out, I wasn’t that hard to find,’ he chuckled. ‘I’ve had a pretty good grip on who I am for most of my life.’

I smiled to myself as I filled my mouth with another piece of beef. I don’t know what I’d expected, but for some reason I was still surprised that he the whole process, the life-changing events of the past few years, hadn’t really changed him. Zen my arse.

‘What’s new with you? I heard you dumped what’s his face and that he married the most level headed woman I’ve ever met.’

‘I think what makes it work for those two is that they’re both as sedated as each other and happy with that. He’s a lovely guy but I swear to God, he provided me with the most boring sex I’ve ever had,’ I said without thinking, causing him to swallow his meat down the wrong way, followed by a coughing fit and eventually a belly laugh.

‘I’ve missed that,’ he beamed. ‘At least you can’t say that the sex we had was ever boring.’

‘This is true. So, when do you start rehearsals?’ I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from the past, which wasn’t all that easy as it was literally staring me straight in the face. I could feel the blood rushing through my body, my heart racing even though I wasn’t moving – and I had to uncross my legs to avoid any friction.

‘Next week. You look… stunning,’ he continued, trying to steer the conversation back to where he wanted it. ‘So do you?’

‘Do I what?’ I asked flatly as I threw back the rest of my wine, fighting the urge to lunge at him.

‘Remember when I tied you up in LA?’ he asked, referring to the last message before our meeting that I’d avoided replying to. With good reason.

‘Is that why you wanted to see me? To ask me that?’

I heard that my voice sounded irritated. What irritated me the most was that I liked where the conversation was going. I liked that he almost immediately steered me towards sex, towards our shared desires, towards our mutual lust for one another. At the same time, I was angry that he felt he could just make contact after six years of nothing, four of them as single, and expect me to just – literally – bend over by doing something as simple as remind me of what we used to do. The hot, steaming, moments of passion that still made my nipples harden just from the thought alone.

‘I apologise for taking liberties. Old habits, I guess.’

‘I should go.’

‘We should both go,’ he said and had settled the bill before I’d had the time to object. They were clearly interested in catering to as many people as possible during the lunch rush, so for once the service was quick. On the street I kept my distance. Not because I wanted to, but because I knew I needed to in order to not get sucked back into a whirlwind fuckfest with him that would – without doubt – end in tears again for me in the not too distant future.

‘Thanks for lunch,’ I said, turned on my heel and walked hastily back down St. Martin’s Lane, counting the seconds before he caught up with me. He came around in front of me and touched both of my shoulders, holding onto me, making sure I couldn’t rush off.

‘I’m not going to lure you with some speech about how I’ve changed and become a better man. I don’t have any guarantees, all I can say is that I’ve had time to get my ducks in a row. I know I was a prick to you on several occasions in the past. All I ask is that we go on a proper date so we can get to know each other again. Tomorrow night, what do you say?’

I looked at him. This gesture was slightly out of character. Maybe he had changed, maybe he hadn’t. Even though I leaned towards “hadn’t”, I figured I owed it to myself to find out – so I made eye-contact with him, gave him a quick nod and pushed him out of the way.

Rather than rushing, I got my hips swaying and my hair bouncing off my back as I walked away, making damn sure I had the upper hand when we met again the next day.

It’s Not Over Even When It’s Over

The following morning I woke up from Cavaradossi kissing my forehead. I opened my eyes and saw he was sitting on his knees in front of me, fully dressed.

‘Just stay in bed, I have to go to a rehearsal right now because the tenor I’m covering for is sick. I’ll be back this afternoon.’

‘OK, we’ll be in touch,’ I mumbled.

‘You took me by surprise yesterday,’ he stated and smiled vaguely, got up and walked out the door. I sat up on my elbow for a moment, wondering whether that was meant as a positive or a negative comment. A couple of minutes later the doorbell rang and I got up, thinking Cavaradossi had forgotten something. After all, he didn’t have a key to my flat yet. I put on his shirt from the night before, pulled it around me without buttoning it up and opened the door.

The man outside the door wasn’t Cavaradossi.

‘What are you doing here? It’s…’ I paused and looked at the wall clock. ‘It’s nine in the fucking morning!’

‘Apologies,’ he said dully and added with sarcasm; ‘we could have finished this last night but your knight in shiny armour rescued you from the devil at the last minute.’

‘Are you jealous?’ I asked with a slight hint of gloating in my voice.

‘Not necessarily,’ he spat and looked down.

‘Thanks for dropping by,’ I stated and tried closing the door. His hand immediately grabbed onto the edge of it, stopping me in my track.

‘Can we just have a quick talk over coffee? Then I’ll leave you alone. Please?’ he requested, milder and with added desperation.

‘Fine…’ I muttered and let him in, suddenly aware that I was just wearing a white shirt with nothing underneath. Whilst buttoning the shirt up I made my way to the kitchen. I picked out two glasses and poured some juice before turning around and nearly spilling the contents of both glasses onto the floor as I crashed into him. He put his fingertips on my hip bones for a moment, took a couple of deep breaths and expanded his large chest so it nearly touched my breasts, before taking a step back.

‘Seeing you with him yesterday…’

‘I thought you were here to talk about you, not him?’ I interrupted and walked past him into the living room where I parked myself on the sofa. I could have bothered getting dressed, but considering he’d seen more of me than most people I wasn’t all that fussed. He sauntered after me and sat down on the table in front of me, putting one leg on each side of mine, causing his trousers to tighten around his… I immediately looked away. ‘What do you want?’

‘The way it ended was totally selfish, I just… I was in a bad place and she…’

‘Look, whatever your reasons were, I don’t care. I’ve had it with you. You’ve left me for this woman twice! It’s not so much the fact that you did it, but the way in which you did it. Nobody I know has put me through as much shit as you have, repeatedly, like you’re trying to fulfil some sick desire in me to take as much crap from you as humanly possible.’

‘I know. I don’t blame you for moving on with Goody Two-Shoes…’

‘Leave him out of this!’

He sighed and took another deep breath before raising his voice, ‘How do you expect me to leave him out of it? How do you suppose that’ll work? Do you love him?’

‘That’s none of your business,’ I spat and stood up.

‘Do you love him?’ he repeated.

‘He’s a fantastic man who treats me like I deserve to be treated.’

‘Do… you… love… the man?’ he asked again and raised to his feet so we stood as face-to-face as we possibly could with him in shoes and me barefoot.

‘He’s everything you’re not!’ I challenged and stared up at him before making my way towards the front door. I opened it to indicate that his time inside my home was coming to an end. He quickly followed me but rather than walking through it he put his hand on it so it slammed shut. ‘Please leave,’ I panted through short breaths as he was leaning over me, still with one hand on the door.

‘You can’t say it, can you?’ he challenged.

‘Fuck you!’ I spat and shoved the bottom end of the palm of my hands into his chest with a thud, pretty much causing him to immediately press his entire body mass onto me until I was squeezed against the door, quickly followed by his mouth overpowering mine. For a passing moment everything seemed irrelevant and I kissed him back with added lust and pent-up desperation, until moments later I ducked down and sat down on the floor.

Although I sat face to face with the obvious sign of his desire, an image that still made me go dizzy with lust, I rested my face on my knees rather than looking at him.

‘You need to leave,’ I said to the floor. ‘Now, please.’

‘This isn’t over,’ he said as I moved out of the way so that he could open the door and take his exit. I quickly locked it behind him and went back to bed, feeling violated, in complete chaos and so turned on I sighed audibly the moment I slipped my hand in between my legs.

At the same time his final words haunted me. This always seemed to be the problem with him; even when it was over it was never really over.

Excerpt from my novel, “A Masochism Tango” (2012-)