From Australia With Love
by Barbara A. Taylor


Maria sprawled on the sofa, her eyes tightly closed. She sighed deeply.

I wanted to know what she was thinking, but truthfully, I just wanted to tell her my own thoughts.

She did not move.

I panicked.

Oh, she's cruel. How many times had she played at being dead?

It would always propel me into sweaty panics, and then she'd bounce up and giggle, take my head between her breasts, and tell me not to be so silly. Shed smother me with passionate kisses. Maria played that game too many times. I fell for her dramatics on every occasion.

When would I learn to ignore this foolishness?

Years of shared joy have passed. I remember, how sometimes, it was just her look, her eyes covering me with telegraphic messages of love, and lust. Electricities sparked. If I closed my eyes Id feel her clasping arms enfold me. Wed embrace; our clammy bodies clamped snugly like last pieces in a jigsaw.

I was high anticipating her urgency to be inside me. It was a beautifully warm sensuous feeling. Oh, how we had touched, so rhythmically, at one in our moistness of desire. My mind flickered with thoughts of our entwined bodies: her smooth skin on mine. She was a rainforest, steaming and dripping. One gentle touch and tingles shot down my spine. Our body connection oozed completeness.

There has never been anyone, before or since, who could make me wild with such explosive orgasms -- euphoric leaps of reckless sexual fervour. Maria encouraged me.

"Here's some coffee," I offered, passing her the largest mug we owned.

She acknowledged the gesture, remarking, "It's got milk in it, you know I don't like milk."

"Oh, sorry darling, you want it black?"

She winked, pinched my flesh with the stare of her ebony eyes.

"You know I want it black."

I rushed to the kitchen. I found it strange that in only her two-week's absence I had already forgotten how she took her coffee.  I really had missed her, but I managed to get so much more work done, felt less stressed because this time I was going to meet my deadlines. Pressure, there was always an innate suppressed pressure; years of that.

But I have loved her. Wanted her. Needed her.

When I returned with a steaming fresh brew she was staring out at the mountain range, now a delicate mauve in the sinking of the sun.

Maria took the coffee mug from me, kissed my cheek and whispered in my ear,  "Did I tell you how much I love you? Do you actually believe me?"

I was somewhat taken aback by this latter statement. I believed her; but why was she asking me this question now, today, her birthday?

Everything was planned. I had prepared a celebratory feast of her favourites: wide ribbon fettuccine, smothered with mushrooms in a highly spirited, rich and creamy herbal sauce, some delicious variant of Tagliatelle Boscaiola. Freshly picked parsley garnished a salad of nasturtium buds and a mesclun mild mix, all glistening with virgin olive oil. After, we were to have passion fruit with organic strawberries, topped with homemade gelato, and my special treat, the mature camembert, now overly eager to sprawl across the scrubbed-pine kitchen table. We were to dine al fresco at twilight, just the two of us, she had indicated that she wanted a quiet day.

French champagne was on ice. I looked forward to sharing this.

"I've been seeing someone else," she said it bluntly. "I ask her exactly the same questions. Do I get an answer?"

I looked straight at her.

"When we make love, I feel that you love me, and yes Maria, of course, I do believe you."

"Do you believe that we can love more than one person at a time?"

I responded instantly, "Yes, I do."

But suddenly, this day had changed. New dimensions had been prescribed. Nervously, I awaited, concerned with what else she was about to drop on me. All those tender preparations and planning for this festivity were suddenly reconfigured to delicate deliberations for a last supper.

Good, she said, and asked that I give her some space. Only ten minutes.

Maria wanted to meditate. To practice her breathing techniques.

We were both well attuned to our pending conflicts, recognized the necessity of retreat. This sisterly sensitivity is the most wondrous attribute in women's loving relationships.

I left her there, withdrew in silent despair to my computer.

Later, after waiting for Maria to approach me, which she did not, I returned to see her gazing out to an amber horizon. We heard loud cackles of a kookaburra delivering laughing birthday greetings.

I hugged her warmly.

Taking my hand to her heart, she said, "It's okay, then? Interestingly, my other friend said 'no' to that very question".

I popped the champagne, poured two glasses and pressed one into her hand.

"Cheers, my darling. To many happy days!"

She clinked her flute with mine. We swallowed dancing effervescent bubbles, and beamed familiar seduction.

Maria was always direct with me. I cherished that and had trusted her from the beginning. This news, however, of another lover, came as an enormous mental jolt. My brain simply melted into tangled chaos.

A virus swiping my map. And it was no love bug.

We have shared a comfortable life together for several years. We have always respected each other's privacy, trusted our integrity, felt at ease with a separate closeness. But I, I am overflowing with unused love, and my time is running short.

We settled into savouring food, and drank more. To combine flavours and tastes, to share and appreciate nourishment, is wildly fulfilling. We were complementary chefs.

We smoked a joint. We laughed and listened to music. We held each other tightly and waltzed on the creaking floor. The grandmother clock chimed once. It was frozen in another time.

I placed my head on Maria's shoulder. Her fingers slowly caressed my spine, making me twitch at her touch. We were connecting again.

She smiled.

I smiled.

The music stopped.

She sensed my impatience but declared that she wanted total quietness for fifteen minutes before coming to bed. This spiritual dedication and preparation prior to a night of passionate sex had always been one of Maria's addictions; one which I thoroughly approved. One which gave me great satisfaction.

So, like every somnambulist, I flopped into the seat in front of the monitor. I would wait for her to come to me this time, was weary from begging and blind to surrender.

Both my mind and my eyes immediately changed focus.

"It's simple! Just make one Virgoan double-click on "Unite", we can be together right now!"


I was startled at this virtual possibility before my eyes.

So easy, we could be in each other's arms in nanoseconds! Clever, I thought, that she can read my mind, embrace our synergetic pheromones; be willing to enter this warm heart cocoon, this place of unbridled cyber passion.

I grinned, pondered.

The flashing lights of strangers demanded I respond! Synchronize.

I flustered, bewildered with fantastical images of what outcomes could eventuate from simply pressing that button.

Follow directions! Would I be brave? Share ware, share time, share space, is it all the same?

"Unite!" The words leaped out at me.

It had only been a fortnight since I had been held, touched, felt the soothing hands of a real human person: my beautiful partner. It wasn't as if I'd been deprived of erotic tactile affection. If I were to take that step, "unite now",  then according to the psychologists,  I was more than likely "socially impoverished"; and if I were unable to, then it is for certain I would be diagnosed as "digitally homeless", "digitally deprived".

None of this was a win-win situation.  Either way I needed help. Cyber Counseling.

Summoning messages flashed again!

I squirmed, and closed my eyes, willing some generic divine guidance to correctly link my future with the ease of a child sliding down a slippery slope. I breathed deeply, then I decisively double-clicked. Terrified. Did I click on the right button?

I waited, dreaming of the polarity of souls, wishing my life to be somewhere else in the vicinity; allowed myself the freedom to be swallowed up by raging optic fibers.

The colourful lights stopped flashing.

Maria burst into my den.

"Come on! Are you still on that? I'm going out, it's my birthday!"

Before I could say anything, she exited, slamming the bedroom door.

A yellow envelope waved: Susan entered my den.

"G'day, how y'going, matey? Still waiting?"

Immense joy raced through my body. Smiles crinkled my face.

How does a keyboard stammer?


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