Only a friend

Don’t stand back in the corner
I don’t want your distant admiration
Don’t tell me you respect me
I want more than a friend
Give me more than passing glances
Stand beside me tall and proud
Put your soul next to mine
If you truly love me
Shout it to the world
Tell one and all
From the top of buildings
And windows in the sky
If it’s me you love
There is no need to hide

I stare at the way you stand
Fascinated and mesmerised
You invite me to all the hip shows in town
Be my plus one you say
I’ll never tell you my secret
I’d go anywhere with you
Anytime any night any day

I love being here with you
Leaning on the bar
Drink in hand
I go to touch your hand
You pull away
Was it something I said I think

She walks towards us
Spotless skin
Perfect make-up
Plump boobs and white teeth
You smile at her
With a different look in your eye
Suddenly you’re all shy

I want you to fuck me
Over and over again
Can I taste the sweat on your skin
Feel your cock deep inside me
Run my hands over your back
Across the tattoo that you hate

It’s not real
This dream of mine
You don’t love me like I do you
It’s her you want
Not me
How can it be
My soul mate doesn’t love me

I am just a friend
To you
Nothing more
That is the way it has always been
Always was
Always will be

You have nothing more
To give me
Why didn’t I see it before
Always loyal to you
I wait for you to get home
We talk about music, art and film
I tell everyone about you
And now I see it’s not the same for you

You keep me hidden away
The secret friend
That no-one knows
Too cowardly
To tell her the truth
About you and me
And what we get up to

Late at night and on weekends
In humid summer night air
Bats fly overhead
Every night
We drink wine and beer
Anything that is near

You flirt and joke with me
Poke and prod
We drink and laugh
You take off your shirt
Try this you say
Passing pills my way

You drive me to strange places
We speak without talking
No need for words
Underworld blaring from your car
The beats and heat makes me ache for you more and more

You tell me you couldn’t live without me
I stayed and waited
Believing you
Now I see what you mean
I’m really just your sister

How foolish I am
To not see it before now
Your bullshit male lies
And pie in the sky ideas
I skull my drink
And tell you I’m going
‘Headache’, I say
‘Maybe we can do it again another day’

I run to the door
Can’t hold back the tears anymore
Can hardly breathe
Hands trembling and shaking
Got to get out of here
Can’t let him see me this way

Running down Elizabeth Street
Past Bohemian Café
Filled with goths and punks and skins
I trip over my black velvet skirt
Falling in the gutter
I spit and fumble and splutter

Crying and screaming
An endless well of tears
My black fingernails pull and tear at my skin
Drawing blood from my checks
I try to stand up
A hole rips in my fishnet stockings at my crotch
I stagger and stumble
Falling over again and again

I see a piece of broken glass
And plunge it through my see-through blouse
Blood spurts all around me
I rip and tear and pull at my skin
Ripping my heart from my chest

Magenta liquid runs down the drain
Passers-by throw stones at my head
‘Help me, help me,’ I wail
Make this feeling go away

Sobbing and crying
Snot running from my nose
Like a deflated balloon
My body lies flat and abandoned

Skinhead young lads walk towards me
Polo shirt collars turned up
Tight braces over their shoulders
One walks on top of me
His friends cheer and shout
Like I’m a trampoline
He stomps his Doc Marten boots
Up and down all over me

His friends join in
Like kids in a schoolyard
They hiss and scream and shout
Like a mouldy rotten fruit
They squash me to a pulp

No energy left to speak
I don’t care anymore
I’d rather be dead
Than not have your love
And live with this heartache.



If you come to me

If you come to me
In the still of night
No money in your pocket
Willing to drive down empty roads

In howling winds and pouring rain
To a place with trees bare of leaves
Where broken orange street lights flicker on and off
Then I will know you are real

If you drive for hours
Through barren suburbs where no-one dares to go
Past empty houses and abandoned cars

On flooded streets
Through muddy pot holes and leaking drains
Ignorant of your aches and pains
Then I will know you are real

If you come to me
To a place unknown
With brutalist concrete buildings
And people who never smile
Maybe then I will believe you

And so you leave
You set off in the middle of the night
Without bags or clothes
No hesitation
Only fixed determination

Hour after hour
You keep driving
Phone messages beep
Your face blank fixed straight ahead
You keep moving

If your car stops running
And there’s no help around
No reception on your phone
Will you come to me
‘Yes’, you say
Nothing would stop me’.

You turn the motor one more time
Nothing happens
You pull your hoody over your head
And stare at the rain droplets on the windscreen

You close the car door and start walking
Gusting autumn winds
Numb your face
Hands and fingers frozen cold

You walk
Not fast
Nor slow
Even paced

Through a field of fog hovering over green grass
Black jeans stride one leg in front of the other
Slick brown hair geled to your face
You wipe a strand of hair out of your eye
Stepping through fences and jumping over logs
Barbed wire snags your jeans
Blood drips down your leg
You keep moving

If you come to me
Like this
At the darkest hour
Leaving them all behind
Maybe then I will believe you

Through sleepless nights
Sickness and sore feet
In relentless rain, sleet and snow
Stomach flat from nothing to eat
Only then will I know you are real

A knock at my back door
In the late hours of the morning
There you are standing still under the glow of the full moon
Jeans hang low on your hips
I stare at you

If you rip open your shirt
Expose the water droplets falling from your breasts
Brown oak leaves in your hair
Scabs in the corner of your mouth
Scratches on your arms
Blood dripping down your leg

If you come to me like this
Ready to bare your
Soul before me
Then and
Only then
Will I know
You love me.

© Helen Stevens 21/02/2012 & v2 28/2/2012. Edited: 5/7/2018

Continue reading

Cinema Lust – a published short story

first published in

banQuetpress 2012: A feast of new writing and art by queer women

Cinema Lust

Running late, I bounce into the foyer of the cinema. The signature yellow t-shirts of Melbourne Queer Film Festival volunteers tells me I’m in the right place. Out of the corner of my eye, I see one of Tara’s friends. My heart beats faster and my stomach sinks. Fuck. If Stacey is here, Tara could be too. I wonder where she is. Is she in the bathroom? Is she in the cinema?

I take off my red leather jacket and nervously charge towards the usher. He checks my ticket, I flash a fake smile and run up the steps determined to find Andrea as soon as I can. I frantically scan the seats looking for my date. Sorry, excuse me, I whisper as I shuffle past legs of dykes to get to my seat: femme, butch, boi and lipstick are all here. I take the seat next to Andrea and stretch across the armrest to kiss her, almost falling into her lap.

‘Hi babe, are you OK?’ she asks with a curious grin.

Andrea’s sparkling eyes assess my black shift dress, patterned stockings and knee high boots. I’m not sure if her look is a sign of approval or dislike. I decide it doesn’t matter and rub my hand up and down her leg firmer and faster than usual. I ask about her day and try to cover up my panic with excitement about my new job. She tells me about her hook-ups with girls on Pink Sofa. We have a casual arrangement.

I stare at Andrea’s lips but can’t hear her voice. The idea of seeing Tara excites me and scares me. I remember lying in bed with her at the St Kilda house one hot dry Melbourne evening, listening to Bat for Lashes. The hot wind snakes through the bedroom window encircling our naked bodies. My head rests on her flat white stomach while she caresses my back. Curling our fingers together, I notice how right it feels holding her hand.

Tara is an ex-lover. I met in her in a lift at a girl’s night. Keen to keep partying, we went to another venue. She gave me drugs and watched me dance. She kissed me on my neck and I turned to marshmallow. We stayed out until 7am. Perhaps this was a red flag, but I thought she was fun. I was eager for the company and touch of a woman.

We spent the Christmas season drinking and dancing at club nights and events around town. On our days off work, we made love until the early afternoon. It was sensual and passionate. The more sex we had, the more I attached I got to her.

Tara left town for a holiday and forgot about me as fast as we met. I am not sure if it was her not wanting me, or the hot sex that made me lose my shit so badly over her. She sometimes looked at me like she loved me but something told me she was unavailable. Her detached, tomboy personality was a sharp contrast to her gentle sensuality. It seemed she had a lot on her mind but couldn’t find the words. I tried to contact her after she left. She ignored me. I hate being ignored.

Blinking my eyes, I find myself starting at Andrea’s small mouth. I didn’t hear a word she said. I improvise with ‘oh really’, hoping she didn’t ask me a question. Looking up I see an ad for JOY FM on the screen.

Andrea is a petite edgy femme from Sydney. She speaks with affection and is a good listener. We have an easy friendship. Admiring the sprinkle of freckles across her nose, I wonder if l should pursue something more serious with her.

I start to unwind, when I see Tara stride up the cinema stairs with a group of women. I’m entranced by her long legs and self-assured gait. She moves cautiously, with solid reliability. Her calmness fascinates me. Her hair is black with short back and sides. She carries a bicycle helmet in her hand.

Seeing her makes me feel giddy. I feel like a schoolgirl again – swinging on a monkey bar with pigtails bouncing in the breeze. Desire springs between my legs and fear grips my chest. I feel my heart is going to burst right through my skin and splatter red inkblot patterns all over the screen. Maybe it will hit her in the face I think revengefully.

I cross my legs, sit up straight and smooth my dress in a desperate hope that she might see me. My desire turns to panic. Looking for something to clutch onto, I grab my handbag from the floor. I rustle through the contents looking for a tissue. I find a pen, lip-gloss, tea bag, notebook but no tissue. If I don’t find a tissue soon, I cannot possibly stay here.

Why is there a spotlight shining on me? The theatre was dark a moment ago. I look around and it’s as bright and clear as the sun on a cold winter’s morning. The air is crisp but it feels like I’m breathing in mud.

I seem unusually tall. I flick my eyes left, then right to work out what is happening to me. I’m growing taller and taller and tower over everyone. Everyone except Tara can see me. The red flush of anxiety in my cheeks, the ache of desire in my body and the sadness in my heart is on display to the whole cinema.

I‘m plucked out of my chair and spinning around in a twirl, levitate to the ceiling. Looking around the cinema I see women with shiny white and grey feathers, stick legs, black pupils set in white iris’ and orange-red beaks. I rub my eyes to clear my vision. Below me from the front to the back row, along the side all I see are seagulls perched on red velvet seats.

At first their supple chest feathers appear comforting and nurturing. I look closer and see them sizing me up – fear knocks at my sternum. Five gulls at the back of the cinema fly out of their seats and stop to scope out a group of younger birds in the middle of the theatre. Like puppets attached to string, the gulls patiently hover waiting for an opportunity to attack. Sounds of the beach reverberate throughout the cinema – ‘kwee-aarr’, ‘kwee-aarr’, ‘kwee-aarr’.

Higher and higher I rise into the cinema sky. A flock of gulls peck at my legs, arms and dress, shredding strips off material off me. An older gull with one leg rips it clean off my body. A funnel of wind whips around me tearing off my stockings. Across the room, I see another gull with blonde feathers burn a hole through me with her gunpowder stare. I hug my chest for protection but its futile. I’m far from safe. I move my arms in a breaststroke action to get away from the gulls. I don’t move.

Another gull with tired droopy eyes flies violently into my hips. I flinch away narrowly escaping a claw to my face. Moving closer to me, lethargic gull pulls at my black lace bra with her beak. Heart racing faster, I hang as still as I can and look into her eyes. She is scared and tired. Tapping into the energy of my fear, I push my right leg down for momentum and kick my left leg out pushing my foot squarely into the centre of her plump chest. She catapults across the theatre and flies away whimpering.

I feel a pull against my back and hear a shrill call coming from one-legged gull. She violently tugs and pecks at my breasts and panties with her claws and beak. With no strength left to fight back, one-legged gull pulls my black lace bra and knickers clean from my body, sending them flying across the room.

Naked, I put one arm across my chest and one across my crotch to hide myself. Like Linda Blair from the Exorcist, I frantically shake my head, arms and legs to get the gulls off my body. Sweat drips across my forehead and down my face. I’m terrified and for once in my life, I acknowledge I don’t know what to do. I’m trapped. I hold my breath and surrender to tears that roll down my cheek, neck and chest.

A gull with snow-white feathers, an angelic smile and bright eyes is headed towards me. Nodding to me, she flies around my body swooping and screaming at the flock of gulls. The one-legged gull screams back at her and they swipe at each other. The angel gull swoops at her again, scaring her off. All other gulls scamper away returning to their seats.

The friendly gull expands her clean, soft wing, wrapping it over my shoulder. She cushions me like a cumulus cloud. Her touch is familiar.

‘It’s OK Lauren. Take your seat, the movie is about to start,’ she reassures me.

Through blurry vision, I wipe the salt from my cheek and wonder how angelic gull knows my name. I look at her with gratitude.

‘Thank you, you are very kind.’

Her orange beak smiles widely and she soars into the void of the cinema sky. I watch her fly away. My breathing slows down and I float back to my seat. Embarrassed, I look down my body to see I’m fully dressed – no signs of rips in either my stockings or dress. With a crashing thump, I land in the chair. My butt hovers over the floor and my head is stuck in the crease of the seat.

Andrea glares at me. ‘What are you doing down there?’

With eyes bulging and Medusa hair, I stare at her and consider asking if she is crazy, did she not just see what happened. I see her looking bewildered and change my mind.

‘Arh, nothing babe I dropped my phone under the seat. Here it is,’ I wave my phone at her.

‘So tell me about these girls you’ve been chatting to,’ I say grabbing her hand to pull me up.

Andrea continues to look at me like I’m weird. I return the look. I look at her chest in amazement. She has very large breasts. Peaches of flesh pour out of her shirt. It looks like they’re going to burst out of her Wheels and Doll Baby singlet at any minute.

‘She looks hot babe,’ I say about SummerGirl. I wonder if Andrea and I have anything else to talk about than sex and our exes.

The movie ‘Elena Undone’ starts and with a deep sigh, I focus on the screen. The film is a story of two remarkably different women who meet unexpectedly and are intensely attracted to each other. I compare it to the twist of events that led me to meet Tara and think tonight is very weird indeed.

I can’t help myself. I look over to where Tara is sitting and notice she’s wearing make-up. She rarely wears make-up. I notice an unknown short redhead sitting next to her. My mind races around and around in circles. She is on a fucking date!

Folding my arms across my chest, I complain to myself that she didn’t take me to the movies. All I got was drinks, drugs and deserted. Sizing up the date, I notice she is short, plump and has a lethargic dull aura about her. I feel better knowing I’m fitter than her. I smugly focus my attention back on the film.

A number of scenes later, I notice a tall woman walking towards the exit stairs. The lights illuminate her face and I see its Tara. Why is she leaving early? My heart starts racing again. I feel drawn to her.

‘I’m going to the ladies hun, back soon’, I tell Andrea. Grabbing my bag and jacket, I scramble to the aisle.

I have to see her. I wonder what the hell I’m doing and my body can’t move fast enough. I stop for a second to check myself. Should I, shouldn’t I. Head says no, heart and body say yes. Two beats one, I keep moving. My friend adrenaline is with me for the ride.

I get to the foyer and see Tara walking towards the entrance. My stomach rises into my chest, twists through a loop in my throat and roller-coasts back down to my navel.

The snug fit of her pants accentuates her long legs that stretch in a straight line from ankle to her flat bum and hipless waist. Her head had hangs down and I sense a melancholy about her. Like she is longing for something she has lost. She wears a pink Ben Sherman collared work-shirt that defines her slender arms and the perfect curve of her breast. An ache rises in my crotch at the thought of touching her.

Tara turns around and our eyes lock. She looks surprised, curious and annoyed all at the same time. My head tilts left and for a second I shyly look away. She studies my face and body as I walk towards her.

‘Hello Lauren.’

Without speaking, I take her hand and lead her towards the ladies toilets. She walks in front of me and grabbing my waist turns me to face her, pulling my body close to her.

I see her eye steal a look at my chest.

‘Its nice to see you,’ she says in between laughing, ‘What are you doing?’

‘I don’t know. But I know I want you’.

She stares deeply into my eyes. I lead her towards the toilet. I feel her eyes travel up my boots, thighs and take in the shape of my arse. It turns me on and my hips sway for her – to, fro, left, right, I walk with anticipation and excitement.

Hurrying into the toilet, I push her against the marble vanity basin. Taking the helmet from her, I rub my hands lightly up and down her arms. I notice veins popping through her skin. She grabs the side of my waist, pulling me against her.

Tara lightly presses her lips to mine and I get lost in the velvet touch of her skin. I feel the heat between us in the space between our touch.

‘You look good,’ she breathes in between kisses.

‘Thank you,’ I look at the buttons on her shirt.

‘I‘ve ached for you since I last saw you,’ Tara whispers in my ear.

She rubs the back of my head deeply as she dives her lips into my neck and swims into my skin.

I run my hands along her arms to her shoulders. Staring longingly at her collarbones, I see the mound of her breasts through her shirt. I undo one button and put my hand inside her bra. I caress her breast and lightly tickle her nipple.

Tara puts her hands under my dress and slowly rubs my arse. My back arches and my body pushes into her chest. I skip a breath and move her lips to mine. Kissing her deeply, I push her harder against the basin.

I slowly undo all the buttons on her shirt. Putting my hand under her bra, I cup both her breasts, and gently fan my fingers over the expanse of her pale soft skin. A pulse of energy throbs up and down my pussy. Tara slides her free hand under my dress and quickly pushes my bra aside to caress my small boobs. The softer she touches me, the more she turns me on.

Sliding the dress over my head, Tara moves her hand across my thigh deeply rubbing the inside of my leg and groin. With each stroke she moves closer and closer to my knickers. She rests her hand on my mound for a second, and then suddenly rips a hole in my stockings.

Tara pulls down my g-string only enough to allow her finger to enter. She delicately slides up and down my drenched pussy. She adds a second finger and slowly traces back and forth along the line of sweet, thick moisture of my pussy.

‘You feel amazing.’

‘You turn me on so much,’ I tell her. ‘I hate it. I hate how much I miss you.’

Tara moves her hand to my face, stroking the side of my cheek. I look away from her, frantically unbutton her pants and force my hand inside her jeans. I feel her wetness through cotton and rub my fingers lightly over her, then along the length of her crotch. Pulling the material aside, I expose her lips and slide my finger all over her wetness. Tara gasps loudly again and her head falls against the mirror.

I ease one finger inside her and sigh at the feeling of her inner beauty. Pushing her harder against the basin, I straddle one of her legs to hold her down and insert a second finger. My fingers move inside her, gently at first and then faster and deeper. I push my spare hand against the mirror. Tara puts two fingers inside me and my head tilts back aching for more and on the verge of screaming her to stop.

Slowly and deeply our fingers move in and out of each other in time with the sounds of our pleasure. I look up at her like she’s my long lost soldier lover returned from war. I feel safe, knowing she will make things right in the world. Our fingers move in and out of each other – slow and sensual, then fast and deep.

Tara peers into my eyes, curious to know whom I am. I feel safe knowing she will make me feel good. Moaning and fucking each other louder and faster we come at the same time. A piece of hair falls onto Tara’s forehead, painting a soft glow across her face.

Wrapping my arms around her, I slide us down the basin to sit on the floor. Hugging her tight against my boobs, I press my lips to her left eyelid and then her right. I caress her back, shoulders and collarbones. Tara ties a lock of hair behind my ear. As she likes to do, she stares into my eyes.

‘Why didn’t you want me?’ I ask, tears forming in my eyes.

‘I’ve missed you Lauren’.

I bite my bottom lip and look up into her small cheeky eyes. Nothing else exists when I’m looking at her looking at me. I notice her deceiving grin. Embarrassed, I lower my eyes to the bottom of her neck.

Tara lifts my chin to look into my eyes.

‘Not a day goes past that I don’t think about you.’

The colours of the room doubles in intensity – the maroon carpet becomes thick and textured like velvet. The amber glow of lampshades sparkles like gold nuggets. My heart swells and a smile shines across my face. I forget she ignored my question.

I rub my feet together like I’m nine years of age and its Christmas morning. I feel safe – like I have come home. She takes my hand and wraps her fingers into mine. I take in the beauty of us holding hands – again.

Looking at her, my smile fades and I want to get away as fast as I can.

‘I miss you too, Tara and I like you a lot. But we just don’t complement each other.’

Standing up, I adjust my stockings; pull on my dress and boots. I look at her staring at me and before she can speak, I run out of the toilets, through the foyer and onto Russell Street.

A storm has descended on the city and in the night rain, I run crying all the way to Federation Square. In the distance, amidst glistening city traffic lights, lost pedestrians and frantic taxi drivers, I see a seagull perched on the other side of Princes Bridge. Slowing to a walk, I brush the rain droplets and smudged mascara off my face and through my brown curly hair. On tiptoes I stand on the footpath where it meets the road. Cars horns beep as they speed past. Wind gusts balloon my dress. I see my angel seagull from the cinema. She’s smiling widely and her clear black eyes penetrate my soul. I blink back a tear and smile bashfully. I continue walking and don’t stop until I get home, seven kilometres later.

© Elena van Laack 2012

e-book available at Amazon, iTunes and other online book retailers Hares and Hyenas 

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A walk around the lake

As I walk around the lake, crunching autumn leaves underfoot, I remember this feeling I have for her. It was a long time ago we were together. It was a different time, in a different place.

I miss this feeling when I think of her. But I don’t know who she is. We rarely say a word. The longing has tortured me, entertained me and deflated me. I thought I knew her.  How wrong I was. It is strange to feel so right and be so wrong.

I could sit and think about her for hours.  Or feel her. It is not a feeling I have felt before. It is the same feeling, regardless of where I am or where I go that sweeps across me when I think of her.

Who or what are you to me – my desired lover, my muse or my very soul reflected in this world. She haunts me like a ghost in the night – hovering above my bed or sometimes, she seems to slide under my sheets and lie beside me.

Passers by grin at me on their journey around the lake. I see kids on a school rowing trip eating sandwiches under trees in the park. City workers jog past, happy to be outside feeling fresh air against their stiff office chair backs. I want to cup this feeling in my hands and throw it out to the wind for everyone to feel how wonderful I feel when I think about her.

Minutes, hours and days have gone by, soaking up this feeling. It is an indulgence I keep to myself. My own secret garden, where I don’t need to touch or speak but I can feel her with me. Like an addiction, I succumb in private. When no-one is watching, not even me, I inhale it. I want it and I want more. I know I should resist. Can’t resist it anymore. No one is around so I open up to it and immerse myself in it. I drown myself in this feeling of her. She is part of me.

Time passes quickly thinking and feeling how she makes me feel. Is it wishful thinking or my own desire. It scares me and excites me. I feel safe and content with this feeling. It’s like a presence within and around me.

I don’t know what to do when I feel her.  I want to climb the highest mountain in the world. I could jump on bike and cycle anywhere I please. This boundless energy is wrapped in a rotunda of softness and warmth that makes me feel calm and safe.

It was short and sweet as they say, the happiest days of my life when we were together. It excited me knowing I would see her again. I dressed to impress her. Her eyes were closed.

One day when we met, my heart had arrived well before the rest of me. Not able to keep up with the speed of my desire an empty body sat slouched on the train. I could barely contain the nervousness and desire and fear in me.

I wanted to talk to her, know her and feel her. She pushed me away, said tell me later. I was too naive to know she did not want me. The reality is I never had her full attention. I should have kept on walking, but I didn’t.

My pace picks up as I dodge a puddle of water. I never imagined I would be in here today, thinking about this feeling of her.I don’t know which way to turn, too much energy to burn. And sometimes hate and anger.

I have talked and cried and whispered for hours and it still re-appears. Pages and notebooks of words, and thoughts and understanding I have written and here I am again. I have filled buckets of tears missing her.  Soaked sheets with sweat of desire imagining her body against mine. How delicate and sweet it was. I glance across the water and wonder how strange it is to again be thinking of her.

I cannot see her anywhere. I don’t know what she looks like anymore.  I never want to see her again yet I wonder when I will. If I did see her again, I would run away.

It is odd, this feeling I have about her. Sometimes a knowing smile dances across my face. Blood pulsates through all the arteries of my heart. Yet, we do not speak. Fragments of images are all I see. Can’t bring myself to look her way. Scared and nervous, I turn away. It is not how it once was between us. Perhaps it was all a dream.

Looking out across the water, at the misty city skyline, I feel her through the beat in the music. Cold air presses against my face, I continue walking around the lake.  It makes me want to dance and sing and I know not a thing about melody.

I wonder if she thinks about me too.  I turn the corner on the path, wishing to find her sitting there waiting for me with a shy grin. Her syrupy considered voice greets me with surprise and delight.

My heart races remembering the sound of her words in my ear. Syllables alone made me smile and laugh and my heart pulse. Like she was the only voice in the world, my attention was never as focused than when I listened to her.

Slowing down my pace, I kick stones into the water like a child throwing a tantrum when I don’t see her sitting on the bench. I am dreaming. She does not see me. I do not exist. d

I have cried out loud to get her out of my mind. Fallen to my knees, screaming to the black stormy clouds above to rip this feeling out of me. No response. I wait and the sobs rise up from my stomach to my chest. Waiting for an answer, for a sign.

Torrential rain soaks my shirt. Smearing mud across my face, I plead to the sky, to anyone who will listen.

‘I will do anything you ask, anything. Please get this out of me’.

But no-one comes. And no-one answers. It is still. It is silent. The once busy road is empty of cars. Tram sounds have stopped. The families and school groups have disappeared. I am alone in the rain, with a dark cloud hanging over my head and a cold chill crawling up my spine.

Opening my eyes, I am the same as I was before. And still I feel this fucking feeling of her pulsing through me – same as it ever was. The same as it first was.

The splash of ducks hitting the water brings me back to where I am. I stare at the mud on my hands and knees and see strangers staring at me. I do not care what they think.

Standing up, I fold my arms across my chest and jump a puddle on the path. Relieved and drained, I slowly continue on my way.

I come back to the sound of the beat in my ears and click my fingers to the rhythm. I wonder where she might be and if she thinks of me.

Perhaps its better like this, feeling her in my own private way. Resting here in my imagination, I am safe and pure away from harm. As I approach home, the beat fading in my ears and the sun dipping behind the houses, I feel content.

Embracing the feeling one last time, I wrap it up inside my heart and bury it away. I will not let myself feel her anymore. This is the way it is. I wonder if I will ever have this depth of feeling again and with anyone else but her. Perhaps it is all simply within me.

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time she was lying in the park across the road from her house looking at the city skyline being thankful for what she has in life which is not as much as she would like but she is certainly aware that it is more than others and she lied back on the cool grass which would start to form moisture from the night within an hour or so and she thought she would be more comfortable if she had  jacket with her and a sweet girl lying beside her who had lovely hair that she would run her fingers through and then they would sit up and look at the sky and notice how clear it was and how many stars they can see protruding from the black void of the earth’s ceiling and they are thankful for having a moment of stillness to appreciate the beauty of the night sky – the southern cross, there’s the big dipper they pointed out, bright stars close to earth, dull stars barely visible which they said  must be planets millions and trillions of light years away from them and then they saw the flashing lights of aeroplanes and they talked about seeing a shooting star and she said to the other if you watch the night sky for 15 minutes you are bound to see a shooting star and so they sat in silence for a while and could hear each other breathe and waited to see a falling star and one of them did and she made a wish and the other wanted to know what her wish was and was it about me she said and the other laughed and they fell quiet and she felt still, really still and quiet and peaceful and she remembers looking at the night sky when she was a young girl living in the country and she had to stop thinking about the country or she might start crying and what would she think if she saw me with a teardrop and why would i be crying about that anyway so she said isn’t its just amazing the universe that is, and they said they were lucky yet oh so insignificant and small compared to the vastness of earth, the planet stars and who does really know what is out there and one of them sat up and took in a deep breath looking at the shimmery reflection of city lights on the water of the lake and the other lying down looked at her and noticed she was really really  happy being right by her side, looking at the side of her face and one minute you’re on your own and the next you’re with a new friend and she was  feeling excited and wanted to push her over to kiss her and she also couldn’t move she was in a trance of just feeling the feeling of being by her side and she knew she was different she knew they would had challenges but she was curious to know more about her and she thought she was beautiful she wanted to tell her, she wanted to tell her a lot of things but didn’t that night there was no need she will save it for another time when they are together then it will be a surprise so instead she sat up and looking at her face she thought she could look at her face forever, she slide closer to her and slid her arm around her waist and gently dropped her head to touch hers and she looked straight ahead not really looking at anything both of them saying nothing words were very unnecessary she loved her arm around her waist and they sat together in silence looking at the water and feeling each other quiet in their skin just being together doing nothing for who knows how long and none of us do know so they soaked it up because you never know when you open your eyes they won’t be there and you will miss them and want to be back there beside the lake with them and you would do anything to re-live the moment but you know you can’t so you look at the stars and wonder who you might meet next and you hope you meet them soon

7th May 2012 Helen Stevens

Being with you

It is only being with you that I know myself
But I don’t know myself being with you..

Through you, I know who I am
Even though this me is not me at all
Who am I when I am with you
I don’t know who this person is

Where did she come from
Will she still be here when you are gone?
She appears when you’re around
She tries to deny it but she can’t trick me

I like her
She’s different to me
A different part of me
I know she likes you too

She smiles differently when she’s around you
She gets nervous and has more energy
I see her buzzing around, fussing over what to wear
Asking me if I think you’ll like her clothes

She feels alive when she’s with you
I tell her not to get carried away
To take things slow
She can’t
She is excited
She has waited a long time to meet you
And she wants you to like her

I see her laugh and play like never before
She feels desired and soft and alive
You were her new friend
She feels like a teenager again
Running around the city doing crazy things with you
Ha! It made me laugh to see her so happy

She tried to give a lot to you
Maybe she tried too much I thought
She’s not perfect and she is sensitive you know
I should have told you this
Maybe then you would have been
More gentle and kind

She hurt you too
She told me so
You said things she did not mean
She wishes she could take them back

She was sad and and new to town
And still you laughed at her anxiety
I saw her passion turn to fear
Gone was the spring in her step
Instead she kicked stones
And started drinking alone

She wondered how to win you back
But you didn’t care
She was hurting
You didn’t even know
Too busy thinking of yourself
Nothing stopping you
From where you wanted to go

You told her you were nice
So did your friends
You told her she was amazing
I told her to be careful
It was too late

You pretended to like her
Said you wanted to see her
But when you were together
You changed your mind
Said she wasn’t your type

You tricked her
Lied to her
Ignored her
She wanted you
To have your attention
But you didn’t really care
Too busy with other things and people
To make time for he

She thought she was safe
So she tore open her blouse
And showed you her soul
You liked what you saw
And ripped out her heart
Caressed it for a short time
But not for too long

Before you
Threw it on a road
Drove over it

In public
In front of the crowd
You picked up the shreds of her love lying on the bitumen
Blood and tears pouring from veins and arteries

Dragging it inside
You held it to the light
Showing the crowd how proud you were
Your friends cheered you on
Sneering at her
Proud of your victory
Seeing you
Her legs dropped to the ground
She stumbled onto the carpet
Falling backwards onto a table
Walking quickly hand to chest
To hold back the bleeding
She staggered to the exit

Blood oozing through her fingers and dripping onto the floor
I saw her tears and heard her pain
‘How could she do that to me…
She said she didn’t want another’

When I saw her sorrow
And blood-stained dress
I was sad for her
And angry at you

You didn’t see her for who she is
She didn’t show how much she wanted you
She is not perfect
But she was real
And now she is gone
And I don’t know when I’ll see her again

Elena van Laack 16/2/2012

inspired in part by the film ‘Room in Rome’