Title: Anyone For Love ...?
from first published prose version Black or White or Both, on Creative-Women.com, August 2000.

By: Barbara A Taylor

Email: bataylor@no.com.au

Bio: Barbara has published prose and poetry. She is a regular reader/performer at Stand Up Poets Nights and her aspirations are to make an audio cd of her poetry.

Samples can be heard at http://batsword.tripod.com. Barbara lives in the Rainbow Region of NSW, Australia

If anyone would care to advise me on this kind of publishing, Id be very grateful for your suggestions. Thank you. Peace and Love


ANYONE FOR LOVE ...?

Maria stared at the mountain range,
a delicate mauve in sinking rays of sun.
She sipped on steamy black coffee, winked,
pinched my flesh with the stare of her ebony eyes.
She kissed my cheek, whispered in my ear:
Did I tell you how much I love you?
Do you actually believe me?

Of course I believed her. But why was she asking me
this now, today, her birthday? Prepared was a
celebratory feast: wide ribbon fettuccine, field mushrooms,
smothered in a spirited, richly herbal sauce
some delicious variant of Tagliatelle Boscaiola.
Freshly picked parsley, nasturtium buds on garnished greens
a mesclun, mild mix, glistening all over
with organic virgin olive oil.

After, we were to have passionfruit with strawberries,
topped with home-made gelato; and then my treat,
a mature camembert,  now overly eager, oozing
to embrace the scrubbed pine kitchen table.
We were to dine al fresco, at twilight.
Just the two of us she had indicated
she wanted a quiet day. 

I've been seeing someone else, she said it bluntly,
adding, 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 were prescribed.
And nervously, I awaited, concerned with
what else she was about to drop.
All those tender preparations, planning for
this special day, suddenly
reconfigured to delicate deliberations
for a Last Supper.

Maria requested that I give her some space,
she wanted to meditate, practice breathing techniques.
We were both well attuned to our pending conflicts,
recognized the necessity of retreat.

I left her there, withdrew
in silent despair
to my computer.
A virus swiped my map.
It was no love bug.
Crepuscular erotica
Erotica crepuscular.

Maria was always direct with me.
I cherished that.
This news: another lover, came
as an enormous mental jolt.
My brain simply melted into
tangled chaos, remorse and
unexpected fear.

Later, after waiting for Maria
to approach me, which she did not,
I returned to see her gazing
out to an amber horizon.
Champagne popped. I poured two glasses,
pressed one into her open hand.
Cheers, my darling. To many happy days!
She clinked her flute with mine.

We swallowed dancing effervescent bubbles,
we beamed familiar seduction. Taking my palm
to her heart, she said, Interestingly,
my other friend said 'no
to that very question.
Do you believe that we can love
more than one person
at a time?

We have shared a comfortable life together.
We have without exception, 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; we drank more.
To combine flavours and tastes, to share and appreciate
Nourishment is wildly fulfilling. We were complementary chefs.
We laughed and listened to womens music. We
held each other tightly as we danced on creaking boards.
The grandmother clock chimed only once.
She was frozen. In another era: a time of
complete and utter gay abandon.

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 urgency
but declared she wanted total quietness
before coming to our bed. Such spiritual
dedication and preparation prior to a night of
passionate sex was one of Maria's addictions;
one which Id learned to approve; one which gave
me great satisfaction. So,
like every somnambulist, I flopped in front of the monitor.
Id wait for her to come to me this time, for
I was weary from begging.
Blind to surrender.

My mind
my eyes
quickly changed
focus.

It's simple! Just double-click
"Unite" we can be together right now!
Tonight!

I was startled at this virtual possibility
before my eyes.
We could be in each other's arms
in nanoseconds! Clever, I thought, that she
can read my mind, embrace our cyber-synergistics.
She is willing to enter this warm heart cocoon, this place
of unbridled www passion. I grinned, pondered.
Then flashing lights of strangers demanded I respond!
I flustered, bewildered with fantastical images of
what outcomes could lie beyond
from simply pressing
that one key. Click Me, Click Me.

Follow directions!
Would I be brave?
Share ware, share time,
share space,
is it all the same?
"Unite" The word leaped out at me.
If you move the i
you make untie.

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

None of this was a win-win situation.
Either way I needed help.
Instant Cyber Counselling.
Double Click Enter.

Summonsing messages flashed again!
I squirmed, and closed my eyes, willing
some generic divine guidance
to correctly link my instant future
with the slickness of a playful child
sliding down a slippery slope.
I breathed deeply, then decisively
I double-clicked.

I was terrified.
Did I select the right button?
I waited, dreaming of polarity of souls,
wishing my life to be somewhere else
in the vicinity: gave myself
total freedom to be swallowed up
by raging optic fibres.

Colourful lights stopped flashing.

I waited.

Maria burst into my room.

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

Before I could say anything she exited,
loudly slamming the study door. Displays
were changed.

A yellow envelope waved.
I heard the sounds Uh Oh...
Susan entered my den. G'day matey,
Im waiting
for you. Is anybody there?
Anyone for love?

I tasted passionfruit with ripened strawberries
floating in a creamy liquid gelato.
Immense joy raced through me. I felt
no longer sad. Smiles crinkled my face
I wondered: How does a keyboard stammer?  


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