wings and things

Chapter 12: The unanswered question [1977]

on August 26, 2021

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t answer his question but for some reason I couldn’t make the short leap from shyness to an uninhibited declaration of never-ending love at that point in time. Sometimes I wish I had.

Anthony had come to visit me at my parents’ home on the eve of my departure for Sydney and the Bible college. I have no recollection of the visit itself but I remember vividly the goodbye outside. He and I were alone in the summery dusk as my parents stayed inside to give us privacy I guess. Despite being a rather gut-spilly teenager, I hadn’t divulged the enormity of what I felt for Anthony (I don’t think I understood it myself), but of course it was probably obvious to them.

Underneath the back patio, Anthony put his hands on my shoulders, then held me in an awkward half-embrace, as he whispered into my ear, “Why do you have to go, Jules?”

With everything inside me screaming, “I don’t have to go. Please, just ask me to stay!” I remained silent in a turmoil of mixed emotions. I remember knowing that if I answered his question, I would be able to stay and to cycle to the farm every day and look after his mother and nearly faint with joy every time he came into the kitchen. And, one day, get married.

I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything as Anthony stood back, turned around, and went to his car. Even as he was getting into his car, I wanted to run after him, but I just stood there frozen in the summer heat. As he drove off, I rubbed the ear into which he had whispered his question and I could still feel the heat of his breath on my left cheek as he kissed me goodbye.

There was nothing at all sexual in this encounter; it was platonic-gone-mad, yes, but it was definitely romantic love no matter how twee that sounds. Decades later, Anthony admitted that he felt the same but ….

I was 18 and he was 41. And that is probably the main reason I didn’t answer the question.

5 responses to “Chapter 12: The unanswered question [1977]

  1. Who I am says:

    Always ready for the next chapter!

  2. susanpoozan says:

    What a heart rending part of your experience.

  3. frangipani says:

    I do love the words – “platonic-gone-mad”!! It conveys that overwhelming attraction you must have both felt.

  4. It was what it was……………………….

  5. beth says:

    what a powerful moment

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