I watch you all day, and every moment your unhappiness becomes more obvious to me. The set of your jaw, the line of your back, the frenetic way you laugh, all adding up to a deep
I believe I know what's wrong.
I wish I could help you... but in fact, I am part of your problem.
You're lonely. You feel alone. All around you you see couples being together, holding hands, exchanging
little glances loaded with meaning.
And there used to be two of you feeling this way before I came along.
In the afternoon we're both in our side-by-side tents, and I want to go to you and ask you to
come for a walk with me. I want to walk side by side through the bush and listen to the conversation you simply would not have with me.
I want to reach out and make the ache less.
I know you respect me; like me. I know it because I have been told, by Mary, by my lover, by Anne. I hope at least one of these people has told you I care about you, too. We've never had a proper face to face
conversation, and I wish I could change that, right now. But perhaps someone would misunderstand. One of the many friends of yours and his here. Maybe even my lover. But not you. And not I.
Now it is night and you walk away from the fire and into the darkness. I nudge my lover and look after you. He nods his
awareness, and says "I'm going to go demand he talks to me. He has to talk about it" and he's gone into the dark after you.
You're both gone a long silent time. When at last I have to go and find a private place to empty my bladder, I take the direction you've gone in. I'm not quite
'going after you', but I am glad when I see you there together, and hear that neither of your voices are
tearful or angry. I call out to you on my way past, and on the way back come briefly over. I smile in the direction of my lover, and hope he sees me, but it's you I touch, mateily, on the shin.
"I've been worried about you. You OK now?"
"Yep" you both answer, and my lover adds "He's been talking"
I'm relieved, and go back to the fire and the conversations, and soon after, you walk back, side by side.
My lover comes to me and tells me of your regard for me, and I feel glad and sad together.
Now it's midnight, and my lover is holding me close. I'm drunk, and staggering, and I hear the words he says to me with a
bittersweet catch in my throat, and in return I tell him the words that have been loud in my mind for the last few months, and we are... together.
Then he's whispering "He has her. She's in his arms, and that's what he wants." and I'm happy for you, and sad knowing that the
song will soon be over and your arms empty again.
And then it's 3 in the morning, and there are a very few of us left at the fireside. You complain of sore feet, and I undo your shoes and
give you a foot-rub.
I feel kind and companionable. The three of us are the only real people here, and there's a web of love between us, with spreading tendrils and filaments shimmering. The other chaps and the clever, witty, surface conversation are shadows. There's really just him, and you, and me. In this moment I could take you back to our tent to lie held between our bodies; held, stroked, soothed, loved.
I'm very drunk.
Then you moan gently as I probe a particularly tender area, and I am filled with
remorse, flooding into and over me like a splash of cold water. I meant to relax you.
I hope the sound was only that.
My lover goes to bed, and I collect your shoes and socks for you, then follow him.
As we begin to make love, I hope suddenly that no sound comes from us to you, making it worse for you, making you
angry or futile-feeling or just plain miserable.
I'd like to make a difference to you.
I know, and thank what ever gods there may be, that you don't want me. But you want what I have.
I'm sorry Adam.
Love ya, Mate.