To spite the cold temperature, I stepped out onto his balcony set high in the treetops. The sun was rising casting a glow above the canopy. It matched the glow that had spread around my heart.
Finally, after 47 years I had shared his bed. Here I was a 70-year-old woman madly in love. I had secretly loved him since my husband introduced us all those years ago, however, I was married and he had a reputation as a player.
He owned a popular restaurant and bar. Men and women alike were attracted to him. He was very good looking but the attraction lay in his personality and charm. When you were around him he made you feel as though you were the only one in his midst. He made you feel special.
David and I have remained close friends over the years. He had married twice and divorced. My husband ran off with my best friend, after 26 years of marriage, and to avoid bumping into them, I left Sydney and went to live in Brisbane close to my two older daughters and grandsons.
I loved my husband but sadly he was a chronic philanderer. Of course, I didn't know it at the time. It was only after we separated that my remaining friends would tell me about other friends my husband had slept with. The final count was 12. All that time I thought these women were my girlfriends when in fact they were his. I realised that I was just his pimp and not the love of his life.
David always sent me birthday and Christmas cards or called me. Still, he made me feel special even from afar. Most of my friends knew how I feel about him. We once told each other that we would run away together when he turned 65. That year came and went. He had married his second wife who was years younger than him. They had two sons together who are now 16 and 12 years old.
Cards and text messages were always signed off with, "Love always, Dave". This would ignite my dormant feelings once again. I would eventually snap out of it and go about my life.
I missed my friends in Sydney, although I had been back several times and so decided to celebrate my birthday by driving down to spend time with them.
When I told David of my plans he insisted that I stay with him. I didn't feel comfortable doing that because his two young sons spent most of their time at his house. I felt it may be awkward as I had been friends with their mother, even though she and David had been apart for three years.
I booked into a hotel central to all of my friends who lived mainly on the Northern Beaches. I arrived the day before my birthday and David, who had been calling me during my drive down, had booked a restaurant to take me out for my birthday.
We weren't alone. A mutual friend joined us. He had worked for Dave many years ago. We had fun and later went back to David's house where we drank, listened to music and laughed into the early hours finally going to bed at around 4 a.m. David kindly gave me his bed to sleep in, Ian slept in one of the kid's rooms and Dave slept in one of the bunks downstairs.
The next morning David took me back to my hotel. He called later that day to see if I would like to do something together that night. I had booked the hotel for 7 nights and I was lucky to have spent two nights there. One night he and I stayed up until 3 in the morning. His kids were staying at their mother's house.
Once again I climbed the stairs to his bed. I had had a few too many drinks, stripped down to my underwear (I didn't intend to stay the night) and was about to climb in under the duvet. It was unusually cold in Sydney at the time because of an arctic blast. It was the coldest winter in 37 years.
He appeared in the doorway watching me. I was grateful that I was at least wearing gorgeous underwear, however, I quickly climbed into bed so as not to freeze to death. He walked over and also climbed in saying he needed to keep me warm. This is it. Finally, after all these years, he is going to make love to me. We spooned for a while. He gently turned me over, kissed me and then did make love to me and I blissfully fell asleep in his arms.
Not a day went by that he didn't phone me asking to spend the day. I was living the fantasy I had clung to for so many years. One night, after one too many drinks, I told him how I felt about him. He was non-committal and dismissed it as nonsense.
So, here I was standing on the balcony that cold June morning wondering what the future held for me. Me, a lonely old lady just wanting to be everything to this man I had loved for so long.
Does he feel the same or am I just imagining it? All the signs led me to believe he did. I spent the last day of my visit with him having lunch at one of my favourite restaurants in Palm Beach, already missing him and not wanting to go back to my boring, lonely life.
I left the next day on my 11-hour drive back to Brisbane replaying the events of the past two weeks. He had let me go without telling me how he felt about me, one way or another. My two girlfriends called me along the way to see how I was faring on my journey. I was feeling very disappointed that David hadn't called when the phone rang again and it was him. My first thought was that he would tell me he was missing me already; he didn't. It had been a romantic fantasy of mine all along.
I felt confused and a little hurt. Did he sense that I needed him to make me feel loved, feeding my fantasy, doing me a favour?
I am home now, alone once again.
I feel like a fool putting myself out there the way I did. At my age, you would think I would know better. He hasn't called me once since I arrived back in Brisbane. I can't get him out of my mind and have had trouble sleeping the past two nights.
I am standing in my garden drinking a cup of tea watching the sunrise once again, telling myself to go to bed and wondering if I will ever grow up. The phone is ringing. Please be him.