“There you are again, I see you all the time– Kerri Noble
We haven’t really met yet, but you know, I don’t mind
‘Cause I think today’s the day, I’m gonna go right up and say to you
Would it be alright if I called you up sometime?”
On Friday we returned to the lines to clean up and I called my ex-girlfriend Liz and made a last-ditch effort to save our relationship but failed. I was not very happy that day even though our breakup was definitely for the best. I put in a token appearance at the end of camp mess function that evening but ended up going to bed very early as my heart was not in it. I resigned myself to my fate when I returned home, whatever that would be.
We drove back to Canungra base in the back of army trucks and despite the general lethargy of the rest of the Company I was positively elated. Not only were we getting out of the bush and going back to the real world, but Lt Holland was sitting in the back of the truck with us. I don’t know if anyone saw me, but I think I spent most of those two hours just staring at him from afar like some psycho stalker trying to work out a way of speaking to him.
When we arrived back at the lines, we went through the inevitable clean-up of our equipment then ourselves. It felt great to get back to civilization even if that was just tents and group showers. But at least I was now clean and warm.
With all the training complete we had some time to ourselves and relaxed ahead of our return to Sydney the next day. We ate in the mess and were told that the bar would be open later for everyone to unwind. I finally saw an opportunity to talk to Lt Holland. I didn’t know what I would say but I just had to talk to him.
I had a good night chatting to all my new friends now that the exercise was over and we were almost home. But Lt Holland only made a brief appearance at the bar and then disappeared before I could talk to him. Was he sick or busy, I didn’t know? I kept waiting for him to return but he never came. I chatted to people as the night went on but my mind was other things. Eventually most of them retired until there was only a few of us left. I was getting desperate, so I finally asked the remaining people, “Is Lt Holland on other duties tonight?”
The Company Second-in-Command must have overheard me because he chimed in unexpectedly, “No, he wasn’t in the mood tonight. He’s just broken up with his girlfriend.”
For the second time in 24 hours my heart skipped a beat. Suddenly a factor I hadn’t even considered, his availability, was resolved in my favour. I don’t know how long I sat there, my mind racing with possibilities, staring off into the distance but I know didn’t snap out of it until they eventually closed the bar and sent us off to bed.
The next morning Scott told me that after I had left the mess and gone to bed, Pte Benaud had sat with him in the bar till final drinks and that he had picked up on her “positive body language” toward him the whole evening. By that point I was almost home, and I really didn’t care what might going on with them (if anything), but I still had the good manners to feign interest or, at the very least, not tell him to stop boring me. I wasn’t interested his bar room romance. I had my own problems which were about to start in about 36 hours’ time.
After breakfast the Company started to prepare to leave and at that point Greg the medic left for his drive back to Penrith carrying our stores truck taking one of the three girls with him to help keep him awake. The rest of us busied ourselves with what the army often refers to as “hurry up and wait.”
The last day at the camp we did our final admin and pack up as we awaited departure for the plane back to Sydney. The clock was ticking down doubly fast for me because when we got back to Penrith, the medics would be leaving that very night to go back to Randwick. Somehow, in the next 12 hours, I had to find a way to talk to Lt Holland.
The opportunity finally arose when, to pass the time, someone organised a game of touch football. To my happy surprise, Lt Holland seemed to be very enthusiastic to get out with the rest of us and run around. Maybe now the formality of the exercise was drawing down he felt he could relax and enjoy himself.
He moved out to a wing and made sure that I was on the same wing opposite him. When the ball finally came his way, he ran toward me and, like a good touch player, seeing that the way was blocked, poked out his hand to initiate the contact with me. His palm pressed against my right breast as I was simultaneously reaching toward him, grabbing his longer arm by his uniform’s sleeve. I felt a little gush of excitement at the unexpected, intimate contact. I held onto his sleeve just a little longer than I needed to which meant that he was forced to push against me a little before he could break free. He pressed on my breast again before I eventually let go, the sensation causing me to smile. With the ball gone on to the next players he paused a moment to turn and look me in the eyes and then he smiled back.
The game went on like this and each time we collided we both smiled and took our time letting go or getting up off each other if we happened to “be tackled” or “fall over”. The ice had been broken without a word spoken. Thank you, football.
After we cleaned up the lines and packed our gear we relaxed, awaiting the plane for the trip back to Sydney. A game of touch football was arranged while we waited to leave. I’m not a great player but I do love to play sport so was happy to get out on the field and have a run. Scott insisted that he would referee but not play with us. He strutted about the field with a cup of coffee in one hand while pointing and whistling like a prat.
I moved out to a wing where Scott’s student, Pte Benaud, was opposite me. As the game went on, everyone started caring less about the “touch” rules and Pte Benaud and I had more than one play wrestle which started to get me interested in her. She had a big grin on her face after the first time we touched and seemed to be enjoying our extra contact. By the end of the game, we were both seeking out each other for “special tackles”.
Soon after the game we left the base and headed to the airport for our cargo plane back to Sydney. When we began to board, I could see Pte Benaud in front of me over the tops of everybody’s heads and I tried to get near her so that our seats would be close on the plane. But even though she never turned her head and look back toward me, she seemed to sense my position and lingered a little, letting other pass her, to let me get closer. We ended up facing each other across the aisle and judging by her smile she was very happy with this.
We left for the plane soon after and despite our positive contact, I still hadn’t actually spoken to Lt Holland, and I didn’t know how much time I would have once we got back to Penrith. The plane trip was two hours and if the trip up was anything to go by, where we sat was up to us. As we boarded, I tried to stick as close to Lt Holland as I could without making it obvious to everyone else. Fortunately, everyone seemed to be in their own little worlds, thinking about getting home and not what I was planning.
We took our seats and I manoeuvred myself to sit down directly opposite Lt Holland. He was much chattier now and his whole face seemed to light up with a big smile as he spoke. I think he did almost all the talking and I kept prompting him from time to time with questions. When I asked him about his job, he said he could tell me once we were in the air and could move about the cabin. Once we were able to move back to the cargo area we got up and moved to back of plane we had private chat over the sound of the engines.
Pte Benaud and I spoke for most of the trip home. And once we were allowed to move around on the plane, we moved to the cargo area where we could talk more privately even though we had to project our voices just to hear each other. I did most of the talking (about my job) and she was very attentive.
I hadn’t been expecting much of a chat with anyone on the plane, so I had brought my copy of Max, one of the new breed of men’s lifestyle magazines, with me to read. We looked at some of the articles together and, sensing the mood, I highlighted the one about different ways to spice up your sex life. I pointed to the “blindfold” suggestion, which caused Pte Benaud to smile and nod and she countered with the “sensual massage”. By this point it was totally obvious to me and probably everyone else on the plane what was on both of our minds.
Lt Holland and I also flicked through his guy’s magazine, and he pointed out an article on how to spice up your love-life and he cheekily asked which of the methods appealed to me. He pointed at the blindfold idea which caused me to nod in furious agreement. I suggested the massage which he said was a good choice. He must have been feeling pretty confident of my desire by that stage because the next thing his pointed to on that list was the “shower stream on the genitals.” I felt my heart skip again and the blood rush into my pants and I was literally dripping with desire. I rolled my eyes and sighed in mock orgasm but we both knew it was only half an act.
If anyone was watching us, which I’m sure they were, I didn’t care. I had a tall, handsome officer standing inches away from me and I was telling him in no uncertain terms that I wanted him to put his hands all over me.