Gail Shine, a strong and independent woman of many words, grew up in the Dorrigo farming area of inland New South Wales, a true child of the Aussie bush.
She later qualified as a teacher. She has travelled extensively throughout Australia and Europe and has lived in Australia, Norway and Vietnam. Everywhere she lived she has worked as a teacher, mainly at International schools, giving children worldwide a view into her exciting imagination and access to her teaching and writing skills.
Gail has two adult children and six grandchildren, all of whom are her inspiration, her life and her love.
She has written many books for children. What is Love is her first published novel.
from Chapter 12. The Stalker, 1968
I have finished Teachers College, been teaching for a year and met lots of guys yet there is no one that I feel any depth of passion for. I am more interested in listening to the stories of other girls about what they did and how they did it and what went wrong and who had to have an abortion. But this all changes one day as I board the plane for Blackwater, a coal mining area where I teach.
He gives me a smile as I go up the stairs to board the flight. I imagine him looking at my long thin legs covered only by a short mini skirt as I walk to the top of the stairs. I find my economy seat and try not to think about that look. I see him take his seat in business class, look around, place his luggage in the overhead compartment, hold his gaze on me for a moment then sit down.
About fifteen minutes into the flight the hostess hands me a piece of paper.
“It’s from a man at the front of the plane,” she smiles.
Question: Would you like a drink?
I look at her and she looks at me.
“Okay, please tell him I would like a gin and tonic.”
She takes the note and comes back with a glass of gin and tonic and hands it to me, “Nice guy,” she whispers.
“Mmmm,” I think as I sip the drink, “seems very nice.”
She returns about forty minutes later and bends down close to me.
“Excuse me. The gentleman would like to know if you would like another drink.”
“No thanks,” I reply politely, “one is enough.”
“You’re right. Not long until landing either. He’s sure interested. Good luck!”
Mum wouldn’t approve of a man like him, so maybe I should be like her. Then again, I haven’t really met him…maybe he’s really clever and… oh no…the list of qualities we are encouraged to go for does not include foreigners.
As we wait for the luggage, he walks over to me.
“Thank you for accepting my offer.”
“Yes. I mean the gin and tonic.”
“Oh, of course. Thank you.”
His dark hair sweeps back from his forehead with a few grey streaks.
“I couldn’t help noticing you,” he says.
“I saw you too,” I reply in a girl like way wondering if I heard a slight accent.
“What are you doing here? Do you have time for a drink and a meal together?”
“I teach here. I have someone picking me up. What about you?”
“Oh, I am a mining engineer, so I’ll be here for a few months, until the end of the year.”
“Can we meet up some time or do you have a boyfriend?”
“No boyfriend. I just like going out so I do a lot of that!”
“Let’s meet up. You’re very pretty. Lovely legs, by the way.”
“Well, we always go to the Capricorn Hotel Friday afternoons after work so I can see you there if you are around.”
“What’s your name?”
“Katie. What’s yours?”
“Ricardo. I’ll make sure I’m around.”
I laugh as our luggage arrives on the belt at the same time.
“Look at that…” he says, “destined to be together.”