At Christmas, he gave me a picture he had kept in his sock drawer for 30 years | Relationships

I was in high school when my mother decided I was old enough to accompany her to the Christmas party at Artransa Film Studios where she worked as a film and television director. (Mom was a widow.)

I remember what I wore and would do again today, even though I’ve gone beyond one-shoulder dresses: simple, soft fabric, understated stripes of purple, dusky pink, and pale apple green.

I knew a lot of the studio staff. But I became aware of a group pushing a handsome young man who finally asked me to dance.

So it was Boris Janjic, the cinematographer Mom had mentioned. He didn’t say much, worried about his weak Croatian accent. But we danced and I think I flirted.

Unbeknownst to us, the studio photographer took a picture.

Over the next few decades Mom would mention Boris to me, he had moved to another studio, he was married. He had children.

Me too.

Eventually I got divorced and moved back to Australia. In Sydney I worked as a TV presenter and in my late thirties realized that my childhood dream of writing novels was not coming true. I quit my job and moved to a “backwater” a friend told me about called Byron Bay. (Now overrun with movie stars, wannabes and influencers.)

Those were great years. I had little money, I rented a small cabin from a once famous footballer and his wife who ran the local pub. I lived alone with my dog ​​Sheila and I finished my first novel.

It got published, sold well, and I was away.

Looking back, I had the perfect seclusion on the rustic beach, other than when my kids came over from college. I wrote and wrote. Nine (published) novels later, I looked up.

Friends from the film industry invited me to dinner while they were shooting a great animated film. I was seated across from a bearded man with a guttural accent who was ringing a bell.

“You’re Zoran, the animation guy!” Boris d’Artransa’s brother! How is Boris? ” I asked.

He glanced at me and, in his heavy accent, announced, “Borrrris is single.”

I left with Boris’ phone number in my pocket.

And so the phone calls started. Boris admitted that he had always had a crush on me and kept asking my mum how I was, leaving clues.

I’m going to Sydney to visit mum. Boris takes me to lunch in an outdoor cafe by the beach. I was charmed by the freesia and frangipani flowers on the dashboard of his car.

We talked for hours as the sun set over Pittwater.

Months later, Boris arrives in Byron Bay. We hung out with mom who had moved there too.

So Boris moves to Byron, and we buy a house.

This first Christmas together, Boris hands me an envelope. I pull out a photo – of us dancing the first time we met, over 30 years ago. He sheepishly says the photographer gave him the week after he was caught and he had kept it in his sock drawer ever since.

During my mother’s last years, Boris promised her that he would “always look after me”.

And he does.

  • Di Morrissey AM is the author of 29 novels, including The Night Tide, currently published by Pan Macmillan.

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