by Francesca Gilbert

Last week, at the end of our session, you told me to make a list of things that make me happy. “Things you look forward to, or enjoy,” you said, leaning forwards in your chair with your eyes even wider than usual, and clearer; a waxing crescent smile made from your thin peach lips. I said nothing, as usual, and so you went on: “Little things, everyday things, you know. This is something I do with a lot of the people who come to see me. It is a really useful tool for us to refer to, and for you to have handy for in-between our sessions, and in the future, once we’ve finished our work, too.”

Something you do with a lot of the people. All of them, perhaps. You leaned back again, looked at your watch, made to stand up. I mirrored you, mutely. An hour always passes too quickly. I didn’t want to leave.

“See you next week, then, Clara? And you’ll do your list, for me?”

You didn’t need to ask me that. I will always do what you want me to. I will always come.

It’s only the beginnings I seem to like. The anticipation.” 

So, here it is, my list.

I have looked back through the other work we’ve done and I know already what you’ll say. It’s only the beginnings I seem to like. The anticipation. I need to learn to enjoy things when they are happening.

But I have done what you asked me, and I think, perhaps, I’m beginning to enjoy it. 


New brushed cotton t-shirts against the skin on my shoulder.

The first hot day of summer, when everybody smiles.

The opening credits of my favourite film.

Sunrise. Not sunset.

My first glass of cold white wine of the evening touching my lips.

The few seconds after turning out the light when I get into my bed.

And the moment that your door opens, at four o’clock every Wednesday, as, time after time, I return to you.


Francesca Gilbert | @FGilbertWriter |

Francesca Gilbert is from Manchester and writes fiction and poetry. She has performed poems at For Books’ Sake’s spoken word night, That’s What She Said, and has recently finished writing her first novel.

Support Dear Damsels

Words are empowering – not only for the women who write them, but those who read them too.

Join our Patreon and help us continue to offer an inclusive and welcoming space for women to come together, share their words, and get a resounding response back.

Sign up to our Patreon