About four years later, reviewing the collateral damage, (i.e. bewildered family, and bored friends), it was observed that the affair had been destined for the rocks from the beginning.
With perfect hindsight it was obvious that, even without the clarity of passing time, the male protagonist would not have had to be a detective inspector to have seen multiple warning signs; in fact, half a dozen of them, possibly including the local GP, who may, or may not have been a little too attentive to his vulnerable patient. She recalled kissing him once during an out of hours appointment.
There may have been others, but her memory wasn’t very good, so she tried to live in the present as best she could, decorating her presence with anecdotes of times with others, right back to her early school days.
Oh, yes and there was her husband, although she didn’t wear a wedding ring and she said their physical was history.
“I want something different.” she texted him.
“This is it.” he replied, removing his wedding ring too. He was clever with words, although clearly, not that clever generally.
And with that simplistic exchange all previous was whitewashed from history, (unless they were resurrected at an insecure moment, or by way of comparison, or by way of instruction), which in itself was an albatross.
For our female protagonist, her certain age, the prospect of being on the brink of unprecedented adult independence, (her marriage was only held together by duty, expectation and financial dependency), shame-free choices, combined with her acknowledged sexually inquisitiveness meant that meeting this man now, was of course, for the present.
From the very start he found this philosophy profoundly unsettling, but set off hopefully hand-in-hand with her, when out of sight of others.
Which reminds me of a friend’s mother’s observation about older married couples holding hands, “Oh, they’re married, but not to each other.” Her mother knew what she was talking about.