“She’s married?”

“Yes, but…”

The feebleness of the ‘but’ died in his throat.

He had never met that person, just seen him accidently in passing during a late summer storm on some street. He hadn’t missed a beat when that happened. Just kept walking, having recognised the man, knowing that he himself was invisible to the face he recognised from her shared photos.

He tried to move the conversation on with a shrug. The best he could come up with was “So?”

“So, she’s married.”

He had let that go. Her affection to him was genuine. Her pain on parting affecting. It was a joint adventure, both complicit, both old enough to vote. He wasn’t going to be pinned for her infidelities. She would have to deal with that when she was ready. 

Planes, trains and her family people carrier. Hotels, restaurants, swimming, hot spring baths, walks and talking. They travelled, slept and dreamt together. He was looking ahead, not at the present; avoiding the past.

Free of his obligations, he’d paid no serious regard for the juggling she did to make all this possible for them. It didn’t occur to him, not until she decided their affair was done, that she had been twisting herself silly to keep up appearances. Although he had begun to question whether her duplicity was particularly well disguised.

“You always knew I was married. What did you think would happen?”

She had said something about collateral damage being likely when she found the courage to admit she wasn’t playing the wife at home anymore, or indeed anywhere.

He’d always thought that collateral damage was a particularly callous term, but she seemed to like it. It was like when she started talking about Marie Kondo’ing her friendship groups, or even her close family. In retrospect it seemed strikingly obvious that she had ’empathy issues’ his mate observed.

He recalled she had been talking emphatically about people being either winners or losers in life the day they met in the café. He had found that a little distasteful then, but ignored it for various selfish reasons. He didn’t think of people like that, although sometimes he didn’t think of people at all; like her husband, for instance.


CLP 04/11/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 25): Inside

A voice message. I hear the sadness, pain and anguish among the words, the breath, the hesitation and fluctuating voice. It is clear. My heart aches to hear it. There is no way to be there, to wrap arms around, to comfort.

A telephone conversation. I hear the deep breath before confession. I hear what I already thought was so. Apologies are unnecessary. I am grateful for the respect this honesty shows. Thank you for the courage you found to speak. I am relieved to find the story I built around lies can be re-constructed with truths.

A text. I see the angry confusion that comes from frustration; witness the retreat. I recognise the reaction, the wounded withdrawal to safety. This is not my family. It is not for me to intervene. My white charger is out to pasture, but I am here if needed.


CLP 30/01/2021


Time and distance has stretched

Scent, touch, breath.

Our silent words

do not translate

so well to text.

I count days

since; until.


CLP 24/12/2020

On Losing (5)

If you’ve any heart

you’d lend it me while I sort

out a replacement


CLP 07/12/2020

On Losing (3)

I have a hole here

the very shape of your heart

where mine’s gone missing


CLP 04/12/2020

Sonnet To A Long-distance Love Lost During Covid-19

Quick from Café Grancy to the old dance
Full moon and stars aligned the day we met!
Conversation became sweet, full-flown romance
Nights and days in hotels we shan’t forget
Ravenna, London, Sidmouth, Valetta
We sought each other out in all weather
Whether sun, or snow. Rain? All the better!
We talked, made love, dreamt and woke together
In this wild whirl, how would we imagine
What might weaken our constancy of thought;
That coronavirus would intervene,
When Switzerland loosened; UK still taut?
Slowly, whilst tens of thousands died,
We lost the trust on which our love survived.

n.b. “So what?” I hear you sigh, “get over yourselves!” Fair comment.

CLP 21/08/2020


Heart strings tight, constant

Audible rapid resonance

So loud, it’s painful


n.b. The body’s reaction betrays the mind that works so hard to rationalise the situations that life presents on our travels.

CLP 01/01/2020