Chapter 21

Words don’t often fail me. I can usually get something down on the page. This is one of those days where each keystroke is an effort, each line something slow and pondered.

You see, I lost my lover. The most wonderful person I’ve ever known. Our end was kind and gentle and loving and heartbreaking. There was no lashing out, only two people who desperately want the best for one another and knowing that right now, that what is best means not being together.

I’ve taken everything from her except the last vestiges of her pride. I’m thoroughly ashamed of myself for that. In the end she had to beg me to let her go because if I asked her to stay she’d be unable to resist, despite herself. And ultimately that would break her.

Her mental strength is phenomenal. She has endured things that would have broken other people twice over, and still she smiles. That beautiful, heartbreaking smile.

In spite of my desire for her, my love for her, my yearning to utterly consume her, mind and body, I knew it had to be done. I’ve danced around it long enough, but the fact is I am having an emotional affair that would definitely be physical were it not for the ocean between us. Yet at the same time I’ve told myself – and my lover, for hard as it may be to believe, she has encouraged me more than anyone, even friends and family, to try for the sake of my children – that I will live in the present moment and try to make my marriage work.

I don’t really need to elaborate on the ludicrous contradiction of this situation, but just to be clear: if she’s in my life, I can’t make an honest attempt at making my marriage work. Likewise, I have no right to expect her to simply hang around for me while I do that. What options does that leave her? Either she waits for me to say “yes I want to be with you” or “no I can’t because I think I can get my marriage working”, or she walks away with some dignity intact and lives her life unencumbered by such a selfish conceit. It’s a no-brainer.

Yet: I know how much it hurts her to go, just as I’m agonised to let her go. We must accept that this is a necessary thing. To live honestly and with as much integrity as we can muster. To make decisions for the right reasons.

And here’s the thing. It still doesn’t feel like our story is done. This person who crashed into my life from nowhere and suddenly became the missing piece of me, the piece I never even realised had been missing from my life until it appeared and fit so perfectly into place – she and I can endure this, and worse. This? This is easy compared to what she’s been though. She knows I will always love her. She knows that there is more to us than good sex or conversation or having superficial things in common; this is about an intrinsic understanding of one another’s innermost needs, and being absolutely committed to helping to satisfy them. Not because we feel we must, but because we want to, willingly, without feeling emotionally coerced.

For now, we simply have to accept that someone like that exists out there, and having acknowledged that, honour that someone by keeping focused on the reality we find ourselves in, and doing the best we can with our situations. In doing that we can look to the future – whatever it may hold – with a clear conscience, instead of being burdened by the guilt of secrets and lies.

We can do this. We will do this. We will honour one another by doing what we promised. Let the chips fall where they may.


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