Pride 2016. Her facebook page rolls up in my newsfeed. Her face bunched up in a selfie with Mrs B.
’17 years together. Happy Pride!’
I hover. Heartbeat rises. Then I click ‘like’.
Then another. She’s in a pub with Mrs B watching Mrs B’s team play football.
‘The things I do for love.’ She declares. I don’t ‘like’ this one. Even in an attempt at magnanimity, that would look too false; I’ve always hated sport.
A thousand thoughts cross my mind. That ’17 years’ minus the two with me, and the two with the famous lesbian novelist, and the six months she spent with my ‘heterosexual’ married boss, does not leave Mrs B and B with ‘17 years‘… But we’re post-Brexit, post–truth now. Everything is just another discourse!
I felt there was nothing to be gained from magnifying the hurt. I do not believe in the gratuitous infliction of pain. I was deluded, yes, and thought I would not be a transient ‘affair’, but that my affair was the start of a great love that would endure … well, enough said, about the extent of my naivete … But, I never wanted to hurt someone wantonly along the way. Mrs B will never know the truth. And this is partly to protect Mrs B, but also out of some loyalty to B, on whom I would not wish pain in turn for the love we shared, no matter how imperfect or fleeting that was.
On the other hand, nothing I could say could permeate the reality that B and Mrs B have constructed. They are both deeply dishonest with each other and doubtless themselves, but cling on for dear life to their marriage, juggernauts in other women’s lives. They are welcome to that world. I will not be knocking on their door with a broadside proclaiming something they know already but are consciously ignoring.
* Let me clarify ‘us’. Not a grandiose attestation to something private, unique or special. Just the fact of what we did in our time together. The detail of the time when we were lovers. That we were intimate in a way that transgresses what most people define as a monogamous relationship. I mean only the detail of our intimacy that means B was, to the lay observer, cheating on Mrs B. I have no idea of the extent of the lies B told her. I leave that world to them. B was angry that I’d asked not to be involved in or informed of that world. In retrospect, I was right, because that world is the one which endures, not the fantasy life which was ours. I leave them their private world wherein I was only ever a temporary interloper.