Once upon a time there were two people who thought – and probably sincerely believed at the time – that they had fallen enormously in love.
The man in the equation had a brother who had (she found herself obliged to mention – prior to their own consummation) already, once or twice, exchanged his body fluids with her good self.
This didn’t matter in the least to the man, for what she had done whilst not with him – before, during or after any affective relationship she was going to decide to freely maintain – was exactly and rightly none of his business.
He cared little that it was the case: all that mattered in truth was that the moments she spent with him were moments she wanted (not needed) to spend exclusively with him.
And they were. And they had a fabulous time. And this time was unerringly memorable. And whilst it was good, it was Cupid’s arrow-good. But when it became bad, it was an arrow to the heart of both their souls.
So time passed, and he told his wife just about everything, and so nothing was the same for anyone at all.
And then in 2009, the daughter of the by now firmly ex-lover (whom he had indeed abandoned at the time, even as he would find her impossible to forget for what would be the rest of his sorely tested existence) got in touch for some apparently random reason with her mother’s one time entanglement.
At the time it was simply to get some help with her CV she could quite easily have got elsewhere. She then invited him to join a social-network group on the topic of “numbers”, an invitation he might have taken up or not but really could not recall with any detail, either way.
The years went by.
His inability to find sustainable work was persistent.
It was almost as if he refused to collaborate with anyone. It was almost as if he didn’t like the idea of working with others.
Then weirdly, out of the blue, in the late spring of 2016, she took the opportunity to contact him again and offered, similarly randomly, to meet up and go out for dinner.
In the meantime, his brother had subtly encouraged him – at the very least planted the idea – to contact their joint ex-lover all over again, and – who knows? – maybe one day proceed to more.
The idea, although not made explicit, certainly made some kind of ruffling of excitable feather.
The dinner with her daughter – at the very end of the spring of 2016 – was all too pleasant for him. In fact, it turned out so pleasant he fell foolishly in love with her instead of taking any opportunity to renew his acquaintance with his now extinguishing feelings for his once old flame.
During that meal it was suggested that numbers ruled us all, and indeed that agency existed for no one. Her own role and job seemed mightily obfuscated, and very little was at all clear to him, but what did become absolutely manifest in further consideration was that she was offering him – at some time in the future – an important but highly unclear role in some big joint private-government service. There did, however, exist one simple condition: he had to leave his wife.
Prior to this moment, and earlier in the year, he had had a series of counselling sessions where his long-running incapacitating sadnesses in the relationship in question had been clearly expressed. It was almost as if his (and his brother’s) ex-lover’s daughter had had access to the content of these sessions. Her understanding of his situation, whether numbers-informed or folder-gleaned, was astonishingly prescient.
They had a second meal in mid-summer, where it seemed to be underlined that things could only move forwards if he did something proactive about his emotional life. Later, on difficult reflection, he probably had to agree – but, on the other hand, this was surely a matter for him and for his wife: no one of an official bent surely had any kind of right to link it to any future position of utility he might take up. After all, when did the state ever arrange and disarrange the private affairs of citizens in such a way?
At this second meal, he gave the daughter of his ex-lover a beautiful watch. It was the crowning achievement of his stupidity.
Perhaps the blessed numbers had also predicted this. She seemed none too surprised by what he had anticipated should surely have been a surprising turn of events.
The brother, meantime, on being informed by his sibling that the same had obtained a place on a serious and splendid university course, and would use the knowledge thus acquired to identify and attempt to right any wrongs which might have previously been committed by any of those who had had occasion to do so, replied quite sarcastically that his ex-loving joint enterprise of a “bruv” was always one to keep his feelings to himself.
Contact has now been lost with the brother, the ex-lover and the ex-lover’s daughter. The object of all their hatred remains perplexed by it all. And the wife is – whilst duly and correctly informed – simultaneously confused and distressed, as you might expect, by the Machiavellian instincts of so many familial machinations.