I am standing, on a balcony, overlooking a lake. Inside the house are my husband, his colleagues from work and their partners. We are away on a duty trip.
It has been a dull weekend, and I'm gazing at the view, enjoying a cigarette and phoning my lover.
My husband knows I'm making the call, and who I'm calling, but, as far as I am aware, not about the relationship between us -- all he knows is that A. is a close friend.
Given how public the situation is, and the likelihood of being overheard both A. and I know that the call will be short, and innocuous. Nothing can be said that isn't entirely innocent.
And so it is. Light, easy, friendly, and nothing I would worry about anyone listening in to -- from my side, at least.
Towards the end of the conversation, N., my husband, joins me. I say my goodbyes, and I hang up.
N. looks at me, smiles and in a calm, observational tone, with no trace of humour or anger, says, "You're being unfaithful to me."
My heart almost stops.
I have no idea what to do, or say.
I'm thinking "Oh Gods, not here, not now!"
Because, you see, I have a problem. I may evade, avoid, or allow misconceptions if it will prevent hurt, but I will not directly lie. It may seem like semantics, and that I'm deceiving anyway, but it's where I, personally, draw the line.
And the truth is "Yes, I am."
Time, the world, and my heart stand still. This is a moment of extreme unreality.
Then I realise... he hasn't asked a question.
I go to him. I kiss him, and say "I'm very fond of A. Love him to bits." Absolute truth.
He replies, "Obviously."
And nothing more is said. Not a word. We go on with our day, perfectly normally.
It's two days later now. I have no idea if N. was serious, if he really believes it. He must have noticed that I didn't deny it, but I don't know if he thinks that is because I consider it too ridiculous to deny. I'm existing in a kind of limbo, wondering if a storm will break, still marvelling at his matter of fact tone, at the total lack of any hint of accusation, or any follow up.< /p>
I'm wondering what I said or did to give it away, if I have done so.
My grip on reality is tenuous right now, but I'm acting the role of "me" for all I'm worth and I'm giving an Oscar-winning performance.
I sometimes wonder, if I'd known where an innocent flirtation would lead, two years ago when it began, whether I would never have got involved with it. If I'd recognised that I was falling in love, before I had fallen, whether I'd have stopped it. I can't answer that. The relationship with A. has had too much good in it for me to want it undone in retrospect, and things moved too fast at the beginning for me to draw breath let alone act calmly and rationally.
I could really do without the complications and the confusion though.
Of course, I'm scared of what everything coming out in the open might do to my marriage but most of all, I'm scared of hurting N. I've avoided it so far, and I will do everything I can to continue avoiding it -- so I don't feel in a position to confront the situation, and tell him the whole truth. Sometimes, loving two people can be hell.
I guess I'll have to play it by ear, there is nothing else I can do.