He hadn’t seen Marie in 10 years, apart from a brief awkward conversation sitting in a restaurant with his daughter and his partner of the time.
If the truth be told, back then, they still had occasional emails, was it because they had so much in common?
Was that the only reason that they retained contact?
Or was it because there was an attraction and unfinished business between them?
Even although there had been a few years since they had last seen each there hadn’t been a fallout or angry parting words.
So where was the harm in an occasional innocent friendly conversation?
After the introductions and pleasantries, Marie asked about his mum, knowing from their emails that her illness had recently became more severe and she was currently in hospital.
At face value, a harmless enough question between friends, but not when there has been a past relationship and the recent communication was not fully disclosed with his partner.
He smiled, but only on the outside, his face muscles working hard not to show embarrassment while his mind worked harder not to let the conversation falter, knowing full well that hie’d have to own up later.
From the corner of his eye, he could see that Marie’s revelation had grated with his partner as she knew immediately that whoever this woman was, there had been recent conversation.
Isn’t it always like that?
Particularly when you keep your cards close to your chest and are not being totally honest.
Marie went back to sit with the guy she was with, tall, slim, not bad looking for a geek, turns out he’s a doctor .. as if that matters.
She smiled as she left and he wondered if she had deliberately mentioned their recent conversation in complete innocence or was it a little time-bomb designed to cause friction between him and his new partner.
Although it was good to see her and she looked well, the conversation had left a bitter taste in his mouth and he could feel his face flush as he explained who Marie was and how she knew his mum had recently been hospitalised.
But it didn’t wash.
The conversation on the drive home was polite but stilted, he did his best to neutralise the situation, to deflect by keeping his daughter entertained but he knew from the occasional sideways glance that his partner was rehearsing her interrogation techniques for later.
Was it wrong to maintain communications with an ex?
Was he being sneaky?
Maybe that innocent friendly conversation wasn’t as innocent as it should have been.
He knew that having conversations with previous lover is never innocent when you don’t tell your current partner.
But there really was nothing going on or any intention to change that so after a grilling and the appropriate reassurances and promises of transparency then normal service was resumed.
It wasn’t really a surprise when even those rare emails from Marie faded out.
But time and people move on.
So it came as a surprise 8 years later 8 years later, it did come as a surprise when the message from Marie arrived out of the blue.
He read it, stared at it, then read it again.
“Hi, how are you, I was just thinking about you and wondering how you were? I hope life is treating you well and everything is okay with your mum? Marie x”
It was 10 years since they’d had a fun, hot but ultimately short lived romance.
10 years since they had drifted apart as their circumstances prevented them from spending enough time together to form a proper relationship.
Let’s of chemistry, plenty of sparks, a few flames,, but then it rained and their under-developing relationship was flushed away before the fire really started.
He wrote his reply
“Hi Marie, nice to hear from you, all good with me, unfortunately mum passed away a few years ago, hope all well with you and your mum is keeping well. X”
He swithered on that kiss, stared at it and considered deleting it, he was happy to be friendly but didn’t want to seem too interested,
He deleted the X and replaced it with an x.
Have you ever noticed that in texts?
After the end of conversation .. full stop .. so the X is capitalised. If you get a lower case x .. then for some reason, the sender has deliberately deleted the X and replaced it.
You need to make your own mind up on that.
Perhaps like him, they didn’t want to seem to keen either?
He looked at thee text, read it again..
It was polite, giving her the information he wanted her to know, all good with him, mum passed away, asking how her own mum was.
Their mums being ill was always something thy had shared and related to. Her caring side was something the liked about her. She was a caring, hard-working mum who seemed to look after everyone, it was a shame that she didn’t have enough time for him back in the day.
But that cuts both ways, his kids were younger then and he was recently through a difficult divorce.
Did he want more than she had to offer?
In their conversations since parting they had never discussed the reasons, both of them accepting that was how it was without throwing insults at each other.
He read the text one last time and hit send.
For the next 5 minutes, he wondered if he should have told her that he was in the tail end of a relationship with someone else, or was that too much information?
Even although that relationship was going nowhere, should he have disclosed?
Was it too soon to talk specifics, maybe she was seeing someone else too?
Or was he keeping his options open?
Feels good to be writing stories again .. feel as if I haven’t did enough of that recently.
Song for today ..
When you’re cose to tears remember
Some day all of this will be over
One day we’re gonna get
So high ..