The Other Woman
It is a Thursday afternoon. The sun is falling at it’s usual pace through a clear sky with the Mediterranean Sea stretching out as far as the coast of Africa’s continent.
She is sat alone, looking down onto the rocky shore beneath Cap Ferrat Lighthouse. She has been there almost an hour, thinking about something, or someone, her arms folded under her raised knees with her chin resting, hair ruffled, blown wild by the wind.
I told her, just today, he is as out there, somewhere, my son, protecting his mother.
Maybe that’s what she is thinking about. My baggage!
It is with perfect movie timing that a stray dog stops, sniffs, and raises it’s leg against a rock lying at the side of the path overlooking the sea. It draws her attention from the sparkling water, and from her thoughts; maybe quite different from those I imagine.
The sun has fallen without her even noticing.
You’ll be catching your death if you sit much longer, I say in soft tone, putting my hand forward to take hers as the evening breeze stiffens.
I don’t say anything else and we move off to follow the dog along the narrow track.
I know you love to write, she says. I don’t have a way to express my feelings to you. When you’re writing I feel alone. An intruder. You have something in your life other than me. I just have you.
Has writing become the other woman in my life? A love affair that has come a long.
Writing, it is true, is the hand I take when in need of friends, far away, yet brought close, still running from memories, still madly in love, and still asking questions.
But what of this woman whose hand I now grasp?
She has suffered the hurt of unfulfilled love and endured the agonizing years of wondering what would have made the difference in her marriage? What would have kept it alive? What happened to that love?
She had found her life constricted, molded and influenced by someone who claimed to love her. Years later, she walked away. Picked up her life and just walked away.
I walked away, Harry.
Yes, well, it must have been right thing to do, I say.
I’ve never understood you, Harry. I don’t know to this day what goes on in your head, but I know you’re special to me and when things upset you, they upset me. I cannot help you with what you write, cannot make ideas come, but I’m always here for you. That’s all. It doesn’t matter what happens in your fictitious world, I will be someone you can hold, and who will hold you when it is your turn to need, she says.
I might stop dead on the path, fill my arms with her, bring her to within an inch of my heart and…
But all I say is…I know.