Lizzie Jenkins-Strathmore is confused.
She believes that she loves her husband Marcus dearly, yes, yes she does.
Although this belief, however solid comes with the slightest nagging uncertainty that her feelings for her marriage is not the result of a love that has matured.
It is true that the passion, desire, the very joie de vie that once dominated every aspect of their union has now all but dissipated. That is normal, surely? After all this time it is so unlikely she’ll feel the same way she did when they first met at Durham University all those years ago. It was the subtle manipulation of the media, with it’s impossible yet commercially lucrative depiction of love that now suggests there is some wrong here.
Yes, she is certain of that. She is certain that both her and Marcus are above all that; for goodness sake, she is part of the media, only she controls her feelings, her and her alone.
Even with this rationale, Lizzie simply cannot shake the thought that it is at least possible that routine and her fear of change now masks the deeper, more worrisome possibility that there is actually no love here at all.
“This is nonsense”, she asserts, “This is the result of an innocent flirtation, nothing more”.
The ‘innocent flirtation’ had taken place a few days earlier. Whilst researching a piece for the London Standard on up and coming writers she’d met with an impossibly beautiful novelist based out of Shoreditch.
From the moment they had sat together in Starbucks (which he’d insisted upon as an ironic statement against the elitism of the literary classes) she had been immediately entranced by his all pervading enthusiasm, and piercing blue eyes. Eyes which she could have sworn were saying more to her than his eloquent explanations of how a socially deprived childhood and one good parent had driven him to understand, to experience and ultimately to write the great English novel.
He had not got there yet. His belief that ‘Shoplifters of the world unite’ was such a novel was all part of his arrogant charm.
The book was good, very good, but it wasn’t the great English novel. Yet Lizzie was certain that he would get there, and despite only knowing him for a few hours she felt a churning in her guts which she feared to translate, although she already knew it was her desire to be with him when he did finally get there.
When the interview was over, they chatted more casually,
“Are you married, Lizzie?” He asked before taking a long thoughtful drag from his Gauloise.
“Yes, yes I am”
“Girl or boy?” he asked leaning in much closer than before.
Lizzie could feel her cheeks flush like they would have done when she was a shy teenage girl and the cool boy in class was asking her to school disco.
“I have a daughter, she’s 10 years old”
“Exactly ten?” He pushed with a playful grin.
“Esmé is 10 years, 10 months and 4 days old”
He took her hand, placing his other hand gently upon her cheek; he looked directly into her eyes.
“It’s not possible you have a daughter that age, you’re a liar”
It was stupid, ridiculous, insane even that such a cheesy action and comment should have had her question her whole life so deeply.
But maybe this man, this young talented, passionate man was her soul mate; not that she actually believed in anything so preposterous.
No. It was a simple flirtation. That was all. A simple innocent flirtation that had so very briefly turned her head from a functioning successful relationship that had produced a wonderful, lively and intelligent daughter.
“That isn’t true”, she thought, “I can’t kid myself anymore.”
The fact was if she was questioning her marriage then there was had to be a more fundamental problem than transitory lust.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Posted by Herge Smith at 10:55 am