I think we both knew, or at least suspected, from the moment we agreed he should come to Paris and see the concert with me, that no-one would really be sleeping in the spare room.
However ill-advised it might seem, in theory, to see the person who had cast me adrift only two months previously, I knew I was ready. I still love him, granted, but in a completely different way. Whenever I think of what might have been, and wasn’t, I am, quite simply, overwhelmed with relief. Relief which is admittedly tinged with a little regret at how uncommonly compatible we were in some ways I now miss.
When the time came, I was an adrenaline-fuelled wreck, so preoccupied with other worries that I didn’t have time to get excited, or nervous, or both, at the prospect of our meeting.
All I wanted that night was to feel his familiar, strong arms around me. To be taken outside of myself, even if it was just for a few short hours. To share something precious, without incurring any guilt, any pain. To be soothed by the sound of his slow, regular breathing at my side. To be lulled into the first good night’s sleep in a week.
In the morning, before we parted, there were comforting echoes of our old routine: tea, toast and marmalade.
He told me he felt absolved in some way; as if a weight had now lifted. We acknowledged that we have both moved on, but continue to care deeply about each other. There was no awkwardness, no inequality. No sense that one of us was clinging, desperately, to the wreckage, wanting something more.
Only one thing made me feel mildly uncomfortable: at times, doubtless because I was so strung out, I was painfully conscious of a separation of mind and body.
A nagging feeling that I had succeeded in appropriating for myself the very detachment I recently observed, with regret, in someone else.