I soon arrived at the conclusion that for a working mum, committing “adultery” would be logistically rather complicated.
A typical day consisted of getting Tadpole ready, dashing with her to the nanny’s, leaping into the metro, breezing into work five minutes late and then doing the whole thing in reverse come 6pm. From Tadpole’s bedtime onwards, I was “free”, but trapped inside the flat, unless there was a babysitter on offer. Hence my strong presence online.
I had never been unfaithful before. I had very black and white ideas of what was right and wrong, and any sort of cloak and dagger behaviour or sneaking around was most definitely wrong in my book. Nor had I experienced a modern electronic courtship, punctuated by rapid fire exchange of text messages and emails. But over the next week the feeling that something momentous was happening intensified with every shred of contact. I had to see him again, and soon, whatever the consequences.
He evidently felt the same as I did, despite his huge reservations about interfering in my life and causing me to lie to my partner. After all, he’d been on the receiving end of this type of behaviour in the past, and described the experience as “wretched”.
I lost five kilos that week. I shook like an alcoholic with the DT‘s, adrenalin coursing through me. I barely slept at night. It felt as though guilt was etched indelibly into my face, and I couldn’t quite believe that Mr Frog hadn’t noticed that something was amiss.
Fear and excitement were bound together in such a way that I couldn’t work out where one began and another ended. I caught myself staring at my daughter through hot tears, barely able to grasp the enormity of what I was contemplating and what it would mean for her. My only desire was to curl up in a ball under the bedclothes, shut out the real world and lose myself in the scenes which were playing out across the inside of my eyelids. Making dinner or attempting normal conversation with Mr Frog was hell; an agony of going through the motions, my mind elsewhere. I took evasive action, in the form of long baths or evenings spent cowering behind my monitor; he snoozed in front of the television in the next room, happily oblivious.
When the time came, my alibis were rehearsed and ready. I told my boss that the childminder was sick and left work abruptly. I dashed, heart racing, to a hotel in the Marais. I spent an afternoon there. And an evening. And a morning. In between, I picked up Tadpole and waited for the sitter to arrive; I crept back to our non-marital bed in the small hours.
The very next evening I told Mr Frog I would be leaving him. Because even though I couldn’t be sure what it was or would develop into, this new, very precious thing I had stumbled upon, what I did know was that me and Mr Frog were a thing of the past, and had been burying our heads in the sand for far too long.