I’ve seen him in town, too, at business lunches with women who only have one business in mind. And he goes away to team meetings and conferences, he says, to keep moving up the ladder. Not that he’s got that far up yet, despite liaisons with female management. Perhaps because of them.
Jess knows. She stays. He’s still kind and generous to her and the children. It’s just like she would stay and support him, if he had an addiction. Which, in a way, he has. She’s kind, too. Disarmingly bright blue eyes and gentle smile. We talk. We exchange womanly gossip. We are confidantes, each knowing each other’s secrets. We sometimes shop together, while the children are at school, then return for coffee in the kitchen, before she goes to fetch them. He says we seem uncomfortably close, at times, like sisters one moment, but a stronger pulse at others. Not that he worries. He knows she is faithful. Would never look at another. After him, her only love is for her children.
He’s come on to me, more than once. He’s gently stroked an arm; held my hand a little too long, helping me pick up shopping after I’d tripped and dropped it in the driveway; suggested we meet for dinner. Jess says I should let him have his way. It might reshape his attitude. Shock treatment. When, beneath the makeup and the wig, he discovers I’m physically a man.