Love and Friendship
I received the news of Dom’s death with a mixture of sadness and joy. He had been my best friend since we were toddlers, but I discovered not so long ago that I was in love with Denise.
I had applied for a job in Edinburgh because of him, and almost immediately the world became aware of our foursome: Dom and Denise, and Sam and Samantha. Or the two D’s and the two Sams. The fit was near perfect. We did everything together. Films at the now defunct Filmhouse or Cameo. Theatre, opera, we even loved the same eateries. We shared our love of the Viognier and the Pinot Noir. We often, but not always took holidays together.
When my Samantha passed away, I obviously would not have been able to cope without the two D’s. I realised that I could confide more easily in Denise. I told her everything, and so did she. At first they tried for babies, but when none came they took that in their stride. Sam and I never wanted any.
Denise and I were both demonstrative and physical. We often hugged, even when Samantha was around. It was heavenly feeling each other’s bodies, it was a communion, but completely asexual. Dom used to have similar warm feelings for Samantha. In all those years, never a cross word, not even when we were pissed.
Then after my bereavement, I began having erotic dreams involving Denise. And I know dreams do not lie. I did not need to ask myself if I lusted after her. But out of loyalty I swore to myself, first, that although I told her everything, I would never mention that. She was the one who advised me to go to massage parlours for my needs. Until she found me a replacement.
Gradually I realised that I had become besotted with my best friend’s wife. Often wondered if I had not better move away from this city. Perhaps get into a fresh relationship. Samantha had suggested it before leaving.
Dom’s death was completely unexpected. A aneurism. At forty-nine. I loved him more than I loved my own brothers. He was the best. Unselfish, with a unique generosity of spirit, funny, thoughtful.
But it also meant that Denise was now available. I wasn’t going to wait, but I would put in my claim fairly quickly and then let events dictate.
But she took the initiative, and a fortnight after the cremation, she texted me. We need to talk. We arranged to meet at the Traverse bar, as we had often done in the past.
She had arrived before me, and was sitting next to a chap I had never seen before.
‘Oh, meet Joe,’ she said, ‘he was my first ever boyfriend. He found me on Facebook.’