A rough patch in their long marriage. He has stopped drinking, stopped numbing his feelings. They are in enough trouble to feel the need for counselling. Their relationship to all outside observers, successful and happy – a good marriage – but causing them grief.
He feels an underlying sadness and loss ever present. An intense loneliness.
Sitting in a hotel room depression deep more alone than ever. She comes unbidden into his mind again, his first love lost. Each going to separate schools split forever. A loss carried all his life. A lesson learnt from counselling, he writes her a letter, what she meant to him, how it felt. Seen for the first time on paper, black and white, a torrent of grief exploding, snot and sobbing. Uncontrollable.
Nothing to do with his wife; his first love, long lost gone but still carried as an indelible part of him.
As the weeks months pass by he stops in his tracks, realising a weight is gone, no longer carried. No longer a part of who he is. A piece of the broken jigsaw removed. Surprising.
Marriage counselling ended, he continues solo, weekly in Tring. Tara knows more about him than anyone else; lifting each stone one by one… the shit, the hidden, the crap, the fear, the ugly. She knows him more intimately than his wife, who can only know of the demons once defeated.