The Way We Lied

Caroline’s Millennium Letter

This is the first day of the new Millennium and as an activity for the members of our house party I have suggested that everyone should write a letter to be buried in a time capsule for future generations. I am calling it a time capsule, but in reality it is simply a large plastic tool box I bought for just this purpose from the local hardware store. We shall seal it in a plastic sheet before we bury it in the garden. I have no idea what everyone is likely to write and I have told them that this will be an opportunity to say anything they like as the box probably will not be opened until long after they are dead.
They all seem to think that this is a great game and I have given everyone paper and envelopes to be sealed up before we finally bury the capsule. And so now I have to write my own contribution. I suppose I ought to record my name and so on. My name is Caroline Harper, I am 43 and my husband David is 46 and he is the Conservative MP for the west County. We have three children – Ben the eldest is 13, Lisa ( the sensible one) is 11 and Sam is my youngest and he is nine. I am happily married and live a very busy and interesting life supporting my husband in his constituency and attending many local and national events.
Shit, this isn’t what I really want to say. I want to tell the truth. No one will ever find this bloody box. It will stay buried for eternity and will probably rot for all I know. So what I really want to say is….this letter is the only way I will ever have of recording my true feelings about Mary, the amazingly wonderful, marvellous Mary Reid.
I haven’t told her and there isn’t anyone I can tell, but I think, I mean I know, I love her and desire her. It seems unbelievable, that someone like me, someone who is so ordinary and so conventional, with children, a husband and responsibilities should have such an overwhelming longing for anyone else, let alone another woman.
Sometimes I can’t understand how this has come about. But I can remember when I first knew. As soon as I met her I knew. I looked into her astonishing pale blue eyes and just knew I was lost. I don’t think anyone else in the whole of my life has ever made me feel that way. Not David, not previous boyfriends, not even the children. Oh I love David and I had been in love before, so I know what conjugal love means. And with David our love was based on liking the same things and recognising that we had similar objectives in life. Then later we supported each other however difficult things might be. With the children it’s an invisible glue that bonds me to them and them to me, so I instinctively respond to their needs and know I will always want to look after them and help to make their lives as happy and successful as I possibly can.
But with Mary it is different. I can’t even agree with some of her opinions sometimes but I admire her principles and her art; she is beautiful and I have longed for her touch and to be able to embrace her. When she talks and looks at me, I feel myself melting and I know if she were ever to approach me I would not be able to resist her touch, her lips. And when she talked to me about experiencing ecstasy I was waiting for her to show me how I could achieve those heights with her fingertips. And when she asked me to sit for those drawings my whole body quivered with every stroke of charcoal her strong hands made on the paper.
Yet I have no idea how she feels about me. I sometimes think she is amused to play with me, disturbing my assumptions, disrupting my habits. She likes to challenge and unsettle. Perhaps it is all a game for her. And now she has gone so I shall never know and shall always wonder. And I know I must resign myself to probably never seeing her again.
And so this is the only time I will say it. This is the only time I will be able to admit that I love her, adore her, worship her. She is beautiful, she is honest and she is cruel. Mary, I love you. I will never put my hope in any other but you.


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