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  • Writer's pictureMike Beetlestone

Adam and Niamh

She’s not coming back…

I’m looking across the harbour with the sun casting a long orange corridor over the calm sea and small sail boats silhouetting against the white ball of light before it disappears under the horizon.

She says it’s madness…

I search behind me anxiously hoping against hope that I might see her skipping down the steps from the multi-coloured houses that surround the bay. Each one stacked on top of each other like a Lego village with pastel shades.

The waiter appears from behind the blue and white stripped canopy that gently dances with the warm evening breeze and asks if I want another beer. I do, but I don’t want to drown my sorrows – I want to relive what we had.

Oh... what we had…

What did we have? Was it an affair? It was so brief, it barely qualified. A fling maybe, but that implies it was carefree and casual. What we had was intense, loving and affectionate beyond anything I could ever imagine I would enjoy again in my life.

It was a beautiful three nights of uninhibited passion and intimacy, mixed with fun and laughter at the discovery that two people, strangers, almost a generation apart, could enjoy each other’s company in the knowledge that every hour brought new adventures until it didn’t.

And now it’s over.

We met by accident in the café in front of the hotel we shared. Niamh accidently dropped her phone and I picked it up for her and asked if she would like to join me. My invitation took me by surprise and I was sure her hesitation was going to be followed by a polite refusal. But she smiled and sat down beside me. It took us five minutes to discover we had the same sense of humour, the same desire for company and the same ability to turn a routine story into a comedic drama.

After our second coffee, she got up to go and I reached over to take her hand. I felt something electric. I knew she felt it too and that I would get a positive response to my dinner invitation.

It was an exquisite meal of the simplest of fish dishes and shared a bottle of wine. We talked until we had exhausted all our secrets and then we filled our senses; she was an attractive mature woman, sparkling green eyes the size of saucers, glistening hazel hair loosely tied in a bun, her comfortable white polo necked jumper suggesting a full figure and black pantaloon trousers that swayed in the wind to occasionally reveal the shape of her slender legs. She exuded life like the ocean, wild and free. Her voice was rich, she almost sang her words and she laughed like she expected the world to laugh with her.

 The local cocktail led eventually to a surprise kiss and the answer to the question I had struggled with for many years after my wife died, how do you suggest that you think things should go further without risking a beautiful friendship.

The answer is that the question never arose. We just got up together, looked into each other’s eyes, smiled and held hands. Without a pause to consider the consequences, we rambled up to her room with barely a word spoken.

And then, I did not leave her side for three days.

I felt everything was perfect, nothing mattered as we explored each other like nervous teenagers, but laughing at our failings so unlike our youthful counterparts. We told stories, we ate together, we walked on the cliffs, we swam in the Bay of Biscay, we drank in the bars of Cudillero and then we went back to bed. We were compatible, we were fun, we were good craic and we were totally consumed with each other.

 It was never a holiday romance. It was special, she was the only person I have ever met that made me feel that we should move the world to stay together.

Only she said she had too much to lose. If she only knew what I had to lose. My spirit, my hope… my joie de vivre. How can I tell her…? I don’t want to cause her any pain but I don’t think this ache will ever go away.


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I never thought I would fall for a man again. I had done all that and got the sweat shirt. I just wanted a break in the sun on my own to recharge the batteries.

I have been married to Sam for ten years after living with him for another four, waiting for the divorce from my disastrous first marriage to come through. Accumulating five kids along the way, including two from Sam’s first marriage. Jodi is the only one that Sam and I can claim joint ownership of. She is also the only one under eighteen; but old enough to know the difference between right and her everyday behaviour.

I don’t feel I fit into the category of ‘bored and looking for love’ but something is still gnawing at me that I have led a very insular life. And my marriage has lost its sparkle, but don’t they all?

And then I notice Adam, having a morning coffee, looking… well I don’t know. He’s older than I am, but does that matter? He’s still handsome in a Harrison Ford sort of way. Rugged and the outdoor type. Cool even, in his Springsteen 96 Tour T shirt, cut off denim jeans, jaded leather sandals and Rayburns balanced on his luxurious mop of greying hair. He gave the impression he could be a 70’s rock star trying to look anonymous or maybe a Council pen pusher trying to be something he isn’t. But there is something about him attracts me enough to discreetly drop my phone as I pass his table.

Bait taken and after a long coffee, a dinner invitation that took me an hour to squeeze out of him, he ended up in my bed after I almost dragged him up the steps – it wasn’t that he was reluctant, the opposite was true – but just painfully unwilling to take the initiative.  My being the seducer probably didn’t give me the time to think what I was doing.

But it was fun, he was fun. The sex wasn’t great…  we both felt a little clumsy and he unfortunately failed to rise to the occasion. But it didn’t matter… in fact, if anything it drew us closer together.

And together we stayed for three days, but it was always a holiday romance. I think he knew that too. I had a life, even if the kids didn’t need me on a daily basis, I was never going to abandon them for a man I met only seventy-two hours earlier.

And there was Sam, dependable and caring… he didn’t deserve to be dumped for an infatuation, even if it was even that.

I told Adam that it was over and I think he accepted it, though I’m sure he would like to meet up when we get home but that isn’t going to happen. I hope he finds someone to share his life with, he does seem lonely and he’s such a sweet man.

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