It was 9.30am when Ian called. Sue heard, in the background, the sound of French voices and pictured him in some Parisian bar, the air thick with pungent cigarette smoke.
The past few weeks had been difficult, the clash of temperament between a needy Cancer man, and a “don’t push me” Capricorn woman had frozen into cool aloofness from her, biting sarcasm from him – over the question of whether she should spend some nights alone.
Perhaps it was just as well that he’d gone to France for a few days, she thought, as she snaked into the kind of outfit she would never wear in front of Ian, pulled the zip the length of her body and smiled at her companion: “You’ll enjoy this.”
Minutes later, who should burst through he door but Ian? The French trip had been a trick, suspicion had been growing in him, like some foul fungus, that she was having an affair.
Planning to catch her in the act, he had gone round to a friend’s flat, put on a French language tape and made the call.
When he stormed in, he had expected to find her in the arms of a lover – not up a ladder, zipped into overalls, painting the spar room, watched by Oscar, her amused cat.
“She tells me it’s all over,” he complained to me. “Can’t she see I acted out of love?”
Not really love. The simple truths in life – for instance, that sometimes you get on your partner’s nerves – are often less attractive than the catastrophic, so Ian chose to believe in Sue’s infidelity, rather than work on the relationship and his mood self.
Yet he did love her. And when he offered an honest apology, he got through to her warm, well-guarded Capricorn heart. The honeymoon was, of course, in Paris.