When George told me he was bisexual i had a moment of disconnection. It wasn't so much the information he imparted as much as my difficulty in assimilating this fact. That he was bisexual was known to me. I don't know how i procured this knowledge. Certainly he didn't show by his behaviour that he might be thus inclined. Nor did i probe him about his past to extract scandalous information. It was just something i knew emotionally though i neither processed this fact nor allowed its implications to ramify in my consciousness.
George says he is divorced now and that is a relief . But suddenly i am assailed with a longing, irrational perhaps, to traverse his areas of experience. I want to sojourn the territory of his life to know him better or to know that part of him which is unknown to me. The man i thought i knew and loved is composed of many realities. I am mindful that certain of these realities are inaccessible to me. Nor do i desire to plumb those dimensions of his being which do not pertain to me. I neither seek to possess him nor disavow the significance of those aspects of his existence which do impinge on me.
So i wrote a nice, long email to his wife Heather. She called me over to visit her and i agreed immediately. Heather lives, with her son Peter, in a flat whose accoutrements are postmodern. It is a functional house with all the comfortable apparatuses of convenient living. The kitchen is kitted out with all necessitous appurtenances. I sit down and accept a diet coke. And we talk, ineluctably, about George.
Heather seems warm and agreeable. There is no rancour or wistfulness in her. She accepts that George has moved on and so has she. She seems genuinely happy to know me, knowing a part of George's experience that the divorce made unavailable to her. I am seeking to know a George of the past while she is accessing information about a George of the future. Our intersection commingles these two realms yet both of us,at an underlying level, can't stave off the anxiety that the George we conjure up for each other ,through our experience, is a stranger to both of us.
I feel resentment for Heather. I am jealous that an aspect of the man i loved is entombed in her forever. I meet her frequently, ask of her many questions but the information she transmits doesn't loosen her hold of the George i don't know and transmutes it to me. Inalienably and it seems intractably she is crystallizing her grasp. And i sense that the man i love, who claims that he has expunged his past, seems to recede further and further. My voracity worries me. It seems to me that i seek to devour Heather too, devour that space she shared with George and stake my territory over it.
My relationship with George becomes troublesome too. I strive to conceal my misgivings but my detachment and revulsion are communicable, by a force beyond my conscious control. I sense that he regrets sharing the fact of his bisexuality with me. But i am not jealous of Heather for having been married to him or to have known him. My anger is at myself, for my naive expectations, for my consuming desire to know something in its contingent entirety.
And what, might such knowledge ,betoken. It crystallizes my self doubt and weakens my self possession. But i don't want George to realize that i feel Heather is inimical to our relationship. Nor do i want Heather to be wounded by my incessant, importunate pillaging into her life with George. I invite them both for dinner.
Heather is dressed in a lovely silk frock and George looks handsomely ponderous in his shirt and tie. They sit side by side. I go in to bring out the pasta. Seeing them interchange shows me, in a disembodied sense, their respective selves held in their respective hearts. George wears a smile of fond affection. He is solicitous and attentive. Inwardly i know that this solicitousness is valedictory and their interchange a rueful commemoration of what they never had but thought they did. But something in my heart unlooses. It is perhaps the realization,that even if retrospective, this perfect moment they share congeals a closeness i never could and will have. Their countenances blur, they become composite conglomerations of each other,in the aegis of my dispossessed self. I feel vertiginous. The chasm opens up. And i plunge