05:05 am. My eyes open. A faint pearly blade of light squeezing past the blind. The distant metallic scrape of a moving tram.
I lie here in the dawn’s dimness, with my dreams still lingering.
“I am a happily married man and I am not looking for any other arrangement. I would ask that you please do not contact me again.”
I reach for my phone. The last words of his last message haunt me. It seems impossible that it is “over”, even if our relationship was only ever a virtual one.
“What time is it?” my husband murmurs beside me. “Early,” I say.
He reaches for my phone. “I’m in the middle of an email!”
He reaches for me instead. With a grunt of frustration, I fling his arm off me and get out of bed.
06:14 am. I am preparing lunch for my three-year-old daughter – marmalade sandwich, sliced banana – when I hear the soft ping of an incoming email. I pick up my phone. Feel the familiar sting when I see that it’s not from him.
I stand, staring out the kitchen window at the long shadow of the neighboring apartment stretching across the river’s waters. I wonder how I let it get so far. How it became all consuming. I think of the hours spent scrolling through his messages, especially the ones where he said he understood me.
“I get you,” he would say. “We’re on the same page.”
He was a marketing executive for an agency I write copy for, or at least I used to, and our contact, at first, was purely professional. But I quickly became drawn to him – and I thought we shared a connection.