I am married, have been for many years, and you can tick the boxes on all manner of shared activities from shopping to watching foreign box sets on television and the occasional holiday at an unfashionable coastal resort. My wife cooks delicious food and we both have figures which bare testament to her abilities: in short to the average gaze we are the essence of a stable and harmonious couple but there is an area where “No comment “ may be the politest thing to say and that is within the bedroom or any other area where an active imagination might encourage you to express yourself.
As time passed it seemed as if I was harbouring an untamed wolf somewhere on the borders between raw instinct and my wish to be civilised. I suffered the lack of closeness as best I could without revealing my inner torment to my wife, friend or any passing stranger: that is what the polite man does I understand. All well and good until …
I work for the customs and excise department as a VAT inspector and try and carry out my work in a professional and impersonal manner as far as possible: always have.
Pine Furnishings made bespoke items which, it boasted, could add lustre to any room and the boss, Helen Patterson was on hand when I came to inspect her books. It being a small company I worked in the same office as her and as I worked my way through the ledgers I caught her smiling at me regularly and crossing her legs in, can I say, a less guarded manner than is customary.
I discovered an irregularity in one month followed by another, and the possible inclusion of invoices which were not associated with the company. I made a note of these so I could discuss them with her at the end of my visit. After a while she leaned over to offer me a cup of tea and, you’ve guessed it, her blouse was not as buttoned up as you would expect in a work environment.
I did my best not to look but I could not resist taking one peek and then another and I saw her smirking softly to herself, but still I couldn’t detach myself from that longing which was threatening to overwhelm me.
When she returned from the kitchen area with the tea she said “Why don’t you come over here?” pointing at the sofa and, of course, I know I shouldn’t have but I did. Once seated beside her she placed her hand on my chest and then the back of my neck saying “You’re such a nice man” and before I could stop myself I was leaning in and kissing her, almost pushing her into the sofa.
Immediately she sprang up and said, “What you have just done has been recorded on video and if anything untoward is entered in your report that film will be emailed to your head of department. Can you sign the certificate to show all is good and then you can go.” Her change in manner was remarkable!
When I got home, a little earlier than expected my wife greeted me with her habitual warm indifference, and I tried to pretend that I was returning from another uneventful day, but we know differently don’t we!?
If I did nothing all might be fine for a year, I hoped, but in the following year some new auditor, who might well be immune to her charms, might spot the errors I had ignored and pass the query up to my superiors: in the meantime I lacked the courage to own up to my conduct. I discovered that secrets can become the prison you pretend to others does not exist; and becoming exiled from your home the price of your escape!