31st October

The Affair

Rachel and I were having an affair. It was a secret. It was so secret that even we didn’t know we were having it. We worked together, played together, slept together. Every time we had sex we erased it from our memories. Then we went home to our respective spouses.

We worked in journalism. The most important part of our work was to discover the secrets of famous people and write about them. For example, if they were married or in long-term relationships and we discovered that they were having affairs then it was our job to expose them as hypocrites and liars. Their secrets were not safe with us.

Our secret was safe with us because (a) we were professionals and always protected our sources and (b) we did not know about it. We were professionally cool, that is to say we kept our emotions in the fridge and took them out only when we had sex. Afterwards the emotions went back in the fridge and, as they cooled, the fact that we were having an affair ceased to be a fact. We erased it from our memories. Then we went home to our respective spouses.

Things went wrong when I decided to end the affair. I took this decision because I could see that there was a danger of it becoming less secret than it was. If this happened, we would be the first people to know about it. This would be dangerous because we would not be able to continue our important work exposing famous people as hypocrites and liars without ourselves being accused of hypocrisy and lying. This would be difficult, though not impossible, from a professional point of view.

Rachel said she did not want our affair to end but she did want it to remain secret. She said she loved me. This was an impossible situation, from a professional point of view. We met to talk it over. One thing led to another and we had sex. This time we could not erase it from our memories, and indeed we remembered all the other times we had had sex as well.

When I got home the fridge needed defrosting.

Reader: Keiran Duncan
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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