Sex for the first time after my wife’s death

Lucy asks me if I have kids. I say yes. Then she asks me if they live with me not their mother. I hesitate …

The scene plays out as I open my eyes to the light of day. I’m screamingly aware that my bedfellow is neither one of the kids nor Harry the cat. Patently it’s not even my bed. Beside me is a woman who has either avant-garde skin tone PJs with pink spots or is naked. I stare at the ceiling in both shock and unintentional tribute to Billy Crystal’s pose from When Harry Met Sally, as he wakes up to the horror of having slept with his close friend, played by Meg Ryan. With full consciousness comes great guilt at my first sex since Helen’s death and I cry like a baby.

So runs the script, but not the truth. I don’t wake up at all because we’ve not been to sleep, having spent the night, as Keats wouldn’t say, “hard at it”. Better still, or massively worse, I’m sure for some fellow widowers whose grief has taken a different trajectory to mine, it was absolutely bloody marvellous. Far from guilt, I feel like the bloke in Ice Cold in Alex longing for a cold beer while enduring days in the desert who finally gets to lift the icy glass to his lips. Well, I’ve been lifting warmer things to mine in the last few hours and do so again, so missing two of the trains home I should have boarded.

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Alex Vidal