The art of dying

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“I’ve only had one affair. She should count herself lucky.”

Needless to say, I choked on my coffee. Who wouldn’t? It’s not the kind of thing you expect to hear in a village coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon. Is it?

I dabbed my lips with the edge of my napkin, sneaking a quick look at the two men sitting at the table next to mine. Large cappucinos – check. Pains au chocolat – check. Deceptively understated chunky knit sweaters – check. Levis, artfully worn at the seams  – check. Floppy dark hair, slices of silver gray enhancing rugged good looks – check.

The usual suspects.

The speaker’s confidant nodded in agreement. “Damn right she should.”

I couldn’t help myself. In two ticks I was by their side, towering over their conspiratorial forms. They looked up in unison, shadows of guilt passing over their faces. I’d seen it before, but in entirely different surroundings. Big city pubs and bars were more my usual haunts, but needs must.

“Only one affair?” I demanded, trying to hide my grin. The question always put them on the back foot.

“Err, yeah. Not that it’s any of your business,” The Cheater, caught unawares turned defensive.

“Oh don’t worry! I’m not judging – except that really, if you’re going to cheat once, you might as well do it again and again and again. Carry on where you left off, right?” I let the question hang in the air, watching confusion reign over both of them.

“Piss off, love, why don’t you. My marriage is none of your business.” The Cheater made as if to stand up and I backed off.

“OK, OK. I’m going…”

I backed off, and sat down at my table again, making like I was absorbed in a phone call. I’d have made a fantastic actress.

“Biggest mistake of my life, Andy, to be honest. Once is once too often, I reckon.”

The Confidant nodded in agreement once more. “Yeah mate, she’s a good one, your Sarah.”

My work was done.

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