I've been outed very publicly now, so I think the time has come to write my last entry.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that, with the OH working most of the time in Japan and Joe spending several hours most days in the house instead, that our friendship became somewhat more than that. Certainly not 50 Shades more, but... I didn't tell anyone and Joe didn't tell anyone, but clearly someone found out. My guess is that Fiona has a paid informer in Neighbourhood Watch as not long after we overstepped the mark, anonymous notes appeared through the letterbox, followed a few days later by dog mess. I'm not sure why anyone other than Alison or the OH should mind, and since both of them were out of the country at the time, you can see why my mind settled on Fiona as the protagonist.
Anyway, someone spread the word, hence my need to reach the post office without meeting anyone I knew, although I have since realised that people were crossing the road to avoid me. Seriously! That totally backfired, then, as I didn't notice at the time. But villages being what they are, one of Celeste's friends found out, told Celeste, who told George, who told... well, possibly they took an ad out on one of those giant billboards in the States, but more significantly, the OH and Alison both found out.
Funny, isn't it, how different people react differently to the same thing?
Within hours of finding out, the OH was on a flight back from Japan and came for an all-purpose slanging match. Apparently he had been holding back from the regular karaoke evenings at work because they tended to involve more than just singing, but now, given my outright treachery (his phrase), he will be indulging in everything that his new life has to offer (again, his phrase). He contacted a few people, such as lawyers, before flying back again, having made his position more than clear.
Alison laughed. She sent me a good luck card. When she did have a change of heart, it wasn't in the way you might think. Since I had been asked to vacate the family home, she suggested I move in with Joe. Yes, you read that correctly. She suggested it. Her rationale is this: she is away from home a lot with her job and she is not surprised that her husband might occasionally feel lonely, but she would rather know who he is feeling lonely with (a touch hypocritical, you might think, after what she and Max got up to, but as I said earlier, everyone's different). Effectively, she has suggested a menage à trois.
It took me a few days and a lot of persuasion from Joe to come round to this arrangement. Verity spent several evenings and a number of bottles of wine letting me talk it through, although she's still not convinced that I'm doing the right thing.
"It's a very, um, modern, arrangement," she said eventually. "And let's be brutally honest, you're not the most, um, modern, person around, are you?"
But people can change, and although the idea feels rather weird at the moment, I feel happier about it than the idea of trying to stay faithful to someone who's away seven weeks out of eight. And although it's not the best time to be selling a house, Joe has put his on the market and we, as in the three of us, are looking at particulars for places in a city (Alison via skype, at present, from Washington DC), where people won't notice quite so much the comings and goings of one individual house. After all, when you're in a small village, everyone is always taking notes.