Heart-stop­ping tale of a sum­mer af­fair every mar­ried woman MUST read

. . . be­cause when mother-of-four Jayne War­wick be­gan one, she had no idea of the suf­fer­ing it would bring

Daily Mail - - Inspire -

Strolling to­wards the Wim­ble­don ten­nis cham­pi­onships in my floaty de­signer dress, my hair freshly blow­dried, i felt 21 again — and my ex­cite­ment had much to do with the fact i was hand in hand with a hand­some, el­i­gi­ble di­vorcee eight years my ju­nior.

the spec­ta­tors’ area was brim­ming with loved-up cou­ples en­joy­ing the ten­nis and it seemed lu­di­crous that at 49, and a mother of four, i, too, was able to boast a new and ex­cit­ing love match.

As we flirted shame­lessly with each other, no one would have guessed i’d been mar­ried for 12 years and was in the throes of an af­fair with some­one i’d met by chance weeks ear­lier. in spite of my ad­vanc­ing years, the ex­haus­tion from do­mes­tic drudgery and a dis­tant worry i might not get back in time for the school pickup, i felt more de­sir­able than i had in ages.

i didn’t plan to have an af­fair. the day Charles walked into my life, i hadn’t been ex­pect­ing him, or any­one else for that mat­ter. i strongly dis­ap­prove of in­fi­delity. i’d made my feel­ings clear on the mat­ter when mar­ried friends con­fided in me that they were about to em­bark on a fling. it seemed an un­for­giv­able de­vi­a­tion when chil­dren were in­volved — and i had four young chil­dren, the el­dest only just 12.

those four chil­dren were also the rea­son per­sonal groom­ing had fallen by the way­side. i no longer both­ered with the wax­ing, high­lights, man­i­cures and

pedi­cures I’d booked re­li­giously when I was dat­ing the man who would be­come my hus­band.

What was the point? He barely no­ticed me; my mar­riage was in the dol­drums. But I firmly be­lieved I wasn’t free to seek sat­is­fac­tion else­where. We’d taken our vows for bet­ter and for worse, and I’d had no in­ten­tion of break­ing mine — even if he had, sev­eral times.

Charles showed up one early July evening at the point when my mar­riage had hit rock-bot­tom. over the win­ter my hus­band had suf­fered fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and work pres­sures and had with­drawn fur­ther from me and the chil­dren. When he did talk to me it was to be­lit­tle or crit­i­cise.

But on that early sum­mer evening, when Charles and I first looked at each other as we cheered on our chil­dren at the lo­cal cricket club, there was no mis­tak­ing his in­ter­est. I’d had an­other fu­ri­ous row with my hus­band — he was al­ways too busy, logged on to his com­puter, leav­ing me to deal with the child­care and house­hold man­age­ment.

Yet here was a de­voted sin­gle fa­ther flash­ing me a smile and walk­ing in my di­rec­tion. The con­nec­tion was in­stant. Maybe it was the sum­mer heat, the pros­ecco and the thought of the long sum­mer hol­i­days stretch­ing out be­fore us that made the idea of an af­fair seem sud­denly pos­si­ble.

We chat­ted for an hour. I told him I worked part-time in film pro­duc­tion, fit­ting it round school hours.

He told me how he’d de­cided to make the move from Lon­don to our vil­lage, where he’d en­rolled two of his chil­dren in the same school as mine. About how he worked in law, and that now he was di­vorced, and shared cus­tody of his chil­dren.

And then he told me how he loved wa­ter­ski­ing and asked if I would be in­ter­ested in tak­ing my kids along to join him and his chil­dren out on the lake one week­end.

I im­me­di­ately said: ‘ Yes, I would,’ know­ing he was flirt­ing with me. Rather than pull away as I nor­mally would from a stranger’s ad­vances, I moved into him, al­most los­ing my bal­ance, so that he stead­ied me. When our hands touched, it was elec­tri­fy­ing.

over the next few days I fan­ta­sised about this man I didn’t know. Then I’d pull my­self up for be­ing ridicu­lous. But the next Sun­day’s wa­ter­ski­ing was the most fun I’d had in a long time.

We ex­changed know­ing glances as we helped our chil­dren on to the boat. And then, un­in­vited, he zipped up my wet­suit. As we splashed in the wa­ter I was al­ready imag­in­ing a longterm re­la­tion­ship with this man. At the end of the day, I se­cured my youngest in her car seat, will­ing him to sug­gest an­other out­ing.

Im­me­di­ately he texted me, ‘Shall we get our youngest to­gether for a play­date on Tues­day morn­ing?’ My legs were like jelly and I had to com­pose my­self be­fore set­ting off for home.

‘Yes, please,’ I texted back, be­fore chastis­ing my­self for sound­ing needy, as though I had noth­ing bet­ter to do than hang out at the swings with a man I barely knew. The truth was I hadn’t.

over the next two days, I found it dif­fi­cult to eat. Then I started fret­ting about my hair. In mid­dle age, my hair’s thin­ner than it used to be. I booked a blow- dry and man­i­cure, hop­ing he hadn’t no­ticed my hands last time we met — my nails un­painted, the skin wrin­kled with years of nappy chang­ing.

Sit­ting in the salon, I planned my first de­cep­tion, sur­prised I didn’t feel even a pang of guilt. That night, I Googled him. He was a se­nior part­ner at a firm in Lon­don, as he’d said. He was hon­est, at least. The down­side? He was 41, eight years younger than me. I de­cided not to tell him my age.

Tues­day ar­rived and we met in the play­ground, talk­ing about our life’s achieve­ments, for­got­ten am­bi­tions and hopes for the fu­ture. We dodged the sub­ject of my hus­band and his ex. Some­how, there was an un­spo­ken pact that they didn’t come up in con­ver­sa­tion.

The very next day, us­ing my friend Jo as an al­ibi, we ar­ranged to meet alone for an early evening walk along a tow­path. Charles wasn’t there when I ar­rived and for a sec­ond I con­sid­ered turn­ing around. But five min­utes later he pulled up, full of apolo­gies, wrap­ping me in his arms.

The re­lief I felt at that mo­ment, that he did re­ally feel some­thing for me, made me burst into tears and when he leaned in and kissed me

— the kind of kiss I couldn’t ever re­mem­ber hav­ing — I didn’t give a damn that we were by a road and any­one could have seen us.

But we both knew it was risky see­ing each other too reg­u­larly. In­stead, we wrote each other se­duc­tive emails from se­cret ac­counts. No sooner had my chil­dren left for school than I’d fran­ti­cally open the emails he’d writ­ten.

As we cheered our chil­dren on at matches, we could never let on there was any­thing more be­tween us than the mu­tual bond of par­ent­hood.

He had a rep­u­ta­tion as a fam­ily lawyer to main­tain. The last thing he wanted was to be per­ceived as was a ‘ mar­riage breaker’, and so our re­la­tion­ship had to be kept a se­cret in or­der for us to sur­vive.

And we were most def­i­nitely an ‘us’. I was elated when early on he’d started em­pha­sis­ing the us in his con­ver­sa­tions. ‘I like the sound of “us” ’, he would write in his emails. ‘I want there to be a lot more “us”. ’ He had such a po­etic way with words, while my hus­band only ever com­mu­ni­cated in bul­let points.

Through the heady weeks up to that day he whisked me to Wim­ble­don, I was per­ma­nently poised at the com­puter wait­ing for his lovely words to wash over me.

He’d

wake at 5 am, cram a morn­ing’s work in, and we’d snatch af­ter­noons to­gether, strolling through coun­try­side, kiss­ing against trees and chas­ing his dogs through wood­land.

I would park my car at the vil­lage green, half a mile from his re­mote house, and we’d pre­pare lunch to­gether, eat­ing it on his ter­race, sip­ping rose and toast­ing our fu­ture — what­ever that was.

The idyll would end at 3 pm when we would leave separately and head to­wards the school gates, and when term ended, to the sport club’s hol­i­day camp, care­ful not to make eye con­tact in view of other par­ents. Soon, we turned up at the same evening events, slip­ping off to­gether to steal a quick kiss.

It was guilt on both our parts that kept us from con­sum­mat­ing our blos­som­ing re­la­tion­ship for so long. For me, too, it was the shame of ex­pos­ing to some­one new my body that had en­dured four preg­nan­cies, years of breast­feed­ing and ab­dom­i­nal surgery. How I wished the new, youth­ful me had a body to match.

In the days that led up to our Wim­ble­don date, we’d started sex­ting into the early hours of the morn­ing. I’d al­ways looked down on this as a sor­did, teenage pas­time, but as we be­came more and more un­in­hib­ited in our lan­guage, the in­ti­macy be­tween us moved up sev­eral notches.

So when, on that day at the ten­nis, Charles squeezed my hand and whis­pered. ‘Stay with me tonight,’ I was hit by that pitof-the- stom­ach yearn­ing and im­pa­tient an­tic­i­pa­tion.

On the 90-minute jour­ney home he seemed breath­less and his left hand lin­gered on my leg. The de­sire be­tween us had reached boil­ing point.

I called my hus­band and asked him to col­lect the chil­dren from their af­ter- school clubs and or­gan­ise sup­per and bed­time. I’d been in­vited to a film pre­miere in Lon­don, I lied, and would spend the night with a friend.

Charles hastily ar­ranged sleep­overs for his chil­dren and no sooner had we pulled into his drive­way, he prac­ti­cally car­ried me out of the car and in through the front door.

He was a won­der­ful, pa­tient lover, un­der­stand­ing of my fears that no man had touched me since I’d started dat­ing my hus­band. His ten­der­ness erased any guilt or feel­ings of self­con­scious­ness about my dim­pled skin and cae­sarean scar.

This was noth­ing like the kind of tawdry af­fair I’d frowned upon. This was a true, lov­ing re­la­tion­ship, I told my­self.

I be­lieved at that mo­ment we could make a real go of things, that I would leave my failed mar­riage for this ador­ing man. We play­fully talked about how we’d merge our two fam­i­lies as one and all live in his pile.

But not long af­ter, meet­ing up with my con­fi­dante Jo for cof­fee, she cau­tioned me that peo­ple were start­ing to gos­sip. We clearly hadn’t been as care­ful as we’d thought. Then the ru­mours be­came rife. We did our best to quash them by ig­nor­ing each other in public.

I went over to his house just a few more times when his chil­dren were at their mother’s, but I started to de­tect a dis­tinct cooling-off on his part. His emails were fewer and he just chat­ted about the four-week hol­i­day he was plan­ning with his chil­dren.

Then he started ig­nor­ing my calls, stopped re­spond­ing to my emails. I learned from other par­ents he and his brood had left for their break in France. Ap­par­ently, in the au­tumn, his chil­dren would be go­ing to new schools.

I felt numb, then my grief gave way to un­bear­able dev­as­ta­tion. I’d hide in the bed­room and sob un­con­trol­lably, hop­ing my chil­dren wouldn’t hear me. I sat by my com­puter for weeks wait­ing to see his name flash up, but there was noth­ing.

It’s been nearly a year since I heard a word from him. I can only as­sume he’s moved away, far from me and the threat I posed to his rep­u­ta­tion.

Iron­i­cally, he was al­ways the one more wor­ried about be­ing found out — even though he was di­vorced and he’d ini­ti­ated the af­fair.

And now I can see ‘an af­fair’ is all it was. I’ve packed away the floaty dresses and silk un­der­wear and re­joined my fam­ily, ac­cus­tomed once again to my hus­band ig­nor­ing or putting me down.

Only now, when­ever things at home be­come un­bear­able, I re­treat back in my mind to the ro­mance that un­locked the young, care­free spirit that I dis­cov­ered still in­hab­its my age­ing body. Names have been changed

20 per cent of Brits ad­mit they have had an af­fair

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