This is a difficult one. It features an author, who can’t be named. Or at least, I don’t feel he can.
I’ll get to him later, briefly.
Around twenty years ago I happened to notice that the woman with the boy Son’s age appeared to live somewhere near us, so the next time at playgroup I chatted to her in the queue for coffee. I was really startled by her telling me something quite private about her husband.
The next week it was he who turned up at playgroup, but by then I wasn’t thinking about his privacy, so much as ‘phew, thank goodness I didn’t call him granddad!’ As our toddlers played, I chatted to and got to know ChocBiscuit’s parents on their alternate days. There was a Swedish connection, which was unusual.
A couple of years later they moved away and we didn’t see them again.
Some years later still we were all – including the Grandmother – in Sweden, when over breakfast I read an interesting article in Hallandsposten. Ordinarily I would have read it and moved on, but this time there was a bit more to it. I asked the Grandmother if she remembered little ChocBiscuit. She did.
‘Well, this article is about a book which has just been published. It’s the letters of ChocBiscuit’s father’s first wife’s first husband’s mistress.’
It’s a mindboggling connection, but the Grandmother is an intelligent woman, so she grasped what I was saying. We had been aware that the first wife had originally been married to an author who had died extremely early on in their marriage. What we hadn’t known was that he hadn’t been faithful.
The mistress sounded like quite a fascinating woman, and I suppose it’s always ‘of interest’ to read the correspondence of half-famous people. I just felt I was privy to a couple of facts about these people’s lives that I really shouldn’t have been.
But you heard nothing from me.