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It is early in the morning. Sleep has escaped me, again. The dawn chorus are warming up their throats in the branches outside the window, although their feathers must be a little damp from the earlier downpour.
Now that I am looking back on a particularly difficult episode of my life, I’m wondering what lessons I learnt from the experience.

-No secret is ever completely secure.

-Passions will easily override common sense and intelligence.

-Complete trust is like a promise made to a fool.

-We are in every way our own worst fool.

-Do not trust even yourself with a secret; the tongue in your mouth serves two masters…..

-Lessons learnt, and promises are often quickly forgotten when the danger passes.

……………After photographic evidence

I trusted Christian not to tell anyone my secret. But Christian sober was one thing; Christian drunk and, or stoned was a different animal.
He could be a happy drunk at times, the life and soul of any gay gathering; at other times he was morose, mildly paranoid, acidly bitchy and not always in complete control of his tongue. Marijuana produced extreme euphoria, mild hallucinations and mellowness in him, but the come-down often drove him into depression and an almost suicidal sadness.
I trusted him not to intentionally ruin my life.

The drive home was done on automatic-pilot, while my brain struggled with the ramifications of having a secret that suddenly wasn’t so secure. I had become complacent, careless. I’d started to kid myself that I was safe; that as long as Marco wasn’t the type of man to talk about the married woman he was fucking, then the only thing being ruffled in my life would be the sheets.
I mentally kicked myself for allowing something, that I should have known would end badly.

I had heard about men who took photographic trophies of their conquests; like serial killers who amputate the fingers of their victims, or cut off locks of hair, and rapists who collect their victim’s under-clothes.

My first instinct after leaving Christian’s studio, was to drive to Marco’s house and demand the return or immediate destruction of the photographs. Of course he’d deny that they existed. Then he’d want to know how I knew about them. And if he didn’t immediately add up the clues, he would in time come to the right answer. Then at the very least, Christian’s hopes of making a fortune would be dashed; and at worst, his fear of being a brutal homicide victim, ground into mince and turned into pies might come true.

Becoming an incendiary was unrealistic, merely because of the chances of complete success. And it would be nearly impossible not to be noticed fleeing from a burning building in the middle of the day, let alone not being spotted by the multitude of CCTV cameras that daily monitor our innocent activities.
An unrealistic list of other crimes that I could commit drifted past my vision; burglary, murder, kidnap and torture. My mind ranted feverishly, producing one impossible scenario after another.

By the time I pulled off the road and switched off the engine, I was mentally exhausted, depressed and in need of a large gin and tonic, and a comfort hug from the husband I had betrayed. He wasn’t home, so I hugged the bottle of gin and fretted while I chopped the vegetables.