It is a balmy late afternoon, the light is soft and golden, and when the doors open, I see her without seeing. She is wearing something off-white, floaty and elegant, a pretty blond, ten years younger than me: My replacement.
I shrink inwardly, feeling frumpy, old, and defeated.
The situation has an air of absurdity. We are standing outside the building where we used to live as a family, the children are playing with T, and I am thanking the woman he now lives with for agreeing to meet me.
She does not even seem stupid or arrogant, and replies something reasonable along the lines of I understand, it is legitimate. We chit-chat pleasantly for a minute or two before I make my excuses as I have left dinner cooking upstairs.
I keep smiling as I say good-bye to my daughter who is laughing on her dad’s shoulders, get back into the lift, into the flat, automatically check on dinner, and try to reassure my son, before I finally sink down to the floor and howl.