Brian is handsome under moonlight: black shirt, grey jacket and peppered hair. My husband and Brian’s wife have stepped away from the table on a patio where we are dining. The jazz band is taking a break. Fragrant thyme pokes up between the flagstones under our feet; waiters top up our champagne. I love Brian, I always have, we’ve shared so much of the past. Fifteen years ago, he and I were both alone, he recently widowed and I newly divorced. Friends told me to be careful. I didn’t understand. He was my sister’s husband. Hers. Not mine. Yet still, a question I’d wanted to ask so many times over the years hung between us like a tangled web. I blurt it out. “Do you think you and I could have been a couple?” My late sister’s husband stares at me, his magnetic green eyes penetrating mine. He says nothing and, like leaking balloons, my words dissolve into the thyme. I’m none the wiser.
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