I’m not going to tell you this is a totally true story, because it isn’t! The characters are real, or at least they were, of course, I’ve changed their names, I don’t know why because both of them are now gone. I didn’t suspect, their friends didn’t suspect, their neighbours never suspected. To everyone who knew them, they were just a normal couple living their lives. In their old age, I would see him pottering around his garden when I visited, while she sat in her deckchair, enjoying the sun, but never taking her eyes off him.
How come I know about their secret? I can’t tell you, perhaps they had kept the secret so long, that in the end, they just had to tell someone. I knew that the village existed and also the town but not how they came to be together. Over the years that I knew them, I was always certain of one thing, that they were still after all that time together, in love. Neighbours and friends commented on it, how nice it was to see a couple growing old and still feeling as they did, especially in an age where people tended to marry for five minutes.
I had popped around for tea one evening when out of the blue, they started to tell me their story, little snippets of how and why it had happened, but never any real detail. And then one day, they were gone, and their secret was now my secret, I kept it as long as I could, but now it’s time to pass the secret along. I decided to fill in the details myself, bringing their lives forward into a new era, and write about their relationship, a story not primarily of incest but love. I’ve no idea if any of it happened like I imagined, in a way I hope it did, because one thing that I’m certain about, was that right to the very end, they felt no shame for what they had done. It may have been wrong in the eyes of the law and to everyone around them, but to the two of them, it was the most perfect thing in the world.
Tom parked the car down the side of the house before climbing out and retrieving his suitcase from the boot of the vehicle. Looking around him, he felt as though nothing had changed, he had driven through the town and into the village, all of it looking exactly as it did the day he left and he wondered if anyone had actually missed him whilst he had been away. He had graduated from university at twenty-one with a degree in engineering but had decided to take a year’s break and travel. That year had turned into two as he travelled and worked his way around most of Europe, not being bothered what jobs he did, content to earn enough to fund his travel and subsistence.
He had met up with a young woman called Gail on his travels and eventually a relationship had developed between them which had lasted for most of the time he had been away. It had only ended when he had returned to their rented flat one afternoon, to find her in bed with someone else. Moving out the same day, Tom had continued on his own until a month later when he had received a phone call from his mother. She had been distraught, his stepfather Brian worked in the construction industry and there had been an accident at work, and he had been killed. Tom had immediately booked a return flight, arriving in the early hours of the morning he had rented a car and had then driven for the last six hours to reach home.
Glancing at his watch, he noted it was just before ten o’clock, he’d made good time on his journey and the day was turning out to be half decent, the sun already high in the sky. It was warm outside, not as warm as when he climbed on the plane earlier, but still a comfortable temperature. Lifting the handle of his suitcase, he trundled it behind him as he made for the rear entrance and let himself in. Leaving his case in the utility area, he went through the kitchen and dining room, heading for the lounge when his mother intercepted him, rushing forward and throwing her arms around him and kissing his cheek.
‘Welcome home,’ she said. ‘Look at you, I’m sure you have grown.’
Tom had filled out while he had been away, most of the jobs he got had been manual work and his body was now toned and bronzed from being outside all the time. Jessica his mother looked just the same to him, albeit he now stood taller than she was. She made them both a drink before going through to the lounge where she told him about the accident. Brian had been helping erect some steelwork in high winds, it should never have happened, but somehow a large girder had come detached and had crashed into him, killing him instantly. She was crying now, Tom wrapping his arms around her as he cuddled her close to him until the tears finally stopped.