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Shadows of Life
By Corbeau's Alcove


She walks in the shadow of her boss. She knows his affection for her is real, yet his method of expressing it often fails to impress. At heart, she is a passionate woman. At work, she is oft labeled driven, or fastidious. When she gets a case that strikes her very soul does she become known as volatile, a loose cannon.

Life throws up some impractical notions and we either try to plough on without noticing, or stop when it looks like the path holds too much risk. Normality is another notion to which others set out for you. Perhaps the love of another woman warms you, makes you feel like you have set out on a path of overall happiness. Same sex relations carry a stigma. And when you're trying your hardest to look normal so your other ills aren't broadcast in your actions and reactions, its another potentially shunning opportunity you're not willing to take on.

Which is why, in the moment of decision, she chose to create a relationship with the man I've known as my dear friend for sometime. The looks, smirks and other small gestures make her feel like life has meaning. The dynamics are still frowned upon, but because people had always assumed a previous connection, to one day announce it is indeed a reality will not be met with the double takes or slow acceptance.

There is a fine line. Marked out by proper ways, by what society deems appropriate. How does one cross the line without knowing it is there and only finding it when it's too late?

She came to me, full of sorrow and regret. It was her only way to drop the burden of guilt, that someday she would let me down. It was easier to go to him because he had no expectations of what would transpire in the hours after she left me. Left me to weep and wonder if I could bare the daily falseness of my smile. He would know I knew, Sara would tell him she confided in me. Of course, she would never tell him the decision was reached because as good as it was with me and my daughter, emotional connection wasn't something she felt she could play out for the long term. And that's what I was in for. The long term.

Knowing that if Jim had not been shot, Gil would not take the risk at work or in his heart does not make me angry. He's entitled to care for Sara. I can no longer lay claim to her affections. There are days when the bitterness of her decision makes me regret the way I treat Sara at work, but I never apologise. I cannot do so without alerting Sara to the fact that my heart still wants to be with her.

She haunts me. The shadow of her laugh and loving caress echo throughout my home, like a fierce wind barreling through the halls. When she forgets herself and talks of a day when we were together, she quickly retreats from my company, the memory only half completed by her hastiness. Her avoidance of me is as thorough as her work, until there is a time when she has to discuss a case with me. Even then the shortness of her speech makes me believe she is counting out the word limit.

She has become a stranger to me. I no longer get to hear what she is really thinking, and her mannerisms once detailed in my mind, are slowly slipping from my grasp like the words to a song I've not heard in years.

Even when she realised her relationship with Gil had not gone the way she foresaw, she did not return to me. She tried to stay with him, even though the distance of years past had resurfaced. Gil was at a loss to understand and I envied his ability to put it aside. What he did at home was his private domain. They eventually, seven months after it began, came to an end. There was no fanfare, just a gentle embrace and the stoicism you'd expect of them both.

She looked to me and she knew. She knew I had witness the end of what had signaled the very end of our own relationship. I didn't gloat. I simply turned and headed inside. There was nothing gleeful about it.

The End

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