What I have always hidden from my children troubles me in these, my last hours. I have long since been certain that what I have told them about their mother and the way in which she left our lives is the only truth that they perceive, and that they have no reason to doubt me. Even so, I am suddenly moved to question my decision.
It was the long hot summer of 1976 when I lost her, when our Lottie was three and her brother Peter was only eighteen months old. Her work often kept her on campus long after I had left. The real beauty of my life as a mathematics fellow is that I have always been able to work anywhere, and so I could easily be present in our children’s lives where her requirement for laboratories made a very different impact on her time at home. I still remember the first night that she returned home, somewhat in a daze, her sentences filled with mentions of someone called Alec.
It took two gin and tonics and the dinner I had kept warm for her before I was able to decode that Alec was a new colleague.