A letter to… my forbidden love

To this day, I wish you had never offered me the job when you interviewed me.

I started in my new post and fitted in quite well with the team straight away. I was welcomed wholeheartedly and we all worked hard. There were numerous team lunches, where there was laughter and genuine friendships were formed.

However, you and I were also forming a much closer friendship. Your humour was sharp, with a real edge, and our exchanges of mild and gentle insults were hiding a much deeper state of emotional closeness.

It wasn’t long before we started having “meetings” for no reason, just to discuss random things, from people’s relationship problems to films, worldwide conflicts and politics. We also started to go out for lunch on our own. Although colleagues started wondering a little, we were able to hide the extent of our true feelings from them.

Eventually, our feelings became much stronger and dangerously intense. Although nothing had happened physically, in some ways everything happened: we knew this was wrong because we were married. We both had families. The fact that you were from a traditional Muslim family presented another awkward aspect to this already complex scenario.

Then, one day, you dropped a bombshell: you were pregnant. I could see that you were upset and it wasn’t planned. You became very ill and had to take long periods of leave from work.

However, we still kept in touch with phone calls and messaging. But now the contact was of a more clandestine nature and we both knew that the consequences could be much more severe.

After what seemed like an eternity, you and your husband welcomed a daughter into the world. You sent pictures of her, of yourself, and your extended family, showing your jubilation on this happy occasion. But I could see in your face that you were missing me, as I was you.

A few weeks later, I was about to post your present when, to my surprise, my wife suggested we deliver it personally. I tried to object and simultaneously show indifference, but she wouldn’t take heed. I had no choice but to comply.

That day, we met each other’s partner for the very first time. It was also the last time we would have any contact.

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