The betrayal

It was a conversation neither wanted to enter – like a door into a dark tunnel where there were dragons. They were both on their own. Not lonely. Not alone, just, in themselves, content. No wives, no lovers, no sons and daughters, just two old mates who met sometimes.  Whenever they met they both looked at the door to the tunnel with dragons recumbent but neither acknowledged it. Until today that is.

Do you ever think about Katie?

Yes. You?


You should have married her.

Why? You told me she was no good.

You shouldn’t have listen to me.

Why didn’t you like her? Why was she ‘no good’?

I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.

Bit late for that now. I wonder how she is?

She married a guy in the Navy.

How do you know that?

 I don’t know. I thought you knew. She lives in Perth.

Australia or Scotland?

Australia. Did you two ever make love?

What sort of a question is that?

Well you were so innocent. So many old fashioned hangups.  I bet you never did. I bet you were keeping yourselves. That’s what she told me, any way.

First of all, No! We never did. And secondly what makes you ask?

‘Cos we were mates and I just thought it’s something I could ask.

Well now that you’ve asked, the answer is still ‘No’. And I didn’t marry her so that’s all there is to it.

I should never have told you she was no good. You should have married her.

Well I didn’t. It’s all in the past.

You shouldn’t have listened to me.

Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t your fault. It just didn’t work out. You didn’t do anything wrong.

I did.

You didn’t. You didn’t make me. It was all my own doing. We just didn’t work out in the end.

That’s not what I meant.

There was a long silence as though the dragons were settling down to sleep and the doors of the tunnel were closing. A long silence. Neither were looking at each other. Just sitting. Thinking.

I did.

You did what?

I made love to her. That’s why I told you she was no good. It was ……..

You what!

Don’t interrupt me. I need to tell you. It was that time when we went down to Rye back beach and you had to go home for some reason. We were both feeling a bit….

I don’t want to hear. Don’t say anymore.

I have to tell you. It’s been fifty years and I have to tell you ….

Don’t tell me anything. We’ve been mates for fifty years. Don’t spoil that.

But I …

Shut up or I’ll go. I have to go now anyway. Look at the bloody time.

Look mate. I’m sorry.

You’re a bastard.

See you next week?

Yeah. I suppose.


17 thoughts on “The betrayal

  1. What can’t be changed must be endured. A quote by Robert Jordan but probably not originally his. think the thought is as old as time. A very thought provoking blog. Should we tell all? I thought about this for a while but no I don’t think so. I think it does more harm than good. Certainly this conversation between old mates is proof. Will be interesting if you get other comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s odd how the past influences the present. One can’t change the past so why look back in regret.

    Having said that, fact or fiction, the past is something that always colours the present.


  3. It’s perfectly possible to find out something from the distant past and it then causes profound changes in the present, to the point of relationships breaking up. An excellent dialogue, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. great piece Paol, sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie….I think that’s how it goes…..guilt made him tell, but strength of friendship gave him courage to spill the beans finally, even if it changed things, age gives wisdom, it’s how we chose to use it is another ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well crafted story and great use of dialogue and tension. And of course, your signature teaser about truth vs fiction (or even faction). It smacks of the confessee unburdening at the the expense of the confessor. Maybe in the next episode we discover the former has a terminal illness, and now, having relieved his soul, he leaves his old mate to suffer for another ten years. What price friendship?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reminds me a bit of this Cortázar story I read a few days ago, “The Idol of the Cyclades”. Not in style (God no! couldn’t be more different), but in subject matter: two guys and a girl (and an idol), and the two guys don’t want to approach the tunnel with the dragons and the idol will make them approach it in a very Cortázar-esque way … and I’m trying not to give the story away in case you ever read it. (Maybe you already know it?)

    But I enjoyed yours, and I still maintain, like the first day I read whichever first post I read of yours which was another short story, your style is similar to Bukowski’s (although he’s more crude, but in a dated way).


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