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Set in London, in the noughties, sometime after the smoking ban, and before the great 21st century recession... James has always believed in happy ever after, and he plans to get there one day. He is doing okay. At the age of thirty-three, he has a top job, dream house, two healthy children, and a wife who always stands by him. These things, James can rely on, until one day, when everything changes, and he realises that he has spent so long looking towards the future, that he has neglected the present. Feeling unloved, his wife, Pamela, has left him, leaving nothing but a brief note. She has taken their two children. How far will James go to save his marriage? What can Pamela do to stop the past haunting her life? Will it be enough?
James looked at his watch again. It was 11 pm. He had been eager to get home after work, but Tim had practically begged him to go for a drink. He had been confiding in James a great deal recently, about his marital problems, as if he were crying for help. James felt obliged to listen to him, and in a way it helped him to feel that someone else was suffering in the same way as him, but he never mentioned the problems he was having with Pamela. He didn’t know if it was pride or denial that stopped him, but he kept it all to himself. He felt a bit selfish now. Surely it would have been more supportive of him to tell Tim how his marriage was suffering too? Then he might feel a bit better, knowing he wasn’t alone. But somehow, James couldn’t bring himself to talk about it.
‘You know,’ Tim slurred his words as he spoke, and his eyes still did not appear able to focus. ‘I really mean it -- you’re so lucky to have a wife who understands you... you don’t know how lucky you are. Never let her go, James. Don’t lose her. She’s rare, like a diamond.’
He looked at his hands to avoid Tim’s eyes, and realised that he had been twisting his wedding ring around as he’d been listening to him. A memory nudged his brain; a reminder of something he’d once heard on a TV talk show: ‘If someone is playing with their wedding ring, it’s a sign that things are not going well in their marriage.’ Where do they come up with such bullshit? he thought, letting go of his wedding ring, feeling annoyed.
‘I’ll speak to Reg tomorrow, and I’ll get time off. I’ll get her back, you’ll see,’ said Tim.
James shook his head, feeling uncomfortable. This whole conversation was too weird. It was as if Tim was some sort of messenger about the state of his own marriage -- a harbinger of doom. ‘I’d better be going,’ he said, hoping that Pamela would be in bed when he got home. He could not bear another argument tonight.