They had been friends since 2nd Form high school, when they took elective art with Mr Clegg in the Tech Drawing block behind the weather sheds. Both Sue-Ellen and Nance had indulged in relationships occasionally and, indeed, had married. But few things are permanent, few things save Neil’s singleness. Neil had never indulged. He did not know how to, or why.
They had always met regularly, rarely letting it lapse more than two or three weeks. However, once they turned forty a change came over their relationship. An unstated need hovered above them, a need for family. Without being so gauche as to verbalise this, they started meeting regularly. Every Wednesday they packed a thermos and a salad roll, gathered their artist’s tools and repaired to a quiet part of the harbour.
As they sketched the numbness eased. Trust grew and they each let the other in. Just a little.