The visions came to me in dreams at first. Amorphous ideas flickered through my mind like firelight in a forest while I slept. The flames slowly increased until the tinder of my cognitive undergrowth caught light and the heat consumed my waking thoughts as easily as a eucalypt forest in summer.
What consumed me? What was the substance of this metaphorical fire? I dreamed of love and it burned me very badly.
At the risk of sounding like a letter to an advice column mine was a cold marriage, devoid of all but the most perfunctory affection. It took sleep, and a relaxation of my conscious mind to kindle the warmth lacking in my waking relationship. Fantasy was a source of consolation until a stray ember ignited the fabric of my reality.
Society idealises the lover and despises the philanderer, the cheater. He is an arrogant, selfish cad. She is a deceitful home wrecker. Ashley Madison is the poster child of the sex fiend whose secret trysts are revealed in all their degraded perversion.
Who would stand as an apologist for the transgressor? When my wife was so obviously wounded, her emotional scars so indelible who would defend the man who had injured her? Shunned by friends and family I retreated into a dark corner of alcohol and regret. No water under this smouldering bridge, just a torrent of bitter.
We cannot alter the past so I offer this recollection as a warning to those contemplating infidelity. While your thoughts may be occupied by the dream of a warm embrace, spare a moment to contemplate the consequences of your actions on your first love.