Next to Man, among primates Chimpanzees have the general disposition to jealousy. I do not know if jealousy is more a gender specific trait and seen in women than in men, but seems likely so. Men do envy, but some say the extreme feelings are found more in women. And this is a short story of what actually transpired amongst three young people- a man, woman-friend and wife.
Romance, subtle and subsumed is part of academic curriculum. Though in some cases they go overboard and are publicly passionate. And are often displayed in the corridors of the alma mater, to eventually be enshrined in the scrolls as la affaire Romeo & Juliet! Sometimes the philandering consumes the platonic liaison.
It began as a trivial past time and fun for the group. By some odd way the two were declared in love and serious at that, though in reality that was not so. Recess and bunking of classes were in a group and the rest of them ensured to nudge and playfully prod the two as couples in romance. There was eventually a theatre of a wedding towards the end of the college term and was, let me put it, “solemnised”, by another affable chap.The fun and fan fare took place in the college canteen- wedding as if in a cathedral!
She was gregarious, fun loving, exuberant, lively young woman with abundance of laughter and a great repository of good conditioning.
The hero in the dramatics was a frequent and honoured visitor to her home and was considered as one in the family by her parents. They were such good souls that, the small group of her friends all had free access into the house. This gave opportunity for some outings together, with friends and even late in the evenings, of course with her parental approbation. A late evening at an annual fair of flowers was a catharsis of sorts. A fascination to be at arm’s length was discernible. He began to notice somewhere that she was not averse to the much made about peculiar relationship going critical (a term used in nuclear science when atomic reactors go functional, splicing atoms).Which should mean here that she began to like him and can be serious too about. There was love in the air! And it was subtle and quite.
I’m certain that only the duo would know that, without thinking that the other felt alike. He would be keen and willing to acknowledge and reciprocate her fondness. But the will to take a plunge was found wanting in both. Perhaps they were expectant that the other would show the courage. And most of all there was still a way to go to be flying on their own. Reasons are obvious of a generation that was marooned in conventions and fear of the social controls.
Life moved on and she was married away.
However their affableness and friendly relationship continued. She was gracious to be present as a good old mate at his wedding which took place years later. And she stayed through with her little son and her genteel husband.
As destiny and chance would have it for a while, she moved into an apartment- stone throw from the house where he was with his young wife. It was a remarkable coincidence.
There were a few visits she made to his house, with her toddler son and sometimes together with her husband. It was during those visits and casual meetings on their evening strolls that he began to notice a decided irritation she displayed to his wife. It seemed more like the nagging nudges young kids throw on another. It was inadvertent, he presumed first. And once after a dinner at her house, he understood well and clear that she was fond of taking digs at his wife. Gathering little instances together it was apparently displeasure, annoyance and shreds of jealousy for a still born affair of long ago. It was plain “woman” in the act, nothing more nothing less! And only women can be tongue in cheek and throw subtle digs to make the supposed adversary uncomfortable.
As pedigree and conditioning would have its bearings, her conduct, attitude, and the envy which she may have borne in mind, slowly ebbed to metamorphose into dignified and loving friendship with C.
I once asked C, much later in life, if she ever noticed a petty irritation and annoyance in her during those early days after our wedding when we were neighbours. She nodded in the affirmative. And was also intelligent enough to realise that it was the ghost of a long ago relationship that never was, but could have been.