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A letter from him, in the mail today. I didn't recognise the writing.

"I knew you were in Seattle, and I got your address from Dodie. I'll be coming through on the 15th, I've got some business to do. Would you like to meet for a drink or dinner? Call me, on..."

It's been a long, long time -- years

Does the flame still burn?

One of those brief, intense affairs. One that stopped but was never really over. Both of us, between lovers, hurt, both going from one place to another, bodies at rest, for a short while, in the same place.

We were introduced by a mutual friend, drawn to each other, No preamble, no courting, because there was just no time to waste. We dived headlong into passion, and wallowed in it.

It was wonderful.

We both knew it was strictly temporary, a moment of madness, filling a hole in our lives.

We did everything. Then we did it again. Lived out fantasies. Devoured each other. Cast off our pains, our baggage our inhibitions.

Does the flame still burn?

And then, we moved on. Promised to keep in touch, knowing that we wouldn't because it was just too extreme. If it had continued, it would have consumed us, and if it had fallen to pieces, it would have destroyed us. So it just had to ... stop.

And the promise we did keep. "I'll never forget you, or this time."

He went his way, I mine. I heard about him from time to time, from Dodie. I married, he married. Kids, lives, happiness happened.

Memories to cherish and relive occasionally, when things got too humdrum. Remembering a time when I wasn't sensible, but wild, and free.

And then, this morning, the letter. I picked up the phone, called the number.

"Hello, Michael speaking." Brisk, businesslike.

I told him who it was, and his voice came to life. We talked. We laughed. On and on we talked, and I realised that in an hour, we hadn't mentioned his wife, my husband.

I noticed that my breathing was shallow, my heartbeat fast and ... I was aroused ... very much so.

In my minds eye, I could see us, him and me, our bodies entwined, lost in each other again. It would be so easy. Inevitable.

And so, I told him I couldn't meet him. "It's not that I don't want to, it's that I daren't."

He replied, "I understand. I love you Claire, Goodbye."

Does the flame still burn? Oh yes. Much too brightly for me to get close.

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