The young man peers at me through his Perspex mask. ‘May I ask,’ he ventures, ‘what is your relation to . . .’
‘We were . . .’ The word ‘married’ refuses to be spoken, not least because, all these years later, it seems so improbable. On the other hand, nor can I say we are merely friends.
I am led into a small tent which has been erected in the garden of an Oxford care home. It is too cold for sitting out, but we are in the high days of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, my former wife, Professor Katherine Duncan-Jones, one of the most distinguished English scholars of her generation, is being trundled through a French window into the freezing tent.
She has been dressed in a straw hat covered with flowers. Her hair, poking from beneath, is wiry and grey. The hat lacks any dignity.
I think back to the start of our romance. Were those two naked bodies, entwined in one another’s love half a century ago, truly the same as the two bodies sitting opposite one another in this…