What made it worse was that I refused to treat it as anything out of the ordinary. When there was a community event, Jane joined in. If a neighbor invited me for dinner, she came with me.
The chic but firm president of the homeowners’ association put it delicately to me over tea one day, “Is it wise?” An elderly accountant, another association stalwart, told me, “Some of our neighbors are a little upset.” The advertising executive took a different tack, “Do you think it is a good thing for her?”
My response was simple: Given our busy routines, this living arrangement was the only one that made sense. Besides, I wanted her to stay with me.
My office colleagues took a cynical view. They had seen me with other girlfriends before, and they refused to treat this as anything more than a passing affair.
They felt duly vindicated when, eighteen months later, Jane had to return to the US. Her visa had expired, and the deadline was approaching to submit her final report on the project that had brought her to India.
What my co-workers couldn’t have predicted was that within six months I would resign from the job I loved, abandon the editorship of a cherished literary magazine, give up the house that had given me so much joy, and immigrate to the US to move in with the person I would not be without.
The association president's suspicion that it was an unwise liaison was fully and finally validated.