Dear Anne,

How well do you know your husband? Your husband, your beloved Ben? I know him well. Better than most in fact, certainly better than you. My name is Mel and I've been sleeping with your husband for the best part of ten years now. I say sleeping with, I should probably clarify. 'Sleeping with' makes it sound so superficial and it has been anything but. If he wasn't your husband we would have been married years ago. But he is and he'd never leave you and it's taken me all this time to realise it.

I never meant for it to happen, neither of us meant to fall in love. We met at the opera. You were nowhere to be seen of course, he's told me all about your hatred of all things artistic. While he's at home in art galleries, the theatre and the library you're much happier chain smoking in front of Eastenders. It's no wonder really that he would decide to carry on with a woman far more cultured than you could ever be. If you didn't have his son, the son I couldn't have then he would have left you years ago. You have no idea how much I hate you. I hate you and I've never even met you, never even set eyes upon you, he doesn't carry a photo of you. Why would he? He has photos of me you know, he says he keeps them in the car, you'd never look seeing as you can't be bothered to leave the house most of the time.

How is it fair that I should be kept from the man I love and the man who loves me just because you have his child? It's not, is it? For years I have let you share him with me but I'm not having it anymore. Your kid is old enough to deal with his father not being there all the time and you hardly notice him anyway so it's not like you'll miss him. This letter is what's best for all of us. I get the man I love, he gets the woman he loves and you can move on with your life and find yourself someone who actually cares for you.

I'm sorry that it came to this.

Mel

Ann,

I have written the first line to this letter a hundred times or something and nothing seems adequate. So. I've been having an affair with Ben. I never meant to hurt you and at the start I didn't even know about you. We first met three years ago, at a nightclub, you weren't there, he said you hate partying, so you don't have to worry about him sneaking off with some bird he just met right under your nose. For three years I thought we had it made, he was such a great guy and we had so much in common! I've never met anyone like him. It was all so perfect. Worked away a lot though. Oh why didn't I see it coming? I have to travel a lot for my work? Oldest line in the book? I guess I knew...or didn't want to see what was right in front of me. But he made me feel real special you know? Well...of course you do you married him didn't you? I'm so sorry. If I'd known he was married I never would have glanced at him. We're over now, we were over the minute he told me he had a wife. I'm not writing this to collapse your marriage. I'm writing this because you need to know what he's like.

Sorry

Valerie

Hello Ann,

My name is Erica, I'm a friend of Ben's. I'm writing to you because I know things you need to know, I'm writing to you because it's the right thing to do. I said I'm a friend of Ben's well that's not strictly true. Ben and I are very close, we've been seeing each other for a few months now. I've always known about you, he's been very open and honest about it from the start. The moral quandary was brief, I decided that as he was only with you for the sake of his daughters, the love between you had been dead for years before I met you so I was happy to carry on with him and let you have him whenever he needed to rush home to help you with the girls. Besides he obviously considered himself single, otherwise what would he be doing with me? I didn't know how he'd hide me from you, after all he wants to keep the home happy for the girls' sake but your utter contempt for his favourite football team helped. Maybe if you tried to show an interest you'd understand that football teams don't often play more than once a week. But then if you'd showed an interest maybe you'd still be happily married.

You are probably wondering if I'm happy to carry on as his mistress then why am I writing to you? Well partially because my conscience is nagging at me that regardless of how loveless your marriage is he's still married and I'm still his mistress. I don't want to be his mistress anymore. I want to be acknowledged as the woman in his life. I want to meet the girls and be their stepmother. I'm writing to you so you can think about it before you respond. I don't know you, I don't know how you'd react to the news. So I'm sending you this, Ben doesn't know, and hopefully we can work something out from this.

Ben's a wonderful man. You should appreciate the years you've had with him. But ask yourself is it fair to keep him from finding love again, scrap that, he's already found love. Is it fair to keep his new love from flourishing? I don't think so. I imagine this will be a lot to take in, I imagine I'm about to disrupt your routine. But I also think it's important that we're civil, it'll make the transition a lot easier. I intend to be a permanent part of Ben's life and I think you, his family should recognise that.

Yours

Erica.

Anne?

This is fucked up. This shit is FUCKED UP. Do you know how many times I sat down to write to you? Do you know how many fucking times I was on the verge of calling you. Oh he said I knew the rules. He was married but it was complicated. You'd both lost a child, you were unstable and if he left you then you'd off yourself or something. Fine, whatever, I thought I could deal, 'don't worry Nicky you can deal with this shit'. But we were together for so long. So fucking long. Six years and I played second fiddle to you. At least that's what I thought. I thought Ben was perfect. I thought he was everything I'd ever wanted. If I liked something he liked it, whenever I took an interest in he would encourage me, he was loving, attentive, EVERYTHING. Prick. I loved him. I loved him so fucking much. I believed every lie he ever told me and turns out he lied about A LOT! Everything in fact. All those times I bordered on blowing the whole thing, calling you, showing up on your doorstep to confront you. I must have played that fucking scene a thousand times in my head. All the time thinking we could pull through, he needed to let you go, to move on, to be with me all the time. I hated watching him go home to you. I thought he hated it too.

So one day I decide to write a letter, this letter. But before I wrote it I was going to see you. Just to look at you. But what did I find? You know what I fucking found. Nothing. The address he gave me? Bullshit. The phone number he had for you? More bullshit. You don't even fucking exist. All these years I've resented you, I've hated you and pitied you and you don't even fucking exist. There is no Anne. No lost child. Where does he go then? Oh you know what I don't even fucking care anymore. Probably to his other woman, maybe more than one. He's a tool. An utter fucking tool and all I can do is rant to someone who doesn't even fucking exist.