It wasn’t till we had been in a serious relationship for several months that I discovered my boyfriend of the time, had an unrequited love.
He had seen her when he was an impressionable 15 year old. He had glimpsed her photo in a magazine and admired her lines, never dreaming he would one day be in a long-term relationship with her. She was exotic, the first to have arrived in New Zealand, somehow managing to exude a feeling of class with a willingness, almost an enthusiasm to be down to earth and muck in with the rest. Although she lived in Wellington, she came to stay with the family next door and whenever he saw her, he would stop and try to gaze subtly at her shapely body, and her enthusiasm to help on the land. She was way, way out of his league.
As he grew older, although he met others, some exotic, some more down to earth, he never forgot that first love. Even once married and with his own child he spoke with nostalgia, to any willing to listen, of how he had met her, she had passed through his life and how he regretted not seeing her again.
In 2000 came that call out of the blue. Her life, her world as she knew it was finished. She had lived for twenty-four years in Wellington, relocated to Nelson, still with her family but was now at a loose end. Was he interested in seeing her again, could she possibly renew her friendship perhaps even stay with him? He was growing older, but this was no midlife crisis. Discussions, re-organisation of the family spaces, negotiations of the costs, and the decision was made. The ‘other woman’ moved in with us.
She has been quietly living here with us for twenty years and his passion shows no sign of abating. While we age, she seems to somehow keep her looks. They choose to spend their weekends together. She is still strong and fit and takes great joy in helping my husband gather firewood. She loves the bumpy tracks, the mud, the climb up the hills, somehow the muckier it is, the happier she is.
I have got used to her being around, we each know our place; I am still sharing the house and she my husband’s 1972 Range Rover is out in the garage.
• Alexander and Jo Morgan, New Zealand’s First Range Rover Owners.