Only in moments of high crisis would Rachael and Keith dump their habitual animosities, resentments and mistrust and pull together for the safety of the shore.
Then Rachael would gently shoo away Keith’s fears and chronic uncertainties and put him back on track. Or Keith would patiently disentangle the skeins of Rachael’s tempestuous relationships and guide her back to a well grounded generosity of spirit.
Of course, once calm prevailed, they would let it all go to Hell again.
Keith finally intuited this pattern when, after being cold shouldered for a month, he cast his mind back to the fleeting moments of warmth between them and realised these only occurred when something awful was happening to one or other.
He thought immediately of Simon.
Simon, Rachael’s ageing cat, occupied a favoured status in their apartment and was free to spread hair and cat litter without restraint. Whereas Keith has only to leave a sock dangling outside the laundry basket to be phoned at work and lengthily castigated.
He decided to create a cathartic crisis and in the ensuing moments of rapprochement show Rachael just what they got up to. It could be the start of a breakthrough.
Keith went home early to put Simon in a mail sack and hide him in the cellar. He thought two days of cat absence would create the frantic emotional climate required for a passionate declaration of the need for change.
He would soothe her. He would heal her. Then he would teach her. They would live happily ever after.
Rachael arrive home early with a migraine only to find Keith, hands torn and bloody, failing to stuff Simon in the sack.
She called the police. And then she called her lawyer. This time she remained cool in a crisis.