It was a strange relationship, he knew. She had a husband and three children and he was the strange, all-knowing next-door neighbor. And, he knew, nobody knew the way he felt for her, the way he burned for her. Her husband certainly had no clue, the bumbling man. Wilson had no idea what she saw in that man, but she seemed happy.
So he kept the status quo, dispensing advice as needed from behind his fence. Really, he knew, he was shooting himself in the foot: the advice he gave kept the couple together… helping each to see where the other was coming from… facilitating their reconciliation. Worst of all, he was able to see into their living room, the site of many make-up kisses. Among other things.
In fact, he believed he had witnessed their youngest son's conception. They'd already had the older two when they'd moved in, both babies, about a year apart. Her husband had once confessed to him that he hadn't been sure he'd wanted to be a father at all and then he'd managed to get his wife pregnant twice in little more than a year.
Anyway, when the children were a little older, they were going to spend a few days with Tim's mother, the little boys being her only grandchildren at the time. She and Tim were excited, she'd confessed: this was going to be the first time the children were going to be away for more than a few hours.
Later, he was watching the stars when he'd caught a glimpse of movement within her house. There they were, making love on the couch. They hadn't even drawn their blinds!
The next month, while watching her little boys play on the swing set Tim had built for them, she'd confided in him that she was afraid she was pregnant again. Tim was, of course, on the road, selling tools and doing God knew what. He didn't deserve her.
"I'm not sure I can handle another child," she'd told him, "He's hardly ever home."
"But…?" he'd asked, sensing there was more.
"But, at the same time, I'm excited. Maybe it'll be a girl this time. I'd love to have a little girl. I mean, I love my boys, but a sweet little girl…"
When she'd told her husband about the baby, he'd strutted around for a month. "Oh," he'd told Wilson, "Just wait until she's showing… you should have seen me with the other two: I was practically bursting out of my skin with pride, even though Randy was a big surprise."
"So you're happy about this baby?"
"Of course I am. The woman I love is carrying my child. Why wouldn't I be happy?"
"Oh, I just got the feeling it wasn't planned."
"Well, to be honest, it wasn't. The last pregnancy was really hard on her, you know. Real difficult. She couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. Then he was early and we almost lost him. I didn't think she'd ever want another baby after that… but she's so excited. She wants a girl this time, you know."
"What about you? Do you want a boy or a girl?"
"I just want this pregnancy to go well for her. I want her to be happy. If a girl will make her happy, then I hope it's a girl." He was silent for a few beats, then looked up with a grin and confessed, "Another boy wouldn't be bad, though."
In the end, he couldn't even do that for her: in March, she brought another boy home from the hospital. She talked of instant mother's love, but he was able to sense her disappointment. He gave her some ancient bit of wisdom that didn't truly apply and she went inside, beaming at her husband and children, introducing the newborn infant to his big brothers.
Present day, they were cuddled together on their couch. He was goofing off and she was laughing at his antics, looking more gorgeous now, twenty years later, than when they'd moved in, young parents, still practically newlyweds, still in their twenties. Now, they were older, but no less in love. And that was why he helped keep the marriage together and strong. She was deeply in love with the man she'd married and he wouldn't add to anything that would hurt her.
So he kept to his fence, kept his strange relationship with her and her husband, in love with her from afar, all while playing an active role in the upkeep of her marriage. A strange relationship, indeed.