Ralf watches from the steps of the clubhouse as Sylvia squats over the ball like a sumo wrestler. She has new clubs, but is wholly unsuited to the treacherous demands of the prestigious Lesser Frampton Links. But then, where else was she supposed to play? She narrows her eyes in nervous concentration before drawing the club slowly back in a high, unnatural arc. It is the backswing of a latecomer.
The downswing, when it finally arrives, is a morass of uncoordinated limbs; like a giraffe falling out of a tree, thinks Ralf, but he savours every moment and as club barely meets ball he recalls the moment she intervened in his life, just two weeks after his runners-up finish at The Open. As the ball slices off the face towards the heavy rough, he recalls the zeal with which she pursued him and how blind he’d been to her intentions, and as the ball disappears into the thick grass, he wonders of children and trophies and walks on the beach had he just said no to her once in those first six months.
Truly, watching his wife disappear up the first fairway was his favourite time of the week.