Martin, Maggie, and Me


I find now that I can more or less acquit myself on any charge of having desired Martin carnally. (My looks by then had in any case declined to the point where only women would go to bed with me.) What eventuated instead was the most heterosexual relationship that one young man could conceivably have with another. As the days became weeks, and the months became seasons, and as we fell happily into the habit of lunching and dining and party-going à deux, there began an inexhaustible conversation, about womanhood in all its forms and varieties and permutations, that saw us through several episodes of sexual drought as well as through some periods of embarrassment of riches. I would love to be able to give the impression that it was a relationship between equals but, if represented in cartoon form, the true picture would be closer to one of those great white sharks that evolution has fitted out with an accompanying but rather smaller fish. I would turn up at parties with Martin, to be sure, but with a somewhat resigned attitude. At one soirée in Holland Park, he was introduced to a young woman with a result that was as close as made no difference to witnessing a lightning strike or a thunderbolt. His then girlfriend was present at the party, as I think was the other young lady’s husband, but what then happened in the adjoining room was unstoppable and seemed somehow fore-ordained. We both knew that the subsequent pregnancy was almost certainly also a consequent one, but so gentlemanly was the husband in the case that it was not until two decades later that Martin received the letter about his missing daughter, the lovely Delilah Seale, his “bonding” with whom—there doesn’t seem to be another word for it—is one of the most affecting things I have ever chanced to see.

more from Christopher Hitchens at Vanity Fair here.