17th February 2012: A story left over my ‘Casebook’ series and which I finally got round to posting when I returned to writing and started putting together what would become ‘Butt Monkey’. ‘Mountain Climber’ is a lacklustre end to Sebastian Wallace’s stories and went largely unnoticed, with one of its few respondents calling it “disappointingly restrained”.

Dr Wallace’s Casebook

Case 6: Mountain Climber

Last summer, a guy came into my surgery asking if he could talk to me about something which was important to him but which wasn’t, as he put it, “necessarily medical”.

Normally I’m far too pushed for time to act as a counsellor, but he was my last appointment before lunch so I nodded and he sat down.

He was a big guy: tall and athletic, with a well-developed chest, broad shoulders and thick, muscular arms.  His hair was cut short and he had a day’s growth of stubble on his chin.  I glanced down at his record to check his name – Steven MacAlister – and saw that his appointment had written next to it, “Requested male doctor.”

I asked him what the problem was.

“Well,” he started.  “I don’t think I have a problem.  It’s just that, well, my wife asked me to come and see you.  The problem’s sort of hers… kind of…”

“Your wife has a problem?  Shouldn’t she come and see me herself?”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with her.  It’s just… well, this is difficult to explain…”

I smiled to try and put him at his ease.  “Tell me what your wife’s problem is.  We’ll start there.”

He took a deep breath, trying to figure out how he could best put what was clearly a complicated issue into words.  Eventually he said, “Okay.  It’s probably easiest to explain like this.  My hobby is mountaineering – well, it’s more than a hobby.  I’d do it full-time if I could afford to.”

He glanced up at me and I said, “Okay…”

He went on, “I go away a couple of times a year with a mate of mine.  We’ve climbed together pretty much everywhere from the Cairngorms to the Himalayas, usually for a two or three weeks at a stretch.  As much time as we can both get off work.  So we spend a lot of time together in some pretty remote places, relying on each other to stay alive, you know what I mean?”

I nodded.

“When you’re around someone for so long, you get pretty close to them.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a woman, you’re gonna get pretty… well – intimate together, aren’t you?”

I nodded.  “And your wife is jealous of that?”

“Yeah, kind of.  I mean, if I was climbing with a woman, I could sort of understand where Susan – that’s my wife – was coming from, but we’re talking about another guy.  I don’t see a problem with it, be she… well – she insisted I come to see you…”

“How long have you been climbing with your friend?”

He thought back and mentally worked out the timescale.  “It must be like twenty years or something by now.”

I glanced at his record and saw that he was, like me, in his early thirties.

“So you both started in your teens?”

“Yeah – he was a school friend.  Culley and I – sorry, his name’s Tim but I’ve always called him Culley and he’s always called me Macca – joined a school climbing club and we’ve stuck to it ever since.  I’ve never climbed with anyone else – I don’t want to have to get to know someone else’s strengths and weaknesses, you know?”

I nodded.  “That makes sense…”

He went on, “I mean, it’s inevitable two guys who are together for so long are gonna get pretty close.  We see a lot of each other…”

“But your wife surely knew about all this before you married?”

He nodded.  “Yeah.  But I don’t think she realised how intense things can get when you’re climbing with someone.  Not until I said something stupid a few weeks ago and put my foot right in it.”

“What did you say?”

That question stopped him in his tracks.  He looked like he was about to say something in reply and then thought better of it and hesitated.  Then, after seeming to consider and reject several possible responses, he ventured, “This is kind of crux of things.  This is where you tell me that she’s right to be threatening me with divorce…”

He waited for me to say something but I held back and gave him the space to explain himself.

After another pause he said, “Okay.  What if I said that my closeness with Culley is physical as well as emotional?”

“When you say `physical’, do you also mean `sexual’?”

He looked down guiltily and blushed.  He muttered, “Nothing too serious… just helping each other out when we’re both away from our wives for so long…”

I smiled reassuringly and said, “Well, that would seem pretty natural to me.”

He looked back up at me.  “Yeah?  That’s what I’ve been telling her…”

“So can I ask what exactly we’re talking about here?  Masturbation or a more developed homosexual –”

“It’s not a homosexual thing,” he cut in, angrily.  “I want to make that clear from the start.  Neither of us are gay – we’re both married and happy with that – and it’s not something we’d ever do if we weren’t stuck halfway up a mountain sharing a tent.”

“Okay,” I said calmly, making a mental note not to use the words `gay’ or `homosexual’ again.  “So how far have things gone between you?”

He considered my question, looking less agitated, and then explained, “I think all guys wank together on a climb.  I mean, you have to – there’s next to no privacy and it’s something every guy needs to do when his missus or girlfriend or whatever isn’t around.”

I nodded.  “Of course.”

“Culley and I have wanked off together on climbs since we were in our teens.  It was never a big deal – never spoken about at all, actually. I mean, once you’ve had to see each other taking a crap a couple of times, every thing else kind of pales into insignificance, you know what I mean?”

I smiled.

“Well, it must have been about ten years ago and we were in the Alps.  It was cold – I mean, really cold – and we’d zipped our sleeping bags together for warmth.  That’s also pretty standard, by the way,” he threw in defensively as if I might be considering mentioning the `h’ word again.

He went on, “I had a hard-on and started playing with it, thinking Culley had gone to sleep.  It turned out he hadn’t and so he started wanking his – that’s how things usually go with us.  It didn’t take me too long to come and afterwards I lay there listening to Culley as he continued.  He always took longer than me to have a wank but that night he seemed to be going on for ages.

“Eventually I must have said, `How long are you gonna be?’ or something.  I was desperate to get some sleep and couldn’t with him going at it next to me.

“He said, `Sorry, mate, but I’m gonna need a bit of help’.  Then he grabbed my hand and put it on his cock.”

“How did you feel about that?” I asked.

“To be honest, I wasn’t too bothered.  When you’re climbing with a guy, you get to see each other’s bodies from every angle as a matter of course, so touching him was only a small step beyond that.  And… well – it felt pretty similar to mine.  A bit thicker, maybe, but it seemed to enjoy the same things being done to it as mine does.”

“So you masturbated him?”

“Yeah.  I wanked him like I would myself and he enjoyed it.  I felt him coming in less than a minute.  Afterwards, he muttered, `I’ll do you tomorrow night, Macca.’  Then we went to sleep.”

“And did he reciprocate the following night?”

Steven nodded.  “Yeah.  It became a regular thing.  Another person’s hand is better than your own, you know what I mean?”

I smiled.

He went on, “We’d zip our bags together most nights and if one of us started wanking and the other wanted to join in, usually we’d swap hands over and wank each other.”

Before I could ask him another question, he cut in, “I don’t like talking about this kind of stuff, you know.  It’s private stuff between me and my mate… it feels kind of like I’m betraying his trust…”

“If you’re not comfortable about us continuing…”

“No, it needs to be said,” he interrupted.  “I need to tell you it all… it’s just I wanted you to understand that it’s not easy for me…”

I nodded.  “So far everything you’ve told me is perfectly normal.  Many men have high sex drives and need regular relief.  Without female company, it’s natural two straight guys would turn to each other.”

Steven nodded and then said, tentatively: “What if I told you that things went a bit further?”

“How much further?”

He paused and then went on, “Well… we were in northern Norway: fantastic scenery but absolutely freezing.  We were actually on the descent from the summit, but the weather had turned nasty and we’d been holed up in the tent for a couple of days.  We were perched on what was little more than a ledge and there was a blizzard howling around us.”

“You know, that’s not my idea of a relaxing hobby.”

He smiled and went on, “We were both pretty tense, I guess.  Rations were getting low and we didn’t know how long the blizzard was going hold for.

“One night it was especially cold and we clung onto each other in our joined sleeping bag.  We had a little whisky with us and we’d shared it and were trying to get some sleep despite the noise of the storm.

“I became aware that Culley was hard and my own cock stiffened too.  It’s weird that, in such a dangerous situation facing possible death, guys still think about sex…”

I smiled and nodded.

“We moved our cocks against each other through our thermals, our arms wrapped tightly around each other.  Our rhythm became faster and faster until we were humping each other.  Culley was panting into my face – his breath smelt of alcohol – and his cock was jabbing really quickly against mine.”

“Did it feel good?” I asked.

“Yeah, I was incredibly turned on,” he smiled.  “I don’t think either of us had wanked for half a week and we really needed a release.  I liked the feel of what we were doing – it was almost like being with Susan.”

I nodded.  “Were you thinking about your wife?”

“Of women generally, perhaps.  Of being with a woman, I mean.  I certainly wasn’t turned on by the fact that this was Culley I was with…”

I nodded.  “Okay.  So what happened next?”

“Culley pulled his cock out of his thermals and I expected that he’d want me to wank it.  He pushed my hand away, though, and said, `Turn over, mate.’  I knew what he wanted to do to me but I was so turned on that I went along with it.”

He looked at me, perhaps expecting me to be shocked or judgemental, but I remained impassive and gestured for him to continue.

“He yanked the back of my thermals down and climbed on top of me.  His chest was on top of my back and it was hard to breathe.  Culley’s a big bloke – well built – like me.

“He grabbed his cock and pressed it into my arse cleft.  The way he’d put it was really uncomfortable and I struggled to get into a position where he could enter me more easily.

“Eventually, he managed to get it inside me and he started sliding it in and out.  It was really painful at first but I soon got used to it…”

“He was making love to you?” I asked.  I used the term `making love’ without thinking about it: when talking about the sexual act with patients, most find it to be the least offensive term.

“No!” Steven snapped.  “There was no love in it.  We were… well – I dunno the right word for it.  I suppose he was wanking but using my arse instead of my hand to help him.”

“That seems a strange way to describe it.  He was penetrating you, doesn’t the term `making love’ apply?”

“If I’d been a woman, then yeah, maybe.  But we were both men so it doesn’t fit.”

I nodded.  “Okay, so he was `using’ your backside.  Did he enjoy it?”

Steven laughed.  “Jesus, yeah!  Of course he did.  He grabbed my chest and held onto me, grunting into the back of my head.  His cock started hammering in and out of me really quickly and I could actually hear his hips slapping against my cheeks over the noise of the wind.”

“How did you feel?”

He shrugged.  “Like I did when I first wanked him off, I guess.  Pleased I was helping him but not especially enjoying it.”

“Were you erect while he was doing it?”

He nodded.  “Yeah, I think so.  But not because of the sensation of what he was doing.  It was just… well – you have to understand that, even though we were two guys and what we were doing probably sounds pretty disgusting, it was still an incredibly intense situation. It was good to feel connected to someone else’s body, to have someone else’s arms around me.”

I smiled.  “It doesn’t sound at all disgusting, actually.”

“Good, because it wasn’t,” he said appreciatively.  “I mean, it’s not the way either of us would have chosen to have had sex, but right then it felt good for both of us.”

“But I don’t understand how you don’t see what you were doing as a gay act.”  He flinched at the word `gay’ but I went on, “We’ve both seen the cartoon drawings in public toilets of guys having sex: didn’t you think to yourself, `Jesus – I’m actually in a gay position here’?”

He thought for a moment and then replied, “I don’t relate what we were doing to that kind of stuff.  For us it was a necessity, not a choice. Culley used my arse because he was desperate for sex and it happens to be the only hole I have down there.  I let him because I knew how much he must need it.  I didn’t consider whether it was gay or not; I just let him do what he had to do.”

I nodded.  “Yeah, I suppose I can see where you’re coming from.  So what happened after Culley had climaxed?”

Steven threw me a small smile.  “I think you already know the answer to that.”

I smiled back.  “You `used’ his backside too?”

He nodded.  “I felt him come inside me.  It felt hot and sloppy – not too pleasant, really.  Then he pulled out and moved over to his own side of the sleeping bag, lay face down and yanked the back of his thermals down. Without saying anything, I pulled my cock out, wanked it to get it hard enough, and then got on top of him.”

“Were you turned on by what you were about to do to him?” I asked.

Steven shook his head.  “No.  I think if I hadn’t have waited so long without a release, I would have gone limp, to be honest.  But I was desperate to have sex – any sex – and his arse seemed like it might feel better than his hand, if the way he’d acted when he was on top of me was anything to go by.”

“Did you imagine it was your wife you were about to penetrate?”

Steven laughed hollowly.  “Look, I don’t want to go into details, but there was no way my imagination could have run to that.”

I must have looked a little puzzled, because he went on: “When you’re on a climb, personal hygiene can’t always be your number one priority.  Like I say, I don’t want to go into any details, but it was pretty clear from the feel and the smell that this was a guy’s arse I was sticking my cock into, not a woman’s pussy…”

“And that didn’t turn you off?”

“My cock was aching for some action.  I guess I just put anything unpleasant out of my mind.  After all, my own arse was probably not at its best at the end of a two week climb and Culley had managed to get his cock into it…”

“So you pushed yourself into him?”

He nodded.  “He found it painful at first, like I had, but he let me do the same to him as he had done to me.”

“And did you enjoy it?”

“Yeah.  It felt good to actually have a warm hole holding my cock after so long, you know what I mean?”

I nodded and he went on, “I grabbed him around the chest, like he had with me, and developed a fast rhythm on top of him.  I have to say the noise of my cock in his arse was pretty revolting – sort of like a slurping sound – but I was too horny to care.  I must have come in about a minute.”

Their sex sounded base and carnal and yet I was intrigued to learn more about it.  For some reason, I was fascinated by the idea of the two of them trapped on that mountain, having so much sexual tension build within them that they were compelled to bugger each other for relief.

I asked Steven, “Did you talk about what you’d done afterwards?”

He laughed, “No, of course not!  It was like we’d attended to a bodily function together, you know?  I mean, I think I remember wondering if I should make a joke about sloppy shits the next day, but then I decided that silence about what we’d done would be the best policy.”

I nodded.  “Obviously you managed to get down the mountain in one piece?”

“Yeah.  The next morning was a lot clearer and managed to get off the ledge.”

“And the following night?”

“I don’t remember if we did it again so soon – I don’t expect we did. But it became a kind of regular thing between us.  On every climb from then on, we’ve taken turns on each other as well as wanking together.”

“Did you find that your feelings towards Culley were changing?”

He shook his head.  “No, not at all.  Why should they?”

“You were experiencing something extremely intimate together…”

“I didn’t see it like that and I don’t think Culley did.  Life in a small tent gets pretty intimate for two blokes anyway.  You can’t help seeing – and smelling – each other’s bodies.  You get used to waking up with you partner’s morning hard-on right in front of your face while he’s pulling on his clothes, and you soon stop apologising when your own won’t behave itself.”

I smiled.  “I accept that.  But surely, between straight guys, the arse is a different matter?  I mean, even touching another man’s backside accidentally has uncomfortable connotations.”

“Well, it wasn’t like that between the two of us and I don’t think it is between most guys who’ve climbed together over a long period.  When a bloke gets himself into a tight spot you help him out of it by grabbing whatever’s at hand.  If that means yanking him up by his crotch or holding him by the arse cheeks until he steadies himself, that’s how it goes.  You can’t afford to be too precious about body space halfway up a cliff.”

I nodded.  “But at least in those situations you have the barrier of clothing between you…”

“Not always.  When you’ve spent a couple of hours on the end of a hitch, the friction burns around your crotch can be horrendous.  You get used to checking each other out for that kind of thing and rubbing cream onto each other – around each other’s balls and arse cracks, between each other’s the legs, whatever needs it…”

“That hadn’t really occurred to me,” I said, appreciating his frankness. “Once you guys had lost your inhibitions about each other’s bodies, any sexual needs would almost inevitably be expressed with one another.”

He nodded.  “That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell Susan but she won’t accept it.”

I asked him, “Do you think this is common among other climbers?  Is there a sort of unspoken agreement between male climbing partners that this is going to happen?”

He shook his head.  “I don’t think so.  Remember, Culley and I have been climbing together for most of our lives.  We have a strong friendship, there’s a lot of trust between us, and – I suppose – we have similar sex drives and habits.  I don’t think that would be true of most guys.

“I remember once,” he went on, “I think it was in the Pyrenees, we were on a climb and teamed up for a few days with a couple of lads from Scotland. Andy and Jed.  They were young guys – in their early twenties – but as strong as oxes.

“On one of the nights – an hour or so after we’d all turned in – Culley must have felt horny and asked me if I was still awake.  I was and so he asked if I’d roll over so he could get on top of me –”

“That’s how it always was?” I interjected.  “There were no preliminaries, no foreplay…?”


“You know, caressing each other, kissing, sucking –”

He looked disgusted.  “Hell, no!  I told you – we’ve never done any gay stuff…”

“Okay – but, let’s just get this straight.  One of you would just say, `I’m horny!’ and the other would turn around and pull the back of his underwear down?”

He shrugged.  “I suppose… I mean, if one of us was tired or whatever, we’d say `no’… but usually we’d help each other out.”

“Okay.  So he got on top of you…?”

“Yeah.  He did his thing, grunting like he always did, and came pretty quickly.  By then I’d grown hard myself so I had my turn on him…”

I could understand his earlier comparisons between their sex and bodily functions.  This was sex stripped of all emotion almost to the point of being animalistic.

“The next morning,” he went on, “Andy – one of the Scottish lads – mentioned what we’d done while the two of us were alone.  He’d been awake and heard us, and maybe he even sneaked a look at us, I don’t know.”

“What did he say?”

“He’d smiled and had said something like, `Were you guys doing what I thought you were doing last night?’

“To be honest, what we’d done had become so unremarkable for me that I couldn’t think what he meant at first.

“When I’d asked him what he was on about, he’d said, `About an hour after we’d gone to bed.  You guys sounded like you’d found a new way to keep warm!’

“I’d smiled, though I was a little taken aback that he would mention it to me, and made some comment about us both missing our wives.

“He’d nodded and said, `Well, I hope Jed isn’t expecting anything like that from me!’

“I’d told him how long we’d known each other and been climbing together. He’d shrugged and said it was no big deal, it was just he’d never heard of guys needing to do stuff like that on a climb.”

I nodded.  “So it can’t be too common, then?”

“I don’t think so.  And if it is, it’s not the kind of thing guys really want to talk about.”

Glancing at my clock and feeling surprised at how much of my lunch break this appointment had eaten up, I thought I ought to start wrapping things up.

But I was still intrigued to find out more about their sexual relationship which was seemingly irrelevant to both of them and yet which was, in the brief moments they expressed it with one another, deeply intense and satisfying for both of them.

I asked him: “I’m guessing that you see Culley quite often, even when you’re not on a climb…?”

Steven nodded.  “We go for a pint a couple of times a week… our kids are pretty friendly too…”

“Did you ever do anything sexual together when you were not on a climb?”

He shook his head.  “No, of course not.  Why would we?  When our wives are around, what would be the point?”

I nodded slowly, appreciating his reasoning.  “So you’ve never done anything sexual outside of the tent?”

“Well, that’s not quite true.  At the end of a climb, we usually put up for a night in a hostel to get cleaned up.  Sometimes it’s been so nice to relax, to have a bath and a few drinks, to lie on a sprung mattress, that we’ve ended up… well – doing stuff together.”

“Just masturbation or…” I struggled to find a way of describing penetration without using any potentially controversial terms.  I settled on: “the full works?”

He considered the question and replied, “I suppose it depends.  Sometimes, after a few weeks sleeping so closely together, it’s too weird to sleep in separate beds in a hostel, so we share.  Usually we’ll wank each other off before we sleep like we would in the tent.

“But sometimes… well – I remember this time in Switzerland.  We’d come down from a real shit of a climb and were cleaning up in a twin room in a B&B.  We never close the bathroom door when we’re in a room together – what’s the point after so long of being around each other? – and I walked in on Culley lying in the bath with a hard-on.

“I think we sort of smiled at each other and then I walked over to the loo to take a piss.  While I was pissing, Culley stood up in the bath and dried himself.  Then he walked over to me and hitched the back of my briefs down. He bent me over the toilet – I think piss was still dribbling out of my cock – and eased his cock into my arse.

“I stopped pissing and felt my own cock harden like it always does when he’s doing that to me.  I stared at the top of the toilet cistern, enjoying the thought of him finishing and being able to take my turn at doing the same thing to him.

“Just then, I turned to look in the large mirror which was on the wall to one side of us.  I could us both through it: me bending over the toilet with hard-on; Culley behind me gripping my hips and with his cock sliding in and out of my arse.

“As stupid as it sounds, for the first time it struck me that my arse was being fucked by another man.”

I raised my eyebrows and Steven chuckled: “Yeah, I know it sounds weird. But until then, I’d just seen it as a form of relief; a sort of bodily function that we doing together.”

“How did you feel when that dawned on you?” I asked.

“I wasn’t horrified, or anything.  It didn’t make me want to stop.  I just thought, neutrally, `I guess this is what gay guys do’ and got on with waiting for my turn.”

“And when Culley had finished?”

He shrugged.  “What you’d expect: I walked around behind him and did the same to him.”

“Did you watch yourself in the mirror?”

“Yeah,” he nodded.  “It was weird to see my own cock actually sliding in and out of another guy’s arse, but it wasn’t offensive or anything.”

“Did it turn you on?”

“No.  It was just strange to see it.  Two naked blokes doing sexual stuff together.  It was neither attractive nor disgusting.  Just odd.”

“Okay.  But did the fact you realised you were having anal sex with another man change the way you felt about it?”

Steven considered the question for a few seconds.

Then he replied, “I did think about it, I must admit.  When Culley next brought his family around to my house, I sort thought about what we’d done and how the two of us guys – the dads – had a sexual side to our relationship that no-one was aware of.”

“A gay side?”

He snapped again, “No!  I told you: it’s not a gay thing.  I’ve never kissed him or told him I love him or any crap like that.  I don’t have anything against gay men – some great climbers I know are gay – but I’m just not one of them.”

“But in the bathroom you said that it dawned on you that you were having sex with another man.  Isn’t that what you’d call `gay sex’…?”

“We were having sex in a gay position, yes.  But we weren’t attracted to each other so it couldn’t have been proper gay sex, could it?”

Suppressing a smile, I said, “Well, it would depend on whether there’s an exact definition of when anal sex between two men is `gay’ or not.”

“In any case,” he went on, not really listening to what I’d said.  “We took turns on each other.  Gay guys only like it one way or the other, don’t they?”

This time I was unable to hide my smile.  “I think some gay guys like a bit of variety.”

“Well, the point is that we weren’t doing it out of attraction for each other.  We were doing it because we were tense as fuck after an awful climb.  It was a way of getting some relief – no different to wanking.”

“Okay.  I accept what you’re saying.  But how did your wife find out about what you were doing?”

“Like I told you at the start, I had to go and open my big mouth.”

I was surprised.  “You told her about it?”

He shrugged.  “You have to realise that I’ve always thought what Culley and I did together was a natural thing for two guys with normal sex drives to do together while they were away from their wives.  I know not all climbers would take it as far as we have, but most guys don’t climb with the same guy – their best friend – for so many years.

“So, while I’ve always treated the subject as taboo, I suppose I assumed that Sarah knew what was going on between me and Culley.  I guess it’s like going to the toilet or whatever: you don’t talk about it, but everyone knows you do it.”

I nodded.  “So how did you mention it?”

“She said something about me climaxing pretty quickly one night and I made a joke that my backside wished Culley had that problem.”


“She became hysterical.  Started chucking stuff then locked herself in the spare room.”

I was thinking, “This is not the time to smile, Sebastian.  This really is not the time…”

He went on, “She said she wanted a divorce.  I tried to explain how it is to her: how lonely we get in the tent and how there’s no love or even lust in it, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“That was a couple of weeks ago?”

“Yeah.  She’s calmed down a bit but she insisted I come and talk to you.  I think she expected you’d give me an AIDS test, to be honest.”

“Since neither you nor Mr Culley seem to be promiscuous, I don’t think there’d be any point in that.”

He nodded.  “So do you think, like she does, that what I’ve done is `unnatural’?”

I smiled.  “Of course I don’t.  I think, to be honest, that you’re lucky to have such a deep and trusting relationship with another straight guy.  I kind of envy you…”

This time he was the one raise his eyebrows.  “Really?”

“Yes.  I’ve never had such an intimate friendship with another guy over such long period.  I suppose I’ve got my brother, but that’s kind of different.  You shouldn’t feel guilty about what’s naturally developed between the two of you, Steven.”

He nodded.  “I’m glad you’ve said that.  These last couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling like the two of us have been really dirty together; that we’re a couple of perverts or something.”

“Do you think maybe your wife would be prepared to come and see me?  It might be useful for her to talk to an independent person and for me to try and explain things from your side medically.”

He looked quizzical.  “Medically?”

I nodded.  “Female sexuality is far more complex than male sexuality.  In most women, sex is intimately bound with emotional feelings – historically, it goes back to finding the right mate to produce children with.  In men, the two things are quite separate and an orgasm can be a purely physical release involving no emotional attachment whatsoever.”

Steven nodded enthusiastically.  “Yes!  It would be good for her to hear that from a doctor.”

I smiled and he stood up.  Towering over my desk he said, “I’ll talk to her about it and we’ll make an appointment.  How soon are you free?”

“I’ll tell reception to give Sarah MacAlister priority when she calls.  She can see me in my lunch break if needs be.”

He smiled and nodded gratefully before shaking my hand and leaving the room.

Unfortunately, reception received no calls from anyone called Sarah MacAlister and I never saw Steven again.  Perhaps his chat with me gave him enough evidence to persuade her that his relationship with Tim Culley posed no threat to their marriage.  Or perhaps she refused to pay me a visit and went ahead with the divorce.

However things turned out, I hope he’s still climbing mountains with Tim Culley.


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