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A Quiet Retirement

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It should be evident to all those who read my various tales in The Strand magazine that Holmes and I were close. Insofar as Mr Sherlock Holmes was capable of making friendship, most readers would assume we were friends and enjoyed each others’ company. Most would suspect no more, although those whom I deemed to be friends, especially Lestrade and Mrs Hudson, almost certainly knew, although neither made reference to it.

I, of course, was known to be attracted to the fairer sex, and I still mourn the death of my dear Mary. To this day, I miss her, and although another now holds my affections, this does not detract from my feelings for my beloved wife. If one’s relationship boils down to the sexual act, then one is building on particularly unstable ground. For me, there were several affairs of the heart, but only two which stood the test of time.

I am not sure what Holmes first found in me which attracted him. It may be he himself is not entirely sure. Suffice to say, he made no mention of it before the disastrous day at the Reichenbach Falls. As a true gentleman I would not have expected him to say anything whilst I was married, but I do not believe he was aware of the attraction at the time.

However, on his return, matters changed. His absence had made clear to him he wished to be with me and his encouragements to move back to my old rooms in Baker Street were not only those I recorded in my tales. How he knew I would not be adverse to the idea I do not know, but he was ever the observer of human nature, and in me he was not mistaken.

Holmes was not a demonstrative man, so there was little to fear we would give ourselves away in public. I am given to more physical demonstrations and even now am not averse to offering my arm to any lady in need. Although nowadays they must be prepared to walk at a rather slower pace and may perhaps be assisting me, rather than the other way. However, I am also of the ex-rugby playing, military type, for whom the occasional pat on the shoulder and hearty handshake are acceptable behaviour, so I have never had my behaviour with Holmes commented upon.

Indeed, although we enjoy a certain physical closeness when we are alone together, this is by no means the mainstay of our relationship. There is an understanding between us, which even I, a writer, find difficult to put into words. A look may pass between us when Holmes has been called to help at a crime scene; we may be at a concert and Holmes, swept up with the music will touch my arm; we may be having dinner at Simpsons and look at each other across the table and smile because the same thought has occurred to both of us. Such minor events, and yet each time we know we share our inmost being with each other.

That is how Lestrade discovered our relationship. He caught the glances and observed the way we responded to each other. Holmes may accuse him of not observing, but he does, it may just take him rather longer. Lestrade has been happily married for many years – the joyous brood of junior Lestrades bearing testimony to this fact. On one occasion he confided to me the way Holmes and I understood each other was similar to that of him and his wife. He said no more, but let me draw my own conclusions. I have always been grateful we have been able to rely on his silence.

Our relationship is such we did not even discuss the question of retirement when it came. Our discussion revolved around where we would be retiring to. We had our disagreements, for no solid relationship is free of these, where each party has their own like and dislikes. But we were able to settle on a property which would suit us both. Again, each of us made concessions, whilst ensuring we would both be happy in our final choice.

I may never be able to summarise what exactly draws me to Holmes and him to me, but I know when we are apart I feel as if I am incomplete and from the letters Holmes writes to me, although he does not express this, he too feels the same.