Liam Farrell: It's not you, it's me. Er, no, it's you

She would be lying there beside me, golden hair cascading over the pillow, white founts falling in the courts of the sun, eyes as blue as cornflowers, her pearl-pale hand in mine, stars climbing the dew-dropping sky.

OK, I admit it, it wasn't exactly the Montagues and the Capulets, but relationships hadn't ever really worked for me before, perhaps due to the long hours demanded by our ancient profession, or more likely due to my relentless narcissism.

And it did possess that beguiling whiff of sulphur, that heady frisson of perilous and illicit love. As Thomas Hardy said, a lover without indiscretion is no lover at all (and that from the creator of the magnetic and horny-handed Giles Winterborne).

'What will people say?' she asked.

'I would never condone this kind of thing, except when I do it, of course,' I said. 'But don't worry, you're just getting a wart removed, aren't you?'

She had rather a lot of them (I'm lucky that way). I dropped her wart into a specimen jar to send for histology (even in the throes of Byronic passion, my clinical instincts remain alert), filed the consent form and completed a claim for minor surgery (love doesn't pay the bills, and I'm a doctor, I can't do anything without a form).

'Will you still want me when I'm blemish-free?' she asked. 'You have plenty left,' I reassured her, 'and love sees not with the eyes but with the mind, and thus is winged Cupid ever painted blind.'

'But some day they'll all be gone,' she lamented.

'Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds,' I said. 'When I am old and grey and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, I shall remember those words,' she said.

But time takes its toll, feelings change with the seasons, and one day I looked at her face and realised the magic, and the warts, were gone; she was so beautiful, her complexion so flawless, she could have been a drug rep.

'Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell,' I said. 'It's not you, it's me ... ah hell, actually it is you.'

  • Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell.

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