I would be unfair to myself if I said I did not try. I did, even if desultorily. But desire is a curious thing. If it does not exist it does not exist and there is nothing you can do to conjure it up. Worse still, as I discovered, when desire begins to sink, like a capsizing ship it takes down a lot with it. In our case it took down the conversation, the laughter, the sharing, the concern, the dreams and nearly - the most important thing, the most important thing - and nearly the affection too. Soon my sinking desire had taken everything else down with it to the floor of the sea and only affection remained like the bobbing hand of a drowning man, poised perilously between life and death. More than once she tried to seize the moment and open up the issue. She did it with a hard face and a soft face; she did it when I was idling on the terrace and when I was in the thick of my works; first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We need to talk.Yes.Do you want to talk?Sure.What's happening?I don't know.Is there someone else?No.Is it something I did?Oh no.Then what the hell's happening?I don't know.Is there anything you want to talk to me about?I don't know.What do you mean you don't know?I don't know.What do you mean you don't know?I don't know. That's what I mean - I don't know.Toc toc toc. All the while I tried to save that bobbing hand - of affection - from vanishing. I felt somehow that if it drowned there would not be a single pointer on the wide stormy surface to show me where our great love had once stood. That bobbing hand of affection was a marker, a buoy, holding out the hope that one day we could salvage the sunken ship. If it drowned, our coordinates would be completely lost and we would not know where to even begin looking. Even in my weird state, it was an image of such desolation that it made my heart lurch wildly. *** For a long time, with her immense pride in herself - in us - she did not turn to anyone for help. Not friends, not family. For simply too long she imagined this was a passing phase, but then, as the weeks rolled by, through slow accretion the awful truth began to settle on her. By then she had run through all the plays of a relationship: withdrawal, sulking, anger, seduction, inquisition, affection, threat. Logic, love, lust.Now the epitaph was beginning to creep up on her. Acceptance. 
Tarun J. Tejpal