He dazzles her with his youth and passion for life and for a brief moment shes caught up in a trance of sharing the life that she could have, but chose not to live. That choice rest solely on the truth that her husband was a foundation that offered security. As she said at the end of the story, she equated security and strength to love. She realized in the later part that she was wrong. The fact that Rob is younger than Florence depicts a conventional extramarital affair in our society.
However the story goes beyond the cheap pleasures of lust and adventure as it delves deep into the intricacies of emotion and relationship. A relationship can be defined. One can dare as the question what kind of relationship? In the story, Florence and Archie is in a relationship that is recognized by society and back up by the law. A union, a vow, a social contract thats written on paper and flaunted out to the world. That is marriage. They share a partnership that may seem flawless in society as he was a responsible husband with secure income bounded by law to take care of his wife.
Florence herself is a thing of beauty and it is a stereotype in our society that she is to be taken care of by a man who has the means to do so. He is in fact capable of doing just that. He was well aware that he had the woman that most men would fell for, and thats why though he knew that they had an affair he wanted to see it for himself before he makes judgments. He went with her in the Vacation though he knew that she was to meet her lover. And when he came face to face with the man who stole his wife, he remained composed and even started conversations with him.
He exhibited what most men dont, the decency to be civil to the man who covet their wife (Kureishi). What exist between Florence and Rob on the other hand is a relationship thats not accepted by society and condemned by law. It ought to be discreetly dealt with to save both parties from public humiliation. The fact that she is a married woman who happens to have a lover may seem offensive to the male supremacy. However, what ought to be looked at is not the act itself but the question on what made her commit such act.
Perhaps at the beginning of their affair she simply wants to escape the world that Archie lived in or the lack of attention from her husband who is very much consumed in his work. But at the later part of the story it shows that she is deeply in love with Rob since she is willing to leave everything, even her child if only he says the word. Why did he not say the word? Why did he not take the chance to be with the woman who takes up much space in his heart to the point that he needed a psychologist to deal with his depression?
It was a shot at happiness, to have the very thing that he wanted so badly but when it was his for the taking he did not take it. Here lies the complexity of human emotions. Their affair goes beyond the Holiday Vacation. Though the timeline of the story skipped a couple of years before their paths crossed again, it cannot be denied that in each encounter, the dying flame of their affair is fanned once more. A line in the story clearly points out their connection Helen (Robs wife) looks across conspicuously.
Florence and I are standing close to one another; perhaps one of us touching the other. Though they were both contented with their lives and stopped seeing each other, both their spouses knew that there is something special between Florence and Rob¦. perhaps a love story that should have not ended. That Holiday Vacation was of great importance to Florence, Archie and Rob. It was perhaps the climax of their lives. The moment that set the path upon which they will take. They were separate entities brought about in that place to clearly define the relationship that existed in the three of them.
It was a chance to change their lives and redefine their connection, but such requires great courage that only Rob had at that time. Florence was, at that moment, scared to let go of the security that she had with Archie. In their marriage she had stability and he had a wife. It was ideal and accepted by society. Before the affair she was contented, but contentment if a far cry from happiness. At the end of the vacation she asked him not to leave, but he chose to do so. This is because man cannot stand the torture of having the woman that you want wrapped in somebody elses embrace.
Rob said that he longed for that vacation since it was the first time that he can have her the entire evening without having her rush home to her husband at dawn. It was a chance to feel that he owned her but that moment never came. It was a chance that she was too scared to take, and now that she wanted him desperately, it was him who chose not to be with her. She wanted him to say that he wants her but he never did just that. Though deep within his soul he knew that she still holds a place in her heart, it was his choice not to give in to that feeling.
This proves the fact that in human relationships certain factors are to be taken into considerations before a person makes his decision (Layton-Tholl). Life is made up of choices, and maybe for Rob he already made the choice the moment he left the Hotel. It was to live a life thats uncomplicated. Though the intensity of their connection cannot be denied, it was by choice that they lived separately. They have fulfilled the human need to connect with someone, they have their spouse. But just like how their affair started, they were just intertwined bodies with separate heart.