Anthony was mooning, tentative, and no match for a captain of netball: he gave her mumps.
Hardeep, life after A levels already mapped by his parents, gave her self-determination.
At University, Viktor was exciting and dangerous: he gave her causes.
Alan, unsure of his sexuality, and Nigel (sure enough to become Nigella) gave her self-awareness, but dear Daniel (dearest, it transpired, to Mary) gave her anorexia.
Johnny, challenging – especially to his probation officer – and Pierre, charming, sophisticated, and married, gave her resilience.
But Lionel, who knew the art of compromise, just gave and, in return, Henrietta finally gave herself.
Andrew Gold 2012
(reproduced with permission of Readers Digest 100 Word Story Competition)