But would it have been better if he had done as others had done with their wives, and left her? He had never thought of such a thing. He had never stopped making love to Fiona. He had not stayed away from her for a single night.

This passage occurs after Grant’s dream, as he reflects on his infidelity and finds ways to see his potentially wounding behavior as noble. This is an example of Munro’s theme of the complicated nature of loyalty in love. In Grant’s view, having affairs and keeping them secret from Fiona ultimately shows loyalty to her. Unlike his philandering peers who divorced their wives, he has remained faithful to Fiona even as he slept with other women, because he protected her feelings and made his relationship with her primary. What Grant likely fails to understand, however, is that his peers ended up in divorce because their wives discovered their infidelities, not because they were so passionate about their mistresses that they chose one in favor of their wives and then ultimately failed to keep relationships with their newer romantic prospects. Grant’s need to believe in his own heroic narrative is the only support he can muster for his own disloyalty to Fiona, whom he deeply loves despite having been unfaithful to her.

“You could have just driven away,” she said. “Just driven away without a care in the world and forsook me. Forsooken me. Forsaken.”

He kept his face against her white hair, her pink scalp, her sweetly shaped skull.

He said, “Not a chance.”

This passage is the closing of the story and Munro’s final illustration of the complicated nature of loyalty in love. Throughout their marriage, Grant and Fiona have both chosen each other and betrayed each other. During the main time period of the story, the present, Fiona has built an intimacy with Aubrey, and Grant has at least considered sleeping with Marian. In the final scene in which this dialogue occurs, Grant has brought Aubrey to Fiona as a show of his loyalty to her happiness, presenting her with the man he believes she wants rather than insisting she remain faithful to their marriage. Yet in this moment, Fiona shows her essential loyalty to Grant, finally providing him with the affection she has been giving to Aubrey as she thanks him for not leaving her. Although Grant has broken the bounds of their marriage many times, supposedly unbeknownst to his wife, in the final moment he proclaims his devotion and love for Fiona in his first seemingly unselfish act presented in the story.