Narrative | classroom-ready

Three is a crowd, as they say … but who is the culprit in a threesome? Not me! Absolutely not!

At first, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Now I can’t look her in the eye.

It is not every day that you meet someone who looks like a million dollars. Especially when you are pushing forty, your gray hair is receding at a breakneck pace and so is your appeal. And you are old enough to know all about your limitations. This is when the prospect of sharing your mid-life crisis evenings with someone one generation younger makes you pull out all the stops. So I hunted and hunted until she caught my bait.

When we got together and she was still a no-name, I would dig deep until I put her on the map. She made it with my help and she seemed so grateful – ready to kiss the ground under my feet. Or so I thought.

I would never put it past her to cheat on me. And yet …

In hindsight, I did watch her and him grow so close together and I did nothing about it. I really should have seen it coming. I watched their intense and intimate relationship flourishing. And somehow, I was caught completely unawares of the imminent disaster.

In those early days, whenever I met my friends, I would sing her praises. She insisted I should do that in public to show the world how happy we were together. “Baby, we are a match made in heaven with a lifestyle everyone would love to emulate.”, she would say with a smile. So, disarmed,  I followed orders. My friends gave me funny looks and some simply stopped calling but I put it all down to male rivalry and female jealousy.

I supported her in public even if I had to tell white lies (and lots of them!).  I was a hostage. She made it clear that I had to be the first one to show a clear sign of admiration – always in public, always for the entire world to see. If someone else complimented her before I did, there was a storm in a teacup for dinner and a week-long bedroom ban for me. It was humiliating but I knew I had to take it all in my stride. There were some rewards for being obedient.

I thought I was the clever one in this relationship. And she outsmarted me. All this time she would cheat on me. In retrospect, I was deluding myself into thinking I was her number one. I believed that he was just a passing fad, a stalker or a distraction. Perhaps the exact opposite was true.

I tried so hard. I splashed out on gifts for her – the gifts that she would reject vigorously, jumping down my throat and ridiculing my failed choices.

I risked my safety and health to get her what she wanted. I spent ages watching her climb her career ladder very slowly. And I spent ages watching my own professional success dwindling away to nothing (as was my social life!).

I missed parties we’d been invited to because she had to stop on the way to spend some tender moments with him. She said she needed to create memories. “The gallery of today, my love.”, she said.

I was always allowed to keep them company. In truth, my presence was instrumental. And all this time, I was in denial.

It got to the point when he was always there when we decided to eat out. And she wouldn’t let me start eating before he had quenched his thirst and fed his hunger. That was when the penny dropped and I realised our marriage is a thing of the past.

Strangely enough, all those years, when we went out together, I never spoke to him. I just watched him claim my space in her life, inch by inch.

Now divorce is on the cards. And I don’t think I’m going to argue the toss. I’ve run out of steam and I’ve lost the plot. Now I just spend sleepless nights overthinking and wondering who is to blame. The one thing I’m certain about: It’s not me! Absolutely not!

* * *

What do *you* think? Who is to blame?

Don’t scroll down until you are ready with the verdict.


Story behind the story | Video

Ready with your verdict?

If so, watch the video that inspired the story.

How does it affect your verdict? Does it? 😉


B2, C1, C2

Juicy bits of language

  • Two is a couple, three is a crowd.
  • can’t take your eyes off sbd
  • can’t look sbd in the eye
  • It is not every day that …
  • look like a million dollars
  • be pushing forty/fifty
  • pull out all the stops
  • a no-name
  • dig deep
  • put sbd on the map
  • I would not put it past sbd (to do sth)
  • In hindsight / In retrospect
  • I should have seen it coming.
  • be caught unawares of …
  • singing sbd’s praises
  • a match made in heaven
  • emulate
  • I put it all down to …
  • tell white lies
  • a storm in a teacup
  • take it (all) in your stride
  • delude yourself into thinking/believing
  • splashed out on …
  • dwindle away to nothing
  • quench your thirst
  • feed your hunger
  • be on the cards
  • argue the toss
  • run out of steam
  • lose the plot


Photos: Kyle Head and Aileni Tee  via

2 thoughts on “STORY: THREE IS A CROWD

    1. Thank you, Tim 🙂
      We look for inspiration (images, anecdotes, articles, video, sounds…) everywhere and then craft the stories ourselves. So, yes, we are the authors of the stories. And for us, writing classroom-ready narratives is a learning experience (both language and story architecture) and whatever we learn we translate into Barrio’s Spice posts. Hopefully, they will help other teachers create their own stories! Let us know if/when you put your classroom story-crafting skills to test 🙂


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