There are moments in writing when you set down a sentence and suddenly two different stories tell themselves in front of you.
The problem is, of course, that you cannot tell both of those stories. (Well, not unless you're writing a Choose Your Own Adventure, and I already did that.)
It seems like such a little thing to hang a story on, especially a long story (this sentence is in a novel, which is a very long sort of story). One sentence. But lives are changed by single sentences all the time.
And in this instance, better to take the pen, and draw the line through what was written there. Better indeed.