XXXIII. I Wanna Hold Your Hand

There were a lot of phone calls made and received the week after her accident.  Her insurance company: Yes, indeed the policy had lapsed the week before; there was nothing to be done about that.  The junk yard: Her personal property would need to be removed from the mangled mess that was her car. The State Patrol: The officer had yet to file the accident report and when she did get around to filing it, it would be wrong.  The hospital: No, she didn’t have health insurance either.  Her job closer to home: She’d be out a few weeks, and then back in a limited capacity.  Her job in the west end: No, she wouldn’t be back; without a car, there was no way she could get there.  The other driver’s insurance company: No, we’re not going to pay.  We are bigger than you and you have no insurance company of your own representing you, therefore, even though we know our driver hit a stopped vehicle from the rear and is liable, we can get away without paying you and we will.  (Farm Bureau, in case any of you were wondering.)  There was one phone call for me.  The breast surgeon:  The lump I’d had removed the week before was benign.

I remember the call.  It was in the afternoon and the Husband was busy getting ready for work but I didn’t tell him right away.  I went upstairs to the spare room, closed the door, and called the Boy.  I told him first because it seemed to me, he had been the only one who’d cared in the first place.  Is it a hallmark of being married too long or just that of a bad marriage, when you tell your spouse you have a lump in your breast and his answer is: “Why are you telling me? Call the doctor.”  I’m sure he was concerned at some level, maybe I just chose to tell him at the wrong time?  I can assure you, his reaction was not the one a wife hopes for.

I had been absentmindedly fingering that lump for over six months before I told the Boy about it.  We were in my car at some long forgotten place and I remember easing the lacey edges of my surplice top away from my breast to show him.  We didn’t have a physical relationship then, so it was an awkward moment that he filled with medical terms spoken hurriedly while his fingers clinically felt the piece of offending flesh.  He gave me his diagnosis and elicited a promise from me that I would call the doctor before the day was out.  Honestly, the heat of his skin lightly skimming the silken swell of my breast is all I thought about then.  Not about a possible prognosis or the implications of a malignancy, just about that fleeting, innocent touch and the way it made me yearn for more.

I went first to my beautiful Indian doctor, who sent me for a mammogram and then referred me to a breast specialist.  It was several appointments and several weeks before it was removed.  By then, the Boy was living far away but would ask me the details of every visit, bemoaning the fact that he could not be there with me.  The Husband only made it to the actual surgery, and then only because I threw the x-ray film, with the glaring image of a sinister milky white orb, in front of his computer screen one day and forced him to look at it.  I knew somewhere inside he cared, he wasn’t a monster, but he was so bitter and angry at the world that he just couldn’t dredge up the appropriate response.

The day of the surgery, just seconds before the nurse called me to the back, a text came through: “Text me the second you get out. I’m going to be a wreck until I know something.”  Meanwhile, my Husband was watching Ellen on the waiting room television and didn’t hear the nurse ask him if he wanted to come back with me and hold my hand.  I caught her eye and shook my head “no.”  Instead, I would hold the surgical nurse’s hand, and watch her serene, olive skinned face, reminiscent of my Cousin Barbara’s beautiful face, and think of the only hand I ever really wished to hold. 

When the call came that would allay my worst fears, I didn’t care if I ever told my husband.  He never asked; why should I care?   To make matters worse, at the same time, I was being betrayed by my employees too, being falsely accused of misdeeds and maligned to my boss.  They were a small group of small minded people, so full of their own self importance they never for a minute thought about what their petty behavior was doing. It had been brewing since the day I began working there and would continue for many months.

It was a terrible time for me and I unfortunately took it out on the one person who had been holding my hand all along.  The one who was so troubled himself, he never realized how bad things had become for me; the one that I couldn’t bear to lose, and tragically, the one who would betray me next.


XXXII. Raindrops on Roses

It's days away from the New Year.  Considering what happened this time last year and the point at which our story has unfolded in this blog, I should be writing about the painful details after my car accident and the rocky relationship I had with The Girl but for some reason I've had something else on my mind.

The Girl was beautiful, but unaware of it, with penetrating, soulful eyes and an infectious smile that, when you were privileged to see it, would make your heart melt.  But this entry is not about her, or about not having car insurance, or about my deteriorating home life, tonight I lie awake thinking about my Grandmother.  As you may recall, my Grandmother has Alzheimer's.  She's my last living grandparent.  But in a way, I don't feel like she's living at all. 

I’m okay with her not remembering my name, I can deal with that.  For a long time I could walk into her house and say, "Hi Gramma" and she'd look up at me, with a beautiful, genuine smile, and kiss me on the cheek.  She knew my face, she knew I belonged to her in some way and that was enough for me.  I didn't care if she knew where I worked or how old I was, as long as she knew that I belonged to her, that I was hers.

Truth be told, as the illness took her and she remembered less and less, she still seemed to remember me, more so than my young cousins.  They entered her life after the demon known as dementia had already taken hold, whereas I and the cousins closer to my age, were in her life before she lost her memory.  My young cousins won't know the fabulous, generous woman she was regardless of how much we talk about her. They can watch the few short video clips we have and laugh about how different she seemed, but they’ll never know her.  Of the Grandchildren, my eldest cousin Sean and I are the only ones that really knew her.  I'm sure I'll be judged by saying this and perhaps get some raised eyebrows but I'd like to think I was the closest to our Gramma, for the simple reason that I spent more time with her, I even lived with her and Papa for a year.

I was thirteen when I lived with them, a horrible age, and I had a horrible attitude to go with it and a million neuroses on top of that, but there was a part of me that loved being around her so much, I could forget being thirteen sometimes and just be her sweetheart.  As much as I complained back then, I'd go to seven a.m. mass with her every morning if she asked me to now.

Papa was in a wheel chair by then and my mother and I had temporarily left her Husband and Georgia to live in Florida and help Grandma take care of him.  We came midyear and I finished eighth grade at the local middle school.  By fall, She would home school me, which meant I would spend all day with Grandma.

At that stage in my life, I was obsessed with organizing things.  I'd organize her closet monthly, everything by sleeve length and color (just as I do now with my job).  I’d try on her fancy beaded Floridian shoes and arrange them by style. I'd rummage through her unused purses, all holding the remains of their last use: Kleenex and Equal packets!  Sometimes when I was in the house alone, I'd sneak into her storage closet just to peek at her wedding dress, preserved in a plastic garment bag, alongside my papa's old suits, golf clubs, and other stowed away treasures.  I'd stare at that dupioni silk dress, simple yet gorgeous, for several minutes and imagine myself wearing it one day.  Once, I unzipped it, and ran my fingers across the fabric.  It amazed me to touch something my grandmother had worn in the 50's, a dress that was made just for her, made to fit her body like a glove.  It was regal.  No dress since has ever felt how that dress felt to me then.

I was seven years old and living in New Hampshire when I took my first big trip alone to my Grandparents house.  I was a brave one; I could handle Rhode Island without my Mom.  I had Grandma and Tasha, my stuffed bear.  It would be a fun getaway, with picnics on the rocky beaches, trips to the roadside produce stand where we’d buy golden ears of corn and small red potatoes, nighttime excursions across the river for ice cream cones, one flavor piled high on top of the other.  Little did we know hurricane Bob would strike a day after my arrival.

The storm reached its peak late at night.  I had been asleep for a few hours when howling winds, crashing limbs and glass blowing out of the cellar windows would wake me up.  I started crying and calling out for someone.  Sunny, my grandparents golden retriever, came first and jumped into bed with me.  Then came Grandma, with her frazzled hair and flowered mu-mu, to sit on the edge of the bed, comforting and holding me until the chaos outside subsided and I fell back asleep.

Most of my memories are bits and pieces all jumbled together: sitting on her copper bar stools at the bar in kitchen watching her make me pancakes, my feet dangling and swinging about.  Gramma's gardening clogs on the patio in Rhode Island, her long line bra's air drying in the laundry room, her nose deep in a book while curled up on the blue leather chesterfield sofa.  Little things.  I wish I could hold on to every memory I ever made with my Grandmother, my Grandfather, and my Father but over time, you lose them as much as you try not to.  As hard as you try to hold on, they still slip away. You forget the sound of their voices, their mannerisms, and how they smell. 

Aside from Alzheimer's, she's perfectly healthy which makes everything worse.  As morbid as it sounds, sometimes I wished for a heart attack or stroke, something fast, for her and my grandfather.  It’s so hard to watch someone you love fade away over the course of a decade.  Once in a while, she'll say something or laugh and your heart leaps for a moment, and you think it's a bit of her old self coming back, but it’s gone as quick as it came.  She still doesn't know who you are.

I don't see her as much now and I feel guilty about that but it's too painful.  When I do see her, I’m foolishly hoping that she'll wake up and be completely lucid, just so I can have her back again a little while before she leaves this world.  It’s a fool’s dream, but one I can’t let go of.  She's just a shell of someone she used to be and lately, I feel like I'm the same way.   ~Braticas


XXXI. You've Got A Fast Car

There are certain conversations you have with the fruit of your loins that are repeated so many times as to become rote like the Lord’s Prayer.  One such conversation in our house starts when the offspring turns the magical age of sixteen and continues until, well, their death.  This is the Reader’s Digest condensed version of that conversation:

“No matter what happens, if you are broke and haven’t spoken to me in years, if you are living in a foreign country under an assumed name, if I have told you never to darken my door ever in this lifetime, if you fear I am on my last breath, if I am indigent and living in a stylish cardboard box on Broad Street, if I have lost my mind and don’t know who you are anymore, no matter what the circumstances are, if you are unable to pay your car insurance I will pay it for you.”

We have these conversations, during what I like to call The Vehicular Years of Terror, because to drive without insurance in the United States of America is beyond folly; it will be your undoing. I like my offspring to be prepared for the many ways life can kick you in the teeth. I manage to articulate this on every white knuckled, Xanax enhanced driving lesson I ever give them.  I reiterate this on a quarterly basis for the rest of their lives.  Apparently though, I had not made myself clear.

She has given you the encapsulate version of what happened last year, I’m going to provide the details, then she’s going to come behind me and correct your impressions of the situation.  As much as I want to blame her for everything that went down, I really can’t because she was trying to do the right thing on so many levels. She was trying to be a good roommate, a good friend and a responsible adult.  Unfortunately, she chose to cut the umbilical cord at a most calamitous time.

As I found out at brunch that beautiful autumn afternoon on Meadow Street, the roommate had issues.  His Mom was out of prison, again, wasn’t that great?  And he thought he had a job, well maybe he did, I mean, he dropped off an application somewhere.  They were sure to hire him, wasn’t that great? He was off the drugs, only drinking, for, like, a whole week, wasn’t that great? (I suspect this was only due to the fact that he couldn’t afford drugs.) He had invited a friend to stay, who also consumed groceries and hot water, but it was great to see him. He was getting his testosterone from a dealer to keep his period at bay and his mangy whiskers full. Apparently, if he didn’t have money for food or rent it was okay, but he’d do anything to avoid menstruation, even picking up a little cash selling his transitioning body on the street.  Great. Just great.  I've got to tell you, the peach pie was really good that day.

So she paid his share of the rent. She paid the utilities. She bought the groceries. She worked two jobs, often working from 7am to 10pm, seldom having a day off.  By December she was strapped, exhausted and sick.  She called to tell me she was coming home for the weekend and I was overjoyed. I missed her. 
As I’m sure you recall, we are from Buffalo, New York. It snows there from October to June.  We live in Richmond, Virginia where it snows once or twice a year, some years not at all.  We know how to drive in the snow.  The rest of the people in Virginia don’t.  It was the second day of the snowfall; I had driven the twenty miles home from work and found the highways clear enough for navigation.  I gave her the green light to make her way out of that freezing apartment and onto the interstate.  It should have taken her twenty minutes to get home.

She called to tell me she had difficulty getting her car out of the alley, and while she was hanging up I heard her address some male voices, telling them she was fine.  I stared at the dead phone in my hand and had the distinct feeling something was wrong.  An hour went by and she hadn’t arrived.  I called her phone, no answer. I remember being curled up in the recliner in front of the television with the dog in my lap and sitting up so abruptly I knocked him to the floor.  He turned to look at me, as if to say “What in the world was that for?”  I turned down the television so I could think.  (Does anyone else do that, or is it just I?  If I’m driving to somewhere unfamiliar and I get to a tricky part of the directions, I will turn down the volume on the radio so I can concentrate.  As I write this I think of my Mother saying, “Turn down that idiot box, I can’t hear myself think.”  I guess that’s what I do.)  I tried her phone again, no answer. I was thinking every-Mother’s-worst-fear-scenarios when the house phone rang.  It was the hospital.
Night had fallen by the time we reached the hospital; the long drive made in stony silence while I texted the Boy for support to avoid having a blame placing conversation with the Husband.  “Remember I love you,” he saidI would remember. I still do remember.  And be forever grateful he was there for me that night.  Unbeknownst to me, in the coming hours I would fear for her life, learn she had a girlfriend and was in fact bisexual, and discover she had paid his share of the rent and let her car insurance lapse ten days before. 


XXX. The Return of Braticas

Dear Readers,

Nearly two months have passed since my last post.  When we started this, the words spilled out effortlessly, but as I healed from all the emotional and physical trauma endured this year, it has become difficult for me to write.  I abandoned you and I'm sincerely apologetic.

She wrote on my behalf because I refused to despite requests from our readers.  Truth be told, she angered me with her opinions on my inner most thoughts.  Mother's always think they know everything but there was a bit of truth behind what She said.

I am disappointed in this blog; but not for the reasons She stated.  Yes, people I thought would support me in this, simply haven't.  At first I bombarded them on Facebook, pleading to share our beautiful blog by posting it on their walls.  When that didn't work, I sent personal emails asking for help and support with a glimmer of hope that out of their hundreds of Facebook acquaintances, we would gain a few more readers.  Most of those letters didn't even merit a response.  That hurt.  Even if they didn't like it, or enjoy reading, I had hoped that they would share it just to help us.

She needed to tell the world how She changed whereas I needed something else.  I desired a sense of community, to feel connected to complete strangers simply by the power of our words, our tragic stories, creatively weaved together.  Just as I enjoy catching a glimpse of someone else's life via YouTube (Nerimon, Charliesocoollike, ElectricFaerieDust) I wanted to give strangers a glimpse of my life. We have done that, but I had hoped for more.

She thinks my writer's block is from lack of comments and overall disappointment.  She's wrong.
Recently, I was chatting with our friend via Skype in which I discovered the real reason.   She inquired about the blog and I hit send before I really processed what I had responded.  I typed that it now seemed like a chore.  It's true.  She wants to hold onto every memory of the Boy where I want the exact opposite. I want to forget. Everything.  Writing about all those things now glorifies all my failures and mistakes.

 I wish I could forget about the Meadow Street house, my deadbeat roommate that got us evicted, the car accident that screwed me financially, and most importantly forget about the Girl who shred my heart into little pieces.  Writing about the house isn't just writing about the tangible house.  I think about how I was finally able to be independent, to have my best friend only a few blocks from me, and to have a life away from my parents.  Most of my memories from the house have the Girl in it, unfortunately.  It started with me laying in bed, watching movies, texting her until I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Then as we progressed, memories of laying in bed with her, watching her as she slept were made. My house was the only place we could really be ourselves.  At work, we had to hide our relationship, at my parents house my Step-Father  made mean spirited comments about her, at her house I was never welcome because of a hostile ex girlfriend/roommate.  Most of our good memories are in that house, hence why I hate it. It's all connected.  The truth is everything that has happened to me this year is because of my roommate and The Girl.

 I trusted my roommate and he took advantage of me.  He lost his job, I paid the rent, he promised to pay me back but that money never came.   My personal bills fell behind.  The weekend of the snow storm, our heat kept shutting off.  Overworked, exhausted, and stressed I became horribly ill.  I was working 12-15 hour days and begged for my roommate to call the landlord to fix the heat.  He claimed he'd called several times but only called him once. (Something I found out months later)  In fear of catching pneumonia, I headed to my parents, but a part of me decided to drive home because I knew I'd be snowed in.  I wanted to be closer to the Girl.  I knew it would be easier to see her if I was down in Chester.  I knew the roads would be plowed the next day whereas in the city they wouldn't be at all.  On the way to my parents house, I got in the accident.  Then the next day we find out my car insurance lapsed less than two weeks before. Knowing these two people has put me where I am today.  Knowing them, destroyed my life. All the progress I had made to be independent was snatched away in  seconds, as my ford focus crumbled into a massive tangled web of metal with me trapped inside.

As difficult as things have been it's all lead to where we are now.  A year ago I never would have imagined that I'd be writing a screenplay with Her and our lovely friend from Indiana.  It's brilliant and I'm excited to be a part of it; however,  I fear as time drags on, that I'll lose the motivation and give up.  I fear that it won't ever come close to completion and that it will be just another thing that I fail at.



XXIX. DazzledGirl Doesn't

The first time I saw Her apartment she and her roommate were well and settled in. I remember driving downtown with the help of my GPS, programmed in United Kingdom mode with a sexy male British accent and words like petrol station and motorway, with final direction by cell phone as She stood on the side walk and motioned me through a parallel parking exercise. One of the hazards of living in suburbia too long is that one loses the ability to parallel park. (Since I’ve given up the suburban housewife mantle, clearly the next step for me is to purchase an automobile with the built in parallel parking feature. I’m much too old to relearn the traditional way.)

I had so hoped that moving into Her own place downtown would be her salvation, that she would settle into a routine of biking to work, having picnics in Hollywood Cemetery and sitting on her stoop talking to her neighbors on lazy Saturday afternoons. I wanted her to have a life without me, a life far from the shadow of my deteriorating marriage. Her little house on Meadow Street seemed the perfect place to start.

I have said for the past twenty six years that I would never win Mother of the Year but do admit to being particularly gifted at mothering through the eyes of my child. I can become a five year old at her ballet recital, realizing after the tutu has been tied on that she needs to use the potty. I can become a thirteen year old not wanting to take gym class because she has her period. I can become a seventeen year old with a gay prom date who forgets a corsage. I can become a twenty five year old with her first dilapidated rental house. I remember the feelings of my childhood more so than the events and I have always tried to keep them foremost in my memory when parenting Her. I don’t ever want to be the parent that can’t remember the foibles and mischance of their own youth.

Her house was charming as I looked at it through the eyes of the twenty year old living deep inside me. I remembered my first apartment in downtown Buffalo, just across the street from Canisius College, where I was in my junior year as an English major. It was a two family house; I was living upstairs with three girlfriends and four football players were living on the first floor. You can imagine its appeal. My share of the rent was sixty five dollars, an utter fortune, and I was bartending at a place my landlord owned, to pay my share.

The apartment didn’t have a refrigerator. The reason being: the staircase was too narrow to navigate a modern fridge up, something that, I assure you, never crossed our minds. But it had hardwood floors, built in book cases and beautiful bay windows that ran the length of the living room. There was a third floor attic room that had no heat but was a great place to escape to with a thick novel and the afghan my grandma had crocheted for me. In the summer I would wallpaper part of those slanted walls with an oriental floral paper and cut out individual dogwoods, pasting them to the ceiling where I could enjoy them while lying on the floor of the furniture-less room.

I knew She saw Meadow Street through those same idyllic eyes. She didn’t see the faulty plumbing, the inadequate kitchen or the furnace that wouldn’t heat and would force her out into a snowstorm and into a hospital that coming December. I knew she saw the hardwood floors, the pretty moldings and the fenced in yard. I smiled brightly and enjoyed the brunch She and the Baker had made that morning; fresh fruit salad, a vegetable frittata, French toast, sausages and peach pie with Mimosas to celebrate the day. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon; She was content, I was happy in love, my Husband was at work. The only thing to mar that perfect day was meeting her roommate.

I knew as soon as I saw him. Between my precognition and a well developed judge of character, I knew immediately that he spelled trouble. At the time I thought he was a gay boy; very slight of build and mildly unattractive. He turned out to be something else entirely but I trusted Her judgment and swallowed the bile rising in my throat. ~DazzledGirl

XXVIII. Braticas Takes a Break

A few times in the past I have let you know that I was waiting on Braticas, that sometimes she had trouble getting her story told and there was a delay in our posting. I skipped her once, it was supposed to be a post about her father but she couldn’t quite get herself to do it. This time it was supposed to be about moving out. That subject certainly isn’t the emotional time bomb the other subject was, so what’s the problem?

The problem is she expected too much from this blog. She expected her friends to read it and they didn’t. She expected to get hundreds of followers and comments; the truth is we get emails and tweets and Facebook chats but very few followers and very few comments. She’s a bit disappointed. I could tell you why it bothers her when it doesn’t bother me, but it would just be conjecture. All I can say is that, for me, telling my story was a necessary part of surviving what happened in my life.

Falling in love with the Boy changed me so completely that I desperately needed to tell someone why I wasn’t the same person anymore. I needed someone to know who I was now and who I used to be and that somebody turns out to be you. Who are you? You are my family. You are friends I’ve reconnected with that I hadn’t seen in thirty years. You are coworkers. You are neighbors. You are people I gave my card to on the street somewhere. You are the beautiful new friends I have made on the internet these past months. And you are the Boy. Yes, him also.

I understand why she wants comments. When you write like this you want to know that you have been heard. That someone out there is listening. If anything we have said has meant something to you, please tell us. I think it would help her. In the meantime, I’m going to continue my story until she feels ready to catch up. ~DazzledGirl


XXVII. Regrets. I've Had A Few.

What I remember of last August are scattered images of stolen moments and shyly given kisses. The first time “Love u” lit up the screen on my phone; weeks later sitting in my car on the side of the interstate sobbing as I read his first declaration of real affection. I don’t remember seeing him more than a couple times, and only for a few moments at that, but I remember the dizzying effect of his words and the slightest brush of his fingers along the side of my hand. I spoke to him a few days ago and I don’t think he remembers any of that, I think he only remembers the tragic end. The part I wish to forget; the part I wish, more than anything, that I could take back.

Our home was still fraught with tension and stony silences back then. My Brother had visited briefly from Texas and I recall him telling my Husband to lay off me, something decidedly out of character. My brother had lamentably inherited the Italian view of marriage and thought that the man ruled the roost. For him to admonish my husband for the way he treated me was tantamount to treason. My Brother knew I was working hard, long hours and was being greeted by complaints and accusations when I arrived home each night. I think he saw that I had reached my limit. My Husband did not see.

In no way am I excusing my own behavior; I am not blaming my Husband for the way I acted. I fully understand that I had no business falling in love, that that part of my life should have stayed buried deep within me, where I might occasionally hear the rumblings from a distance but they would never be loud enough to turn my head. But when the man that is supposed to love and cherish you does not do so, those rumblings rival Niagara Falls in sheer volume and force. It’s impossible to keep your head straight.

It was nearly impossible for me not to draw comparisons between the Husband who had clearly grown weary of his wife and the Boy who needed me. Looking back, I cannot decide if it was God or Satan illuminating those stark differences. If Satan is indeed the great deceiver, how did I, with my broken cage, stand a chance of knowing the difference? I remember the Boy calling me from the store one day. We chatted while he walked around the music department until he excused himself to ask the clerk a question. I listened as he inquired as to where he might find an Andrea Bocelli CD. With a sharp intake of my breath a single pained syllable escaped my lips:”Si.” I loved Bocelli. My Husband thought it was stupid to listen to a CD in another language. I’m sure it seems stupid that something as seemingly insignificant as that could mean so much to me but I assure you, it brought me to tears. A marriage of opposites is a painful thing. Each time the light shone on another common point of interest between the Boy and me, I felt healed. I felt my heart coming back to me.

It wasn’t until late August that my Husband finally found a job and went back to work. The breath we’d been holding for six long months whooshed out in one giant sigh of relief. Financially, we were in bad shape by then. It had become such a sore topic of discussion between us that I refused to even participate in the conversation. He was bound and determined to keep a house that was rapidly deteriorating in value; a house that we had no equity left in; a house that was strangling us. I let the conversations go and celebrated him finding a job.

While he was acclimating to a new company and I was fantasizing about a life with another man, She was plotting to move out. I was so overwhelmed by the maelstrom of emotions around me that I didn’t pay attention to what She was planning. I know, secretly, in my heart, that I wanted Her to move out for one reason only: If I ever found the courage to leave my husband I wanted Her to be safely settled somewhere else beforehand. I did not want Her to be caught in what I assumed would be a vicious parting. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what would really happen months down the road. Never once did I imagine being pinned in a chair while the man I married screamed violently just inches from my face. Never once did I imagine the cold steel of the shotgun barrel clenched in my fists. Never once did I imagine losing the Boy who started it all.

I understood Her reasons for moving downtown and for wanting to be on Her own. I, myself, had grown weary of suburbia and longed for the chicness of the city. How I would adore Friday nights on the terrace of our local corner restaurant, sharing a fish fry and a cold beer with our neighbors and walking home slightly tipsy on a warm summer night. I might have even reached the point where I wanted to enjoy the labors of others by walking the magnificent gardens of the city parks rather than toiling in the soil of my own backyard. Aside from wanting to escape the tension that was our home, I think She sought to explore Her lifestyle out from under the watchful stare of her parents. I understand that now. Back then, She could have never brought a girl home to my Husband’s house. He would not approve. I don’t know what I would have thought back then but I do know the rose colored glasses of love and the Boy’s soft words would have taken the edge off anything for me.

By September, She was moved out and our house became even quieter. I worked long days, often coming home at nine o’clock at night. My Husband worked second shift and left the house shortly after ten o’clock. Each night my cell phone would vibrate silently, tucked away in my bra, with the same question: “is he gone yet?” As soon as my answer was yes, the phone would ring. We would talk for a few stolen moments as I curled up in bed, cradling the phone as if it were him and tucking it under my pillow after we said goodnight, where I could easily feel the vibration of his “love u” delivered late, late in the night.

In retrospect, I wish I had stopped Her moving out. I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had cared about anything other than that Boy, but I didn’t. It’s no excuse, but what I felt for him was so strong, so consuming, there just wasn’t anything else left.