A penny for your thoughts…
And a dollar if I share them?
If I owned the franchise, it wouldn’t matter. You’d still be a mystery. The only puzzle I’ll ever love.
And we’ll always be together; the enigma, the angel and the two children.
Child and a half, my dear.
An elegant mommy with bottomless eyes.
Hmmm. So, what have you been doing? I mean before you flattered me? Journaling again?
It helps to sort things out. Clear my head. Intensify the good and purge the bad.
What have you been writing? Something philosophical?
No. About us. From the beginning. Before things were…before.
You mean back when your words were beautifully distant and you kept to yourself? Before the thaw?
I kept to myself because it wouldn’t do any good wandering your streets with all the baggage we collected during all those childish arguments. I mean, what good would closeness have served after it came apart? It’s like living with an ex.
Then how did this happen? Did we grow up or just admit something to ourselves? I got the man I wanted even though both of us were married and I had a son. It didn’t happen as smoothly as I would have liked, but…here we are.
I’ve no idea. I’m a stepdad about to become a father with a woman who wouldn’t look at me a year and a half ago.
Oh, I’d look. Believe me. But you just irritated the hell out of me by even refusing to be a friend. I felt like a leper and you wouldn’t explain yourself. I didn’t know there was some colorful rumor about us that kept you away.
It doesn’t matter now, I guess. Just put it behind us.
Mom thinks you’re a great catch.
Nice to know. Better than what she used to think about me.
She was protecting me. She thought I should marry someone closer to my age and live a suburban fantasy. We fought a lot then and I did marry Rick and we had Matthew and I thought I was happy. Wife, mother, career woman; with a steady, dependable man and an energetic little boy. And you seemed happily married, too. So my passion for you was – sort of deactivated. I wasn’t going to be an adulterer and a cheat. Christ, the guilt would kill me! You pulled away and made it easy.
That’s what friends are for, I suppose. Your coldness made it easy for me to assume it was all a crush…and that it had been crushed. What else could I think? That’s when I built a career out of counseling and therapeutic journaling.
And erotic poetry? Your book was a gift from a friend who didn’t know you but thought your writing was –ah- compelling. But it was so full of details about us, things I thought you forgot. That’s what caused all this change. I mean, Rick and I just weren’t right, but I never expected him to ask me for a divorce. And when your wife died…
The world changed. I know. She was always much more ambitious than I was. Thermonuclear, in fact. Heather was a beautiful H-bomb of motivation in my one horse world. I was just happy to orbit close enough to success to help someone else taste it. She wanted to be the sun. So we never managed to share our passions with each other. I did love her and she was a good woman but it all felt so utilitarian, as if it was a duty. She wanted me to write at least one erotic poem with her as the centerpiece, but…it was like watering a plastic plant. Then, when she flew to the coast to be with her parents and the plane crashed on the runway, the little bit I had turned to hell. And I felt very guilty for having misled someone into a mirage of happiness. I shouldn’t have felt relief when she died, I should have been depressed. I should have wept. But the entire six years of the marriage had become Oscar worthy at this point, so why not the final frame? Everyone thought I was in shock that day, but I was actually empty-numb. She deserved a better end.
But you’re a good man; you always were. You just lived a bad stretch and came out whole. You were a loyal husband to a good woman and outlasted a tragedy. That’s all in your rearview, hon. I think we both deserve a little happiness now.
The baby, I felt the baby kick.
…new lamps for old…
What was that, hon?
A new life and some new magic. From a lovely round belly.
God, I’m as big as a whale. Well anyway, get used to it. Now you’re going to be called “Daddy” twice as often.
I think I can handle that.
Fine. Now let’s get some rest…
…and let the rest go.