TAKE IT AS IT COMES
I've always loved the rain. It was in a sudden shower that I first met Lance. He offered me half of his umbrella and we laughed as we ran through the rain. I've always loved the moon. It was by the light of the moon that Lance proposed and presented me with a beautiful solitaire diamond to wear on my left hand and proudly flash to the entire world. I've always loved the wind. It was windy on our wedding day as we stood on the steps of the church getting our pictures taken and my veil blew over my face as we laughed. But I've never liked the sun. I burn easily and it was in the sun as we sat on our blanket and watched Heather and Ellen play in the surf that Lance said he wanted a divorce.
“A divorce?” I asked “but why?” My heart was in my throat as I looked to him for some explanation for his heart wrenching pronouncement. He didn't even look uncomfortable as he sat there staring at me.
“I'm sorry, Carol, but I've met someone else.” And with those words I knew that this wasn't something we could talk out. This was final. If not from his side of the equation, then from mine. I couldn't live with someone who had cheated. Never.
That was all the conversation we had on the subject. He apparently thought he had said enough and I wasn't up to continuing the dialogue. What was said, was said, and couldn't be taken back or erased. It was a hard, cold truth that hung in the air between us daring us to find something appropriate to say and coming up empty.
Late that night he packed his bags and drove away in the green Chevy we kept parked in the driveway. He left me with the old truck in the garage and a broken heart. I watched him drive away and for the first time since his pronouncement had tears in my eyes.
I went to bed and surprisingly slept the night. The next day I went about the same routine I always had and didn't think of Lance except what to say when Heather or Ellen asked about his absence. They never did. It was almost as if they knew. All the signs had been there although I hadn't noticed or didn't want to. To this day I still don't know which. But at age eleven Heather somehow recognized the clues, and Ellen was too young to observe any difference in our lives. Lance often left early for work and stayed late. It was nothing new. Looking back I now could see the significance of this behavior, but never thought, or wanted to think about it before.
But now I contemplated the impact of all that had happened, had been happening. I was to be no longer married, a free single woman, with a full life ahead of her. Somehow this sounded good to me. Freedom that I never had with Lance. The girls and I could build an existence of our own. Or could we? Was I really ready for that kind of freedom?
Someday soon the girls would ask and I now thought I was ready to tell them in simple words. Would he want to see them. Of course he would. Or might. He never won any prizes for being the king of fathers. Take it as it comes I told myself. Or the old adage one day at a time. Right now it was today and I had things to do. For one, line up a babysitter for tonight. I had someplace to be. Lance wouldn't approve but I kept forgetting that his opinion, that he himself, didn't matter anymore. I had told him that I was meeting Sara and Alice for cocktails and he didn't seem to care. Now it didn't matter if he cared or not. Oh well, take it as it comes.
Lori Adamson, a high school girl from down the block was available to sit with the girls. I was grateful because Lance's niece was next on the list and that's where he probably was – at his brother's house celebrating or complaining about what I had done to force his actions. Either way his brother would be right there for him telling him how brave and long suffering he had been or lifting a glass in a toast to his emancipation. Either way, I wouldn't call tonight or any other night for that matter. But Lori was coming to watch the girls so it didn't matter right now. Take it as it comes, one day at a time.
So many things were racing through my mind, pushing and shoving each other out of the way to be the first that I dealt with. Jockeying for position on my to-do list. I had errands to run. The girls could come along and help me choose the items I wanted, actually needed.
It was a short shopping list and the trip was brief. Heather and Ellen each got a small purchase for themselves because they behaved so well and didn't complain when I carefully considered between two items. Dark green, yes, it suited, and sparkling fake gems to make an elegant impression. And then it was over and we headed for home worn out by our little foray to the mall.
Lunch went well until Ellen asked when Daddy would be home. I had forgotten that this question was inevitable, had pushed it to the back of my mind and pretended it would go away, just like Lance. But Ellen asked with all the inquisitiveness of a four year old. I swallowed hard and told her that he would be gone for a while. Baby steps I said to myself. No need to go into the details now. Ellen asked but something told me that Heather already knew. Just the way she looked down at her bowl of mac and cheese when Ellen spoke. Let it be our little secret then. My daughter and I. Lance had left for good and everything was going to change, maybe for the better. Heather might know that because she didn't look sad as she sat silently finishing her meal. We all helped clean up after lunch and the girls went outside to play while I took a long, warm shower.
When Lori arrived dinner was in the oven and the timer was set. Everything was set actually. I went upstairs to get dressed for the evening. About an hour later I left in the truck. I pondered how ridiculous it must look for someone dressed as I was to be driving a truck. But it wasn't the time yet for us to meet at the house. Take it as it comes.
I braved the stares of the patrons in the parking lot as I slipped out of an old clunker and walked bravely to the front door.
“I'm here with Andre LaFleur” I told the man at the entrance. But I needn't have for Andre came over from the table to meet me. He kissed me and I told him the good news. Lance was gone for good. No more hiding our love. When we got to our table he ordered champaign and we toasted the us we had become. The next day we went for a walk in the park with the girls. He kept steering me into the shade as he knew how easily I burned, but I pulled on his arm.
“Let's walk in the sun. I love the sunshine.”