The Notebook

“Now where is that damn notebook?”  I muttered to myself, frustrated.

I was in what had been serving as Dawn and her children’s bedroom, formerly Zach’s bedroom.  She’d been with me for the better part of a month, and my nerves were starting to fray.  I’d been happy to welcome her and her two children into my home after she started having trouble with her husband, and for the first week or two, things were fantastic.  I’d come home to find the house cleaned, the dinner made and the groceries supplemented by Dawn.  Dawn was going to school but wasn’t in classes this term, so she had her days free to watch the children and be my housewife.

But it didn’t take long for little things to start to bother me.   Her children, who didn’t have to go to daycare at the crack of dawn like mine, would stay up late and keep my son awake.  Or Dawn would spend too much time on the phone with this friend or that friend, running up my long distance bill.   She would use my computer and fire up my new “America Online” at all hours, meeting strangers and giving them my home phone number.  I was starting to get that “in the tunnel” feeling about the whole situation, and had wondered aloud when Dawn would be finding a place more permanent than my spare bedroom.

Which is why I was blissfully alone in the house today, save Zachary.  Dawn’s husband had taken her children for the weekend, and she was out looking at apartments that would take public funding.   She had called, asking me to find the notebook with the address of the place she was looking at today; she must have written it down wrong on her slip of paper because there was no such address on the street she’d just looked at.   She was standing at a pay phone, waiting for me to return her call while I found it.

She thought she might have left it on her dresser, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.  She said if it wasn’t there to try the top drawer, so I started digging.  Sure enough, there was the notebook.  Where was the number?  I started flipping through pages upon pages of handwritten words, stories and doodles; a name popped out at me:  “RAY”.  My heart skipped a beat.  Was Dawn writing about me and Ray without telling me?  I looked to the sentence:  “And so Ray strummed his guitar, looking intently at the strings as if they would take away the tension between us.”

I nearly dropped the notebook, and had completely forgotten the task at hand.

Before I could go any further, I made myself find the number and call Dawn back; she was waiting.  I read off the address to her breathlessly, hearing her curse as she realized she was a good two miles away from the right address.  She thanked me and I quickly returned to the notebook as I hung up the phone.

“And while my best friend slept upstairs, I found myself unzipping her ex fiance’s pants, eager and willing to give him what she would not.”

I must have gasped too loudly because I could hear Zachary in the next room.  “Mommy, is everything all right?”

“S-s-sure, honey, everything is…fine…” I trailed off as my eyes transfixed themselves to the page.  I continued to read the marvelously detailed story of how two weeks ago, when Ray had spent the night after his guest speaking stint at my school, he and Dawn had fooled around on my living room floor while I went to bed early to make sure I would be on my game at school.

I shouldn’t be upset at this, I told myself.  I mean, after all, I wasn’t dating Ray anymore.  He wasn’t my fiance any more.  Truth be told, he was separated from his wife and she was the person with legitimate claim to Pissed Offness.   But somehow, I still felt like both of them had thrown away a piece of the trust I’d given them.   Dawn had been my best friend all during high school and college when I’d dated Ray; she knew first hand how tortured my feelings had been for him.  She’d been the one who had encouraged me to call him after he’d left me for weeks on end with an engagement ring but no contact.  Of any person on Earth, it was Dawn who should have known that I would be conflicted to hear about him with anyone, much less my best friend.  Who was also married, but separated.  And living with me.

I reread the short story one more time and then tucked the notebook back in Dawn’s dresser.   She would realize, later, that she’d sent me to find that story.  Maybe she already did; maybe this was her way of telling me without having to do it face to face.

I didn’t know what to think, or say, or feel.    I only knew one thing for sure:  I felt betrayed, whether I had a right to or not.

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One Response

  1. I do think you had a right to feel betrayed. I’m a little shocked that she had the poor taste to pen such a thing while living in your home.

    And, happy blogaversary to you!

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