One More Try

The phone rang in the darkness.  I fumbled for it on the bedside table, registering the clock’s red 11:46 as I reached for it.

It was a Saturday night in November.  I was tired after a busy week of Parent Teacher conferences at school, having to ask my brother and sister to help me out with the two evening sessions.  Parent Teacher conferences came on the heels of report cards; I’d spent the whole week before going through over 150 student notebooks, assigning scores for the daily work my students did as we went through our lessons.

I’d spent the evening on my sofa after putting Zach to bed at eight.  It felt like every other Saturday night.  I sometimes went out for drinks with my coworkers on Fridays, but on Saturdays they were all busy with their husbands or wives.  My girlfriend Karen now lived five hours away.  My girlfriend Dawn too was busy in her new home with her husband.  Sometimes my friend B would come over with her son and our boys would play together while we sipped white zinfandel or coffee, depending on our mood.

But mostly, I spent my evenings alone after Zach went to bed.  I felt in such an odd place; still in a much more mature place than everyone I knew at my age, though many of my friends were now married and starting to have families. In some ways, I was purposely isolating myself, not wanting to admit to anyone else that I felt like a lonely failure.

“Hello?” I asked with trepidation.  My caller ID was downstairs, so I had no idea who could be calling at this hour.  Calls this late usually meant bad news; the last time I’d gotten a call at this hour it was my father telling me my great uncle had passed way in Florida.  I had enough elderly relatives to be sure I always answered the phone late at night.

“You’re there, I wasn’t sure you’d be there.”  It was R, sounding far away and emotional.

I had heard from R exactly once since the papers had been filed.  It had been an emotional phone call a few weeks ago when I shared with him that Z was missing him and that he was wondering if he was going to ever see him again.

“I’m here,” I said.  “Where are you?”

Turns out R was in Las Vegas, living it up with his former roommate.  They’d met up in Vegas, each sharing their new good fortunes at the tables and slot machines.

“It’s quarter to nine on a Saturday night,” I said, groggily sitting up in bed.  “You’re in Las Vegas.  What are you doing calling me?”

“I just wanted to hear your voice,” he said.  “I have to know.  Are we really over?”

And so R and I started talking, really talking, for the first time in over a year about our marriage.  With the buffer of safety and distance between us (plus a few beers on R’s part and some drowsiness on mine), we both admitted that we’d done some things wrong.  We agreed that there were some good things about our relationship that both of us missed.

“Have you been dating?” I asked R, curious.

“Actually yes,” R admitted.  “I’ve been seeing one woman pretty regularly for the last few months.”

So my husband had a girlfriend.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  But I was.  “And?”

“And what it’s shown me is that I miss you even more than I realized.  I wish somehow we could just see each other again and see if we’re ready to be done or if maybe we’re worth giving each other another chance.”

Maybe it was the quiet darkness.  Maybe it was my months long loneliness.  Maybe it was the late hour.  But for some reason, I found myself saying:

“I’d like that very much.”

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