Meredith crawled into my lap and clung tight.
“I love you, Mommy.”
All right, what’s going on?
What did you do?
“So…what’s up, Honey?”
“Nothing. You look sad.”
Didn’t see that one coming. Look away and blink back the tears, pat kid on back reassuringly. Look into innocent face with bright cheery look.
“Uh, mommy’s not sad. Mommy’s just thinking.”
She lost interest after a while, and slid off and went looking for something else.
There is this bond between a man and a woman when they fall in love. It happens very quickly.
In my bio it says I am recovering from a life-threatening illness. His name is Richard. He’s out west now with his new wife and three sons of hers. They range in age from about six to fourteen. I don’t think he was running from responsibility. It didn’t work out for him if he was. She’s three inches taller and six years older than him. That seems significant for some reason. She’s a tall, straggling woman with dark, smudgy pouches under her eyes. Somehow they have that bond.
For all it matters now, I wish them all the best. I think I really mean that. There have been moments of hate. But that’s over now, and for good. And thank God for that. I sort of promised myself I’m not going to bad-mouth the child’s father around her all the time…
But that bond is still strong for me, too. Rick swept me off my feet in some ways. I kid myself that he looked beyond the pimples on my chin back then, and a slight tendency to pudge up around the middle when I was really retaining water. When I was sick, or felt fat and ugly, I mean, he really did care about me. Fuck, he was such a nice man. I would hate to think he married me by mistake—for all the wrong reasons. He really did care for me at the time. I still love something about him, how he was, back then, at least at first and for the longest time. For some reason that sort of thought is bad for me. It doesn’t do me any good, that much is clear.
It’s a cliché, but I never even saw it coming. We’d been through a kind of bad stretch relationship-wise, and yet we were making love again, and I think he really tried. Rick really tried. Whereas I just thought it was working again, and didn’t see any underlying problems. We seemed happy. I was happy.
It all went to hell over a period of about six weeks and then he was gone. End of story.
Yet that bond is so strong—and I wonder if he can figure it out, or forget any better than I can.