Sunday, August 26
I cradled a cup of coffee while waiting in the crowded Starbucks. My eyes shot continual glances at the wall-clock hanging above the baristas' work station. Myriam had said to meet her at 9 but it was already 9:24. "If she's not here by 9:30, I'm leaving," I said to myself. It wouldn't be the last time my typically punctual and reliable friend stood-me-up in the last few weeks. What was going on with her?
9:30. Time to leave. I took that last impossible swig of coffee that always manages to get trapped under the cap of the coffee cup and grabbed my keys, but before I could stand up, Myriam slid herself into the seat across from me.
"Sorry I'm late!" she said. Her eyes glistened and seemed dilated. "I have so much to tell you!"
I sighed and shook my head, but couldn't help but smile back. "Well, let's hear it then!"
After 20 years of working as a receptionist for a law firm, Myriam tells me that she's quit her job and is moving to a house out in the country.
"It's one of those places that you just want to play in. You know, it's empty and dirty and you should be rolling up your sleeves, tying a kerchief round your head, but you don't want to," she tells me. "You just want to twirl around the room and pretend you don't need any furniture except the round table in the middle of the room because everything looks so beautiful just the way it is, cracked paint, uneven floors and all!"
"Are you sure about this?" I ask. My brow is now wrinkled with concern over my dear friend who seems to experiencing a mid-life crisis.
"No. Not really," she ruefully betrays. "It does seem insane. But, I'm going to try it. I'm going to move to this house out in the middle of nowhere and I'm going to sit my butt on a chair and I'm going to write. Because, if I don't do this now I will regret it for the rest of my life."
This last statement leaves her breathless. The smile is gone and tears now stream down her face. "I've got to," she says, half pleading to me, half pleading to herself.
For The Mag
Thursday, August 16
You walk into your house.
All the lights are out. This isn't normal. It's a Tuesday and your wife, your kids, your family is all supposed to be gathering at the dinner table for chicken casserole or something like that.
You flip the kitchen switch on and scan the counter for a note, something to explain their absence, but you find nothing. The counter is as bare as your bald head. Not even a crumb is evident. At least it's clean...which isn't how you feel at this moment.
You shake off the feeling of guilt.
Now is not the time to be thinking about those things.
"Honey! I'm home!" you call out.
You walk into your bedroom. The bedroom you've shared with Lisa for the last 12 years and there, lying on the bed, you find the divorce papers.