Friday, April 30, 2010

Emma's Story

Mar 30, 2010
Emma sat flicking the edge of her coffee cup with her left index finger. Her nail, polished and long reflected elegance that she presented to the world but a small chip in her manicure was evident. Her wedding ring sparkled in the artificial light and she bit her lower lip remembering with a painful smile a moment she wished she could forget.

He'd just left their breakfast meeting, which she arranged for the purpose of saying farewell and let's be friends, and she felt hollow. No with a smile is the only way she could allow herself to feel . No was the only thing, the only right choice, and the only option. She had misread even her own intentions believing she was strong enough now. She realized that the love she felt was truly one-sided in a less than romantic and painful affair she was on the cusp of beginning. He had fallen prey to her effective seductive reasoning and even though she'd attempted to avoid it, found herself in his embrace for a second time. Almost a year had passed since their first unintended kiss and she thought that it truly had ended, or at least he was strong enough to keep her at bay. She hadn't really even flirted that evening, even went far to the contrary, but cocktails had accomplished all the convincing needed to make bad decisions. A moment as she stood with keys in hand and everything changed. Emma had driven home flushed with the glow of a woman who'd felt something different and pale with the fear of what had just been unleashed. That was just over two weeks ago.

He had been gracious, understanding, and respectful. He hadn't fought for her, or begged her to keep him in her life, he's just said "Roger That", as if he expected this outcome all along and had waited patiently for her to come to the same conclusion. She felt played, and was shocked to feel that way. In all her single years and romantic endeavors, she'd never been treated like a toy and this was an unexpected first.

"What would I lose, what could I lose, what should I lose to keep this fantasy, this stupid obsession, this ridiculous perforation of reality alive in my mind," she thought as she stood to leave the overly chipper breakfast joint.

The arc of emotions over the last 17 days had been exhausting. She'd accomplished a monumental sale for her burgeoning media consulting business, been asked to be on the board of directors at an auspicious Think Tank, ran her 6th marathon, and had some very intense fights with her husband of nearly 7 years (together for 10.) She had married young, in a different state of mind, and fell into a pattern with a man she probably wouldn't now choose but hindsight is 20/20 and she'd made the decision not the be "that woman" if she could.

She approached her car, keys in hand, and had another painful flash memory of that night. Frankly even she was surprised by how limber she suddenly had become. Happily distracted by the ringing of her phone she tapped her earpiece.

"This is Emma. Oh hang-on - blue tooth's not picking up"

Fumbling with her keys and digging into her soon to be seasonally inappropriate winter bag, she found her iPhone and was a little taken aback to see who was calling. 

"Hi Mom"

"Emma, you need to schedule dinner with your father and I. We have news to share, and I don't want to worry you, so here it is. Your father is retiring and he wants to tell you in person. You are impossible to schedule anything with, so I wanted to make sure you know to answer his call, schedule a dinner, and bring Kurt."

Emma breathed a small sigh of relief realizing there was absolutely no way her mother could possibly have known what she was thinking about and agreed to set the dinner promptly. It was a welcome surprise to learn that her father, who had managed M&A investments for over 40 years was finally going to retire. He, at last, was ready to take his three heart by-passes on a much needed vacation to the beach house.
Dinner came two night's later and somehow Emma had managed to avoid texting, emailing, calling, and even the unnecessary e-creeping for an entire 48 hours. It honestly nearly broke her heart, an emotion she again was unfamiliar with. She was the heart breaker. She'd put her remaining energies into planning a shower for her good friend's wedding and a bachelorette party for her college roommate. Tasks she found both ironic and comforting, as if the very act of supporting a new marriage would in fact heal her own.

Kurt had picked her up from the office so they could arrive at the club together, and their conversation was friendly, sweet, some might even say loving. Kurt had been having the very best sex of his life thanks to his wife's new found insatiable appetite. All sorts of adventurous and acrobatic evenings had transpired lately. Emma of course was trying to quiet a wandering mind by replacing a memory with new ones. It wasn't working and while he was quite happy, she was still trying to re-create a feeling that may have never been there.

Dinner began with the customary glasses of wine, and obligatory small talk. Kurt shared that his company was sending him to Thailand for a few weeks towards the end of the spring. Everyone agreed that Emma should meet him for a week or so. Her father made his announcement and her mother looked on approvingly. What surprised her the most about the meal was his first time ever in her life - emphatic encouragement that she and Kurt look to conceive a child.

"There is nothing better for a marriage and you two have been together long enough that clearly it's going to work out. You will get such joy out of being parents and I'm not putting pressure on you, but you really should think about it."

"Scott, we have been waiting for the right time, but you are right, there will never be a perfect time. We'll definitely think about it!" Kurt's eyes sparkled at the thought of being a father, and she winced through pearly whites.

Emma's third glass of wine was enough to calm her for the ride home and she engaged in enthusiastic banter about her father's dance with mortality and need for a new hobby. He'd even offered to help with his yet to be conceived grandchild. What Emma hadn't told either her husband or her father was that she'd been off the pill for over two years and according to her own doctor, there was nothing technically stopping conception, except perhaps god.

The next morning her coffee couldn't be strong enough and the nausea was almost collegiate in it's enthusiasm. Kurt dropped her off for work and she closed her door immediately to "make some calls". It was noon before she was feeling better. A quick look at her calendar reminded her that she was likely a bit pre-menstral.

Unfortunately, Emma was faced with seeing him again as they were still working on a project together. She hated that she was hung over and hoped he'd re-schedule. She ignored the red light on her office line hoping he'd find her lack of reply sufficiently off-putting. The meeting was uneventful, as there were eight other attendees. While she negotiated better terms for the agreement, he looked at her with the ice blue eyes she'd fallen in love with pretty much the moment they met. She trembled a bit on the inside, and it was over in an hour. That evening while driving home, she cried for the first time in a while. Really really cried.

The morning came with a reiteration of the hangover from the day prior. She could certainly blame the two glasses of wine and medicinal calming assistance from her hippy cousin in Santa Cruz, but something was different. Dread began at 6 AM as she struggled through her first post marathon spin class. She looked in the mirror as she rode sweaty and dizzy, staring into her own blue eyes.

The test was positive, or Pregnant, as they now stated clearly in electronic defiance of confusion. She'd only bought one this time, unlike all the other times she'd purchased 5 to be sure. She walked out to her car and sat quietly listening to the music of her own heartbeat and remembering in a full flood of images the night that transpired in the roomy back seat of her Audi SUV. She hadn't even thought about protection. Married girls don't.

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