Once again, Chris and I slept together in the same bed. Right before I fell asleep, I realized I had not thought about being angry with Chris all day. We spent the whole day together, eating, laughing, cooking, talking and buying cars. No harsh words or rancorous barbs tossed about.
I rose from the bed after I heard Chris snoring to beat the band. I slipped out of the bedroom and made my way to the patio. I needed time to process all that transpired.
I sat in a chair and pulled my knees up to my chin. The night was chilly, so I pulled my knees closer to my chest for warmth. A breeze tugged my hair and blew the sand around. Plants rustled with a dry sound. No wildlife sounds. No bugs, no frogs, no coyotes. I could hear traffic from the nearby city and a plane made its way across the sky. Quiet and peaceful.
When the patio door whispered open, I turned to see Chris standing in his pajama pants and a white t-shirt.
“I missed you,” he said.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” I replied.
He said in a chair beside mine and asked, “Contemplating the night?”
“Not really. More like soul searching.”
Silence fell sharply between us.
“We sure are getting a good look at the sky tonight,” Chris commented.
I nodded and regarded the sky with him.
“Anne, do you want to marry me?” Chris asked suddenly after several minutes.
I turned to watch his face in the moonlight. I saw expectation, fear, and vulnerability. It was so tempting to simply melt into his arms, but I hesitated.
“I am not ready, Chris. The anger is too deep.” I whispered.
“Do you want to divorce me?” he whispered back, like a little boy who is as afraid of the question as he is of the answer.
“I am not ready for that, either.”
“Anne, I emailed Kathy and told her to move on because it was finished between us. I emailed Dan to tell him that I would fire her as soon as I got back and why, and he told me she turned in a resignation and walked out of the office. Her parting shot was asking Dan to tell me to screw myself. In so many words.”
I watched the desert for long minutes and then I asked Chris, “When did you email her?”
“Somewhere between Tallahassee and Mobile.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“You wouldn’t have listened or you would have thought it was a game of some kind.”
“You’re probably right. Chris, I am glad you did that, but it still doesn’t fix everything.”
“I didn’t think it would,” he said. “It was just the first step in fixing me. She has texted several times and emailed. I have deleted all her texts and blocked her number from my phone. I blocked her email address, too.” He gazed intently at the night, not facing me. “Can you ever forgive me?” he whispered.
“I don’t know,” I told him, truthfully. I rose from my chair and returned to the quiet house. I padded softly to the bathroom and then returned to the bed.
Chris returned in about fifteen minutes and I pretended to be asleep, keeping my breaths deep and even and my eyes forced shut. I felt his eyes on my for long minutes. Finally, he sighed and got under the blanket.
Sometime in the tiny hours of the morning, we fell asleep back to back instead of spooning.