Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Center of it All XI

There was a time when Fran and I could sit and talk for hours. Conversation flowed between us, whether it was about the kids, work, or the weather. She always thought there was nothing we couldn’t talk about, and maybe she was right. We would sit on the couch, or play a game, and spend the entire time drawn in riveting conversation.

In fifteen years, there were only two things we never tried talking about. The first was Yoni. That he had disappeared from our lives made his absence in our conversation easy. The second was the day at the house. It was my secret, my cross to bear. Perhaps she never asked about it because she didn’t know anything about that day.

That day at the house caused a rift between us, unfair because she never knew the damaged goods that she had married, and never had a chance to try and heal those wounds. On those rare occasions when she found me out of bed in the middle of night, sweating profusely and unable to go back to sleep, she would ask what was wrong. And I would lie each time and make up something about work or money troubles.

There was always some truth to what I was saying, which was why Fran never pushed me, never forced me to bear myself to her.

When our marriage did fall apart, there was never any doubt in my mind that standing between us was the Smithson house. Even though it was no longer occupying my thoughts, even though the dreams had disappeared, the lies I told to cover up that day had a deteriorative affect on our marriage. It was a fault line that eventually cracked through the solid foundation we had built.

And when she told me she wanted a divorce, I knew that slowly, over the years, I had pushed her away.

I could have come clean then, and there were nights, sitting alone and crying in a house that was once filled with the voices of children and the scents of family, when I nearly called her, begged her to let me come home, and told her what really happened. But the words were too hard to say, and had been left unsaid for so long, so they remained buried, unspoken, forming a wall between us.

It had been a long time since Fran and I had anything resembling a conversation, but now I needed to talk to her. About one of our taboo topics. I needed to find out whatever she knew about the other girl.

Our divorce had been smooth, as divorces go. She got the house and custody, I got alimony I needed to pay, and the clothes on my back. Eighteen months later she was remarried, and I was trying my hardest to bury myself in my work and see my kids every once in a while.

I had only met my ex-wife’s second husband a few times, mostly as we passed children back and forth, and as much as I hated top wish it, I hoped he treating Fran well, and being a good father to my kids. Whenever I called, I prayed that he wouldn’t answer, and when he did, there were a few awkward words that would pass between us before he would mercifully pass the phone over to the woman with whom I once shared a life.

“Yoni,” I muttered as I dialed the phone, “this one’s for you.”

The phone rang, and Eli answered. I was so focused on what I would say to Fran or her second husband that it didn’t occur to me that my daughter would answer.

“Hi Eli,” I said, pleased to hear her voice on the other end of the phone.

“Daddy,” she shrieked, and then asked when I would come take her ice skating. She just got new skates, and wanted to show me how quickly she had learned to skate.

I promised her I would talk to her mother about going skating, and asked to speak to her mom.

Fran must have been standing right next to the phone, because she took it from Eli immediately after Eli said goodbye.

“Yes,” she said, and I could hear the weariness in her voice. “What do you want?” she asked me.

“Eli wants me to take her skating,” I answered. “Is this Sunday afternoon OK?”

“If you were involved in her life you’d know she was busy this Sunday, Tuli. Besides, that’s not what you called for. What do you want?”

“I need to see you. I need to talk to you,” I said quietly.

“We’re talking now.”

“Not like this. I need to see you in person. It’s important.”

“Are your parents sick?”

“No”

“Then what do you need to talk to me about?”

“Can you meet me for lunch tomorrow? Please?”

“What for?”

“Yoni died,” I said slowly and softly.

“Good,” she answered. “I hope that bastard’s burning deep in Hell.”

“Wow. I never knew you were that angry at him. After all these years.”

“Look, he lied to me, made me feel things I had never felt before, and then the son of a bitch dumps me for Gila Carmen.”

I grabbed a pen off my counter, and wrote the name Gila Carmen on a notepad next to the phone.

“Gila Carmen?” I asked.

“Yeah, That big slut. I was never friends with anyone girls from Milwaukee after that.”

I wrote Milwaukee on the paper under her name.

“How come you never told me that before,” I asked.

“There were a lot of things we never talked about. Not that you cared. Look, I have to go. I’m not getting together with you, and I don’t want to talk about Yoni Winters ever again. You want to talk to someone, get a girlfriend, call your shrink, I don’t care what you do.”

I was still holding the phone next to my ear when she slammed the phone down on the cradle.

I looked at the piece of paper on the counter. I had the information I needed to start searching.

The preceding story is fiction. You can find the beginning of this story on this blog


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  • 9 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The questions is... Have you decided what happened at the house yet?

    SAK

    9:14 AM  
    Blogger Air Time said...

    yeah. I know what happened at the house. we're two or three parts away from that.

    9:23 AM  
    Blogger Gebrec said...

    Nice - Always a good read!

    9:36 AM  
    Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

    Well, i guess that's not happening...

    3:21 PM  
    Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

    gooooood

    but please editor check
    "Fern(?) must have been standing right next to the phone"

    4:51 PM  
    Blogger macabee said...

    Airtime,

    Glad you are back to writing. Pretty realistic divorce stuff... though I doubt the daughter would be so excited to speak to dad, if he isn't part of her life.

    Can't wait to find out what happened at the house.

    Keep us in suspense for as long as you can.

    8:13 PM  
    Blogger Krunk said...

    wow...what a bitch this fran is...

    1:25 AM  
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