The following day, as if on cue, Laura rang to see how things were going. There was no use trying to gloss over the facts. So I just came right out and said, “I told him I wanted a divorce last night.” Unfortunately, between her kids and mine, we couldn’t really discuss things further as we were surrounded by several pairs of listening ears. We both hung up, promising to reconnect in a few days.
I grabbed my iPad and opened up Facebook, only to find I had no reply from Billy. I could see he read my message though. And to be honest, it was driving me nuts. I didn’t know where Billy’s head was at, and all I wanted to do was talk to him face to face. My heart was still racing every time I thought of him. But his silence was invading my thoughts during the day. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him going mute, so I decided to go for a run. In fact, I spent several hours running that week. I just had to keep myself busy, as any downtime brought my thoughts back to him. Perhaps Billy just needed time to mull things over before he responded. That is what I told myself, until Laura finally phoned later that week.
“Please don’t be mad. I am your friend and I want to talk to you about something. Are you alone?”
Catching my breathe I replied, “Yeah, I just finished my run. I’m walking back to my car. Why? What’s up?”
Laura filled her lungs in and sighed, “I kept thinking about Billy and how you told your husband you wanted a divorce. And it was really bothering me that Billy hadn’t replied to you. I couldn’t sleep. I kept tossing and turning thinking about everything. First the reunion, then the party. By around midnight, I finally got up and logged into Facebook.”
“Billy was online so I messaged him. I explained that I knew everything. That I had read his messages and didn’t understand why he wasn’t replying to you. I said if he didn’t feel comfortable talking to you face to face, would he talk to me?'”
I implored, “And what did he say?”
“He said yes. So yesterday, Nick and I met Billy for coffee. Just the three of us. Nick just sat there listening. He knows everything too. But he just sat there for moral support while I grilled Billy.”
“FUCK, are you kidding me?”
“No. Look, I was just trying to help out because I don’t want you throwing your marriage away. I told Billy that I considered you a really good friend and as your friend, if he is serious about you, then he better step up and say so right now. You have kids. You’re seriously contemplating leaving your husband now. And while trying to pull this relationship into the real world, it appears he is stalling things.”
She continued, “I honestly think you married the right person. Yes, he cheated on you. And yes, you’ve been through some shitty years now. And likely, you haven’t entirely dealt with that. But I really believe your marriage can be restored. I care about you honey. I don’t want you making a mistake that you will end up regretting later.”
Wiping the sweat away from my face and the occasional tear I said, “So what did Billy say?”
“He admitted to having feelings for you. And flirting with you. But he has been down this road before. And he was emphatically clear that he wants no part whatsoever in breaking up any marriage. Good or bad. He just can’t go down this road again.”
“Ok…” I said as I tried to swallow the ever present lump in my throat that was forming.
Laura continued, “You know our church talked about this before. But I have never seen it play out before my eyes. They talked about people reuniting with past boyfriends or old classmates from school. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know, both parties think they have feelings for one another. The thing that struck me the most about your story was the second you tried to take your relationship outside the virtual world, he froze.”
“My phone is about to die. And I have to get home. Can I call you later?”
“Yeah that’s fine. I just wanted to say that I am sorry if you feel I overstepped any boundaries. But I felt you deserved an answer. Billy suddenly turned into this wimpy little kid that couldn’t even communicate. I mean come on, what are we fourteen? He needed to man up and respond to you. This is just bullshit from my perspective and Nick agrees too.”
Feeling pressure mounting in my chest now, I responded, “Yeah I agree. It’s just I would have rather have had the opportunity to talk to him face to face. So I could get closure myself. There is a lot to be said for body language and all those non verbal clues. I know he feels what I feel. But I get it. This would be a game changer for his life. Who really wants to date a divorced mother with two kids?”
“Honey, there’s a reason why Billy is still single, despite being incredibly good looking. He sucks at relationships, that’s why he’s not married! Just keep that in perspective ok?”
“Alright. Thanks Laura. I do appreciate it. The closure part. Should I email him one last time?”
“Sure, say your goodbye’s but then unfriend him immediately. I’ll be watching.”
I fished my key out of my sports bra and unlocked my car. Tears started to well up in my eyes thinking I would never see him again. But I clenched my teeth and held my composure together. As I turned the key counter-clockwise in the ignition, chords from a piano started to play solemnly on the radio.
Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you
The tears that I had been holding back leaked from my eyes. One streamed down my face. Then another. The salty liquid reached my quivering lips as I felt my heart surging with sadness. A sense of loss overcame me as I closed my eyes and pursed my lips. In a flash, I was standing back at the bar. Billy locking eyes with me. Smiling. Staring at me intently. I could almost reach out to him, it was that fresh in my mind. The image and that moment seemed purposely ingrained.
So poignant. That moment. Sitting in the car.
As the lyrics played out over the radio, I knew what I had to do.
It was time to say goodbye to Billy.