"This is Debra, John's wife."
"Oh...hi Debra. I was just thinking I needed to call and get something on the calendar with you guys. How delightful that you called!" She sat back in her seat and pushed away from her desk a bit.
"I hope it's okay that I called you at your office."
"Of course. What's going on?"
"Well, I was wondering if you were available for a quick coffee? I'm at the Starbucks on the corner by your office."
"Yes. Right now."
"Debra, is everything okay?"
"Not really, but I'd like to talk to you about something."
"Okay. I'll be there in 5 minutes."
"Don't call Mark before you come."
Carolyn sat up straight in her chair. Cocked her head to the side slightly. With a bemused look on her face she said sharply, "Okay."
She hung up the phone and pulled out the bottom drawer of her file cabinet and got out her city shoes. Changed out of her heels, got her coat and her wallet. Her Blackberry. Wrapped her scarf around her neck twice and pulled one end though the other.
"I'm going to the Starbuck's on the corner. Would you like anything?"
Her assistant jumped. Startled. Probably doing something she should't be doing like blog hopping.
"No, but thank you for asking."
And she walked down the hall...her shoulders were squared and her chin set. A good looking woman. A confident woman. A women who knew control.
She walked out of her office past the receptionist and made a left. Walked down the stairs to the main level of the building. The cool marble shiny and yet warm. The security guard nodded in her direction and she nodded back. "Malcolm."
She walked out of the revolving doors and took a right. Adjusted the belt on her coat and breathed in the cold air. Walked steadfastly as her breathe breathed warm air out for all to see.
A woman with a stroller was struggling to get into the door of the Starbucks and she rushed ahead and grabbed the door for her. The woman gratefully clipped a thank you and went inside.
Carolyn stepped through the door and immediately saw Debra sitting at a table by the window.
She walked over and sat down loosening her scarf.
"Okay...I'm here. What's wrong?"
Debra reached behind her and pulled out an envelope from her purse. She laid it on the table.
"I think you should have this."
Carolyn reached for the envelope, saw a T-Mobile logo and looked up confused.
"That has been coming to my home now for the past three months. It's Mark's."
"Why would a bill for Mark come to your house?" She already knew.
"I wondered that too. Thought it was for John. Thought he was cheating on me. Again."
"Again? What do you mean?" She already knew.
"John cheated on me three years ago. Summer of '05."
"Summer of '05? But that was the summer we..." She already knew.
"...we all rented that villa in Spain for 6 weeks. Yes. I know. Guilt. That's how it goes. But hey...we worked through it."
"So you say this bill is for Mark?" She already knew.
"Yes. I got it out of John's office. I make periodic sweeps of it for anything suspicious and ran across them. I only took one."
Carolyn picked up the envelope. "How do you know it's not John's?" She already knew.
"Because I checked. I've been cheated on once. Maybe twice. I've learned a lot."
Carolyn pulled the bill out. Looked at her husband's name with Debra and John's address. Surprised at the calm she felt.
"He travels a lot more than I ever thought he would at this stage you know?"
"Yeah. I know. He golfs a lot less with John too."
"What am I supposed to do with this?"
"Whatever you want to do with it."
"I already knew you know? This doesn't shock me."
"When it happened to me, I knew too."
"How did you let him know you knew?"
"I was getting ready for bed and I just casually mentioned it. He's been making up for it ever since."
"How did you get over it?"
"I haven't. You don't. You can't. You won't."
"Do I know her?"
"Should I be worried about her?"
"What should I do?"
"That's up to you. I can't tell you what to do. I know I couldn't be single again. A divorced woman with three children and half the income I'm used to? No. I couldn't do it."
"How do you love him still?"
"Who says I do? I'm realistic about my options is all." She took a sip of her coffee. "You should get some coffee, or tea. We might be here for a while."
Carolyn stood up, folded the envelope up and put it in her pocket.
Got in line and ordered a grande mocha latte.
- See more at: http://creoleindc.typepad.com/rantings_of_a_creole_prin/author_monica_mingo/#sthash.EfG8PXwN.dpuf