Have you ever had one of those weeks? One where you are always wrong or in the wrong or just can’t do the right thing? Punctuated with a two minute tirade over a box of teabags and a forty minute sulking session. Follow that up with a twenty minute discussion of ‘my problems’. Welcome to my world, no wonder I was feeling fragile.
No solo grocery shopping this week either. Everyone is super polite as we exit the car and head into the shopping centre. I have my list in hand, looking it over, smiling at the addition of ‘chips and lollies’ in a childish scrawl, so I am taken completely by surprise when I look up and see him.
He is not looking at me, his eyes are on the cell phone in his hand. The children’s father is not looking at me either, he is too busy directing the children. So I stare. And for a few moments I relive the thrill, the intensity, of those stolen minutes with him.
“Just groceries Lillian?” His voice drags me back to reality and I nod.
I don’t know why he asks, it’s always just groceries. As we draw closer to him, I glance around, realise I’m looking for the other woman and the child from last week. A wave of guilt and self-disgust engulfs me and I look down, not wanting to see if he is looking at me. Neither of us is in a position to judge really and his reaction to my wedding ring makes a bit more sense. After all, why would he care that I was married if he was in a relationship also. We were both just cheats.
Shopping is done without too many problems. Of course the children’s father protested the chips and other treats that made their way into the cart, amongst the fresh fruit and vegetables, but I insisted. I knew we would ‘discuss’ it later but he didn’t make a scene. Finally we were done and I trailed behind the others as I checked the docket. An arm brushed against me, jostling me and I dropped the strip of paper.
“I’m sorry,” a deep voice said as I bent to scoop up the docket, a familiar voice, and I froze in place, watched as his hand grabbed the docket from the ground.
“It’s fine,” I mumbled not looking at him.
“No, I’m really sorry about -”
“Lillian? Everything okay?” The husband’s voice was properly concerned as I looked up to find him watching us with a curious smile.
“Yes, I just dropped the docket,” I called back.
“Here you go miss.” He dropped it into my open palm and walked away.
“Nice of him to stop,” the husband said as I took a couple of steps towards him and the children.
“Yes it was,” I agreed as I shoved the paper into my handbag. I sat with my handbag in my lap on the way home, placed it in its usual spot when we arrived home. Unpacking the shopping took a few minutes then I was able to take a few minutes to go to the bathroom.
I put down the toilet seat lid and I sat down, my hands trembling as I unfolded the piece of paper he had handed me, along with the shopping docket. His writing was a little messy.
I’m so sorry about last week. I didn’t intend to stand you up. Had to rescue my sister (long story). Please talk to me. Call, write, anything. Please. I’m sorry. Tyler
Neatly printed under the note were a mobile phone number and an email address.
So much information to process. Had the woman I’d seen him with been his sister? Now I knew his name, and if his email address was accurate, he was younger than me. Green eyes, no Tyler, used bikerboy78, I could be closetslut74 … well maybe not. My mind raced at the possibilities. I couldn’t use his number but I could create a new email to contact him with. But should I? What was the point? How could I not?