She said “I just wanted to tell you, and I don’t blame you if you don’t want to talk about it or even ever want to talk to me again” and the second message that was sent 2 hours later simply said “I’m so sorry.”
It tugged at Darius’ heartstrings. Now he felt like she was left feeling guilty and alone. Remorseful for her previous indiscretions. He felt like she was a tortured animal waiting to be released from the torture that she was in.
He had no other choice than to simply respond “it’s ok. I really appreciate that you contacted me, to let me know how you feel. I promise that I am not holding any grudges any longer and I don’t wish any ill on you. Thank you for apologizing. It feels good to know that you feel that way, but I don’t want you to dwell on it. Please don’t feel guilty about it. I forgive you. We are both adults, and we can both move on.”
Not wanting to deal with the emotionalism, he disregarded the rest of his messages. Before he could turn off the phone he was given the response of another smiley face emoji. He quickly responded in a similar fashion and turned off his phone again.
Three weeks later Darius and his ex-wife Allison were carrying on three to four conversations a week on Facebook. They exchanged pleasantries and caught up on what they had been doing with work and life. Darius did hold back, he didn’t mention everything. He didn’t mention where he lived. He tried not to give out any details just in case she turned out to be lying and plotting. Just in case she had lost her mind again, he didn’t want to give her any ammunition to use against him in an emotional attack, but he did enjoy talking to her.
One day he looked at the screen and saw a message that said “I think it would be easier to talk about this through text. What’s your phone number?”
Darius hesitated, and he thought about it for a few minutes.
Then he thought “What could it hurt? She seems like she’s come a long way. She has told me about all the psychotherapy that she’s been doing to overcome her mental stability issues and she has really worked on her own mental health and improving her life. I’m sure it’s ok, it’s safe to give her my cell phone number. It’s still not in person and if she blows her top I can always just block her.”
Having convinced himself, Darius gave her his cell phone number and shortly after he received the following text “So, I’ve been really bored lately and thinking it would really be fun to just go out for dinner. I haven’t done that in a long time. Are you interested in joining me?”
Darius thought about it long and hard. He breathed deeply and thought about the past. She had lied to him when she had been carrying on relationships with other men while they were married. He thought about how she had snuck around and how she used him and manipulated his every emotion. He decided to turn off the phone and the computer and go about his day. He had to go to a local museum and give a talk about the neoclassical roman culture to a group of colleagues. He put his phone in his pocket and walked outside. He quickly walked over to the gate of his fenced in backyard, opening it and stepping in. Henry quickly ran up, wagging his tail and rubbing his head into his masters’ leg, happy to see his human friend. Darius patted Henry on the head and made sure that he had a full bowl of water.
He looked at his dog. “Well Henry, I’ve gotta go do some stuff. Daddy has to go talk to some people about some dead people. I’ll see you when I get home, and we will worry about the crazy lady then. Ok?”
Henry seemed to knowingly and wisely stare up at Darius. The big dog quickly bobbed his head up to give the hunched-over man a quick lick on his face in reassurance.
“That’s right, yes, we are,” Darius said to his dog giving him one more pat before exiting out the gate again.
Darius took a quick look at all he had accomplished since he severed ties with Allison and wondered if it was because he had severed ties with Allison that he had been able to rebuild such a success. He looked at his metallic champagne colored Escalade, gave himself a mental pat on the back and climbed in. He pressed the button that started the engine and in moments, had backed out of his driveway, focusing his thoughts on the presentation that he needed to give.
A few hours later, the Escalade rolled back into the driveway. Darius opened the gate and Henry came bursting out. He ran through the front yard. Darius grabbed the tennis ball that he kept on the front stoop and spent the next half hour throwing the ball for a happy Great Dane, avoiding the issue that had weighed on the back of his mind throughout his day. Henry had given up, meaning he was tired and laying on the ground refusing to give up his tennis ball again. He was panting so heavily that he could barely breathe and hold the tennis ball at the same time. Darius slowly walked up the front steps of his home, reluctantly followed by Henry, slinking in with his tennis ball. Soon the two sat nestled comfortably in the living room by the fireplace.
Darius pulled the cell phone out of his pocket, turned it on and replied “Ya sure. Are you thinking coffee or sushi?”
A week later Darius nervously entered the most elegant sushi restaurant he had ever seen. It was all glass and polished black marble. Very well dressed Japanese waiters brought a wide variety of fish and rice dishes to the tables of hungry and wealthy patrons.
A young Japanese waitress eagerly approached him at the front door and asked, “Are you dining for one?”
Darius chuckled and said, “No, I’m meeting someone here.”
Darius apprehensively wondered if she would be there, although he knew that she had already texted him as he arrived to say that she was inside.
The waitress said, “oh ok, do you see your friend?”
Darius leaned into the restaurant, peeking to see the straight red hair he recognized and said, “yes, she’s right over there.”
“Ok, ok.” said the waitress, “let me take you to your seat.”
The waitress guided him to the table and he saw Allison looking as well dressed and beautiful as he had ever seen her. It was no surprise that she always had some of the most eye-catching and elegant dresses that he had ever seen on a woman. Their friends had been jealous of how well dressed that she was. No surprise considering that she worked as a buyer for one of the country’s largest and most upscale fashion retailers. She literally had the power to decide what dresses would be good enough to be sold to the richest of clientele. She made sure that she always knew which dresses were the best quality from first-hand experience. Her eyes were bright. She lit up when she saw Darius, as if seeing someone that had been lost or out of touch for decades. To some extent, Darius guessed that he was actually was someone who had been out of touch for a long time. Three years had felt like much longer for him, and he thought maybe it had felt that way for her too. He approached his seat thinking it would be easy to sit down and get over his nerves, when she bolted out of her seat and rushed towards him, arms spread out and gave him a greeting hug.
“Oh my god, give me a hug. It's so nice to see you” she said, and she squeezed him.
He wrapped his arms around her and returned the hug. He would have hated to admit it, and wouldn’t have if someone asked, but it felt good. As if his body had remembered something that was natural and that it had missed for a long time. Their hug extended a few seconds beyond what was normal and comfortable for just acquaintances.
They sat and Allison said, “So, how are you? Oh my god, you must be so excited. I heard that the next movie is coming out. The one based on your book about the Aztecs and your research into them.”
“Yes,” Darius said with a grin and a bit of a chuckle. “Yes, all that glamorous stuff has definitely been a boost for my overall lifestyle.”
Allison was full of questions about the movies that were being made from Darius’s books.
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