Friday, October 23, 2009

Caramel Sauce and Babies

He smells like caramel.

I let them have caramel sauce with sliced apples for dessert. She got it in her hair and it clung through bath time. She smelled delicious and had the most adorable, sticky curls for bedtime. I'll deal with it tomorrow.

He looks like an angel when he sleeps. He's beautiful, the visage pregnant mothers the world over dream of while they wait. Hell on wheels awake, but so perfect now when the world is still and dark and he has finally given up the day. The only beauty he lacks in sleep is cornflower blue eyes that reveal every plot and mischief that crosses that hyperkinetic brain.

I wonder if angels really smell like caramel. If they don't, they should.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Midlife crisis

Somthing's different. She isn't sure what it is, exactly, but equilibrium is gone. They've worked together for so long, toward the same objective. Things should be good. He's gotten what he wanted. Maybe it's her turn to work on herself.

It's a little scary that they cashed in their entire retirement for him to open his own law firm, but it's a calculated risk. They are near forty. If they wait any longer it will be too late.

Maybe they got married too young. So many of their friends at BYU got married at the same age, though, and they seem fine. Maybe she's just hit her midlife crisis. Suck it up, Jen. Deal with it. You've got three great kids and a husband who works hard.

Her therapist helps her reach the understanding that she is not the only one. Many women do not feel completely fulfilled as homemakers and caregivers. She's always been a runner, she keeps in shape and runs marathons with friends, but her brain is hungry. She would have gone to med school if she were younger, if there weren't three kids. When there was still time for that she was putting him through law school in New York. Then they moved to Boulder for his great job. He worked such long hours. If she were a med student or a resident neither of them would have had the time for their marriage, their growing family. She reads a lot.

I loved Boulder. I wish we'd never left.

But the siren call of Salt Lake City, a community of people who believe as they do, another great job, it was important to him. Their daughter is fourteen now. She'll be dating soon.

Salt Lake City is kind of fun. She remembers being in school. She wants that feeling again. Learning new things and building knowledge specific to a purpose.

"What do you need a job for? You have a great house and three kids, Jen. You have a responsibility to your family. You have plenty of outside interests. You do stuff with your friends, you take running trips and go to concerts. I make enough money that you don't need to work."

He doesn't understand it but he knows her mind is set. She always had an independent streak. It's largely the reason they've been in marriage counseling. Whatever. It's her midlife crisis. She starts nursing school.

Nursing school is a rush. School has changed so much! Everything is on computer now. Assignments get turned in online. There aren't enough hours in the day to keep up with running. She misses running with D and her husband.

D and Brad keep running. They decide a vacation would be fun. The families can go together. Their six year old boys are best friends. The brief trip is a bright spot, a communion of families and a respite from study. Rejuvenating.

Back at home, though, things still aren't right. Equilibrium is gone. Is it really about nursing school? The kids are happy, supper gets cooked.

The August cell phone bill looks funny. There are hundreds of text messages to just one number. It's D's number.

Brad admits to "inappropriate involvement with D." Translated from lawyer to English it sounds like an affair but he swears it's not been physical. Like that makes it better. He agrees that the right thing to do is cut off contact. They take a trip, just the two of them. She's working hard to address his complaints, to use what she's learned in marriage counseling to fill whatever need he has. New York was fun, but in Paris she knows he's not really there.

They come home and she knows he's texting D. She confronts him. He nearly convinces her she is crazy. After all, she was the one with depression issues, right? In the end, though, he comes clean.

"I love her. I'm not giving her up. I'm leaving."

So he does. She puts his clothes out the back door for him to pick up in the morning and deadbolts the door. He's gone.

It's his midlife crisis. A sports car or hair plugs would have been cheaper. Whatever. She is done.

D is still living with her husband and two kids. Brad is living in his new house around the block.

Jen, well Jen is finally living.