To read Part 1 of Good Enough, click here.
**Please note: This text is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
It was coming on dark when my cell phone began to ring. I had been expecting it although it was a little earlier than what I had figured. I let it ring and go to voice mail. I hadn’t fully thought out what I was going to say just yet.
When it rang again ten minutes later I knew that I had to answer. Before I had a chance to speak, Ben’s voice flooded the line, “Izzy, where the hell are you?”
I could hear the frustration in his words as if he was speaking to a wayward child. It had pretty much become a habit for him to speak to me this way.
“I’ve left, Ben. I’ve taken Nate and I’ve left.”
“You crazy bitch.” I was sure the words were out of his mouth before he had a chance to think about them.
Doubt crept in and the voices started to natter again in my ears. They all thought I was crazy, even him. Could they be right?
“I’m not crazy. I’m done. There’s a difference.” There was. I would prove it. I had to.
“You’re not crazy? Like hell you’re not crazy. Who do you think you are leaving me and taking my son?”
“I’m his mother and we are going away for a bit. I need some time, Ben, I need time to think.”
“You can damn well think here. I could call the police on you, Isabella. You know that I won’t hesitate.”
“You have far more to lose than I do by calling them, Ben. Maybe you should think carefully about that,” I lowered my voice as I glanced at Nate still sleeping in the back seat.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” His voice was still angry, but I could hear fear creeping in. If it wasn’t fear then at least he was in doubt of his own confidence for once.
“Just give me some time. That’s all I want.”
I heard his frustrated sigh. “Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
A laugh, “Of course you don’t.”
“I’ll call you when I figure it out,” I said hanging up on him.
A sense of relief flooded over me as I realized that I had won this argument. I knew Ben and I knew that he would wait to hear from me. He owed me that much.
A small smile crept over my face as we continued down the highway, the headlights of our vehicle sweeping over the open road. For the first time in a long time I felt a sense of freedom. I had no idea where we were headed, but I truly couldn’t wait to get there.
I had stopped for gas a short while later. Nate still slept in the car and I was glad that he was resting. It gave me a chance to think and to collect myself a bit more.
I had finally done it. I had stood up for myself and I had left the life I had grown to hate.
Many wouldn’t understand it for those who didn’t know the story only saw me as the wife of Dr. Benjamin Lloyd, prominent doctor in our small, yet prestigious, community. I hadn’t had to work since we had married, much like many of the other yoga posing, lulu lemon wearing wives. I wasn’t like them though. I wasn’t anything like them.
I had wanted to work. I had a degree and I had wanted to pursue my own career instead of merely walking in the shadow of Ben’s. He hadn’t wanted that though. He wanted me to be the perfect wife to complete his perfect image. That was something that I had never done well. I had never lived up to his expectations.
Ben and I had met in university. It had been a chance happening really. We had ended up in a course together and had found ourselves in a study group with a few other people in the class. We had hit it off although we had seemed like the most unlikely match: Ben with his tall, rugged good looks and me who had always been considered “average”. I had the average height and weight of most young women my age and my hair was the average chestnut brown. I had deep blue eyes though, a feature which Ben had said immediately drew him to me. He had said that he thought of my eyes as the pools of my soul once. It had been a particularly deep thought for him. I wasn’t quite sure what he had meant.
Ben and I had dated throughout university, eventually moving in together as he finished up his medical degree. I tutored and worked as a teacher’s assistant while Ben still attended school. The idea had been for me to wait for him to graduate. I am still not sure why I had ever agreed to that.
I had wanted to pursue my own studies, to obtain my Master’s degree and eventually my PhD. I had wanted to be a professor, teaching the love of literature which I had myself to my students. Instead, I worked under a professor who tried her best to encourage me to go further with my own education, but I had already fallen under Ben’s spell at that point. I wanted what was best for him because I believed, at the time, that it would be best for me too. All I could see was Ben’s goals and his dreams which lay before us.
Ben had graduated and I had stood by his side. That night, at his graduation dinner, he had proposed to me in front of his family and some close friends. I thought my fairytale had come true. My life, to no credit of my own, had become perfect.
And it was ‘perfect’ for a while. Ben continued to work his way up the ladder, we were married a year later, and he found himself in his own practice and doing remarkably well. He was proud of his accomplishments and I was so very proud of him.
Eventually though, there was an ever so slight niggle of doubt which began to form in the back of my mind. The fundraisers and hospitals galas seemed less and less exciting. I was growing tired of smiling and being nice to people that I hardly knew and most likely wouldn’t like if I did. I had begun to feel as if something was missing.
That was when I had approached Ben about having a baby. He had been all for it and in what seemed like no time at all we found ourselves pregnant with Nate. The doubt disappeared almost completely and I felt as if maybe this was what I had been missing, a little someone to help fill my days and to complete our family.
During my pregnancy with Nate however, Ben had begun to change, or I started looking at things differently. At first I hadn’t really noticed, being so preoccupied with being blissfully happy and with child. But Ben began working longer hours and missing dinner. He would spend less of his evening when he did get home talking to me and more and more of it on his computer catching up on paperwork and emails.
When I had tried to speak to him about it, he, of course, had had all the right answers. He was working overtime in order to be able to take some time off with me when the baby came. He had to continue building his practice and that would only happen with true dedication and hard work. I wanted him to succeed, didn’t I? He had said all the right things and I had believed each and every one of them.
Nate had been born on a bright sunny morning in April. I had gone into labour and Ben had met me at the hospital. I had a difficult labour and ended up having to have a Caesarean. It hadn’t been easy on me and while Nate was born healthy and well, the doctor had recommended that I shouldn’t have any more children.
That hadn’t really bothered me at the time, but it had bothered Ben. He had envisioned himself with the perfect family, to complement his perfect life, of course. There would always remain underlying implications and indications that he felt we should try for another one eventually.
I was happy with Nate and could spend hours staring into his perfect little face. The days passed and I absorbed myself in mothering him. I knew that while I fell short in so many other areas of my life, only I could be Nate’s mother. I was the best and only person completely qualified for that job.
Ben had begun to complain about the amount of time I spent with Nate even though he himself was hardly ever home. The time he was supposed to take off after Nate was born was quickly shoved aside, promises made of a future family vacation when the baby was a bit older.
Eventually Ben hired a housekeeper because he felt that I wasn’t keeping up with things well enough. I hadn’t argued this. I hated doing the cleaning, laundry, and cooking when I knew I wasn’t very good at it anyway. It was one of the things which Ben imposed on me that had actually made my life easier.
I was jolted out of my thoughts by Nate’s tiny voice, “Mommy, I’m hungry.”
I looked at him in the rearview mirror, “Hey buddy. I figured you would be. Let’s stop and get something to eat soon, OK?”
He nodded still rubbing his eyes sleepily. I looked at him for a moment. He was such a handsome boy. He had the dark hair and complexion of his father but he had gotten my deep blue eyes. He had a smile that could light up the room. He turned heads everywhere he went.
I was so blessed to have him, so fortunate to be given this gift of him. I would go through everything I had a hundred times over just to have him again. He made everything worth it.