A few months back, readers requested that I share some of my fictional work on this blog site. In honouring that request, I have been posting some excerpts of fictional work every third Thursday of each month.
Feedback and comments are always welcomed!
**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.
Later that afternoon, back at the hotel, when Nate was safely tucked into the bed with some cartoons on the television to keep his mind off of his arm, I had a chance to reflect on the day.
It seemed surreal all that had happened in the few short hours since we had awoke. I thought about how I had started the day almost calling Ben to have him take me back, to now needing to call him to tell him about Nate.
I knew that I had to tell him. I had no idea how long I could keep Ben from demanding to see his son. No doubt he thought I was just going through a psychotic phase and that I would soon come crawling back home. Even if I never went back, I was fairly certain that he would want to see Nate. I wasn’t worried about him demanding full custody as he wasn’t a warm and cozy father anyway, but I could see him making things difficult for me, just because he could.
The doctor in the ER had said that Nate might find sitting in a vehicle for long periods of time difficult, especially with a seat belt, so I figured we would have to stay in Perspect for a couple of days at least. It seemed like an ok idea; the nurses and medical staff at the hospital had been very friendly and kind and I couldn’t forget how helpful Garry Rondell had been either.
I smiled when I thought of him. Garry had been insistent that if we needed anything I was to call him again. I was glad to have had his help today. I didn’t know what I would have done without it.
I had noticed the wedding ring on Garry’s finger; I hadn’t meant to look for it, but I had glanced at his hands while he had been driving. I hadn’t noticed things like that before, but today it struck me that even though I had walked out on my marriage, I still wore my engagement ring and wedding band.
I looked down at it now, twisting and turning it on my finger so that the light caught the diamonds and sparkled. I had loved the ring when Ben had surprised me with it. It was bigger, bolder, and much more extravagant than anything which I would have chosen, but perhaps that’s why I loved it all the more.
I would have chosen something safer and more practical than the ring I now wore. For the first few years, I would look at that ring and think of how it represented the love which Ben and I had, and then eventually I would see it as a symbol of what Ben wanted me to be. Something I could never be for him, no matter how hard I tried.
Taking a deep breath, I reached for my cell phone and dialed Ben’s number. I hadn’t thought out what I wanted to say, but I figured it would be best to keep it straight to the point and simple. Hopefully he would be too busy to have a lot of time to talk, if he answered at all.
The phone rang once before he picked up, “Tell me you’ve come to your senses.”
A bit surprised at his greeting, I stammered, “No – Ben – I need to tell you something. Nate fell off a play structure today and broke his arm.”
“What?! What in the hell was he doing on a play structure and what in the hell were you doing that you let him fall?” His voice was raised now so I knew he was in his office alone.
“Ben, I stopped somewhere to sleep last night and this morning Nate wanted to play for a bit, so we were at this park. I just looked down for a moment and he fell. I -”
“This is your fault, Isabella. Are you done playing around now? Don’t you think it’s time to quit your games and to get back home?”
Stunned, I took another deep breath to refocus. “No, it’s not my fault, Ben. I was watching him. I’m not playing any games. You know why I left and you know why I am not coming back.”
“The hell you aren’t! I can call the police and have you dragged back home if you prefer. I still have a right to see my son and to ensure his safety.”
“He is safe. His arm has been casted and he is fine.”
“And how do I know that it has been set properly? Where are you anyway? As his father I have a right to know about the quality of his medical care.”
I hadn’t wanted to tell him where I was, but the threat of him calling the police had me a bit skittish. “I am in Perspect. It’s a little town so you’ve probably never heard of it.”
“What kind of medical care do they have there? I can’t imagine it would be very good.”
“It was good. The doctor was great with Nate.”
“I want to see his medical chart and x-rays.”
“Ben, think about it. Is that really necessary? I’m telling you that Nate is fine.”
“At one point, I would have believed you, Isabella, but right now I don’t know what to believe anymore. You’ve broken my trust.”
His last statement enraged me more than anything else he had said so far, “Well, that makes two of us, Ben, because you broke my trust a long time ago when you decided to sleep with someone else.”
Ben was silent for a moment. He knew that I knew, but we had never talked about it. He had simply continued on with his life and I had suffocated in mine.
“So, that’s what this is about then, you punishing me for my indiscretions? If you had simply talked to me about this, Izzy, you wouldn’t have had to leave.”
“What did you want me to do, Ben? Keep pretending everything was alright? I know what people were and are saying about me. You knew what was happening with me and you let me fall apart. I will never live that down there and you know it,” my voice broke and I had begun to cry.
Ben was silent again. I knew I had done exactly what I hadn’t wanted to do, which was to appear weak, but it was out there now and I had to own it. I had been weak for so long, and it was only in knowing weakness, that I knew I had strength.
Finally Ben said, “Go back to the ER, ask for the medical file and the x-rays, and have them sent to my secretary.”
And with that, he disconnected the call.