Catch up on Good Enough: For the last installment of Good Enough (Part 8), find it 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.
I woke the next morning to a slight headache, a testament to the wine I had drank the night before, but with a smile on my face. Instead of anxiety and dread jolting me awake, I awoke peacefully to the sun peaking through the blinds of my bedroom.
A new place, a new beginning, a fresh start, and even the prospect of a new friend welcomed me into the day. It was a nice change from the usual feeling of uncertainty and the fear that I was doing something wrong which I woke up to ninety percent of the time.
I stretched and lay there still thinking about the night before and how lucky Nate and I had been to meet Garry, to find this place, and to be blessed with Garry’s generousity. Garry and I had talked for hours last night and I remember never laughing so much in the last few years as I had last night. We had finished the bottle of wine and when Garry had left he had told me he would be spending the night on the couch in his office.
In our conversation we had discussed our marriages, a topic which I knew would inevitably come up. I had known that I would have to share this information eventually, although I had dreaded doing so. I had felt comfortable last night though and I had shared freely the fact that I had left a bad situation and ended up here in Perspect.
Garry had shared that while he was still married, his marriage was definitely not in a good place. He had two teenage daughters and a roommate he had said. He, unlike me, had a lot of friends and people in his life, but, like me, he was lonely. It had been good to talk to someone who felt the same as I did – that you can be surrounded by people but still feel completely alone.
I stretched again and climbed out of bed. Quickly making my own bed, I snuck a peek on Nate who was still tucked in and sleeping peacefully in his. I then had a long hot shower and dressed in jeans and a cowl neck sweater. I opened my cosmetic bag and applied a little makeup. The dark circles under my eyes had begun to fade and my usually pale complexion had a sort of healthy glow to it now. Instead of the usual ponytail I left my hair down, letting it fall softly around my face.
Moving into the kitchen, I made coffee and settled down at the island to enjoy it. I smiled when I glanced at the empty wine bottle and glasses. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had actually sat and drank wine with a friend. Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to do it again.
I poured myself another cup of coffee and noticed my cell phone was flashing. Grabbing it, I realized that I had missed two calls and had voice messages waiting. One number I recognized as Ben’s, the other was unknown. I punched in my code nervously and waited for the first message.
“Isabella, I just want to let you know that my lawyer will be calling you. I’ve set up a separation arrangement which I believe is very fair and considerate seeing as you didn’t give me the consideration of letting me know that you were leaving. If you have any concerns I would suggest you get a lawyer of your own. I would also appreciate you giving my lawyer your current address or whereabouts.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had literally only been gone a few days and yet Ben was still attempting to control my life.
The next message came on, a male voice indicating I was to call him back as soon as possible as he was Dr. Benjamin Lloyd’s lawyer and he needed to go over the particulars of the separation agreement.
This was all happening so fast my head was reeling.
Shaking I dialed the number left by the lawyer. After introducing ourselves, in a monotone voice he read me the particulars of the agreement. Ben would keep the house and his car, leaving me the SUV which I had left in. He had set up a bank account in which he would place a generous amount monthly for me as alimony and care expenses for Nate. His family cottage and other assets I had no access to, nor did I want them. Leaving had never been about the money or material things. The only aspect which shocked me was that Ben wanted Nate for two weekends each month. I hadn’t counted on him wanting to see Nate much at all. I had never been away from Nate. I had no idea how either of us was going to handle this.
Reluctantly I agreed to it all. Ben’s lawyer stated he would fax the agreement to a sister office in Perspect where I could sign and have it faxed back. I left my current address and the call ended. I was worried that it had all been too simple. Well with the exception of Nate. I hadn’t planned on that one.
Nate woke a short while later and after giving him breakfast and settling him in to watch a few cartoons, I decided to call Garry to see if he could give me directions to the law office.
I smiled as his voice answered, “Hello Isabella.”
“Good morning, Garry. I’m sorry to bother you so early.”
“It’s never a bother! I am in between clients actually. I was just thinking about you. I really enjoyed our talk last night.”
“So did I. Thank you again for everything.”
“It’s my pleasure. How did you sleep?”
“Amazingly: it just feels like home here. I can’t thank you enough.”
“No thanks necessary.” I could hear the smile in his words.
“I do have a favour to ask. I’m wondering if you can tell me where the Gibson and Troy law office is located?”
“Sure. That’s where my buddy Stan is located. He’s the Gibson in Gibson and Troy,” Garry said, his warm laugh making me smile again.
I told him quickly why I needed to be there. Garry assured me that Stan would make sure everything was done legally and fairly and that he would give him a call to let him know that I was a friend of his. I thanked him again saying that I honestly didn’t know what I would do without him.
Garry’s tone changed from jovial to serious, “Isabella, it’s just called being a kind person and wanting to help someone else out. Most people are like that around here.”
“I feel like I came from a different world. Not many people are so willing to help where I’ve come from,” I said softly.
I thought of the whispered taunts and jeers I had felt around me in Ben’s world. I still cringed when I remembered the looks of disgust and disdain I had seen directed at me. Biting my lip, I remembered the days I could barely go out of the house, the whispers like screams in my head.
I had been in a bad, dark place at that time. I needed to move upwards and on into the light. I had finally started to feel like I was capable of moving forward, that I could leave the past behind. Would I still be able to now? I couldn’t bear the thought of taking Nate back there to be with Ben. I could only imagine the things people were saying about me. That didn’t bother me so much, but I did worry about what would be said to Nate.
“That’s alright. What matters is that you are here now,” Garry said, bringing me back to the present. “How about I treat you and Nate to lunch? I can meet you at the restaurant just next door to the law office?”
“Oh, you don’t have to Garry. You’ve already done so much for us-”
“I want to,” Garry insisted, interrupting me. “Send me a text when you’re done with Stan and I’ll meet you there.”