It had been a month and three days since Clive and I split. We’d had zero contact. It was one of the many stipulations he agreed to upon his reconciliation with his wife.
“If we’re going to give it a real chance, we have to have a clean slate,” is how he explained it to me. He said he was devastated and torn apart but had to give it another try for the children, that it was the right thing to do. I wondered if his children missed me. I was the fun one. I would make faces behind Clive’s back when he got strict with them.
But when I saw the picture of him and Kate together, the utter comfort his expression conveyed in the revival of his performance as happily married man, I broke. I considered texting, but then dialed his number. It rang three times and then he answered in a hushed, nervous tone.
“Are you okay? We’re not supposed to be talking. I was worried so I picked up.”
“Yeah, I’m fucking okay,” I said. “I wanted to make sure you were. I thought you might have amnesia.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw the picture of you at the opening. You looked so happy. I figured you must’ve hit your head, had some kind of accident.”
“Don’t call me that. You don’t get to call me that anymore.”
“Darling, I miss you so much. But we can’t talk. I can’t. I’m sorry.”
I hung up on him before he could erase me and threw my phone across the room. I burst out in a wail, the accumulation of being stranded alone in this strange house these past few weeks, and stranded alone emotionally. The dogs came to see if I was okay as I collapsed on the floor letting them lick the tears from my face.
“Fuck him,” I said to Honey and Duke. “Am I right?”
Both of them angled to get in my lap, their big Labrador bodies clamoring for a spot, as I sat splayed out, my head against the bed.
“Let’s go swimming,” I said. I didn’t have a bathing suit. I hadn’t planned on needing one. I didn’t care. The weather had finally broke, the sun lighting up the bright almost purple sky. I pushed open the French doors that led to the garden that surrounded the pool, saw my reflection as I stood surveying the deep, pulled at my jean shorts that had begun riding up, tied my t-shirt in a knot below my heart, and dove in.