If you missed Part 1, check it out https://susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/single-part-1-short-story/
I step outside the front door, closing it behind me. The kids don’t need to see him. Not now.
“What are you doing here?” I ask. I feel how pinched up my face is. That’s always what happens when I’m angry. It’s an ugly look for me, but I can’t help it. “What on earth makes you think this is okay?”
“What? I can’t come visit my kids?” Anthony’s voice is slimy as ever.
“No. You can’t.” I look at him. He’s exactly the same. Even wearing the same leather coat. “How’d you know we’d be home today?”
“Didn’t. Thought I’d sit on the porch ’till you got here.”
He combs back the gray hair from his forehead with his left hand. He still wears the gold band on his finger.
“Why are you here, Anthony? Just tell me.” My voice softens. My heart beats a little faster. He’s back for us.
“Okay. Fine. I need to talk to you. And the kids. It’s kind of important.”
He’s acting goofy. A little like a school boy. The way he was when we first became an item.
“Sounds good.” I let myself smile at him. I play up the eyes. “Maybe we could order in. The kids are a little sick today. They should be better tomorrow.”
“Maybe I’ll just come back later?”
“You can if you want.” I didn’t want him to leave. “But we’d like to spend a little time with you. You could keep them busy while I order something. What are you hungry for?”
“I don’t know. Whatever you want is fine.”
We go inside. The kids are so excited to see their daddy. I’d forgotten how much they loved him. He sits between them on the couch and let’s them snuggle up to him. Even though they’re sick, he lets them kiss him. Maybe I’ve been wrong. He might just be good when they’re sick. He would probably do well at the kids’ events and games.
It might just be good that he’s home with us. Would we need a ceremony for our remarriage? I’m sure it wouldn’t be a good idea to live together until we have it all in paper again. I certainly couldn’t fit into my wedding dress from before.
“Marley,” Anthony calls from the living room. “Hey, Marley.”
Just hearing my name from his voice. I’ve missed that.
“Marley, please come here,” he says.
I walk out and see that the kids have both barfed on the floor. Totally missed the buckets.
Anthony is standing across the room with arms crossed over his chest.
“You want to clean that up?” he asks.
I get the kids into a bath and clean pajamas then off to bed. Looks like the broth and crackers for lunch were too much. Or it could have been the excitement of seeing their dad. Whatever. I know it’s going to be a sleepless night again for me.
Would it be wrong to ask Anthony to spend the night?
Not for that. You know. That didn’t happen after our 6 year old was born. Not even once.
But would he help? Or would he just watch me take care of everything?
He’s in the living room, sitting on the couch, watching TV.
“You got rid of all the channels,” he says, flipping through the stations. “How am I supposed to find the sports station?”
“I had to cut back on the cable. To save money.”
“How’s that take out coming? Did you order it yet?”
Unbelievable. Did he not notice me cleaning up barf? I want so badly for him to be home, but I don’t want all this junk again. I throw the phone book toward him.
“Find something and order for yourself.” I look at his face. Nothing. No expression. Just like before. “Why are you here, Anthony?”
Something inside wishes that he’s here for me. There must be something to that “one flesh” thing. Because when he left I felt the tearing. I thought I was over that. But now he’s back – maybe for today, maybe forever – and the pain has returned with him.
“Okay, Marley. I’ll tell you.” He looks into my eyes. I can’t read him right now. “It’s about us.”
(to be continued)