I ran it over and over again in my head what it might be like to follow him home that afternoon. The rain had let up for the first time in a while. We stood in the parking lot of the local dive diner, hopped up on coffee, slightly blinded by the sun because we hadn’t seen it in days. We met so I could return his favorite book. I’d had it for 2 years and the weight of it was going to break my bookshelf any day.The air was still thick. It was going to rain again, probably just as we each pulled back into the driveways of our respective homes.
But what if I didn’t go home to my husband? What if, after he finally told me that he loved me after 6 years, I followed him back to the lonely farm where he lived on a country road? I’d probably sit in my car in the diner parking lot and think about it awhile so that he’d get a head start on me. The sun would retreat behind another thick, dirty rain cloud and I’d get going, taking some not-so-clever way back to the farm.
I don’t even know if that’s where he’d be. Maybe he’d stop and get some groceries on the way home or stop for a drink. Maybe he’d circle the suburbs alone for a while, listening to that song we liked together. I’d get there and he wouldn’t be home. If that happened, I’d never try it again.
The gravel driveway would probably have deep holes all over it filled with rain water and my car would bounce and jostle back and forth like it was trying to shake some sense into me. His car would be there, in front of whatever structure on the property he was living in. It would be empty. He’d already be inside either turning on the news or the radio. Maybe he’d be turning over in his head that he made a mistake in telling me. Maybe he’d be wishing that I found him or he’d be wrestling with the compulsion to call me.
I’d knock on the door and he’d answer it with a towel over his shoulders, no longer wearing a necktie. His shirt would be loose a button, showing a white undershirt and his hair would be all over the place from drying it of rain water. He’d know why I was there and he’d reach for my arm, taking me by the wrist. Pulling me inside, he’d shut the door.
We wouldn’t say much but it would be ages before we would kiss. In the kitchen, he’d open the refrigerator, looking for nothing in particular. He’d offer a glass of water. I’d take it and not drink it. Leaning against the counter, he’d cross his arms and look at me. Now the playing field would be more level than ever: both emotionally unavailable, me married, him recently divorced, both vulnerably in love with the other, both knowing that in just a few minutes we would be fucking each other’s brains out and everything would be infinitely more difficult than it ever had been.