Despite all of that, it’s hard to find fault. I mean, other faults. Plus he’s good enough in the sack and we have plenty of things to talk about. Most of all, he’s dependable and dependable is what I need right now, especially when the rest of my life is kind of hanging in the balance.
My parents are separating and probably getting a divorce, another blow to the past year and a total surprise. I always thought of divorce as something that ripped apart my friends’ families in grade school, and that had lasting effects in high school. But I never imagined that it could happen beyond that tumultuous realm of adolescence. Yet suddenly, or at least it seems sudden, my father decided he wanted to be free of my mother. He packed up and moved to Oklahoma.
I still don’t know why. My mom doesn’t know either, or so she says. I’ve asked her if dad fell in love with someone else, I’ve asked my dad if he found someone else but the answer is always the same: change. He needed change.
I just don’t see how you can be married to someone for thirty-five years and then suddenly need change. Why at thirty-five? Why not thirty? Twenty? After everything my family had gone through with my brother, Nate, and the years and years of having to cope and move on…why now?
So now I spend my weekends with my mother in Petaluma, out of guilt. My father rarely calls or emails. Maybe he feels guilt too. I hate seeing how sad my mom is, how empty the house is, how jaded she’s become about life.
Maybe that’s why I really hit it off with Owen – to show her that I could have someone and make it work even if she couldn’t. The dependable men, those are the ones that stick around, the ones you marry. Not the playboys. Not the dreamers. Not, apparently, someone like my father.
Besides, it doesn’t matter what she thinks. I love Owen Geary.
Since I started dating him a few months ago, I’ve seen James and Linden less and my friend Nicola Price more. I actually went to grade school with Nicola, though we were never friends back then, and reconnected when we both went to the Art Institute for a year, both of us in fashion merchandising. Owen likes Nicola; he doesn’t like James or Linden. James, I’m going to assume, because he’s my ex-boyfriend, and Linden because he’s a guy who’s close to me. And he’s Linden.
But finally, finally, because it was my birthday, I was able to makes plans for dinner with them. I get through my shift – only four hours today, most of it sorting out the clothing on the racks and flipping through paperwork – and then rush right home, glad that I drove instead of taking the bus.
Owen is already at my apartment pouring himself a glass of straight vodka. I’m not sure why he drinks it like that – a glass of straight vodka has to be the shittiest drink ever – but he’s thirty-three and I guess you know what you want by that age.
He’s wearing a pinstriped shirt, slim-cut pants, and shiny shoes. It’s all designer, it all looks good on him. He’s on the thin side and seems to be getting leaner as I get fatter, but at the moment we’re a nice balance. I’ve toned down my tendency to dress edgy and I find myself covering up my tattoos on my wrists (my brother’s name on one, the word “believe” on the other) more with long sleeves. We look like a good couple, especially now that my hair is dyed a nice auburn brown that nearly matches his.
We are good. We are dependable.
I slip on a silk tank top over my shorts and fix up my face just in time for James and Linden to come to the door. I don’t realize how nervous I am until I gasp at their knock. I wish my roommate was coming with us, or was at least home. Kayla has this way of diffusing the tension and I have a feeling things are going to be a bit awkward tonight.