Home > Sunrise on Half Moon Bay(17)

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay(17)
Author: Robyn Carr

“Did I mention I’m divorced?” Logan asked. “No kids, though. And I’ve been a divorce spectator a lot. Too much. Here’s what happens—the wronged party is very hurt and angry. There’s no help for it—getting over that takes as long as it takes. Some people move on fairly quickly while others pick at it like a hangnail. I have a buddy who’s been divorced for two years, and his eyes still tear up when he talks about it.”

“Two years?” she asked.

“Over two years, actually. I have another friend who had a new woman in three weeks. That didn’t work out very well, but he wasn’t depressed for two years and sometimes he had trouble remembering which woman he was mad at.”

“What about you?” she asked.

“My situation was unique,” he said.

“Aren’t they all?” she countered.

“Not as unique as this one. We hadn’t been married all that long—just a few years—and we were always fighting. We never fought before we got married. She finally told me she wanted a divorce because she just wasn’t happy. Because she’s not into men. Your mouth is standing open... That’s right—she’s playing on the other team. She really loved me, she said. And she thought she could just make it work since we were such good friends, agreed on so much, et cetera. But I just didn’t do it for her. Quite literally.”

“Ouch.”

“It hurt but we’re back to being friends. In fact, she’s my sister’s best friend. She has a partner now and I am happy for her, even if it’s a little awkward at times.”

In spite of herself, Justine laughed. “Thanksgiving must be a hoot at your house.”

“Life in general is a comedy. Here’s where I was headed. This will be hard for you for a while, especially with you worrying about your kids and how they’re adjusting. But they will be okay. Know how I know this? Because fifty percent of married couples divorce, the kids are always upset and the kids always survive. It might not be their first choice, but they adjust and ultimately get on with their lives. A lot of that depends on how you and your husband deal with the parenting.

“As for you,” he went on. “At some point you’ll start to look at what you have as opposed to what you’ve lost. I don’t know what that’s going to be—maybe freedom. Maybe an opportunity you didn’t have before. Maybe a man who really appreciates you. Just don’t rush that one, okay? Maybe, since you were always the breadwinner, it’s financial independence. But your list will grow. You’re a beautiful, smart, successful woman. Your husband is hooking up with a woman with a bad track record—not good at relationships, not good with money. Big mistake, Scott. She has none of the things you have to offer. She must be making him feel like a king.”

She just stared at him. “And you said you’re not a counselor.”

“I’m forty-eight and single. My partner, Georgie—she’s married to a firefighter and they have three kids and they’re still crazy in love. I envy the hell out of them. If they ever break up, I might kill myself from disappointment. I’m obviously no genius when it comes to relationships. If I have any experience at all, it’s from watching other people mess up. Now tell me something, Justine. How are you eating? Sleeping?”

She gave a helpless shrug. “Not great. Right now all I want is to wake up in the morning and have my cheating husband not be the first thing I think about.”

“We’re going to eat. Did anything on that menu look good to you?” he asked.

She just shook her head. In the end he ordered for both of them: egg drop soup, lo mein, beef and broccoli, chicken and vegetables. “We’ll share,” he said.

While they were waiting for their dinner he asked, “Who’s getting you through this?”

“A girlfriend who is also processing the divorce. She wrote it up and filed for me. And you.”

“That’s not enough! You might want to call on a few more friends, Justine. They say this also takes a village.”

* * *

Adele was up at six, excited for her day. She walked for an hour, the sun barely lighting the day through the fog. It was gloomy on the beach but not in her heart—she felt lucky and happy. She discovered other people on the beach, walking dogs or jogging or strolling, all, she assumed, getting in their exercise before work.

She felt as though she’d finally entered the grown-up world.

She made her lunch, showered and got ready for work. Given the way she’d spent the last several years, she didn’t have much by way of office clothing. On the weekend she’d do a little shopping for her new life.

She was so eager, she was the first to arrive and the door was locked. She had to wait for Fran whose words of greeting were, “Good morning! I’ll get you your own key today.”

“Thanks. I was a little excited, I guess.”

She fired up the computer, then put her lunch away in their refrigerator. She checked the cupboards to take stock of the supplies—office supplies, trash bags, glass cleaner and so on. With a large plastic bag in hand, she went around to the offices and conference rooms and collected trash. The kitchen looked pretty clean, but she hit it with some cleaner anyway to give it sparkle. Then she sat at her desk and read through the day’s schedule. There were appointments and workshops and a group counseling session. She checked her forms and clipboards, and it wasn’t long before someone came through the door.

“Good morning!” she said cheerfully. “How can I help you?”

And so the stories began. Women coping with death, divorce, abandonment, escape—so many fearful dead ends for women who had been out of the workforce for more than a couple of years. In her first official day on the job, she greeted thirty-two women between the ages of twenty and sixty-eight. Plus she began to learn that there was more to the reentry program than filling out an intake form. There was also fund-raising and grant writing going on because the stipends allotted from the county and state couldn’t begin to cover the expenses of running an office of social workers. And there was a great deal of networking to do, connected with businesses that would take on a displaced individual who was starting over. Just before noon, Fran left for a professional businesswomen’s luncheon where she would be the keynote speaker.

Adele desperately wanted to hear her speech. She found herself mesmerized even when Fran asked her to print something out.

After lunch she found Ross sorting through a stack of folders, envelopes and loose pages. Addie asked if there was anything she could do to help.

“I’m trying to organize these client files so they can be put in some order.”

“Do they have to be filed?”

“And scanned so they can be saved. We’re trying to go paperless. By now you’ve noticed we don’t have enough space.”

“How about I scan, file and save them to the cloud?”

Ross just looked at her, a little nonplussed. “For someone who hasn’t been in the workforce in eight years, you seem to really know your way around an office.”

“The computer and social media was just about my only connection to the outside world. At least my most dominant, since I could check in on the computer without leaving the house. I used to scan and file my mother’s medical records and insurance papers. The computer was my lifeline.”

Ross just pushed the piles toward Addie.

She took them eagerly. “What’s your deadline on this project?”

“You have a front office to maintain. My deadline is whenever you can get it done. Thank you. This helps tremendously since I’m also in the middle of writing a grant proposal.”

“I’d like to learn more about that,” Addie said.

“You can count on it,” Ross said with a smile.

At the end of the day Addie went home, exhilarated. She had so much to look forward to.

She went to a weight loss group meeting that night. She was going to have to switch over to evenings, since she’d be working during the day. She introduced herself, weighed in, her name was pulled up on the laptop and the group leader said, “Adele, you’re down nineteen and three-quarter pounds! Congratulations.”

I’m going shopping this weekend, she thought in a fever of excitement. I always hated shopping, but this feels brand-new.

That night she stood in front of her mirror in her underwear and turned this way and that. She was noticeably slimmer than she’d been in over eight years, trimmer than she had been even before she got pregnant. Then that thing that had been lurking in the back of her mind surfaced. She had had zero contact with Hadley. He didn’t know about the baby, never sought her out to ask, just walked away without looking back after telling her he loved her. After telling her they’d start over together.

She intended to get some closure on that.

* * *

Justine closed her bedroom door. Olivia was practicing her guitar in her room; Amber was on the phone in her room. Homework was finished, dishes were done. Scott decided he was going out for a couple of hours. She couldn’t wait until they were no longer sleeping in the same house. She found it incredibly annoying that Scott never asked if she had any plans. They barely spoke. She got the impression he’d go on like this forever.

She took a sip of her wine. She found a number in her directory, dialed and a man answered. “This is Logan,” he said.

“It’s Justine Somersby. I’m sorry to bother you,” she said. “Do you have a minute?”

“Sure. Of course. Let me turn this TV down.”

“If you’re busy—”

“It’s fine. I’m not working tonight. Nothing going on here.”

“I wonder if I can use you for a sounding board,” she said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about your advice. It’s that business of focusing on what I have instead of what I’ve lost. Once the divorce is final, we will have divided our retirement funds. Also, there’s a little savings. You mentioned looking for opportunities. There are a couple of things that interest me. But they’re risky.”

   
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