Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Loss for Words Pt. 9

(CONTINUED) Ruben and I had some lunch and stopped in the park before he had to go to work. We talked my situation over but could come to no conclusions. I thought I wanted to be involved in my child’s life—it seemed impossible not to be—but after what Anne and I’d been through it was hard to imagine how it would work. I really needed to talk to her again.

Ruben dropped me off, the truck characteristically bucking and belching as he backed it out of the drive. I went inside and called Anne. A man picked up.


I didn’t respond. I’d heard his voice before.


I tried to sound as professional as I could: “Hello. I’m looking for Anne Gould. Is she available?”

“You mean, Anne Michaels?” the man asked. Michaels was Anne’s maiden name and while, in theory, there was nothing wrong with her reverting back to it, I didn’t like it. It was difficult to know how to respond.

“Yes. That’s right. The former Mrs. Gould.” I tried to laugh good-naturedly, as if I’d just made an embarrassing but innocent mistake. The man on the other end did not laugh.

“One moment,” he said.

Anne picked up and I said, “Hi, it’s me.”

A moment passed and then she replied, “The script needs some rewrites.”

This was our old code. Anne worked in the theater and for years we’d been obligated to attend the various functions that surrounded the productions. Neither of us particularly enjoyed these staid and stilted get-togethers and so we invented a code. Whenever one of us—although I admit it was usually me—had all they could take of an evening they could track the other down and casually say, “The script needs some rewrites.” The other was then duty bound to do whatever it took to ensure a speedy exit. Often Anne would be standing amongst a group of well-heeled patrons and well-drunk actors and I’d walk slowly past her, muttering the code under my breath. She’d smile, maybe a tiny bit annoyed, but mostly amused. At least I preferred to think it was amusement. Then she’d excuse herself and join me in any of a seemingly countless number of foyers and entry rooms, where I was already retrieving our coats. The phrase was innocuous and entirely in context. No one ever suspected anything. And it wasn’t always me. Sometimes, unexpectedly, I’d find her at my side, and I knew what she was going to say before the first word left her lips. It always felt good when this happened, like we were truly co-conspirators against the rest of the world. I didn’t feel that way this time.

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Let’s discuss this over lunch tomorrow,” she said, brightly. “Do you know Molinari’s in North Beach?”

I didn’t bother to reply.

“Okay, how about 12:30?”


“See you tomorrow.”

“Bye,” I said.

I didn’t like what had just happened. I’d guessed Anne must be seeing someone since I’d called once before and this man had answered, but it seemed that she didn’t want him to know she was talking to me. Maybe she hadn’t wanted him to know about me at all. I wondered what kind of conversation Anne was having with this man at that moment. She could see whoever she wanted to see, I couldn’t deny that, but it complicated things just as I was trying to make some important decisions. And did this guy know about the baby? In any case, he was going to find out soon. Mother nature would make sure of that. (CONTINUED)

Top photo taken in northern Florida, middle shot from Beaver Bay, Minnesota, bottom pic from the backyard.

1 comment:

ed schenk said...

been a while since I visited yr blog, I appreciate the combination of photography and diary (or stories) very much. The world you scetch, in text and images, is so different from my world.