Conversations Part 1

Published March 8, 2010 by LS Murphy

       This is a bit of fiction I started a while back but never finished. Story of my life. 🙂 But now my focus is on young adult literature. Maybe, someday, I’ll finish this.  You never know what might happen.

        I hear people talk about love and I wish I could participate in their conversations. Sure, I love my parents and my sister but that isn’t what people share with one another. I want to experience that passionate, I-can’t-be-without-you type of love. I see old couples still holding hands after all these years and I want that. Funny, one time I plucked up the courage to ask this grey haired man and his poodle-permed wife how long they had been married. Devastation sunk my high hopes when she said two months but they had been lovers for three years. Needless to say, I was expecting the golden anniversary type. Perception can be such a bitch.

            Maggie is my best friend in the world. We’ve known each other since junior high. She found true love early. When we were sophomores, she started dating Rick and hasn’t looked back. Problem is that Rick did and left her last year just past her 32nd birthday. They have a six year old little boy, R.J. Maggie still loves Rick and is adamant in her determination to take him back if he wants to come home. Rick, however, loves screwing his 22-year-old girlfriend who is also his secretary. Yeah, I know what a cliché. Unfortunately for Maggie, it is an all too true cliché.

            Then there is Jerry. He’s libidinous. And he isn’t partial to gender. If he wants to get laid, he will lay anyone, anytime. He encourages his clients to do the same and explore their sexual desires. He has never told them to screw around though.  He’s a marriage counselor. Weird, I know. But he firmly believes that sex is sex and has nothing to do with love or marriage. He’s never been married either. Maggie and I met him in college and he’s been with us every since. He tried to get Maggie in the sack more than once knowing she was firmly committed to Rick. Jerry knew even then that Rick was not going to stick by her side. Sometimes, I think Jerry is in love with her then I see him with one of his partners and doubts arise.

            We have dinner like this every week. It’s Thursday night. Rick has taken R.J. to a baseball game and Jerry doesn’t schedule any clients after five on Thursdays and Fridays. And I work the usual nine-to-five cubicle job at Monmouth’s Savings and Trust. Not very exotic. Mani’s is our haunt tonight. Maggie was in the mood for Italian and Chianti and for the last year, we have let her pick. It worries me though. I think for now on she’s going to think we will want to go wherever she wants. I don’t think it is healthy but Jerry’s the one with the PhD not me.

            It’s a quaint little place on the Hill area. They have candles in old Chianti bottles, red and white-checkered tablecloths and the best alfredo sauce west of the Mississippi. Did I mention Maggie’s gained about thirty-five pounds?

            “So, Trudy, what’s new on the man front?” Jerry asks as he breaks a complimentary breadstick. He knows better than to ask and avoids making eye contact.

            “Usual,” I respond staring him down. If I didn’t know what a dog he was, I would find him attractive. His blue eyes always showed an innocence that was nonexistent and he kept his body trim and in top condition. Oh, let’s face it, he’s ripped and hot. Problem was he knew it.

            “Tru, don’t be mean to Jerry. He’s gonna ask you until he knows you are getting laid on a daily basis,” Maggie said through a mouthful of bread. 

            God, she’s really let herself go, I thought. I hadn’t noticed it until Jerry brought it to my attention a few weeks ago. She was just Maggie to me. She stopped wearing contacts and went back to glasses that were in style in the early ‘80s. Her weight gain had pushed her up to the 180 area. She was always plump but not fat. Her athleticism shone through in every way. But lately, loneliness has pushed her into a depression that not even Jerry can bring her out of. He just lets her be and reminds her that he is there for her. He can’t be her therapist though. He knows it would be too much.

            “Yeah, but I don’t have to answer,” I smiled as I said this. Our meals always started off this way.

            Maggie choked back a breadstick and Jerry just smiled. He looked off at the small bar behind me and his gleeful smile turned into a grimace. I followed his gaze and spotted the cause of his mood swing. Lyla McPhee sat at the bar with her long, thin hand caressing some suit’s back. Lyla was as beautiful as ever and the only woman to have broken Jerry’s heart. I had heard from an acquaintance that she had just moved back from Chicago but hoped that we wouldn’t run into her. I should have known she’d come here.

            Lyla was also the only time I had ever known Jerry to cover up his feelings. They dated throughout college. Once she graduated, she had no need for him anymore. He was moving forward with his Master’s and she was moving forward with her life. She got a job offer in Chicago that she couldn’t refuse. He wasn’t given a choice in the matter. She dropped him and left. Jerry never told us the sorted details but Maggie and I both knew he would have left St. Louis to be with her. He was willing to do anything for her. Personally, I think there was way more to the story but he’ll never tell.

            Maggie was too busy munching on her breadstick. Had anyone else noticed the look in her eyes, they would have thought she was crazy or maybe just crazed.  She didn’t see Jerry jump to his feet and I couldn’t stop him. He was over by Lyla before I could blink. By the time Maggie even noticed, I was on my feet to intervene. I knew I shouldn’t but I also knew I couldn’t leave my friend to bear the burden of his pain alone.

            “Jerry, dear, did you spot a patient?” I asked as sweetly and innocently as I could. He looked at me with a distinctive scowl. I slid my arm around his waist and it was obvious to him now. His face relaxed and he looked at Lyla smugly.

            “Tru, you remember Lyla don’t you? From college?” he motioned to his former flame. She looked shocked at the sight of us. I immediately noticed that although her body was stunning as ever in her slim red dress, her face had already begun to age. Crow’s feet lined her vivid green eyes and no amount of makeup she wore could hide it. Her blonde hair had a little gray in it. Not a lot but enough that I knew she had not lead an easy life in Chicago. Whether it was by choice or by fate, I didn’t know.

            “Lyla?” I looked down at her quizzically. “I never would have recognized you! You have changed so much. Last I knew you were in Chicago. Just when did you get back?”

            “I’ve been back a few months actually. How have you been?” She had regained her composure quickly. I could almost see the wheels in her head turning, trying to figure out why no one had told her about Jerry’s new squeeze.

            “Great. So what brings you back to our neck of the woods?” I looked at Jerry as I said this. I couldn’t get a read from him. He looked blankly at Lyla as she answered my questions.

            “I am going to work for KLSR as the morning anchor. I’m sure you heard that Nancy Bach was retiring.”

            “No, I hadn’t. But, then again, I never watch KLSR. Jerry, we should really get back to our table. Our food will be there shortly.” I pulled gently on his arm.

            “Of course,” he replied. “It was nice to see you again, Lyla.”

            We sat back down and Maggie just stared at us. She was clueless lately and this was the first time in over a year that our little world wasn’t about her problems. I looked at Jerry and could tell he was fighting off the urge to look back. He reached out and took my hand and I could see Lyla look away out of the corner of my eye.

            “Was that…?” Maggie asked.

            I nodded affirmative.

            She looked at Jerry then back at me. He was still holding my hand. Unfortunately for me, he kept squeezing it tighter. The blood was starting to get cut off.

            “Jerry,” I whispered, leaning into him intimately, “you’re cutting off the circulation in my hand.”

            He looked at me and smiled loosening his grip. I smiled back and started to lean away. This is the moment were Jerry did the unthinkable. He kissed me. Not on the cheek and not a peck either. He gave me a passionate full mouth kiss. And I must admit that he was a damn good kisser. I didn’t resist; I just let it happen. My heart fluttered a little but I knew it wasn’t because of who was kissing me as much as it was about being kissed. It had simply been way too long. He pulled back as our food arrived. He didn’t look at me for the rest of the meal. And I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.

            Lyla left without a word or even a glance. I knew she was over Jerry but he would never be over her. Hopefully we wouldn’t run into her again but part of me knew that this was only the beginning. She wasn’t gone and she really never would be. Problem was simple; this was the beginning of the defining moment in my life. The future would hold some answers and many endings and this was the moment where it all began. Isn’t it strange that you can look back and point to that one moment that changed your life forever? Sometimes, I wish I couldn’t and, at others, I wish that it never happened.


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