Separation Was Like an Old Wound Ripped Open Anew

Indeed, in no time, we were at the cab stage Greg had mentioned.

He pulled up alongside the cab, but left the engine idling, a subtle indication that he intended to keep this drop-off as brief as possible. I knew the idling engine was my cue to get out of the car, and yet my legs suddenly felt as heavy as lead and my mouth as dry as paper. So, I just sat there like some sort of mute fool, not saying a word or making a move.

Finally, Greg broke the silence: “Take care of yourself, Stephanie,” he quietly said, while looking straight ahead.

I could no longer ignore his prompt for me to get out of the car, and so, I forced myself to move and open the passenger door. Just before I climbed out though, I paused and turned back to him. “Thanks for everything, Greg,” I thanked him.

“Is that a goodbye?” he asked, while still looking straight ahead, and not turning to face me.

“If you want it to be,” I answered truthfully, as I really didn’t know what answer he wanted me to give. And more importantly, I wasn’t sure what answer I wanted to give. My mind told me that this should be a final goodbye, and yet my heart protested the thought of not seeing him again. Although it had been so long since we had been together before, now that we had, it was like we had gone back in time, and any separation was going to feel like an old wound being ripped open anew.

“I don’t know what I want it to be,” he answered – as he finally turned to face me, and then went on passionately, “I can’t seem to think straight when it comes to you. Go home Stephanie. Go home to your child and your life, and let me figure out the answer to that.”

I didn’t need any further prodding as the pain his words brought on was enough to make me want to flee from him, and getting out of the car, I practically run to the parked cabs without looking back.

Chris was pacing around the living room with a bawling C.G in his arms when I returned. He instantly handed him over with no small degree of relief while demanding irritably: “What took you so long?”

“I thought you had said I should take my time,” I reminded him calmly.

“I said ‘take your time,’ not the whole bloody day,” he growled.

“Oh stop being so dramatic! I wasn’t gone for that long. Anyway, it wasn’t my fault. My sister got held up by something in her office so, I had to wait for quite a while for her to get there,” I lied offhandedly while bouncing C.G on my hip in an effort to soothe him.

“Well, I hope she made the wait worth your while,” he grumbled, only slightly mollified by my explanation.

“Actually she did. She gave me enough to clear what I borrowed, and replace the amount you gave me, with a little bit left over to tide us through a few days if we’re careful with our spending,” I declared proudly, and then quoted a figure that was only a small fraction of what Greg had given me.

“That’s great! I hope you told her how grateful we are,” Chris beamed, his foul mood now totally erased by the knowledge that my excursion had brought in some money.

Some might be surprised by his behaviour, but I certainly wasn’t as Chris had always been this way. It had never really mattered to him where the money came from, as long as he had some, he was a happy man.

Source : The Observer

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