After the stadium I needed to go and calm down somewhere. It would be time to pick up Zoe soon. I didn’t want to see Odette, I didn’t really want to see anyone. I just needed to get my head together. I was even too angry to drive. I understood now what blind with rage meant. So I decided to run for a while. I ran down to the track on campus. The methodical thudding on the clay was soothing, and when I thought I was going to throw up I slowed down and bent over to catch my breath. I watched in surprise as my sweat dripped onto my sneakers.
I needed to go and get Zoe but I wasn’t going all the way back to the shop to get the van so I pulled my phone out and called Dave. He got there fast and when I climbed in and slammed the door to his VW he opened up his window.
“You wreak dude.”
“I’ve been running”
“I see that.” He pulled on his beard. He does that when he is troubled about something. “So, how’d it go with Odette?”
I looked down at my hands. I was embarrassed. “Odette wasn’t there. She sent that dork instead,” I mumbled.
“What do you mean? Dave slammed the steering wheel with his hand. ,”She wasn’t there? You wrote her a fucking love letter. You forgave her. Where the hell was she?”
“I don’t know.” I turned my wedding ring round and round on my finger, it slid well over the sweat. “That piece of shit boyfriend of hers said that she sent him to tell me that it’s over. I guess it makes sense, Odette hates conflict.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes. I know that Dave was speechless. He kept randomly shaking his head and muttering, “unbelievable” as he drove.
I said, “Yet, I can’t help but think there was something not right about it. Odette isn’t cruel.”
“Whatever dude. Did you finally beat that guy to a pulp?”
“No. I thought about it. I almost fucking killed him.” I pictured that moment when I seriously thought about how nicely Jake would go over the stadium wall. He wasn’t worth it though, not even close.
“I went to the stadium early.” I said. ” I even brought lilies.” I looked over at Dave. “They are still there under the bleachers if you want to go and get them for Megan, later.” Dave didn’t smile.
I looked out of the passenger-side window and watched the trees go by along the side of the road.
“How long did you wait there before Jake showed up?” Dave said.
“I was sitting there ten, fifteen minutes maybe, thinking about how much I love our life. You know, almost everything good that has happened to me in the past 10 years or so, happened with Odette. Sure, we had our record deal before I met her, but when I think of happiness, when I think of really being happy, all I can see is her smiling face.” I looked back over at Dave who was pulling on his beard again.
“I don’t want this to be over.” I said. “But I don’t know what to do. She’s got me backed into a corner.” We got closer to Zoe’s school and I thought about how nice it was going to be to see her in her little yellow dress when her teachers brought her out with the rest of her class. The thought of her made me smile. I got a bit choked up. Thank god I had her.
“I remember when Odette told me that we were going to have a baby. I was so freaked out I wanted to puke. I mean, how could I be a Dad? Would I still be able to be me? Then I looked at Odette, looking at me, and I just broke down. She was so damn calm. It was like she knew everything was going to be o.k.. We were going to be three.”
We pulled into the pick-up line and Dave looked over at me.”Where to after we pick her up?”
“How about ice-cream for Zoe, well, rice milk ice-cream with organic sprinkles and coconut whip cream.”
Dave nodded. “Sure dude,” he said. Then he rubbed his furrowed brow, he looked confused. “So have you heard from Odette at all this morning then?”
“She sent me a text; something about her looking for the kitten. That really sounds like her. She is in a hurry to get somewhere and then gets totally distracted by a lost kitten. Could it have been an excuse? That kid goes to the University, maybe he just happened to come by the stadium and saw me there?
Dave shook his head. “Don’t you be an asshole. That guy knew what he was doing. He obviously came looking for you. Who else could have told him you guys were supposed to meet there, besides Odette?”
“Yeah, but maybe Odette didn’t send him. She seriously could have run into him on the way to the stadium.” I buried my head in my hands and squeezed my hair. My head was starting to throb. “Damn. I just don’t know what to think.”
“Hey, it’s going to be o.k.” Dave said. I could tell by his voice that he was starting to worry about me. “Why don’t we go to the cabin for the weekend with the band? We’ll get some practice in. I’ll bring Megan and Liza, and you can bring Zoe too, she’ll love it.”
“And let that punk fuck my wife in my bed?”
There was honestly no worse thought to me in the world. If I saw him again, I know I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself… I know this time I would tear into him, no holding back.
I nodded, “Yeah, maybe it is a good idea. I know I can’t see Odette right now. I don’t even want to look at her. Will you call her and tell her? I think I’ll start fucking crying or yelling if I do. Look there is Zoe, pull up a little bit so her teacher can bring her right to the car. I’ll tell her she’s going camping at the cabin. I know a great campfire story about a real monster named Jake who eats little girls with blonde curls……”