I see myself sitting on the couch in the Blue Apartment.
It’s September 1, 1996. Labor Day. The baby and I are going over to my mother’s for a holiday cookout and he is coming with us. I don’t know where he is now, home, I suppose. I have bathed and washed my hair while the baby naps. I still have on the pink bathrobe I bought to wear when I brought the baby home from the hospital six months ago. It’s a little worn, but it’s comfortable. My hair is up in a towel, I have only begun to make up my face when I hear the phone, its shrill ring interrupting the quiet morning. I didn’t want it to wake the baby; he still needed to sleep another hour to be in an agreeable mood for the afternoon’s activities.
I answered the phone and a female voice I didn’t recognize asked for him. Was he there? No, I said, not at the moment but I expect him soon. Can I take a message? No, no message she said. Sorry to have bothered you. She hung up. I sat there for a moment or two, analyzing the feeling of dread that gripped me. Who was that? Why was she looking for him? Maybe it was one of his students, but why would one of his students be calling my home on a holiday? I couldn’t make sense of it, so I shrugged my shoulders and put the phone away.
I had just started back down the hallway when the phone rang again. I picked it up and sat back down on the couch. Hello? This time it’s his mother, her familiar voice asking me across the miles if he was there. No, not yet, he’ll be here a little later. Can I give him a message? Well…she hesitated. Someone just called here looking for him, said her name was Sandra, his mother said. Sandra. Hmm. There’s that feeling again.
Someone just called here, too, I said, but she wouldn’t leave a message…I wonder if it was his old sister-in-law, though she goes by “Sandy” now, not “Sandra”. Maybe, his mother said, unconvinced. I’m sure it’s fine, I said, trying to sound more confident than I felt. She seemed reassured, and I hung up the phone again.
My memory of the day’s events begins to develop holes when he comes into the picture. Not long after the two phone calls, he lets himself into the apartment with the key I gave him after the baby was born. He has always come and gone as he pleased; maybe that was part of the problem: too much freedom on his part, too much trust on mine.
So he comes in, just like any other day. I’m standing in front of the terrace door, still in my robe, hair still in a towel, makeup still half done. I look lovely, I’m sure. We look at each other, and something unspeakable passes between us in that split second before I ask him, “Who’s Sandra?” and nothing is ever the same again…
funny when the “ordinary” day transforms itself into the “life changing” day
there may be more from the Blue Apartment, there may not……depends on how it goes…..