Saturday, May 31, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
"Is everything okay?" I asked in lieu of saying hello.
I heard Melinda take a deep, shaky breath before clearing her throat.
"No, not really," she began, her voice thick and raspy. I could hear voices and noise in the background but couldn't quite make it out.
"Melinda, what's going on?" I asked, my pulse quickening. Something had to be very wrong to warrant this call.
"Emma, sweetie, is anyone there with you?"
"No, I'm alone. Why, what's going on?" I repeated my question. I paced my bedroom in the dark, tugging at the tangled ends of my hair.
"It's Michael," Melinda whispered, her voice growing more hoarse.
"Did he do something, is he in trouble?" my mind was racing, just like my heart.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
*Sorry again for the late post. I haven't had a day off for over a week until today and didn't have the energy to write. See you all again on Friday at the normal time!*
Of course, Holly was the person I went to about my Michael dilemma. She'd known Michael even longer than I had. They'd gone to elementary school together, although they hadn't necessarily been childhood friends. I knew I could trust Holly to give me her opinion without letting emotion into the equation. I knew Kate still loathed Michael and didn't trust him. I knew her answer would immediately be to destroy the letter without reading it. Holly would at least help me weigh the pros and cons to the situation. I called her up and she promised to swing by my apartment later in the afternoon before she had to head to her second job.
I spent the afternoon alone with my thoughts. Michael and I had met in junior high school when we were only 12 years old. I had moved to the Midwest with my parents that previous summer. Michael and I met in our eighth grade Spanish class. Our seats had been assigned alphabetically by last name. Mine is Bradley and his is Brandon, so naturally we were seated together. I thought he was fun to talk to and we'd been friendly throughout the school year. All through junior high and high school, our lockers had been next door to each other. We had numerous classes together. Looking back, there had always been a friendly flirtation between us.
Michael had the same girlfriend, Corinne, all through those years. I'd always admired their relationship. Most kids in high school dated around. There were always breakups, makeups and drama to be found, typical of high school.
After graduation, Michael and I lost touch for about a year. He'd actually shown up at the restaurant I worked at to visit my coworker, Chris. We'd gotten to talking and I found out he'd split up with Cori a few months prior. We agreed to hang out, which turned into a date. The first date led to many more and we'd quickly fallen in love.
Can you remember the first time you fell in love? I can. It wasn't Michael, though. It had been my high school boyfriend, Alex, whom I'd lost my virginity to. We'd gone through that obsessive, infatuated state and that state never really ended. There was a lot of passion there. We loved each other madly and argued viciously. We were too alike and too different all at once. Being with Michael wasn't like that. It was always comfortable and natural for us. Some friends had joked that they always figured we would end up together.
Michael was my first grown up relationship. We spent mostly happy years together. I still can't pinpoint when things changed. I'd been pushing for an engagement for awhile. That's what couples do, right? They date for awhile, live together a few years and then they get married. I'd wanted that desperately, but looking back, I only wanted it because I thought it was the way things were supposed to be. Michael and I had grown apart. I know now that we've both changed but his change had been for the worse.
I pressured myself to really think about the last year of our relationship. We'd been distant and strained, but I still don't know if that was because Michael was secretly depressed or if the depression came after.
I was napping on the couch when Holly arrived. She fussed over me, asking rapid fire questions. Have you been eating regularly to prevent feeling faint? Have you been resting? Are you in pain? Do you need anything? It was sweet, really. She's a good person with a huge heart. We talked a little about my accident, we chatted a bit about what a jerk Eric turned out to be, she mentioned organizing my baby shower. And finally, the talk turned to Michael.
I was careful about what I revealed. It wasn't my place to talk about Michael's mental health or hospitalization in a psychiatric facility. I kept my statements vague yet touched on the idea that Michael was striving to improve himself and felt that writing me a letter would be therapeutic.
"Well, Emma, what do you think is best?" She asked.
"I think, no, I know I want to read it. I want to satisfy my curiosity and see what he has to say. I feel like I need some insight or closure or an explanation for his crazy behavior." I trailed off.
"But I'm not sure it's a good idea. Reading it could be stressful. It could just be a hateful letter blaming me for his problems. It could be an attempt to win me back, which absolutely won't happen. It could be a tactic to get me to drop the lawyer talks so he can fight for parental rights. Honestly, it could be anything!"
"Hon, you're right. It could be any or none of the above. My opinion? You should read it but take it with a grain of salt. If it gives you peace of mind to see what he has to say, go for it. If it turns out to be a nasty letter, give a copy to Rebecca. It could help you ensure custody and the right to allow him the relationship with your child that you see fit." Holly spoke diplomatically.
"I hadn't thought of it like that. You're totally right. Either the letter helps both of us heal or it helps me protect myself and my daughter. I'll call Melinda and tell her I've made up my mind."
Holly gently hugged me goodbye before leaving. I think our conversation gave me a new perspective.
Melinda was eager to bring me the letter and check in with me for a brief visit. She looked older, somehow. I hadn't realized just how much of an impact this Michael situation has had on her. She informed me he'd be leaving the hospital within 24-48 hours and would ideally be staying with them for a little while. I thanked her for the update and she promised he wouldn't be bothering me. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying something snarky.
After she left, I sat down to read the letter. I was surprised to find two more envelopes inside, along with the short letter. Each envelope had my name and instructions not to open them until a date listed two weeks from today. It struck me as odd, but I assume he had a reason.
The letter was short.
"Emma, hopefully you've agreed to accept these letters. I'm sure my parents have explained everything to you. I'm so sorry for all I've put you through. You didn't deserve that sort of treatment and I'm ashamed of my actions. Therapy has been really beneficial for me and I've come to accept why you left and the reality of our situation. Someday, I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me."
The letter was simply signed "Michael". It was anticlimactic, really. Just a generic apology letter. I felt better having read it, though. I put the other letters away in a drawer. Despite my gnawing curiosity about them, I decided to respect his wishes and open them on the date he'd instructed.
I was still feeling worn out and went to bed early. I was plagued by nightmares and fitful sleep and awoke with a pit of unease in my stomach.
I spent a few hours of the day working and it helped me feel better and more normal somehow. Kate and Dale came by to have dinner with me and to watch some movies on Netflix. Again, I fell asleep early.
I was awakened around 3 am by my ringing phone. I fumbled around for it with a growing feeling of dread. There are never any good reasons for a middle of the night phone call.
My heart may have stopped when I saw who was calling at this late hour: Melinda.
Friday, May 16, 2014
I was nearly in tears, I was so grateful. He talked to Celeste (the boss boss) and already had it approved. He spent time working with our IT department to get me a laptop from the office to access our network and do everything I need to be able to do from home. I thanked him profusely and assured him I was confident I'd be ready within 2 days to at least work four hours at a time.
I made good on my promise and showed up at work 2 days later with my medical documents (required by our HR department). Our IT department somehow arranged it so that anything I printed using the laptop would be printed out in Richard's office, eliminating the need for me to actually show up at the end of each shift simply to print off and file my documents. They are printed in his office and given to my coworker Kaylee to file. Kaylee is the one who trained me for the most part; we work the same position (she works 6am-2pm, so our shift only overlaps by 2 hours) and have shared reports and responsibilities. She was sweet enough to send me an email wishing me well and assuring me it'd be no problem for her to physically file my printed reports. I am so blessed to work with great people that actually care about each other, not just the company.
I'm thinking about suggesting to Richard that instead of taking a full maternity leave when the baby comes, I can arrange to work at home for a few hours a day with one full day a week actually at the call center. I waiting to make that suggestion, however. I want to see if me working from home is a good fit for myself and my bosses.
Now that I've bored you with my mundane work updates, boy, do I have some interesting things to share.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
She mouthed Oh, my God in my direction as she got up to answer the door. I crossed my fingers that he hadn't heard what I'd said. Lord knows he'd definitely get the wrong impression.
Kate looked through the peephole then slowly opened the door. Rob stood in the doorway, grocery bags dangling from one hand and a Panera hibiscus tea in the other. His expression was a mixture of bewilderment and pride.
"Uhh, is this a bad time?" he asked, looking from me to Kate and back again.
Without warning, Kate burst into uncontrollable laughter, collapsing against the wall nearest my front door. Rob raised an eyebrow at me, making the cuckoo motion with his index finger and nearly dropping my tea in the process. Personally, I was too embarrassed and far too sore to laugh. Kate was doing enough laughing for the both of us, anyway. She took deep, gasping breaths, struggling to stop the laughter.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she wheezed, "you just have great timing!" With that, she dissolved into another giggle fit.
Rob made his way across my small living room, handing me the tea. I greedily took a huge sip. That tea is surely sent to Panera straight from heaven!
"I'll, uh, put this stuff in the kitchen, be right back," he flashed me his typical smirk. Ugh, there was no way he hadn't heard my fake love proclamation.
Kate made eye contact with me, still fighting to suppress her laughter.
"He totally heard you," she half-whispered. I shushed her, hoping if I pretended nothing had been said, so would Rob. I mean, what could I possibly say to him? 'Oh, hey, totally just kidding. Definitely not in love with you!'? I knew Rob didn't see me that way, but I imagine it would still be a blow to the ego, right?
"I can still hear you, actually!" Rob called from the kitchen.
This time, Kate practically screamed with laughter. I was starting to worry she would laugh herself to death.
"Oh, my god, Kate, stop!" I exclaimed. I could feel my own urge to laugh rising, but knowing the pain my ribs and collar would feel, I shoved the urge down.
"Rob, will you just come in here for a second?" I called out to him. He popped his head around the corner, grinning from ear to ear. Kate's shoulders still shook lightly, but she was no longer audibly laughing. She wiped at her eyes and took a deep, shaky breath.
"So, I dunno how much you heard, but I swear, it's not what it sounded like," I began and he nodded for me to continue, smirking all the while. "Kate has this thing, and by that I mean an obsession. Her thing is to find reason in every little thing to accuse one of us of being in love with the other. Oh, Rob went to the gas station today and so did you? Must be fate! Oh, you and Rob both like macaroni and cheese, you should get married. Oh, you guys are the opposite sex? Clearly, you love each other! You only heard the tail end of it and I was just trying to shut her up. Ugh, I feel so awkward!"
I felt so silly, yet relieved, when I got it all out in the open. I cringed at how stupid I felt, though.
"Aw, don't be embarrassed. I know I'm hard to resist, you don't have to make up lies about Kate. I mean, I even made you puke at dinner one time!"
I covered my face with my free hand, shaking my head. These two always knew how to cheer me up. Thank goodness Rob understood!
Kate stood and stretched, finally over her ridiculous laughing fit.
"I've gotta head out if you're okay, Emma. Rent is due soon and I gotta head to the club for the night. I can come by after and stay the night if you want?"
I nodded, "Okay, just call me when you're done for the night. Depending on how I'm feeling, I might need you to stay the night. You can stop by either way if it gives you peace of mind."
She smiled, "I'll call you later on. Seriously, if you need me, I want to be here. I'll let you two lovebirds enjoy some alone time!" Kate couldn't resist one final joke at my expense. One thing I really loved about her is she could take it just as well as she could dish it out.
The door clicked shut behind her and Rob locked it for me. Despite Michael having been out of the picture for a few weeks now, having a locked door still gave me a sense of security. He sat down on the couch beside me, suddenly looking very serious.
"Are you okay, Emma? Can I get you anything or do anything for you?"
"No, I'm fine. Really. Just very sore and worn out. It's been a long few days."
He nodded, "I'm just glad you weren't hurt any worse. When Kate knocked on my door in a panic, I feared the worst. I thought she was going to tell me that Michael hurt you or something. I was so relieved when we found out you were relatively okay. Being told we couldn't see you was heartbreaking, for Kate especially. She's a true friend."
"She really is, and so are you. I honestly don't know what I would do without you guys and my friends. You all are seriously the backbone of my life right now. I can't thank you enough for being here right now." I felt myself getting misty eyed. I had so many wonderful friends, who cares about Michael or Manda or Eric or the shitty drama and stress they've brought upon me? With people like Kate, Rob, Dale and Holly in my life, I could weather anything.
"I can stay with you until Kate comes back, if you'd like. Unless Eric is coming by, I'm sure he's worried, too."
I sighed softly. I hadn't had a chance to see or talk to Rob since I'd gotten out of the hospital. I quickly filled him in on everything that had transpired. He shook his head and made a small sound of disgust.
"You're better off, honestly. A guy who acts like that before you guys even have a real commitment will be nothing but trouble. I have an ex who loved going through my phone, just dying to find something bad. I never gave her a reason not to trust me. I would've gladly handed my phone over to her if she'd asked, but she had to be sneaky and paranoid. I can't say I was too surprised when I found out shed cheated on me. People love to project their wrong doings onto other people."
"You are absolutely right. From here on, I'm going to be more careful about who I let into my life. It's no longer just me that I need to worry about. This little girl will be here soon and I need to be the strongest person I can be when that time comes. She deserves it."
Rob squeezed my hand reassuringly.
"You'll be a wonderful mom, I just know it. Why don't you get some rest? I'll just hang out and watch tv or something quiet while you do. Just call me if you need me."
Realizing just how exhausted I was, I let Rob help me to my room and into my bed. I fell asleep almost immediately.
Monday, May 12, 2014
"Well, Miss Bradley, let's get a look at that baby!" her voice was very cheerful and upbeat. Surely if the doctor expected me to receive bad news, the tech would be using a more somber tone, right?
The technician applied the gel to my belly and pelvic region. I waited patiently and silently as she moved the wand around. I was too afraid to look at her or the screen. I knew that detecting even the slightest frown or scowl would lead to me panicking. I simply shut my eyes and focused on my breathing.
Finally, she spoke.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
My blog has officially garnered over 100,000 page views since its creation!
In celebration of this milestone and to make up for my admittedly short last post, I will be writing an extra post next week. I sincerely appreciate every comment you leave.
My normal posts appear on Tuesday and Friday. Let me know if you have any preference on which day the extra post appears. Also, let me know what you want to see more of in the blog. Do you like when I reply to your comments? Are you happy with the content and length of posts? What can I do to improve your reading experience? I am open to suggestion.
Thank you all for reading!
Friday, May 9, 2014
Murmured, frantic voices permeate the darkness. I'm vaguely aware of a searing pain radiating across my side. My mind is struggling to pull me to consciousness. Fragmented thoughts cross my mind.
Eric. My email. A fight. Storming out. Dizziness. Pausing on the stairs. The baby, oh god, the baby.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
I was clenching my jaw in anger so tightly, my teeth and head began to ache. I waited a beat for him to continue. He didn't utter another word. I broke the silence.
"That's it, then? All you have to say is you don't know what to say?" I threw my hands up in exhasperation, exhaling forcefully.
"I'm sorry." His voice was barely audible. I'm not sure if he was whispering, or if my anger was drowning out the sounds around me.