Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)
TITLE: 22 Minutes
By Jan Chapman
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The phone trilled and upon answering I heard his familiar deep baritone. “Honey, I have something to tell you. How about we make a night of it and go to dinner?”
“Perfect. I can’t wait!”
Enjoying our favorite dishes at Provinos, I could not contain myself any longer. “C’mon, Jason, tell me already. I’m about to burst with excitement. I have some news too.”
“Go ahead,” he said. “Mine can wait.”
“You go first, Babe. Let’s get business out of the way ‘cause you’re gonna be absolutely thrilled when you hear my surprise.”
“Gabby. Please. Tell. Me.” I knew Jason was struggling with something. He had a lot on his mind lately; his latest promotion, new responsibilities, the declining health of his mom, the likelihood of a transfer to a foreign country. He needed some good news and I couldn’t wait to share with him.
“I will, Jason. Just as soon as you tell me what’s on your mind.”
“What I’m going to say will change the world as you know it.”
“Japan, here we come,“ I thought. I could hardly contain myself. I kept squirming around in my chair and fiddling with the present in my purse. I was beside myself willing him to hurry up and spit it out.
“I decided to tell you this in a public place because I wanted you to be able to contain your emotions and deal with the force of it before we got home.”
My brain was trying to tell me that something was awry here. In mere seconds, I replayed the whole evening. The synapses began firing and I realized Jason had not been himself since he walked into the restaurant. He had picked at his food and seemed distracted. He was stiff and remote. Why hadn’t I noticed it before?
He looked at me, held my gaze and said quickly, “Gabby, you’re a good woman but I’m in love with somebody else and I want a divorce and I want it over fast before I report for my next tour of duty.” He exhaled long and loudly as though he had been holding his breath.
All sound, light and motion stopped. Moments later, his head came into focus but I couldn‘t hear him. Without saying a word, I left him in the restaurant and ran until the pain in my side refused to allow me to continue. I then walked and walked to no where.
By dawn, the stinging pain in my blistered, bloodied feet returned me to reality. I found myself in the city park, having lost my heels and purse. The horrendous physical pain in my heart was agonizing and I thought I might be dying. I could hear it beating in my head and feel it fluttering as though a bird were throwing itself against the inside of my chest. Sweat mixed with salty tears and sticky snot was all over my face, my hands and in my hair. I couldn’t bring myself to speak to another human being so I began the excruciating walk home.
Evidently, I hadn’t thought to grab my purse when I left Provinos because when I returned home it was on the dining table with the booties. The box had been opened and the booties removed. They looked obscene setting in the middle of the torn, ragged pieces of paper and ribbon.
After weeks of meteoric highs and lows, rivers of tears, intense anger, fault finding, blame placing, and heart wrenching pain, we found words of love and forgiveness. We agreed to stay in the marriage and make it work. Our pastor, our families, and our church friends helped us through the heart ache and struggles.
Official orders came and we were transferred to sunny, Miami, instead of Okinawa. We had a healthy, beautiful 6 pound 13 ounce baby girl we named Aubrey, who was the light of our lives.
Exactly three years later on February 8, 2000 our divorce was final at 1:58 p.m.. Jason remarried February 8, 2000 at 2:20 p.m..
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