Unraveling – Part 59
After the exhibition, they had dinner at a local bistro specializing in seafood. Seared sea scallops, grilled shrimp flavored with lemon and oregano served with a spicy Mediterranean couscous, all accompanied by a delicious Lorie Valley Pinot Noir. For dessert they shared a single creme brulee with fresh raspberries and iced coffee.
They left the restaurant, walking hand-in-hand in the pale moonlight. It was a balmy night, but summer would end in the next month and autumn, Libby’s favourite time year, would usher in apples and pumpkins and cooler weather. She was so happy here with John, so thankful for last several months. Despite her concern for Paul, she was whole and strong and life was remarkably gratifying.
“Libby,” John said quietly as they continued their walk, “When do you and Paul leave to take R to school?”
“Next week,” She replied,” I added a few vacation days, I’m going to spend some time with my mother.”
John squeezed her hand gently and smiled at her.
“She was hospitalized last weekend, Pleural Effusion.”
“Yes. She’s home now, weak but recovering. Remission is now at its official end.”
“Why didn’t you tell me when it happened?”
“John,” Libby began, “I manage my life on my own, I always have. I know I could have called you, but between her illness and Paul’s meltdowns there has been something new to contend with every day; I don’t want to burden you with my problems.”
He stopped walking and took her face gently in hands
“You are not a burden to me. I don’t yet know how it is that you came to the conclusion that your problems would be a bother to the people in your life, but that conclusion does not now, nor will it ever, apply to me. It is an honour to love you, to be in love with you, and with that comes my desire and need to share your life, all of your life, problems and pain as well as triumphs and joy.”
“Thank you, I love you.”
“I know how strong you are, but you don’t have to be with me. Cry, scream, kick … you aren’t alone anymore.”
They continued their walk …
“I don’t know how Paul can say the things he is saying – or believe them. I’m the same woman I’ve always been … “
“Are you, Libby?” John said in his most serious tone, “Is that true, or do you merely want it to be true?”
She considered carefully, but before she could answer, John added
“The girl Paul loves doesn’t exist, and she never did.”