Kenny showered and changed. Dinner waited a little later than hoped. Apparently David did a bit of overtime. Lisa fed Kenny first, then sat on the lounge with him as they watched TV. Within the hour, he began to nod off, exhausted from his day out. She carried him to bed and resumed watching TV.
Every now and then, she noted the wall mounted clock. Another hour elapsed. She uncorked the bottle of wine she planned to drink with David and drank a glass, then another. Almost another hour passed, when the phone rang.
She snatched it up.
“David, is that you?” she blurted.
“Yeah it’s me,” he said resignedly.
“Where are you? Are you coming home soon?”
He spoke the word softly, yet it had the impact of a sledgehammer, stunning her into silence, giving her a sense of vertigo, as if plummeting into darkness.
“Lisa… I’m leaving.”
She had to ask the inevitable question.
“Is there someone else?”
David sighed. “You couldn’t think there was any other reason; could you? No, Lisa, there’s no one else.”
“Then why are you leaving?”
“You never see me anymore because your work is more important to you. We never talk about us; it’s always about something someone found from some area of the world I’ve never heard of.”
“I could talk about other things.”
“It’s not just what we talk about, Lisa. You work more hours than you have to. You’ve made it clear, we’re not important to you anymore. Every time I go to touch you, your mind is somewhere else. I can’t remember the last time we had sex together. The little time you have free, you’re either too tired, or flying off to some conference somewhere.”
“Look, David; I know how you feel.”
“Lisa… it’s been a long time since you’ve known how I’ve felt about anything. I’ll give you a call when I’ve sorted myself out.”
Tears freely ran from her eyes as she gripped the handset tighter in the vain attempt at trapping his voice within the phone. David waited as she desperately searched her mind for anything that might sway him.
“What about Kenny?” she said in wavered tone. “You can’t leave. A boy needs his father.”
“I’ve got to go now. I wish you well, Lisa.”
“No, David; I can change!”
“No you can’t,” he said calmly.
His tone seemed one of resignation.
“I’ve got to go now, Lisa.”
“David!” she shrieked.
When the dial tone finally permeated her consciousness, she replaced the handset and sobbed. After a few minutes, she poured herself another glass of wine. Two hours passed as the TV droned on. She turned it off, along with the lights, and continued to drink alone in the darkened lounge room.
With her senses dulled from alcohol, she wandered down the hallway and pushed open Kenny’s door. Her little son lay asleep on his side, with his back turned from her. She wanted to tell him of what had just happened; of the ache in her heart. A little boy could never take in that level of grief; nor should he have to listen. Like it or not, the duty fell to her now to shield him from pain as much as possible. That also entailed not telling him about hers.
Instead, she nestled into his side, so gradually as to not wake him.