Sometimes, I utterly forget that I'm married.
I wear the ring, I share my bed, I cook and clean for the guy, and yet it's remarkably easy for me to just push him out of my head when I need to. Like say, when I spontaneously promise Hayley a trip to New York on a few days' notice, along with a spa trip and whatever other tourist goodies might come her way.
It wasn't long before it dawned on me that it wasn't really my call. When Hayley went to ask her dad about it, he asked me to see him in the bedroom. I felt like I was called into the principal's office. I sat on the bed. He stood by the dresser.
"What's this I'm hearing about a New York trip? Hayley said you were taking her there this weekend."
Somewhat ashamed, I just looked down at my feet and said, "Maybe."
"That's... you can't just do that, Anne-Marie. We need to talk about this."
"Okay, so let's talk."
"You can't just go off on a trip whenever you feel like it!" he says. "Last summer you disappeared for nearly a month with my sister's daughter. Anything could've happened to you. We were so worried. And you've been making plans to go back there this summer."
He goes on and on and I guess I'm supposed to feel guilty, but from my perspective nothing's wrong. I was starting to feel really bummed out for being talked to in that way, but at the same time... I zoned out because it didn't really apply.
So I told him, "Yes, but can we keep this about New York?"
"I'm not made out of trips, Annie. You should've consulted me first."
"I'm sorry," I said, "I just... I panicked, because I realized, in case you didn't notice, we kind of forgot our daughter's birthday. I thought it might offset that a little bit."
"I just don't think we can afford it. Between this and your little Maine vacation..." he keeps bringing Maine into it. I want to deal with that at another time.
I start to reason with him, "Look. I've been cutting back spending. I haven't bought clothes or shoes in months." It's true, I've indulged in a little shopping since transforming, usually with "Julia," but for the most part I live on the cheap like I did when I was poor. "We've saved plenty to make both this and Maine work."
"Okay look, we'll go online, we'll find a Holiday Inn in Secaucus or something, and we can drive into the city next weekend. I don't know about this spa thing, but we can at least see a show or something."
I just look at him. "We?"
He laughs, "You didn't think you were gonna go to New York City without me and Connor, did you?" I guess not. "And we'll talk about Maine too. Could be very romantic." He kisses me on the cheek. I want to tell him, "Um, no, we will not talk about Maine, you are not coming to Maine." but at this point he left the room.
I guess it was a little presumptuous to assume I could make these plans without involving Hal. I don't mind him coming along to NYC, because now there's a chance I can get away and see those other nearby Inn folks I've been talking with (through the magic of Facebook, MSN and E-Mail.) But I really do not like the idea that he'll follow his wife to Maine. That's just asking for trouble.
Meanwhile in South Carolina...
From what I hear, "Julia" and "Kalli" escaped just in time to miss a massive storm in that area, flying into Logan a few nights ago (maybe they should've stopped in on Art and Ashlyn!) and driving the few hours back to our neck of the woods. Kalli's mom's angina flared up so she was called back home, and, having nothing better to do, went, with "Julia" as a secret chaperon. They came back one heavy. This is where it gets weird.
I don't know what has been running through Anne-Marie's mind since she became Julia, but she was certainly very concerned that I do my best to keep up her relationship with her husband. I've done my best and tried to put a positive spin on it, but it's still kind of a chore to get down with the guy every now and again. But it was all for a good cause.
Anyway, when "Julia" got back in town, she was immediately contacted by an old flame of Julia's - very unfortunately named Todd Jones (T2, or Jonesy for the purposes of this blog.) And for whatever reason, she decided that somehow it would be appropriate for her to bring this guy back to Connecticut, where she is a married woman living in another person's body with her similarly transformed 14-year-old niece. Doesn't this all sound a little inappropriate?
I don't know what to think. Is she banging this guy? And if she is, should I be upset? After all, I wish the new me would keep up relations with Alia alive, but s/he hasn't, and I just have to live with it. And she can't sleep with her own husband, and, what, should she be a nun? I guess not. It just pisses me off that there's not another option. Hal cheating on me with her sounds really good right now.
And what kind of example does this set for "Kalli," who for all intents and purposes is the same age as Julia? I feel like I'm the only mature one around here and that is not a good role for me.
Ugh, it's so frustrating.
And as if that wasn't bad enough...
Friday mornings I go to the gym. Last week, after my session, I was drying off from the shower and changing back into my day clothes... self-consciously trying to eyeball the nubile young ladies and re-create some of Bry's observations for my own (no luck) when I get cornered by who else but Donna, wearing her workout gear.
Apparently, she didn't take kindly to the tone I took in my voicemail. She gives me this stern look before just sighing. "Anne-Marie, I can tell you have something you want to get off your chest." I froze - as luck would have it, my hands happened to be cupping my breasts at the time. She continued, "I want you to know that no matter what, I'm your friend and I'm here for you. We disagree on some things, and maybe someday you'll see my point of view, but for now, I'd still like us to be close."
Despite knowing I am not the Anne-Marie she knew, Donna still seems to be treating me like the person I look like. It makes me wonder if Donna truly understands what the Inn does to people. I just shook my head and continued to dress. "Whatever."
"If that means unburdening yourself and telling me all about who you used to be, I'm ready to hear it. If it means helping you get through this, I'll be glad to."
I scoffed. "Is this, like, a joke to you? Are you messing with me? Whatever. If you want to talk, we'll talk, but not today." I just wasn't in the mood for her crap.
More later - I've got to start dinner.