Monday, May 11, 2009

Todd/Anne-Marie: Mother's Day

My first and hopefully last Mother's Day as a mom. It was a... surreal experience. The family really made an effort to keep the focus on me, which I'm not only not used to, but actively try to avoid. I was prepared to get some attention today but wasn't sure how it would manifest itself.

In the morning I was given a few cards by the kids and some flowers by Hal. I don't really know what to do with them, but they're in water for now until they die. It was a gorgeous day, and we went out, with Hal's mother Lucille, to the Beardsley Zoo. It was nice, and reminds me of some old times I used to have with Bryan. We were kicked out of the Metro Toronto Zoo because apparently they don't like people walking around high and taunting Macaws. Anyway, this was a fun day too... Connor really entertained me by doing funny impressions or making up facts about basically every animal we saw. He's a real crack-up.

Anyway, Lucille took some time to speak with me. I didn't want to mention, you know, how sad it must be to be without her husband, and she had another topic in mind. She said I had to find a way to end this rivalry with Trudy. She said she understood that her daughter could be difficult and that the situation was largely not my fault, but it hurt her to see the two of us sniping so much. I told her I'd do what I could and asked if she would have the same talk with Trudy. Lucille sighed and said she loved her daughter and was proud of all she accomplished, but that she was not a people person, and not much of a "forgive and forgetter." Well it's nice to know Lucille's sympathies lie with me.

After dinner - a somewhat embarrassing display by Hal that made me a little more proud of what I've learned to do in the past nine months - I excused myself to run some errands. Hal insisted, "No sweetie, you're not running any errands today, let me do it." Using a bit of quick wit, I simply leaned in close and told him I needed to by more feminine hygiene products. He backed off. I get a kick out of how squeamish men are about this kind of stuff, because that totally used to be me. Most of us simply do not have the time or inclination to learn the facts about a woman's body, because it might ruin the mystique. In a way, I'm worried it has for me, but knowing a bit more about how to use the equipment will probably up my skill level once I get back to the home team.

The errand of course had nothing to do with Tampax, but was a visit out to "Julia and Kalli's" place. I had gotten a little card for Anne-Marie, because I feel guilty she doesn't get to spend this time with her family. She claimed not to have much time to talk, and when I asked why, I heard the toilet flush. She jumped, more than she would have if it were just "Kalli." Waiting to see who was about to emerge from that washroom put me on edge.

It was Jack, the guy I'd met at the supermarket and passed along to Julia. Julia asked to meet him down by the car, we'd only be a little while longer.

I don't know why I was so shocked. Like I said, I introduced them (more or less) but I guess I was just expecting "Julia" to say "Thanks but not thanks." She had a distinct look of guilt on her face. I didn't know what to think. So I just asked for an explanation. She was reluctant, but I assured her I wouldn't judge.

She said, "When I found out Ellie was getting serious with that Todd Jones boy, I got really nervous about what might happen. So it started as a reason for me to... tag along. To double date. I haven't been single in so long, I just thought it was so thrilling to have a boy looking at me like that."

With some reluctance I asked, "Have you two... hooked up?"

"Todd I don't know if that's really your business."

I twisted my lips uncomfortably. "Well maybe, but Anne... I've been having sex with your husband for three months now. Like I said I'm really not here to judge you, I just need to know where you stand."

She sighed. "We haven't yet. We've been taking it slow because he just got out of his relationship and I... I still love my husband, Todd, I want you to remember that."

"I know."

She continued, "But I've been thinking about it. I've been trying to convince myself that it'd be okay, if I want to... and part of me does, wants to be this woman. But every time we get close, I just... I haven't gone through with it yet. I don't know if I will."

I ran my fingers through my hair and adjusted my bra, a nervous habit. "Well I can't speak for Ellie, but I won't judge you if you take advantage of this situation. I'm doing what I'm doing... and I know what I would want Deb to be doing in my body if I could make her. So I couldn't blame you. But Anne-Marie... don't lead the guy on. This is like Bryan with his girlfriend, except right now we don't know who's going to be Julia in a few months. It could be a 40-year-old dude, or a kid. It's not fair to saddle someone with a relationship like this. If you can avoid it."

She looked down at the floor.

"But look. That's going to happen anyway, I figure. Just go easy on him, and please, please try to make sure this, these feelings, aren't something you bring back from Maine with you."

It was maybe not the best advice in the world. Again, even before all this I had a pretty messed up view of right and wrong in relationships, and this has just opened up all these scary new opportunities, but like I said, I can't personally judge Anne-Marie one way or the other.

Anyway, then I went home, and had pleasant but routine Mother's Day sex with Hal. I tried to enjoy it, but I think after the talk with Anne-Marie, my heart really wasn't in it. I went to bed feeling guilty... even though all this time, I haven't even really been in charge of the decisions I've been making, for good or bad.

I'm starting to think the worst part of this, for me, has been the feeling of not being in control of my own life. Some days I just wanna do something public and drastic and out of character for Anne-Marie just to see if anyone would notice. But no, it's only a month and a half until Bry and I go back. I've been nothing but a placeholder, a substitute, a bookmark for Anne-Marie this entire time. Why would I end that now?


Oh yeah, and Bry sent me this.

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