I don't know what to think. A month ago, I was in Massachusetts, recently dumped -- left at the altar -- and now I'm in California playing house.
Doug lives with his wife Nia in a decent house in the Valley. I really like the California weather. It'll be interesting to see what a winter's like without snow. There are plenty of upsides to this life. I thought the store Doug manages was a hardware store, but it's more of a general supermarket/pharmacy/everything store, kind of a local Wal-Mart knockoff we don't have out east. Doug outlined his basic duties and adapting hasn't been all that hard. The day-to-day stuff isn't that bad. Mostly people know their jobs and I can walk around figuring out where everything goes and who does what. Luckily, the staff all wears nametags to keep track of that sort of thing.
That's not what worries me about being Doug. He left his life in decent shape and I'll be happy keeping it as stable as I can until we can change back. There are just bigger issues to deal with.
That would be the wife. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I literally just got out of a long term relationship with the woman I thought I was going to marry. I'm not really "up" for being someone's husband.
Don't get me wrong, I'd be good at it. I've cohabitated for years. I loved not only my ex, but the whole feeling of having someone at home, someone around to talk to, to share interests, to be with. But that's only when you're ready for it. When you know and trust the person. This lady... I don't know. Although I can't say I blame her for acting standoffish toward me.
She's a nurse. Whereas I'm keeping business hours, she's out all the time. The first week, I hardly saw her. But she didn't make a great first impression.
I don't blame her for it. Her husband disappeared to the other side of the country for what, three weeks, a month, with no word why, and I wasn't exactly armed with the greatest excuses. Anthony cooked us up a cover story that Zane -- my "sister" Clara -- had gotten sick, but that just irritated Nia.
The thing is, she's totally right. Relationships need trust, and it looks like Doug broke that even though he didn't mean to. I just have to bear the brunt of her wrath, and that sucks, because I'm really not in the mood to take the heat for something so far beyond my control or even understanding. I can't tell her I'm not her husband, I can't explain why "I" was so late in coming home. All I can do is promise it won't happen again, even though I can't promise anything of the sort.
I sat there, listening sullenly as she ranted and raved at me -- having just gotten off a long shift, understandably overflowing with rage -- then she stopped and said "Well, are you going to say anything for yourself? Make some smartass comment?"
I just held my tongue and said "No. You're completely right."
This led her to chewing me out for not holding my ground. I tell you, I'll never understand women. When I didn't fight back even then, she stopped. "I guess you must mean it, if you're not going to try to defend yourself."
I didn't say anything more except, "Do you want me to sleep on the couch?"
She twisted her mouth. "After the past few weeks? I'm not spending another night in bed alone. Come on."
She led me up to bed. I was worried she was going to want me to be intimate, which I'm really not in the mood for. I don't know what Doug would think, but I don't know if it's my place to avoid it forever either.
Instead, all we did was crawl into bed in our pajamas, which is definitely something I could handle. After all the craziness of my life the past few weeks, I was glad to be in bed with another human. To feel her body close to me, to hear her breath as she sleeps. It was like sharing a bed platonically with Lisa back in Maine.
I barely slept that night. By the time I did wake up, she was already gone.
Between you and me, she's pretty easy on the eyes. She keeps in shape and has a beautiful dark complexion that I later learned was from being mixed African-American and Caucasian. If I saw her in public I'd definitely give a second look.
I feel a little sleazy for saying that, though. That's another man's wife.