“Charles is having an affair,” Margo blurted out.
She glanced away, staring out the window as if she had just told me she bought a handbag that cost more than my mortgage. There was no point asking. Margo never said anything unless she was sure.
I glanced around the restaurant at the other ladies lunching. A lady at the next table was picking through a salad – no dressing, no cheese, no chicken, no onions. Onions were carbs she’d said. Her friend, just as thin, had plowed her way through a shrimp cocktail, egg rolls, and was now working her way through nachos. I noticed she went to the ladies’ room between each dish.
I love food too much to be anorexic and not enough to be bulimic, I thought, cutting into my lasagna, with cheese, meat, sauce, and extra bread.
The restaurant was filled with bored ladies politely tearing each other and their husband’s down. I was a fresh water fish in salt water. Margo wasn’t like these women. She met Charles in college, worked as hard as he did to make his career. Strip away the Prada and Gucci and she was just a girl from a farm in Texas somewhere no one had ever heard of.
“I’ve started my garden.” Margo was back.
“Forget the garden. What are you doing to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“Have you contacted an attorney?”
“An attorney? God no. Do you think he has?”
“You’d know if he had.”
“People are like shoes, you know. You remember when I was in college. I was a strappy pair of heels. I was cute and sassy. Men were attracted to me. I could have my pick. Then Charles and I got married. We settled down. I became what he needed me to be sensible, intelligent, hardworking – yoga shoes. You think a doctor would appreciate a good pair of nurses’ shoes. But no, he takes up with a pair of trampy stelletto’s.
“Men are like that, they’d rather have a pair of vinyl shoes with a little extra silicone in the toes.” I was trying to stick with the shoe metaphor, but failed.
Margo looked at me, brows wrinkled, frowning. She smiled, then laughed. Not fake laughter like that from the tables all around us, but real laughter.
Her blond curls tossed as she laughed. She was still cute, maybe not as sassy. I hope the old Margo was still in there.
“You can take the house.” I was trying to steer Margo towards reality.
“You can take the house in the country and Charles can take the apartment in the city.”
“No, I don’t want the house. I mean, I want the house. I don’t want a divorce.”
“But he’s cheating on you. You have to get a divorce. Everyone whose spouse cheats gets a divorce.”
“I don’t care. I don’t want a divorce.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t have to play by their rules. I can make up my own.”
Perhaps the old Margo was in there somewhere.