An Unexpected Conversation

By Paul LaTour

Sarah’s text came as a shock to me. I stared at my phone in disbelief as my mind shuffled through the myriad consequences that could result from this one 21-word message.

“It’s happening. Greg agreed to the divorce. We’re seeing an attorney tomorrow. Soon I’ll be free and we can be together.”

My mind whirled. I wondered why she would say that to me now, after all these years, after never having broached the subject before. Sure, I’d considered what it would be like to be with her, but I kept my thoughts on the matter private, especially from my wife, Mary. It just never came up between Sarah and me, not even that time five years ago when we got so drunk and spent the night at her house, sleeping together in her bed while Greg was out of town for business and Mary was with her folks. I slept above the covers, my back to her the entire time, but my mind struggled to control my desires. Was she also struggling? How long had she been keeping her own desires secret?

My hands were too shaky to type a response. The repercussions from this would be enormous. Life-changing. Not for just her and me, either. I had to think about Mary, about our kids, about the process of untwining our lives together. How would they react when I told them my plan to pack up and leave them for her? How would I even face them?

After taking a deep breath, I thumbed in the first word of a new message: “What???”

Then I added, “We’ve never even discussed this before. How long have you felt this way about me? I always assumed I was the only one with these feelings.”

I hit send. The air in my office became stifling, oppressive even. Dizziness gripped me. I swear I heard the walls creaking closer. I looked at my phone. The little bubble icon on the screen told me she was typing her response. I wiped my forehead with my left sleeve, streaking the cuff with sweat. A short vibration announced the arrival of her message.

“Oh my god, Carl! I didn’t mean to send this to you!!!”

My world went black.

At various points in his life, Paul LaTour dreamed of being Frank Deford or Bruce Springsteen or William Faulkner. These days he’s happy being Paul LaTour. He lives in Aurora, Illinois, with his wife, the poet Kristin LaTour. They share a modest home with two dogitos, one lovebird, and a smart-aleck squirrel who has visited Europe more often than the author.

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