But the inevitable came knocking, tearing down the door. I had to go home. Jackie was due back and he was not going to settle for my absence with the excuse of it being innocent company at his sister's.
Debra insisted on taking me home the final evening. Anna agreed, but seemed to be preoccupied with an agenda she and Debra had cooked up.
The drive was kept light with the children teasing each other, Debra teasing them. She said little to me. I was grateful. This was going to be difficult enough without experiencing further discord from her. She stopped while in route to get the kids something from McDonalds. They played in the rec area while we sat in the dining area.
“Are you okay Debra?”
“Yeah. Sure. Why?” dripping with sarcasm. “I am overjoyed to bring you to Jackie, while I sit at home wondering what you are doing”
“You know what I’ll be doing…” the kids interrupted. Debra gathered up their chicken fingers, fries, coke and other non-nutritional items, and headed out the door. This was the first time I had ever seen her walk in front of me, and the children. She was always thoughtful and hung back, opening the door for others.
She drove in through the back drive, into the garage using the opener she had taken from my car.
I was happy to be in my spacious house and I know the kids were going to feel a lot more comfortable. Debra helped the kids with their things.. and mine. Devo and Trey ran up the stairs and out of sight.
Debra followed me into the bedroom.
She sat on the bed and beckoned me. I approached her tentatively, both of us resigning to the reality. I stood holding her against my chest,, her arms wrapped around my waist, burying her head in my stomach. She started to cry. I had never seen her cry. My heart broke, hers was breaking.
Suddenly she pushed me away, got up and swiftly left the room. I stood there. I didn't turn. I didn't want to know she was going for good. I could hear the bantering of the kids, the dog barking, familiar noise. Everything became quiet, unsettling. I sat on the bed and waited for my own tears.
The door was pushed open and I could see the corner of a box, and then Debra. She threw the box to the floor and went in my closet. Clothes were flying. She said nothing. The kids came running down the stairs.
"Debra, what should we bring" They were excited. I was stunned. It seemed everyone knew. But me.