Another week passed. My husband and I continued to exchange emails, although they were not as frequent. I asked him to come home, and he kept telling me that he was “done”.
It didn’t hurt as much anymore.
The house was on the market for lease, and I started fervently praying for a good tenant. I specifically prayed that I could find one by April 15th. I listed most of our furniture on Craigslist, even my husband’s beat-up old pick-up truck. Ever since discovering the condom in the glove box, I couldn’t bear to look at the vehicle. The truck was registered in my name, but, as a courtesy, I asked him if I could sell it.
He gave me permission to sell it. Money — right then — was more important than the truck.
So I did. Everything else started going like hotcakes. Within a week, I had sold our custom-made couch, an armoire, a dresser, my marriage bed, a vanity table and random bookshelves. The piano movers also came to finally pick up my piano and deliver it to its new owner. As I watched the men carry it down the stairs, I wept, bitterly.
My husband had taken everything from me, even my music.
Yet, God is good. I had sold the piano to a student of mine. In addition to purchasing the instrument from me, her kind father sent over his daughter’s digital, upright piano for me to keep. I thanked him profusely. To this day, I still play my piano.
My dear friend, Christina, flew in from North Carolina and spent the week with me. It was so good to have the distraction, and a friendly face in that cold, lonely house. We drove to Malibu, lunched at Duke’s, shopped at the Grove, hiked to the Hollywood sign, hung out in WeHo at a gay bar, and ate dinner on the Sunset Strip. On her last night in town, we dressed up and patronized my favorite local French restaurant.
I had been a regular customer for a few years, and always admired the attractive men that ran the place. When I walked in, my favorite “hot, French waiter” — also an owner — immediately recognized me.
“Lessslieeeee! Where have you been?!” He hugged me, hard.
“New York!” I laughed, as I caught my breath and tossed my hair. “But I am back now.”
“Back for good?” His French accent was delicious.
“Yes,” I smiled.
He led us to our table, pulled out my chair and offered me a seat. Then he leaned into me, and said, matter-of-factly, “Good”.
Christina and I squealed at his swagger, his “Frenchness” and dapper demeanor.
Free bellinis ensued, as did flirty conversation. Hot French Waiter continued to swoop past our table. I continued to swoon. Finally, he made it known that he had split with “his lady”.
“Oh, you’re single?” I asked, casually, as I sipped my bellini.
“Yes.” His voice was low, and he looked straight into my eyes.
“Me, too.” I stared right back.
“Really? What happened?”
Hot French Waiter had seen me several times over the years at his restaurant with my husband. In fact, the two of them had even made plans to go surfing together, yet my husband never followed through.
“He…just decided he wanted to be with someone else, and then wanted to be somewhere else,” I offered, honestly.
A wide grin spread across Hot French Waiter’s face. He shrugged.
“Zat eees life!”
And he was off, to bark orders at the kitchen staff and pour some more wine for a young couple, sitting nervously in the corner.
Christina watched him bustle about the room, her mouth agape. Her eyes shot back to me.
“Oh, my LORN, he likes you,” she said, excitedly, in her adorable Southern accent. She decided to plan a trip to the bathroom, and predicted that, while she was absent from the table, Hot French Waiter would come back and talk to me. I laughed it off. I was no where near his league, although, I had to admit that I had fantasized about him for years – ever since I first set eyes on him.
Christina re-folded her napkin and got up from the table.
“Be right back!” She winked at me, and bounced off to find the Ladies’ Room.
Sure enough, Hot French Waiter swooped back in. This time, he sat down, right across from me. He wanted to know if my husband and I were still talking.
“Yes…well, no, not really…”
He touched my naked, left hand. “How long has it been?”
I took a deep breath, basking in his fragrance. Oh, my god, he smells so good.
“Six months, seven…”
He grinned again. “So you’re good.”
“Yes.” I crossed my legs and my short skirt revealed a little more thigh.
I didn’t actually know what I meant, but it felt good to say it. It also felt amazing to have an incredibly attractive man pay attention to me. Touch me.
Hot French Waiter barked more orders — in French — from his seat. The other attractive waiter was to bring a specific bottle of wine to our table. Before whisking himself away again, he leaned in, as close to me as possible, and whispered, “You smell good.”
I tried not to pee my pants. OH. MY.
Christina found her way back to the table, where I sat, starry-eyed and drunk, but not from the two sips of bellini that I had previously ingested. She raised her eyebrows at me, knowingly.
“See?” She smiled, and sat back down. The candlelight flickered at our table. We erupted into laughter.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, drank the bottle of wine that was offered us, and reveled in the joy of the evening, not to mention the past week. I was so grateful for the company and support of my good friends, to keep me grounded and help me through the loss of my marriage, as well as my home.
Before we knew it, it was midnight. The nervous couple in the corner had relaxed, and were finishing their bottle of wine. I scraped the last of our shared creme brulee dessert onto my spoon. Christina sighed. She didn’t want to leave Los Angeles the next day.
Hot French Waiter approached our table one last time and delivered the bill. It did not reflect the bellinis or fancy wine.
Then, suddenly, he asked for my phone number. He wanted to know if I wanted to “get together sometime”.
I eagerly wrote down my phone number on the back of the bill. Ten minutes later, he sent me a text.
Nice to see u, here is my number.
I wrote back. “Good to see you, too! Looking forward to getting together.”
Me too let’s talk soon.
That night, I lay in bed and basked in the glow of the evening. Deep down, I knew I probably wouldn’t get together with Hot French Waiter. After all, I was still married. Yet, for the first time, I tasted the thrill – and freedom – of singlehood.
It might not be so bad, after all.