Facebook is weird. It lets you list your favorite movies (Casablanca) and music (Snow Patrol) and books (Joshilyn Jackson), it shows updates about your day (another late night at the office, Christopher was asleep by the time I got home), and yet it fails to capture the very essence that makes you—you.
Growing up, I wore homemade clothes because my parents couldn’t afford labels or even store–bought dresses. It made me feel inferior, but also loved beyond belief, because every garment I wore had been lovingly designed, cut and sewn by my mom. Where do I write that on Facebook?
My short–term goal is to work saner hours, my dream is for my son to get to know his dad, and my secret fantasy involves a happily–ever–after with Luke. Facebook remains totally oblivious of all that.
I choose not to confirm Luke as a friend. A Facebook friendship would be so much less than what we once had.
That leaves me one option: I have to go to the reunion.
The school hall is dim with ambience lights and the speakers pump out hits from five years ago. The music was lame then and is even lamer now, and yet a tiny trickle of nostalgia seeps into my heart.
Luke and I once danced to that song in the darkest corner of this very hall.
Get a grip.
I pass a few people I don’t recognize and wave to those I do. When I spot Clara, my arm freezes mid–gesture. The guy she’s talking to... I know the shape of those shoulders, the line of that neck.
I need to speak to him before I lose the courage to do what’s right. Even if he’s married, he’s entitled to know about his son.
“Glad you could make it,” Clara says, though I can tell she’s not thrilled to see me. “How’s Christopher?”
My cheeks grow hot. I dare not glance at Luke. “Fine. He’s gone to Jemima for the night.”
Clara has no idea how I feel about Luke but she does know how I feel about Jemima the nanny, the ‘other woman’ in Christopher’s life. “You all right with it?”
“Sure.” Not really, but I don’t have a choice. A modern mom is supposed to leave her child and earn a living, especially if she’s a single mom. And after she pays childcare and transport and taxes, she’s actually worse off financially than if she were getting financial support from the government. Meanwhile, her child is raised by strangers. One day somebody will explain how that makes sense.
“Abby. You remember Luke Taylor?”
“Sure,” I say again. I remember every moment.
My head is so empty and light, I feel I’m about to float away. Right now, that would suit me fine. I don’t know how to greet him. Should I give him a hug? A peck on the cheek? Five years.
“Hello, Luke.” My tongue grates on the sandpaper of my palate. Talking hurts. Swallowing hurts. Looking at him hurts the most.