“It’s just not fair Ellen, it’s just not fair.” Regina Stanton cried into the telephone. “God, I love them both so much.”
Ellen’s brassy voice echoed in the small apartment. “Well Reggie, you gotta do something. This thing has gone on long enough. You have to tell him.”
“I know it, I know I do, but with him being in Afghanistan and all, I love him, and it just seems so bitchy to write him a ‘Dear John” letter. I feel so guilty.”
“I know you do girl, but you’ll feel better if you get it off your chest.
Regina picked at her flannel pajama bottoms with serrated fingernails as she cradled the phone between her shoulder and cheek, a nervous habit she’d had since childhood. “I never meant for this to happen, you know? It’s just that John’s been gone so long, and then they extended his tour. I was lonely so damn lonely. The walls of this apartment were closing in on me; I needed company. Oh, Ellen, I don’t want to lose either of them.”
“Listen baby sister, you knew how Hohn was when you married him. You knew he was a warrior. And, you can’t say you didn’t know about the other thing. You’ve got to tell him or you’re not going to be worth a damn to either one of them.”
“You’re right sis, I know you’re right, and I will tell him. I’ll write him that letter. Thanks for being here for me.”
“Anytime you need me Reg, anytime at all.”
Regina hung up the phone and buried her face in her hands. “What did I get myself,” she asked the sofa. The sofa didn’t answer. She glanced at the desk, t her personalized stationary her father gave her on her last birthday hid in the drawer.
Before heading to the desk, Regina made a detour to the kitchen and poured herself a half-glass of Pino Grigio, hoping its lubricating effects might loosen her thoughts and help transcribe them to paper. She looked at the sink, two plates in soapy water, reminders of her dinner with Thompson only an hour or so earlier. Two. Two is what Regina had signed up for, not Afghanistan, not loneliness, not the heartbreak on one.
As she gathered her resolve and started for the desk, she caught the faint sounds of Thompson’s snores coming from the bedroom. It was the music of damp breezes played on ripe tomatoes. It was the music of companionship in the key of love major. The snuffling ear candy drew her towards the bedroom, but she resisted, knowing if she did not take pen in hand now, the stress of deception would crush her. After putting the wine glass on the desk, Regina withdrew her stationary from the drawer, grasp the comfort-grip gel pen in hand and began:
I miss you so much, and I’ve been so lonely, so please don’t be upset wth me because…I adopted a dog. I know you don’t like dogs, but I hope you love me enough to like Thompson.