I’m finally landed in my dream job at Hewlett Packard in Avondale, PA. After my interview, I tossed a coin in the fountain at the mall, and promised I would stop smoking if I got hired at HP. It felt like pact with God, so as soon as I started working, I stopped smoking. Through all these years, Lou never once mentioned or apparently even noticed the smell of cigarettes on me.

Louie and my dear friend, Dro from Playtex and her husband attended my graduation. Unfortunately, Lou cut out immediately after the ceremony to head up to Wilkes Barre because he had to work the next day, so just the three of us went out to dinner afterward to celebrate. I was disappointed Lou didn’t take the time to at least stay with us for dinner. Perhaps he had more compelling plans. I don’t think he’s had love affairs, or second families or anything like that. I just know that he’s had lots of opportunities to mess around while he’s away, and that he likes to flirt. It seems like he’s never in his hotel room when I call, and he doesn’t come back from his trips horny like he would if he wasn’t having sex elsewhere. And I still have that one woman’s sock that isn’t mine. I don’t know why I keep it. At first, I thought I would dramatically pull it out and confront him with the evidence, but I know he would just say I was nuts.  

I haven’t cheated on him in years, and I haven’t been looking for it either. I never actually looked, perhaps it was just an inappropriate extension of friendships that I wished could be more. I never had any plans to leave, so I don’t know what the point was for me. I never felt all that guilty about it either, which is weird, because I should. But I often wake from sleep with a silent cry out for help; for Bruce, for Alan, for Paul, for someone to save me. Save me from what I don’t know, but sometimes my subconscious screams for help, and I awaken almost expecting a silent cosmic answer that someone is coming to my rescue.

I appreciated the company of my one close friend and her husband at my graduation, but on such a big day, it made me think about just how few friends and family I have nearby. My 38-year-old sister had a heart attack, so my family was rightfully with her. After she was released from the hospital, I helped take care of her and the kids. I wanted to drive to Connecticut, but Lou thought it was too far for me to do on my own, so I hopped a flight. After just a couple of days, he kept calling to ask when I would be back. He soon became irritated and questioned why I was even there. Did I really have to explain that she couldn’t drive, walk long distances, or even go up and down the stairs normally. Her heart attack did make it a lot easier for me to quit without hesitation. It used to piss her off that I would smoke with her, but not around anyone else in the family. She often asked when I was going to drop my “goodie-goodie routine.” My honest reply was, “Never, if I can avoid it.” I unapologetically like being perceived as the good girl in the family. In life.

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