Mary Anne stared at the traffic outside her window. Only the buzzing of the engine could be heard inside the car. Duncan was driving, and he too could not think of anything to say. Mary Anne clutched her tote bag close to her chest. Duncan knew that she always does that whenever she was nervous or uneasy.
“Bye, mommy. Bye, daddy” said Aisling, their youngest child as she opened the door and hauling her backpack with her.
“Bye sweetie,” Mary said, forcing a smile. Mary Anne would have given her a kiss, but Aisling is at that stage where she did not want her firneds to see her mom coddling her.
“Bye sweetie.” Said Duncan, also giving Aisling a smile.
Suddenly, Aisling reached towards Mary Anne and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Mary Anne smiled again, and the pre-teen girl took off towards school.
With the girl gone, Mary Anne’s smile faded. She is so luck to have three wonderful kids. She loves them, and she believes that they will grow up to be great. Only the thought of her three kids kept her sane. Despite the ache in her chest, she could still breathe by thinking about her children.
“Would you like to get something to eat first? You didn’t eat anything for breakfast” Duncan asked. Mary Anne stared at the man who had been her husband for twenty years. She knew evey contour of that handsome face, how it looked when he laughs, how it looked when there was something bothering him, how it looked when he was keeping something from her. It is the face of the man she loved and still loves. Mary Anne swallowed to get rid of that thing in her throat that’s making her feel like she’s choked. She gave a bright smile, that she knew made the corners of her eyes crease.
“Sure. Where are you taking me?”
“I don’t know. Where do you want to go?”said Duncan “We could go anywhere. What do you want to have?”
“I don’t mind anything. You decide.”
Duncan drove, and silence reigned again in the car.
“Have you found a house yet?” Mary Anne asked.
“Yes, I have. It’s near my parents’ house. But I’ll only be moving in next month.” Mary Anne already knew this because she heard it from Alan. She just did not know what to talk about but she just wanted to get rid of the oppressing silence.
“That’s good. Lily will be very happy. She can see more of the kids too when they stay at your place.”
“Yes.” Duncan offered her a smile but it disappeared as soon as it appeared. Mary Anne noticed that he’s gripping the steering too tightly. Mary Anne did not know what else to say, so she stayed quiet and stared out the window.
The car pulled over at empty space across the road from the diner. Mary Anne opened the door, and stepped out. Duncan looked at her as if he wanted to say something, but he did not. He just went to her, and put his hand on her back guiding her to the diner. When they entered, they took a table at the corner of the diner. They sat facing each other. When the waitress came, Duncan ordered their usual choice.
It was already late morning. There were not many people in the diner. After a while, the waitress came back with their order. Mary Anne was having her usual order of pineapple juice and strawberry pancake. Duncan was about to reach for his coffee when Mary Anne beat him to it.
“Let me.” Mary Anne offered with a small smile. With years of practice, she tore 3 satchets of sugar and poured two and a half satchets into Duncan’s cup. She stirred it, and put the tea spoon on a piece of napkin. Duncan does not like to have the teaspoon anywhere near his coffe after stirring.
“Thank you” Duncan said. He then took a sip of the steaming liquid in the cup. Mary Anne was suddenly reminded of how when she and Duncan were just getting to know each other, she was always teased by him for always having to wait for the coffee to cool down before taking a sip. That was years ago.
“What time is our appointment again? I didn’t pencil it in.”
“My lawyer said we could come any time between 10 and 11. We have another hour to kill. Anne, are you sure you don’t want to have your lawyer looked over the documents?” Duncan asked.
“I’m sure. I’ve read them already. I know you’ll keep your word.” They looked at one another and Mary Anne gave a small smile.
“Thank you, Anne.” Duncan said, and Mary Anne knew he did not mean the documents or their divorce. As of today, Duncan and Mary Anne would no longer be husband and wife. Whenever Mary Anne thought of that, she felt something stabbed her in the chest. It hurts too much but Mary Anne has had too much practice not letting it show. She does not know how to answer him so she just smiled.
Duncan looked away from her, and bowed down his head. Mary Anne continued eating her strawberry pancake although it tastes like sand in her mouth. She took a sip of orange juice to soothe her throat. Duncan has already finished his coffee but as usual, he waited for her watching her eat her food.
“Strawberries” Mary Anne offered, gesturing towards the strawberries on her plate.
“That’s alright. I’m not hungry.” With just those words, Mary Anne felt her heart broke into a thousand pieces.