A Different Breed

Part 10: This Changes Nothing

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. It was all she could think about all week. So when she called Terrence to let him know they needed to meet up because she needed to talk to him in person she knew the exact place she wanted to go. Cantina Rico. She picked a table outside under the expansive orange umbrella and when the waiter asked what beverage she wanted to start with she told them a mango mojito.

Virgin of course.

It might be rude to start eating before the other person arrived but she couldn’t wait any longer. She was starving for obvious reasons and he was late. Twenty-plus minutes late. It was something she was used to as the wife of a surgeon. Some surgeries take longer than others and sometimes complications arose. It wasn’t something in his realm of control so she didn’t let it annoy her.

However, she did devour a bowl of guacamole and a trio of beef empanadas before he hustled toward her with his keys still in hand.

“Sorry.” He said, reaching the table. “I got caught up. I hope you weren’t waiting long.”

“It’s all good.” Katrina’s eyes followed him as he lowered his lean yet muscular frame onto the chair across from her. He looked the same; deep brown skin that the sun adored with tapered waves drowned in the most luscious oils. She was gifted with mysterious molasses eyes once he lifted the sunglasses from his face and tucked them into the front pocket of his denim shirt matched well with khaki chinos hiding well-toned thighs from years of cycling.

He looked good but something about his energy was off. It was in the way his foot tapped on the brick-laden floors or how his eyes couldn’t hold hers consistently. He averted his sight behind her or around her. She didn’t know if it was frustration or agitation. Maybe it was guilt because there was no way the empty cobblestone pathway was more interesting than her.

She dipped a salted chip into the steamy queso dip, “I hope everything went well. The patient’s recovering well.”

“Huh,” His chin lifted.

“The surgery that made you late. I hope—”

He interjected with a shake of his head, “I wasn’t at work.”

This time she peered at him with confusion, “Then why were you almost half an hour late?”

“I was…” He took a deep inhalation, with slumped shoulders. His vision fell to the bowl of dip as if the chip in her hand had him in a trance.

Because he was with her. He was with Sage. The words abruptly sprung into her thoughts making her simmer with irritation. She didn’t know why she still cared. She was divorcing him. His private life or who he spends time with was no longer her business.

“It doesn’t matter.” She asserted.

“It does.” He leaned closer to the table with determination in his tone. “I was with my therapist.”

“You’re in therapy now?”

He nodded and their eyes locked as various conversations they’d had played seamlessly through her mind. She wondered if he was remembering the same thing. Remembering those times she urged him to talk to someone about the things that worried him, the fears that consumed him, and the things that were out of his control.

A soft smile tugged her lips up, “That’s good.”

His eyes darted away from hers as if those words wounded him. “I couldn’t take it anymore. The quietness of the house.” He swallowed hard, and rolled his shoulders back, straightening his posture to turn his gaze back to her. “The bed doesn’t smell like you anymore. I can’t take it, Trina. It’s killing me.” 

Katrina didn’t know how to respond to his confession so she remained silent.

“Clive misses you.”

“I miss him.” She smiled to herself remembering the pup she raised but decided to leave, not having the energy to fight Terrence for the canine. He did purchase the four-legged cutie even though she was the one that cared for and trained him.

“I haven’t been to work in days. I can’t focus.” His voice went low as if he was about to divulge top government secrets. “Every hour of every day two things absorb my mind; how I fucked up and how to get you back.”

Her hand fell from the chip as emotions clogged her throat and tears pricked the wells of her eyes. The man sitting before him was a shell of the man she knew last month. Sadness painted his eyes and worry riddled his face.

“Terrence, you…”

Her words were cut off by the presence of the waiter hoisting multiple plates on a serving platter. “Just in time,” The waiter tossed the words to Terrence as he set dishes on the table. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

“This is all great. Thank you.” Katrina told the waiter and they departed as quickly as they arrived.

“You ordered a lot for us.” Terrence canvassed the plates topped with delicious entrees from three kinds of birria tacos, street corn, flautas, sopaipillas, and chili verde. “No, shrimp fajitas.”

“Ah…” She scratched a nonexistent itch on her nose. “That’s kind of the reason I wanted to meet you today.”

His eyebrows drew together then realization washed over his face like rays of sun breaking through a brigade of clouds.

“Trina…Trina…” A smile sliced through the sadness that claimed his face and she couldn’t help but mimic his excitement.

They had been trying for so long, soldiered through the heartbreak of a miscarriage and the months of negative pregnancy tests that it was sheer ecstasy to celebrate this moment together. A moment they prayed for.

“No shrimp means you’re…pregnant. Right.” He prompted and when she nodded he leaped to his feet. “You’re pregnant!”

“I am.” She nodded tears brimming in her eyes, happy at his excitement for them and for what they created. “I am.”

He swiftly went over to her and dropped to his haunches. His hand went to her middle while his other hand took hold of hers. He kissed the palm of her hand. “We can do this. This is what we needed.” He rose to his feet, still clinging to her hand. “I need to get you back home.”

“What do you…” She slipped her hand out of his grasp. “I am home.”

“You can’t be serious.” He took a step back as if her words literally struck him. “This changes everything.”

“This changes nothing.” She spoke the words clearly hoping they’d reach him as such.

“We’re not getting divorced. Not now.” He dropped into the seat next to her. “We can work on us and everything will be fixed by the time the baby comes. Trina,” He tried to grab her hand again but this time she pulled her limb out of his reach.

“A baby doesn’t patch up a marriage.” She shot out. “And I’m not putting that burden on my child.”

“Our child.” He corrected. “And that burden will be put on me.” His hand went to his chest. “Because it was my mistake”

She let out a huff of irritation at his utterance of the word mistake.

His hand fell to the table, “It was my bad choice. Choices that I will try not to ever make again.”

“Try not to.” Her head tilted, not liking the sound of those words. “What does that mean?”

“What do you mean?” He steeled his posture. “I’m saying I won’t cheat again.”

“You said you’ll try not to.” She let out a mirthless laugh. “I’m not dumb and I’m not for the wordplay.”

“I’m not playing with words. I’m also not a psychic. I can’t predict the future.”

“Shit.” She smiled and then pointed at him. “You almost had me. Maybe it’s the hormones or you have a therapist but I almost believed you. Believed you were changing. That you cared about me.”

“I do care about you.” He hissed with fire in his eyes. “That’s why I want you to come back home. I love you.”

She narrowed her eyes at him knowing he was holding something back. That was one of those tendencies one honed from being married to someone for years. You can tell when they’ll not be completely honest.

“But…” She said the word that hovered in the space between them.

He didn’t say anything and she nodded to herself knowing what he didn’t want to speak aloud.

She gestured for the waiter. “Terrence, you’re going to be a dad. That’s it. That’s all.” She didn’t wait for the waiter to put the food in takeout containers. She couldn’t stand being in the presence of Terrence and his empty words. 

What do you think Terrence was not saying, what Katrina sensed?

Why do you think she almost thought about getting back with him?

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