DAVID AND HENRY were having a late lunch at Nuova Italia, a moderately priced Italian restaurant in Addison, not far from BryGen’s Headquarters, when David’s phone rang. Assuming it was one of his hospital clients, David grabbed the phone that he’d placed within arm’s reach and cheerfully answered, “David here. How can I help you?”
It was Taylor Anderson from Discreet. And David’s cheerful, helpful mood vanished like a puff of smoke on a breezy Chicago afternoon.
“Excuse me Henry,” David apologized. “I have to take this outside.
He walked nervously over to the restaurant’s clear glass doors that had the restaurant’s name etched on them in bold black gothic lettering with his legs feeling like wobbly sticks of Jell-O.
Outside, under the restaurant’s huge blue and white sign, he gathered his senses and spoke in hushed tones into the phone.
“It’s only been a few days,” he said. “And I’ve been in town all of them. How could you possibly have anything for me?”
“Unfortunately, we do,” Taylor answered.
“Unfortunately?” David repeated.
In the momentary silence that followed, David understood what Taylor was insinuating; that Willow had cheated on him right under his nose. Probably, while he was at work.
“The earliest I can leave work is round four,” he said. “That’ll put me in your office around 4:45 pm.”
“No need,” responded Taylor. “I can meet you around 5:30 at Dos Ricco’s on Lincoln Avenue. I believe it’s close to where you live. Is that agreeable?”
“Yes,” David answered, pressing his fingers against his forehead trying to relieve the pressure that was building on the inside and had his head on the verge of exploding.
“David,” Taylor went on. “Have you thought anymore about the last question I asked you?”
“Yes,” David answered. “I love my wife, and I know we can get through this one mistake.”
“Good. Because David I think you’re a decent man and I hope for your sake that you can do just that. I’ll see you later,” Taylor said, clicking off.
David leaned against the restaurant’s cool white exterior walls and watched people in the little strip mall as they went about their everyday lives wondering how he was going to go on with his. The thought of Willow with another man tore at heart and caused a heaviness in his soul. He wanted to dissolve into a puddle of nothingness; to disappear from this world and Willow. Never to feel this hurt again.
Before heading back inside and joining Henry for lunch, he wiped furiously at the flow of tears streaming from his eyes. Clearing away all evidence of the tears he’d shed with a drop or two of Visine in each eye.
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