Colby was nervous. Last week Mavis called him and asked could they meet for lunch because she had some things she wanted to share with him. This was odd; especially since she never wanted to meet. His gut told him life was preparing to flip upside. Only after agreeing did he realize his acquiescence sounded much too excited. She gave him the place, time and date, they said our goodbyes, and hung up.
That was 174 hours ago. And now here he was, sitting in Fogo De Chao, waiting to have dinner with Mavis again for the first time in 10 years. In those 10 years, his life had been many things; stable being a key exception.
He had time to think as he waited. It seemed like each decision he made after their last dinner was a good one initially, then the fallout would hit…
First he met the woman who later became his wife, and they had a son a few months after getting married. Within two years however, they were divorced. Then six years after that, Colby met another woman who seemed to finally fit what he thought he wanted. The relationship prospered, but he was hesitant about getting married again. She seemed to understand, or so he thought, and things kept progressing.
Soon after, they found out she was pregnant. She began pressing the marriage issue, and he started chafing at the thought. Colby knew it was the socially “right” thing to do, but marrying her wasn’t “right” for him…and he told her, which was hard. Once she delivered their daughter, the last vestiges of the relationship died quickly. After both instances, Colby found himself wondering, “where did I go wrong?” Suffice it to say, in relationships? Everywhere.
During the years between their dinners, Mavis and Colby would talk on an inconsistent basis. They were still friends, so the connection was there, but it had…changed. Whereas before they’d have in-depth, soul baring conversations; the talks now were superficial, like small talk-on-an-elevator superficial. There were things about her life he wanted to ask about, but it was like an unspoken topic that couldn’t be uttered. So they continued the same dance; “How you been? How’s the family? Are you still working at XYZ?” Talking, but not really communicating.
After a few years of not seeing each other, he called her and ask could they get together. She had just purchased a condo near Howard and had a housewarming which seemed the opportune time. However, Colby couldn’t make it, which frustrated him greatly, but the next week he was there, getting the “realtor tour”. She’d done well for her self, and though he was happy for her, seeing Mavis in her home gnawed at him…why he couldn’t quite decipher. After the tour, they talked a while, and had a few glasses of wine. They talked about the past, his kids, her desire to be married and have kids, and their careers. It was just an easygoing night, and one he needed.
Eventually, the witching hour came, and he knew it was time to leave. They shared a lingering hug, and Colby left. The walk back to his car was a replay of the previous few hours. Rapping with Mavis was always effortless; like it was what talking to a woman was supposed to be. As he walked and thought, one thing she said kept repeating in his mind…”nobody ever ‘got’ me like you did”.
Though unintentionally, a few months went by before they talked again. She called one day while he was at a restaurant with his son. During the conversation, Colby asked him if he wanted to “meet one of daddy’s friends”, to which he excitedly said yes. They left the restaurant and headed to Mavis’ place. Once they arrived, Junior knocked on the door and answered “me and my daddy” when she asked “who is it”. As she opened the door, Junior stood there dumbfounded.
Now his mother wasn’t unattractive, at all, but she couldn’t hold a candle to Mavis. Even at seven years old, Junior knew loveliness when he saw it…and she was the embodiment of it. Mavis reached out her hand, and after some prodding from his father, the boy returned the gesture.
“Nice to meet you sir. What’s your name?”
“My name is Junior, like my daddy.” Colby gently reminded him that he was a junior, but that Junior wasn’t his name.
“Oh yeah, my name is Colby.”
“Well, nice to meet you Colby. You’re just as handsome as your father.” Both of them blushed.
After the meet and greets, Mavis got Junior something to drink and escorted him to the living room, where he found something to watch. She returned to the foyer and began fawning over him to his father. Mavis and Colby shared a few laughs, talked, and finally joined the boy in the living room. Colby took to Mavis as if he’d known her all his life, and she relished the attention. They talked, played, and just enjoyed each other’s company.
For a moment, things got awkward when he asked how they knew each from. “We grew up together” was all either of the adults said. That seemed to pacify his curiosity, and eventually, he went back to watching TV. Mavis looked at the older Colby, he looked at her, they both looked at the boy, then back at each other and smiled. Big Colby wasn’t sure, but he thought he caught a glimpse of moisture around her eyes. Before he could ask, she went into the kitchen for a moment and then returned. Her eyes were dry when she sat back down.
Thirty minutes later it was time for the Colbys to leave. Junior asked her when was the next time he’d see her, to which she put the father on the spot, saying “well, Dad?” “We’ll see, but for now, come on boy so you can get home.” They exchanged hugs and the guys left. On the way to dropping him off, Junior said “Daddy, I like her, and I think she likes you”. “Well son, I’m glad you like her…I’m not real sure about the second part of that though”. “Dad…trust me, I know these things”. Colby Senior laughed the rest of ride.
After he dropped Junior off, Big Colby started thinking again about Mavis, and old thoughts and feelings started welling up inside of him. Here was this woman, whom he’d seen grow from an awkward pre-teen to this stunningly smart, gorgeous, charismatic, independent, and confident woman, and just like old times, he was in awe. NO-BODY, had ever flustered him as much as she did…and she knew it, and probably even enjoyed it.
Colby snapped back to the present, anticipating both Mavis’ arrival, as well as what she wanted to talk about. A few moments later, Mavis arrived. He stood to help her with her jacket and pulled her seat out. Once seated, they rehashed the events of their respective days, and ordered drinks and an appetizer. Colby wanted to get to what she had to say, but he didn’t want to seem too eager. Moments went by, but then Mavis changed the subject.
“I know you want to know what I have to say, but first, you have to promise me you won’t get mad.”
“Woman. After 13 years of knowing me, have I ever gotten mad at you?”
“No, but I’ve never told you anything like what I’m about to”, she replied.
“Ok. Mavis Sabine Wilson, I will not get mad, or angry…happy now?”
“Yes. Ok. What I have wanted to tell you for a while, but especially after I met Colby Junior is this…I feel like I’m the reason Colby Junior isn’t our son.”