Our Kind of Love

By: Victoria Purman

Four weeks ago, she’d discovered Alex had been unfaithful to her numerous times with too many women to count.

Three and a half weeks ago, she’d kicked his guilty arse out of the house.

And two days ago, she’d done the most irresponsible, irrational and illogical thing of her entire life. Something so utterly unlike her that she still had trouble believing it had actually happened. For a fleeting half second, she played with the idea that someone at the wedding might have spiked her drink. Yeah, right.

‘Anna? You okay?’ Grace was staring at her suspiciously.

‘Just a busy weekend, that’s all. Didn’t get much sleep.’ Anna swallowed and forced a smile.

‘So how was the wedding down in the middle of nowhere?’ Grace sat down, crossed her arms and began her familiar chair swivel. Back and forth, back and forth. It was Grace’s thing. It seemed to rev her up to cope with the onslaught of patients about to descend.

‘Middle Point.’ Anna cleared her throat. ‘It was at Middle Point.’ Anna rearranged her handbag on her shoulder, checked her watch, anything to avoid looking into her sister’s eyes. ‘It was beautiful. The bride was stunning. The groom was gorgeous. It was a lovely, summery night.’

‘Many people?’ Grace twisted and turned on her chair.

‘Forty, maybe.’

‘Only forty?’ Grace’s red lipsticked mouth dropped open in disbelief. ‘Don’t they have any friends?’ In the Morelli family, forty was a Sunday lunch, not a party to celebrate the beginning of a life with the one you love. In the Italian community, a wedding was hundreds of people and relatives you barely knew and eight courses and six bridesmaids and pouffy meringue wedding dresses and dry ice on the dance floor and bomboniere on every plate.

Anna remembered her own wedding with wistful agony.

She wasn’t ready to come right out and tell Grace about her visit to Slutsville. Not yet. That would be like putting it on Facebook – and promoting the post. For God’s sake, she hadn’t even told her sister about Alex and the divorce. It had been so hard to turn up every day to work and hide the truth from Grace. Anna’s little sister was her go-to girl for everything, from which shoes to buy to which magazines they should stock in the waiting room. But this? It was too big. Anna still wasn’t sure she’d be able to talk about it without raging and sobbing, without admitting how stupidly foolish she’d been for so long. How blind she’d been to the truth.

And telling Grace meant she’d have to tell her whole family and that would be another circle of hell to endure and more failure to admit. Her parents had almost four decades of marriage behind them. Her grandparents had been married for sixty-two years before Nonno died. Anna had always thought she’d be just like them and had imagined herself at their age with grandchildren of her own to smother with love. That dream had disappeared from her life too. She knew that after the shock and the disbelief and the tears, would come the advice from every single one of them. Loud and extremely forthright advice. Anna felt empty at the thought. It wasn’t advice she needed. It was the loving and non-judgmental arms of those she loved the most. And she wasn’t sure she would have it. That doubt, that uncertainty about how they would react, was paralysing because Anna knew that it she didn’t have that support, she might not get through it. The idea that she might be alone in her journey through heartbreak to the other side of her marriage was almost too much to bear.

‘Anna?’ Grace regarded her with narrowed eyes. ‘You’re off with the fairies today.’

Anna pulled a smile from somewhere. ‘I’m fine.’

She needed the familiar routine of work and the inevitable cavalcade of patients to help her get her through the day. Maybe that way she wouldn’t have time to think about cheating husbands and telling her family about her failure as a wife. Or about sexy men at weddings.

‘You want a café latte?’ Grace asked.

‘Make it a double espresso,’ Anna called as she walked into her consulting room. She would need at least one caffeine hit to get her through the morning.

Twenty patients later, Anna dropped her head to the desk, rested it on her crossed arms and let out the breath she’d been holding since 9 a.m. when her patients had swarmed through the front door like bees. She’d suppressed all her doubts and misery and had seen them all with her usual smile and professionalism. She’d written blood pressure prescriptions, completed two Pap smears, found a potential case of diabetes and diagnosed an ear infection in a six-month old. Her Nonna’s next-door neighbour, Señora Farina, had shuffled in with vague complaints of headache and tiredness. She’d been in once a week since her husband had died six months before.

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