Kitty Makes A Decision
“What are we going to do about this?” asked Cal.
“We can’t … ” Kitty started to say, but stopped. Her legs were feeling a little wobbly and she still leaned against Cal, standing there in the office with her coat on, unbuttoned, still ready to go home from work.
“Why not?” asked Cal. He stroked her cheek lightly.
“Because … ” again Kitty stumbled on the words as she placed her hand over his. She turned toward him, gently holding his hand in hers, against her cheek, resting her head slightly in his cupped palm. “Things are not clear for either of us.”
“I know,” he answered. “But things are never completely clear for anyone.”
“You know that’s an evasion,” she said. “You’re not free. I’m technically not free. You have children to think about. I was on my way to join a convent. And now … ”
“And now?” he asked.
“Now everything seems different to me. And I want … ” again she stopped, for how could she voice what she wanted. It was too huge. Too vague. Too frightening.
“I’m getting a divorce,” Cal said matter-of-factly, as if that was the only thing he could imagine was troubling her. “I already signed the papers with a lawyer. It’s in the works. I’m never going back to her.”
He put his arms around Kitty, hugging her closer. She allowed it because she felt so warm and comfortable standing here like this. It was so different from anything she had known. It felt like she had found a place where she belonged. And yet, in her mind, she could still see this other place. These other people. This other life. Yet it was a cloudy vision full of dark places, like a basement without a light switch, dark and old, and who knew what was in there.
When she turned her face to his he didn’t ask again. He kissed her softly, tentatively, as if trying to lead her to a place of safety through his own certainty that this was right for both of them. She let him kiss her at first because she felt that safety he was offering. Then, after a little while, the kiss changed and she felt a hunger she had never known before. This frightened her and she stepped back from him. He looked at her eyes, searching for a signal, for something specific to show him the course to take. She reached up and touched his face with her fingertips. He smiled at her.
“You don’t have to decide anything now. We have all the time in the world,” he said. “I just want you to know how I feel.”
“I know,” she whispered.
“Then what is it?” he asked.
“I think I need to get a divorce also,” she said, after thinking for a few moments while he waited. “And I need to find my family. All of them. I need to know where they are and how they are. I can’t just float any longer.”
Cal nodded. And because he didn’t argue with her, or question her, or belittle her, or bully her, she felt an overwhelming love for him and she stepped toward him and kissed him with a passion that surprised her and left her giddy. Later she would tell him how glad she was that she had never gone to the convent. She would tell him that he had opened up the physical world for her as the library had opened her mind. Later she would confess to him all the secrets that she would have kept hidden, even from her priest had she entered the convent, even from herself, because for all those years she had denied herself and no longer would she hold herself back from life. Later all these things she would tell him. But tonight, tonight he helped her on with her coat and he slipped into his overcoat and they walked the few blocks from his office to his apartment, his arm around her to ward off the cold, her body pressed against him for support, moving together as one person, until they reached Cal’s apartment door. As he turned the key to open the door, Cal hugged Kitty.
“Are you sure?” he asked her.
“Absolutely,” she answered.