I don’t even know where to begin. We’ve obviously fled to Connecticut and I’m even more thankful now for my mother and all she did to help me prepare.
Before we left the city, before my mom went back to Texas, and before it became illegal to socialize, I had lunch with Brendan. I left Winnie with my mom, put on a little dress (thank you, Trainer Wayne), four inch booties and some fur and met him at Serafina. Brendan had texted me a couple times since I’d gone on my leave, but I was so preoccupied that I kept forgetting to text back. Until he said, “Hey – I have something to give you. Wanna grab lunch this week?”
Hell yes, I did. And so we met for lunch. With everything going on with the baby and moving, I hadn’t spent much time thinking about little old Brendan. But when I saw him sitting at the two seater waiting for me, I was so excited that I had to calm down and remind myself to breathe. He looked so good in his perfect fitting black tee, with his blonde hair pushed back messily off his face, squinting at the sun coming in the window, his signature gold bracelet dangling on his wrist. It reminded me of when Brady and I first got together – how my heart would melt when I saw him, in a way I couldn’t really explain.
So maybe that explains why when Brendan stood up to greet me, saying, “You look…amazing,” I threw my arms around him and we pecked him on the lips. It was an accident.
“Whoa,” said a blushing Brendan as if it was all me and he was surprised. He immediately reached down to grab a Saks shopping bag to give me. “My stepmom helped me pick it out.”
We sat down and caught up – me telling him all about the baby, my trainer, the Connecticut house, the cars I want to buy; him telling me about current projects at work, Mike, his current favorite smoothie recipe, his wife. He explained that they’d made plans to spend Christmas together to try to work on their relationship and then at the last minute, after Brendan had hired people to clean, decorate and cook a Christmas feast and bought her several expensive gifts, she texted him (texted him) saying, “My dad doesn’t think it’s a good idea for us to spend Christmas together, sorry.”
I rolled my eyes so hard it hurt. “So when are you filing for divorce? She’s awful.”
Brendan looked at me like he was offended at me even bringing up such a ridiculous thing. Suddenly uncomfortable with talking about himself and his screwed up relationship, he asked, “So. How is your boyfriend? With the baby and everything…”
Brendan and I have made a point not to call either of our spouses’ by their names.
“Oh, he’s fine. He follows us around with hearts in his eyes. I think he’s just amazed that she’s here and she’s real and she looks exactly like him,” I said.
“You must be frustrated that she doesn’t look like you,” Brendan laughed.
“No, it’s fine. They’re both cute,” I said, which is so true. Maybe I wish Winnie had a little bit more hair, but with her big blue eyes, button nose and permanent look of confusion, she’s perfect.
The evening after we had lunch, Brendan texted me saying that he was happy we got to catch up and hopefully we could do it again soon. And by the way, could I get away tonight? No pressure, but he and some of his employees were at a bar and it would be nice to see me again.
The truth was I was already out – with Brady – on one of our first outings as parents. We’d already had dinner and had moved on to drinks at a bar. Brady and Brendan plus all his employees? I never wanted to the two of them to meet. That sounded terrible. I didn’t text back.
The past several weeks have been really hard. We moved into our new house and got settled and my mom went back to Houston for good. I was ready for her to leave, to be honest, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be without her.
Brady is still working at the hospital in the city and I started to get freaked out that he was going into the city, working all day with infected people at the hospital and then coming home to us. I made him park his car in the garage, get completely undressed, shower and only then was he allowed to speak to us. But even after all that, I was thinking, what if has the virus, he could be asymptomatic and spread it to us without knowing. So I started avoiding him all together and refusing to let him hold the baby. This is what spending twelve hours a day reading news headlines and talking to a baby does to a person. I was making Brady use disposable silverware and cups, following him around the house to wipe down anything he touched and “putting Winnie to sleep” for four hours in the evening in her room so I didn’t have to spend time with him.
Eventually Brady confronted me about it and assured me that the hospital did checks on employees everyday for symptoms before letting them begin work.
“But what if you aren’t showing symptoms?” I exclaimed.
So then Brady decided to stay in the city during the week so I’d feel better. Naturally, this did the opposite and I was miserable. Brady would constantly try to check in – texting me throughout the day and calling in the evening – but I was mad at him for abandoning us and staying in the city. How could he just leave his family like that? Who knows what he was doing there alone? In my imagination, he was hiring escorts.
After two weeks of staying in the city, Brady sat me down.
“We are going to have to figure something out. I don’t like being away from you guys for so long and I don’t think treating me like I have cooties is very fair,” he said.
I laughed at his use of the word “cooties.”
Brady went on to assure me that he was just as concerned as I was and that I needed to trust that he was taking necessary precautions. He explained that he hardly had to come into contact with infected patients – his team was placed in different units all over the hospital, not just that unit – and my eyes began glazing over. He mentioned the words, “infectious diseases,” “personal protection equipment,” and “medication therapy.”
“So I’d like to come home,” Brady concluded. When I didn’t say anything, he continued. “Of course, I’ll continue taking necessary steps to protect us, but she’s my baby too and I don’t want to miss out on anything.”
Little Winnie sat in my lap wearing a pink baby turban looking at Brady like she didn’t understand what “medication therapy” means either.
Winnie and Brady absolutely love each other and she recognizes him and gets so happy when he comes home from work. It’s actually so fucking cute. And it’s not like I wanted him to be away so I had no choice. We were going to have to figure it out.
It helps that Brady gets to work from home one day a week now doing computer work. It’s amazing because on these days I can shower, wash my hair, do housework (I had every intention of hiring a cleaning person, but obviously that can’t happen now), paint, walk the neighborhood, etc.
So Brady’s been working from home – setting up shop in one of the bedrooms upstairs. One day, I walked past and heard him on the phone. He rarely needs to get on calls because he’s mostly doing computer work and I heard him say something like, “Thanks for letting me know. It’s crazy how many things happen when I’m not there for one day.”
He had the phone on speaker and I heard the person respond. A woman.
“Of course. No problem, Brady,” she said.
Now I was interested. I stayed and listened.
“So do you have plans this weekend? I think the weather is going to be shitty again,” Brady said.
She sighed. “Well, originally this weekend I was supposed to go to Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party. We feel bad that her trip got cancelled so we were thinking of doing something at my apartment. Something small, of course, but with a lot of alcohol. We need it.”
They both laughed.
Ew. Who was this? And why was Brady talking to someone who thought they were above social distancing guidelines?
“What about you? Do you have plans?” she asked.
“Nothing major,” Brady replied. “I’ve run out of things to do so I’ll probably give my dog a bath after putting it off for so long.”
“You’re so lucky. I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a dog to keep me company during quarantine.”
“Yeah. It definitely makes things less lonely,” Brady said.
Lonely? Why the fuck would he be lonely with a four month old and basically a wife? It occurred to me that whoever was on the other end had no idea we existed.
Another day I eavesdropped, I heard him talking to a woman – unclear if it’s the same woman – and they were bitching about one of their coworkers.
“She’s so unorganized, it makes me want to blow my brains out,” Brady said.
“I hate her, Brady,” she said. “The only reason I haven’t blown up is because of you. You’re literally the reason I’m still employed.”
“They’re trying to transition her out. We talked about it in a leadership meeting a few weeks ago. Super confidential, obviously.”
I could not believe Brady was gossiping and confronted him about it later.
“So who did have calls with today?” I asked innocently as I formed meatballs for dinner. Despite working from home, Brady doesn’t usually leave his little makeshift office until well past seven.
“Just my team. We have to go over our daily numbers on a conference call,” he replied.
“Oh really? I thought I heard you on a call with one person?” I said.
He tilted his head slightly and pretended to think. “I had a call with two of my colleagues and then spoke with my boss briefly. Why?”
“I heard you telling someone about confidential information you found out during a leadership meeting so it wasn’t your boss. Very unprofessional to be sharing that kind of information, by the way.”
“She’s not going to tell anyone,” Brady said, getting defensive. “And I think you’re the last person who should be lecturing me on professionalism.”
Brady was so mad that he didn’t speak to me for the rest of the night, but he’s stopped gossiping on the phone, at least for me to hear. I went through his emails on the iPad though, and saw that Anna emailed him congratulating him on his “bundle of joy.”
“Your mother sent me a couple of pictures and she is so beautiful. You’re very lucky,” Anna said.
Brady had responded, thanking her, but then asking all these questions about what she’s been up to and acting really interested in her life. It actually did make him seem a little lonely, like he was dying to keep the conversation with her going.
And maybe it’s my fault. I have zero sex drive and when Brady tries to touch me, I run away. At first, I was insecure about my body, but now I just have zero interest. He’s stopped trying for the most part, but he must be frustrated and lonely, I guess (but less lonely because he has Tucker).
The one good thing about this whole quarantine thing is that Brady’s mother isn’t around. Thank God. She drove me nuts when we were staying in the apartment and now she can only communicate via text. And she is sure to text me frequently to check on the baby and ask personal questions she has no business asking. I send her pictures sometimes, only when I’m in a good mood because when she responds “I hope you aren’t feeding her anything besides what we agreed,” or “It doesn’t look like she’s putting in any weight,” I want to keep my cool.
I was supposed to return to work at the end of March, but obviously that didn’t happen. I needed to check up on emails and we were still moving ahead with projects around the country so I still had work to do at home. I didn’t think to bring my laptop with my when I went on my maternity leave so Brendan delivered it all the way to me in Connecticut – dropping it off on the porch for a contactless delivery. He’s the best.
Anyway, how are y’all holding up? Are you ready to kill your spouses yet?