Love Is Hard: Chapter 6
Eric and I had done a marvelous job of avoiding our situation for over two weeks when I got my period. I had to be a big girl and confront him, and so I went downstairs after I’d gotten ready for bed. Eric was sitting by the pool and was clearly fairly drunk. I knew, of course, that he drank out there alone every night—or at least he had since we got the news about his sterility. I didn’t blame him. I wanted to get drunk too, but I decided that sleeping through most of the day worked better for me.
I sat in the chair beside his. He looked over at me and smiled. “You look really pretty.” He had a little slur.
“Thanks, honey. I…um…got my period.” His brow furrowed while he blinked slowly. For the last year and a half those words meant that we’d failed to get pregnant again. That was obviously no longer an expectation, and so Eric looked confused. I took a deep breath. “I’m supposed to call the clinic when I start my period. I get an ultrasound and then we proceed with…well…whatever we want to proceed with. I mean, we obviously don’t have to do anything this month, but this is the last month before you leave for Rome, so I guess I need to call and tell them something.”
“It doesn’t matter if I’m in Rome or not, though, does it? My services are no longer needed.” I hadn’t thought of that, but he was right. I just sat silently, not knowing what to say. I guess he realized that I wasn’t going to respond. “And what do you want to do?”
“I guess nothing?” It was a question and a statement.
“Yeah, nothing is good.” He laughed a little. Then he got very serious. “Do you want to get a sperm donor?”
I felt my bottom lip quiver and whispered, “No.”
His eyes filled with tears and his voice cracked. “Neither do I. Are you mad at me?”
I shook my head and felt the tears fall. “I’ll call in the morning and let them know.” And then I went up to go to bed alone again.
I was looking forward to going to Rome. I knew I’d be too busy shooting to think about the mess my life was in. I’d pleaded guilty to my DUI and paid a handsome fine, but thanks to my expensive attorney and the fact that I was a first offender, I didn’t have to do any jail time. I did get community service, but it was postponed until my return from Rome. My license was suspended for three months. I’d just have a production assistant drive me to and from work, and by the time I got back from Rome, I’d have my license back.
I continued drinking until the week before I left for Rome, and then I just didn’t have time anymore. We were rehearsing and working late every night and I let that be my excuse for ignoring my wife.
I’d hired Portia Bellefleur again. She was happy to say yes since she’d gotten a Golden Globe nomination for Over the Moon. Rehearsals went well; I knew we’d have a hit.
I kept thinking I’d talk to Sookie about everything before I left, but that simply never happened. I managed to rarely be home, of course, and when I was, she was usually asleep. It didn’t go unnoticed that I woke every morning to find her in bed with me in the guest room. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and so, just like everything else important in my life, I chose to ignore it.
When I drove Eric to the airport, we made small talk about details of our life that needed to be taken care of. We managed to avoid anything of any importance, but instead discussed getting the pool resurfaced and Eric’s car tuned up. We’d learned a long time ago that when Eric had an out-of-town shoot, it worked better for us if I stayed at home. I could take care of the details of our lives so he wouldn’t have to worry about anything except the film. The days were always long any time they filmed, and on location, they shot six days instead of five. Even on his day off, he had meetings with the location scout or the producers or the local casting director. And really every minute he wasn’t needed by the film, he was asleep. Having me there just gave him another worry—he felt like I was being neglected– so we decided that my supporting him from home worked best for us.
I popped the trunk and got out to help him unload his stuff. He turned and gave me a quick hug and a peck on the lips and promised to call soon. I got back into the car and drove away, sneaking a peek in my rear-view mirror as my eyes filled with tears.
I missed Eric, of course, even though he hadn’t been much of a partner lately. I got used to sleeping through the night instead of changing beds at 2 a.m. Margarita went back to our original routine and only changed the guest linens once a week. I had the pool resurfaced and Eric’s car tuned up and ran the house like a tight ship. I went to yoga and had lunch with Tara (who knew nothing about my marital problems and assumed that the baby-making was on hold because Eric was in Rome). Eric called every few days and left a message that he was fine. I emailed back that all was well at home.
I was walking to my car one day after yoga class and stopped in front of Starbucks, debating whether I wanted a coffee or not. I’d remembered to zip my wallet into my jacket pocket with my keys and cell phone, knowing that I might want a treat after class. There was no reason to avoid caffeine anymore. I peered into the window, thinking I might see a friend to share some empty conversation with when I felt a jab into my back. “Give me your rings.” I instinctively complied, twisting my rock and wedding band off and passing them over my shoulder without looking back. And then he was gone, and it was over just like that. I wanted to turn and see him, but instead ducked into the Starbucks and sat down with shaky legs.
Amazingly, there were two police officers in line to get coffee. As soon as I thought my legs could support my weight again, I went over and discreetly told them what happened. They were probably annoyed that I’d interrupted their coffee break, but I felt like I should report what happened. It turned out to be the right thing to do because our insurance company needed the police report to process the check.
I went home and fished through Eric’s dresser until I found the light blue box and put my old and much preferred engagement ring on. Then I sat down at the computer to compose the email to Eric.
Other than being robbed at gunpoint in Brentwood in broad daylight with a pair of cops mere feet away, there wasn’t much to report to Eric on a regular basis. My life was easy and predictable and boring.
Then Sam Merlotte called and things started to change.