Shame rained upon him. He realized that the lawyer had talked him into going a step beyond what his heart would allow. If only he had realized that sooner.
He picked up the phone. His wife would be at work, but her lover would be home. The lover answered.
"It's Andy," he began.
He called back. The lover answered with a torrent of profanity. He waited.
"I'd like to meet you for lunch," Andy offered.
"I'd like to meet you for lunch."
The lover asked, "Why?"
"Because I think we can work things out before the court date."
"Yeah," he answered.
He waited outside the restaurant. He watched his wife's lover enter. He told his hands to quit gripping the steering wheel so tightly.
He felt timid, embraced by fear. But that was okay. He felt that way because sometimes the right path was the difficult one.
He found the table, sat across the from the lover, and offered his hand. Warily, Julie took his.
"Andy, how could you of all people make an issue of our orientation?"
He thought about his change of heart on the gay marriage issue years before, and about those letters to the editor he'd written. He thought about his friends Greg and Walter, dead for several years now at the hands of two synagogue-burning, gay-hating brothers.
"You're right,"Andy said. "And that's why I'm not fighting you for the kids anymore."
Julie's jaw dropped. "You're serious?"
"Yes." Then, "Would you mind if we skipped lunch?"
"No," answered Julie.
He stood to leave. "I'll have my lawyer contact yours."
He was several steps from the door when she caught up with him.
He turned. She offered an embrace. He took it.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"No," he answered, "but I will be."
Prompted by yesterday's Three Word Wednesday. The words are dreary, embrace, and timid.