Day 30: It’s really day 32 but I haven’t written a word for three days. I’ve been down in the black hole, and can say that it’s just as dark and nasty as it was last time. But I was only there for a few days which must be a good thing. It’s Monday, so time for the next instalment in Cassie’s story.
“So how was Bev last night?” It was the next day and I had dropped in to see Saffron on my way back from the morning coffee run. She was staring at me expectantly over the rim of her coffee cup and I hastened to reply.
“She was bright as a button last night, you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong. Her skin glowed, she looked healthy. We had a lovely evening.”
Saffron took a sip of her coffee, her expression sombre. “You know Cassie, people sometimes rally just before the end. I saw it with my nan, and I’ve had friends say it.”
I could feel tears rising and fought them down again. We all knew the inevitable outcome, and false hope would only make it worse. “I know Saffie, but it’s hard to believe she is so sick at times like that, when she looks so well.”
Saffron took my hand and squeezed it. “I know, and it must be difficult for Andrew. I believe the good days are a gift, a special memory to be filed away and pulled out again in the future. How did Andrew seem?”
I smiled as I recalled the previous evening. “He was in fine form, telling his terrible jokes and teasing the kids. It was a lovely night, no sadness or worry. The room was filled with light.” I was explaining the mood, yet the room really did seem to be full of light. Again I wished things were different, that there was some sort of magic I could perform to make Bev well again.
Saffie read my expression correctly. “You know you can’t do any more than you are, and you and the kids have made such a difference to their lives. I know Andrew and Bev love those kids, and they love you too. Life doesn’t make sense a lot of the time, but we just have to believe there is a master plan. When we can’t change things we should accept them with grace, just as Bev is doing.” Before I could reply she changed the subject. “How’s Matt?”
To my mortification a blush swept up my face, faster than I could find an excuse to lean down to fish around in my bag. Saffron of course jumped on it.
“Cassie? Want to tell me why you’re blushing? Did something happen? Did he finally kiss you?”
I could feel my eyes widen in shock. “No of course not!” Really she needed to stop reading those romance novels. “Nothing has happened. Well, we are going to dinner Saturday night, to that new restaurant where the art gallery used to be.” Inspiration struck. “Would you and Ben like to come?”
Saffron snorted. “I’m pretty sure Matt doesn’t want us along, and besides which Ben has a thing on this weekend.” Her shrug was offhand, but I knew she was hiding her true feelings. Ben was very much an AWOL husband, and while Saffron seemed ok with that I knew that she was growing tired of feeling like a single mother.
“Matt wouldn’t mind. Hey, why don’t you come? Your mum would look after the girls wouldn’t she?”
Saffron put down the piece of chocolate cake she was about to eat and fixed me with her most penetrating stare. I shifted uncomfortably under that gaze, I knew from experience I would not appreciate what she was about to say.
“Seems to me that you’re trying to weasel out of spending the evening alone with Matt. What gives?”
“I’m not! I just thought it would be nice if you could come too. We haven’t been out for ages.”
“No we haven’t, but this isn’t about us. This is about you and Matt. Why don’t you want to be alone with him?”
“I don’t feel like that, I’m not worried about being alone with him. I just, I feel…” My words trailed off as I stared at her. She was right - I didn’t want to be alone with him, but why? Matt was a good friend, I owed him more than I could ever repay. He knew the worst about me and still liked me. Why was I feeling so shy to be alone with him now? “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Her expression softened and again she took my hand in hers. “Cassie, I know it hasn’t been that long since the Nathan thing. You’ve come so far since then, but I’m guessing you still don’t trust yourself or your feelings. Are you afraid things will go wrong with Matt like they did with Nathan?”
Was I? Was I afraid to trust my own judgement? I had made a monumental error in judgement with Nathan, and paid for it for years. I met her gentle gaze. “Maybe. I mean, I sure didn’t know what I was getting into with Nathan. “
“Do you trust Matt?”
“Of course I do.” My reply was immediate. I would trust Matt with my life and with my children’s.
“So there’s more to this than you worrying about your judgement.” Saffron released my hand and drank some more of her coffee. “Do you enjoy his company?”
“Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kiss him?”
I blushed, and nodded again. “But that won’t happen Saffie, Matt deserves someone better than me.”
Her gaze sharpened and she put her cup down with such a decisive thump that I instinctively checked it for cracks. “So that’s it.”
“That’s what? I’m not following you Saffie.”
“Cassie, you still think you’re not good enough for good things to happen to you. I think you’re still punishing yourself for what happened with Nathan. Oh,” as I opened my mouth to rebut her, “I know that intellectually you understand that it was not your fault. And intellectually you know that you deserve good things in life, and a good man. But Cassie, emotionally I think you’re still not sure. When do you go to see Sue again?”
“On Friday.” Sue is my therapist, and I owe most of my hard won peace to her.
“So, on Friday, talk to Sue about this, and tonight write in your notebook.” Her voice wobbled a bit as she continued and I looked at her in alarm. “Cassie, sweetie, you of all people deserve good things in your life. You deserve good friends, a good life, a good man. Don’t tell yourself any different, don’t put yourself down. You’re done with all that remember?”
I smiled, a weak smile for sure, but a smile. “I was done with men too. I’m not sure I want the complication.”
Saffron grinned at me, a wicked grin. “Well you’re both young and healthy. It may or may not happen. Just, Cassie, don’t wall yourself off from the possibility. Some marriages are magical. Look at Andrew and Bev.”
I twirled my spoon around in my coffee – for no reason at all except to give my hands something to do. Saffron was right, Andrew and Bev did have something special and magical. Perhaps there was something like that for me too. I just needed to believe in myself enough. I made a mental note to write to myself after the kids were in bed that night, and take it to Sue on Friday.