Ruby sat in the passenger side of the black BMW, head in her hands sobbing. She knew she was being hysterical. She knew this crying and carrying on wouldn't solve anything. She had made her choice. She was better dressed and coiffed than she had ever been in her life. Ayman sat patiently in the driver's seat. The car was off; he had waited in the car the entire time she had been at the class. He had been playing on his phone and chain smoking, as she suspected, as he passed the time. Ruby knew the current situation made Ayman uncomfortable, but he saw this discomfort as temporary, merely a stepping stone. He finished his cigarette and reached over and tenderly rubbed her back. His touch was gentle, he loved her, but he was very possessive. That was a new experience for Ruby. She had never been in a relationship where she was positively revered.
"Take deep breaths Baby" Ayman soothed.
She obeyed, her sobbing slowed to hiccupping cries.
"What is it?" Ayman asked, concerned, and "Why are you so upset tonight?"
This wasn't the first time Ayman had taken Ruby to the obligatory, court mandated divorce mediation and parenting classes. This was the first time she didn't make it out of the parking lot without tears, however. Ruby knew he brought her to provide moral support, but deep down she knew he was insecure and she suspected he was worried she and Eric would reconcile. Ruby knew Ayman would not lose her again. They had been separated 10 years ago with disastrous results and she didn't think he would withstand it again.
Ruby sniffled, "I know we are doing what is right. I know this is the worst part, me having to leave my boys. Eric is accusing me of abandoning the boys and pressing for sole custody. He doesn't even want them; he is just doing it to be hateful to me. His mother took out a second mortgage on their house, to pay for an attorney. Then our attorney said to me, privately, the fact that you are still not divorced is going to be a problem for me getting the boys back."
Ayman nodded in agreement, "We expected it to turn nasty. Remember my love; this is why you left him. Tomorrow I will go to the attorney and see what I need to do to get you the boys."
Ruby was so thankful for Ayman's support. He was a pharmacist; he worked in research and development. He did well. The car they were sitting in right now cost more than her family's income last year. When she moved out of the house she shared with Eric, she took no clothes; Ayman insisted she treat herself to a shopping spree. He had accompanied her, helping her choose fashionable, but tasteful outfits. He also encouraged her to style her hair, wear make-up and jewelry (no costume jewelry for his future wife), high heels and polish her nails. She looked like a brand new woman. When Eric saw her for the first time since she left, he almost didn't recognize her at first, and it had only been 2 weeks. Luckily, she was granted visitation for the boys after school 3 days a week and one weekend morning. But the stipulation was that they were not to go to Ayman's house for the time being. There was no particular reason stated, but his religion (Muslim) and his marital status (married to a woman, not Ruby) was hinted. Ruby wasn't one to kick a gift horse in the mouth, so she was biding her time, taking what she could get while she worked to get everything the way she envisioned it.
He left the mediation seething with anger. He made the mistake of looking over, into the tinted windows of the BMW. To his dismay, the driver's window was rolled down and the exotic, wealthy prick who had ruined his life, destroyed his family sat there, smoking a cigarette. He felt as though he had been sucker punched, as he watched him rub his wife's back, his soon to be ex-wife.
He knew their marriage hadn't been a match made in heaven. He knew things had been rocky for a while. He had no idea; literally, he was confused the day he came home to his wife packing their things. He kicked himself; he hadn't noticed that apparently the last 3 months she had been quietly moving her books and few sentimental items into a new, much more posh house. He came home one Friday; Ruby had boys in the downstairs part of the duplex they shared with his mother. Eric didn't think that much of it; the boys went to his mother's house frequently. Ruby greeted him at the door, he sensed something was off. . She told him she was leaving. She cried, she said she was sorry, but she felt that she had become an empty shell of the person that she was supposed to be. She told him he could keep the car they shared. She wanted nothing. He told her she wasn't taking his kids. He sensed she already suspected that, for she told him he could have the boys until her lawyer worked something out.
This made him furious. How dare her! He, who worked 60 hours a week to provide for their family, He, who worked so hard, so she could stay home with their boys. She, she was the one who had chosen to stay home. She, who had begged him to change their lifestyle, That Bitch. She had the nerve to say she was unhappy. She had cheated on him to, what a slap in the face. He didn't deny he had made some mistakes along the way. But his, his sins were those of omission. Those kinds of sins are not as bad as her kinds of sins.
He was also pissed that she abandoned their kids, her kids. What was he supposed to do? He certainly didn't want her to take the boys to her new boyfriend's house. No way. He hadn't even met the guy. He had no desire to meet him. He knew deep down that Ruby would not tolerate being away from the boys forever. He had a sneaking suspicion that she was using this time to take her "break", in a way; her "break" was long overdue. But this was absurd. He worked 60 hours a week. He couldn't afford daycare, which is why Ruby stayed home in the first place. Ug, he was going to have to talk to his mother. This was not good. He realized that Ruby had money in her favor, but he had morality in his. Yet, this fact did not make him feel any better as he watched Ruby walk out the door and cross the street into the black BMW that was waiting for her.
She couldn't quite wrap her head around it, but the more awesome her husband became the more of herself she lost. She couldn't quite pinpoint the correlation, but she was certain that there was one.
She had settled into this melancholy, this plateau of her life, so to speak, when Ayman reappeared back in her life. It was a simple phone call, that sexy accent. It was January, she was surrounded in the mid-winter monotony, the Christmas excitement over, the anxiety of the over budget credit card bills beginning. She felt that she was in Narnia, always winter and never Christmas. It was a Wednesday morning, her older son was in school, the younger at home, whining about something. That dreary Wednesday Ruby was in sweatpants, she was a day or 2 over due for a shower. She felt and looked awful.