In Bed Together

Two nights ago, on a nostalgic whim, I decided to contact Marta. 

I had presented a paper in a local conference that morning and had seen her name listed down as one of the speakers for the next day.  It had been awhile since I had seen her or talked to her, so I sent a message to her on her mobile phone instead.  It was a rather lame message but it would do, I thought.  It went something like "Saw your name on the list of speakers for tomorrow.  Just thought I'd touch base and say hi."  Immediately after, I am cringing at the awkwardness of the line and decide to send another message. I send: "Hope you and the little one are okay."

Marta had gotten pregnant last year, we found out last Christmas.  It was a shock to all our friends.  We had all known each other since college and had kept in touch. It just seemed so unlike Marta: it came out that she was not seeing anyone at the time and, even more audaciously, had decided to keep the identity of the baby's father a secret.  Of course, rumors quickly spread that this was mostly probably because the man was married, that Marta had been his mistress for a long time, that it was her attempt to force this man to commit to her completely, that she truly wanted a baby... all these and more. But these were just rumors.  They died out in time as rumors tend to do.  In April of this year,  with family and friends at her side, Marta gave birth to little Joey.

It takes awhile before Marta responds to my message.  In fact, it's almost midnight and I am already reading in bed when my phone beeps.  Her reply makes me smile.

"Yes, I'm speaking tomorrow at the conference but I'm not ready!  How was your talk?  And little Joey is fine and super yummy!"

I sit up on bed, propping my back against a pillow, before punching in my reply.

"Don't worry," I tell her.  "Audience today was a breeze.  You'll be fine."

"My problem is that one of my competitors is on my panel and I heard that he has a snazzy presentation," she answers me quickly.  "So I'm deciding if I should attempt to come up with something now even if I'm so sleepy already or just sleep, wake up early and try to rush a half-baked presentation.  Gosh, it's like cramming for school all over again.  What do you think?"

That she is asking for my advice delights me. It's been so long.   tell her to forget about it, sleep already and just worry about it in the morning. I let her know that I think it would be better to get a good night's sleep and be fresh in the morning.  I make a few mistakes while punching in this message on my phone so there is a bit of a delay before I send it.

Immediately after, I get a reply from her: "Oh, now you tell me!  After I just set up my laptop on my bed while little Joey is beside me sleeping.  Even if I don't do the presentation, I won't be fresh tomorrow because I'm still nursing the little one.  Have I sent you a picture of him already?" There is a smiley at the end of her question.

I think to myself: How could you?  We haven't actually seen each other or  spoken to each other in years! I also like the way the topic of her conversation shifts.  Yes, there is more to life than work, much more.   I send my reply: "No, do send a pic when you can!" I put a smiley at the end of this, too.

She sends a picture a few minutes later.  It is a small jpeg of little Joey lying in bed on his stomach.  His eyes are little bit open.  His dark hair is a beanie enveloping his small, round head. He's got pillowy cheeks and those impossibly pursed and kissable lips that only babies have.  Although I'm looking at a picture, I can almost smell that newborn scent. 

The photo is accompanied by a message from Marta: "Isn't he adorable?"

I send her a reply: "Yes, he's too cute..."   Marta and I say our good nights a few minutes later.

I put down my phone on my night table.  Our conversation stays with me a little longer before I turn in.  I think about the image of a sleepy Marta in bed with her newborn baby beside her and I turn to my side to see the sleeping figure of my wife and our own seven-month old baby Jack sleeping soundly between us.  Half the room is in darkness.  Both of them are lost in dreams.

I cannot help but marvel at the way life turns out. 

Over a decade ago, Marta and I were lovers.  We fell in love during those crucial years before one graduates from college.  Our relationship lasted for five years.  She and I had so many hopes and dreams for the future--for our careers, our relationship.  We even talked and dreamed about our future marriage and the children that we would have in time.  None of that, of course, came to pass.  With much heartbreak, we separated and found our own ways in the world.  I became a university professor, settled down and married another woman.  She became a successful career woman and had a few lovers over the years.  I had two children over the last six years.  She had little Joey last April.

But, in that simple exchange of messages that night, I felt something I hadn't felt in a long while.  Once upon a time, Marta and I were in bed together. Our break-up turned our worlds inside out, giving us both futures we had not imagined.  That night, however, I felt a sense of calm, even peace, that seemed to come from an awareness  that the world--in spite dashed dreams and hopes--does make sense and have meaning, after all.  There was something very calming and comforting in the knowledge that, as Marta and her baby were in bed together that night, so I was I with my baby and wife.  It was a feeling that I relished: that she and I could still talk to each other in spite of a gulf of different lifetimes, that we both still seemed to care, that in a way so different than I could ever have imagined, we are still in bed together after all these years.

I had a good night's sleep that night and I hope that Marta and little Joey did too.
Montagar Montagar
36-40, M
1 Response Jul 25, 2007

Thanks for sharing a great story. I know what you mean about feeling nostalgic...even though I'm happily married now, I still feel that way from time to time.