I suppress my grin, because although we’ve lost touch for several years, Walsh knew I worked as a copyeditor—which was the most boring job ever and I hated it—but technically… I could do my job anywhere.
I graduated UCLA with a degree in journalism. I’d had starry-eyed visions of working for The Washington Post or reporting from war-ravaged countries, maybe even anchoring the CNN weekend news desk, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing copyediting for a fashion magazine. It was long, awful hours of tedious work on subject matter I abhorred. One thing I was not sad to leave behind was that job.
“I’m rethinking my career path,” is all I tell Walsh. “Vince set me up a generous bank account so money is not an immediate concern right now.”
He studies me a moment, perhaps hearing the failure in my voice, and he leaves it alone.
“What about your marriage?” he asks.
“What about it?” I ask vaguely.
“Well, you’re married. Are you going to try to make it work?”
My eyebrows shoot high. “Excuse me? Why would I try to make it work?”
“Because you have years invested in it,” Walsh says in a matter-of-fact tone. “What your husband did to you was awful but maybe not unforgivable.”
I consider this for only a moment. “Did Micah tell you why I got married?”
Walsh goes still, a forkful of eggs dropping back to the plate as he slowly shakes his head.
“I was pregnant.”
Walsh’s eyes harden. “Micah never told me,” he says.
“I’d dated Vince through most of my college years. He was five years older than me, and I found out I was pregnant just a month after graduating. Vince offered marriage, and I accepted.”
Walsh straightens and pushes his plate away, his eggs half-eaten, his toast ignored. “What happened?”
I shrug and push my food around my plate, not overly hungry because this conversation turned heavy. “I miscarried before we got married, but we went ahead and did it anyway. I mean… we loved each other, so why not? My point being, we didn’t necessarily get married because we felt we would spend the rest of our lives together.”
“If you love each other, you should talk things out,” Walsh says, but his voice is tight. I wonder if he’s saying that because he believes in the sanctity of marriage or he just wants to push me away.
I’m not ready to accept either of those right now, so I turn the tables. “What about your marriage?”
I expect this to put Walsh on guard and maybe turn him defensive, but he acts all casual now as he leans back over the counter and grabs his fork. “What about it?”
He takes a bite, chews as if this is the easiest thing in the world to have a conversation about, and watches me… waits for me to ask more.
“Why did you get divorced?” I ask, not sure I want to know about how he got to the marriage part.
“We didn’t have a lot of compatibility to make it long term,” he tells me.
“But you had some compatibility,” I push.
“Well, yeah, Jorie,” he says with a smirk. “I didn’t just marry some woman off the street.”
“Did you love her?”
Ugh… why does that bother me?
“How were you incompatible? You’re pushing me to work things out with Vince, so why didn’t you work things out in your marriage?”
Walsh swallows some eggs he’d forked into his mouth, takes a napkin, and wipes his mouth while he appraises me, as if he’s trying to figure out if I really want to know the truth to the questions I just asked.
Finally, he says, “The only thing we really had in common was sex. It was…”
He trails off as if trying to find the right word, so I supply it for him. “Good?”
“Fantastic,” he corrects, and that makes my stomach sink. “It was so incredible for both of us, we thought it meant more than it did. In the end, it was just great sex. That wasn’t enough to overcome all the other areas where we just weren’t aligned.”
“Like what?” I can’t help but ask, because I want to compare her to myself.
“We had sex without a condom,” Walsh says in return.
“Well, yeah… you were married. Why would that be an incompatibility?”
Walsh shakes his head, his eyes focusing hard on me. “You and I had sex without a condom. Half an hour ago. I didn’t ask your permission, and you didn’t protest.”
“That’s true,” I say hesitantly, because he’s veered so far off course from talking about his marriage that I’m having a tough time keeping up. Also, just thinking about the way he felt inside of me as he came, and the way he leaked out of me after…
I shake my head to get out of my head.
“Jorie… we had unprotected sex, and you don’t seem to care.”