Editor’s note: Madeline’s narration of the Memorial Day weekend begins here.
On the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, I woke an hour earlier than usual to get Jason ready for a special event at school.
Waiting on the kettle to boil for coffee, I checked my email. Marcus had dropped me a line overnight.
The day before, Madeline and Marcus had been comparing notes about the coming three-day weekend.
They each had their kids and no plans. Marcus mused about bringing his kids to New York to visit my family, then realized:
If he packed his kids into his car and drove west, and Madeline packed her kids into her car and drove east, in about nine or ten hours, their paths would converge in Louisville, Kentucky.
And in Louisville, they would find two music festivals—one for reggae, another focused on the Beatles.
Did I have my kids for the weekend? he asked. Did I want to join them?
Marcus . . .
I wrote back that I did not have the kids that weekend, but I did have other plans. I could not drop everything to materialize in Louisville, Kentucky tomorrow.
Have fun with Madeline and her kids.
I am accustomed to Marcus’s spontaneity. It is one of his charms, something I have always enjoyed. It’s a good counterpart to my preference for advance planning.
Madeline is getting used to it as well.
Two weeks earlier, he had offered to fly her east to visit him for the weekend. He had made the offer on Thursday, hoping to get her on a plane the next day.
Madeline checked in with me. She was considering the offer. She was having a lousy week—her ex was in town, her mom was facing surgery, and so on—and would appreciate any excuse to leave town.
But, she wondered, how would I feel if she saw Marcus so soon after his visit with her two weeks earlier?
Perhaps she should she see me before seeing him again, she wondered. You know, to keep things fair.
I had to confess, I wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of another Marcus and Madeline weekend, so soon on the heels of the last one. Things seemed to be happening very fast, and I really couldn’t keep pace.
At the same time, it made no sense for her to forgo the invitation, if she wanted to accept, simply to spare me any misgivings.
Madeline, I said, there is no way I can match Marcus in spontaneity. He acts quickly on his desires, and baby, he desires you.
It would be unfair to try to keep things fair. When it comes to time together, it may not always be fifty-fifty.
I didn’t want the two of them to miss a weekend together just to fulfill an obligation to take turns.
If you want to go, I said, go. I don’t want to be the reason you don’t go.
Ultimately, she did not go.
Madeline is a good daughter. She put her mother’s health first, and stayed in town to help her mom after the surgery.
Now, a couple of weeks later, my best friend and my online girlfriend had a date to meet in Kentucky.
I had a busy day. By the time I got them on the phone, they were on the road.
Marcus was looking ahead to the time with Maddie as he drove into the sunset.
Madeline was glad to see her hometown in the rear view mirror. The sun was setting over her shoulder.
Two perverted parents driving toward one another, kids secure in their seat belts.
Just as well I wasn’t going, I thought. The next time I see Madeline and/or Marcus, I’m going to want some serious loving. Been too long without those honeys.
No way there would be much chance of sex with all those young‘uns about.