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Jude McLean Author

The Affair

00:00 / 05:05

I hardly know you….

Feels like a lifetime.

I should know better.

We have to meet.

Please bring your wife.

That would be a deal breaker for me.

I’m jealous.

I was stupid and young and in love or some garbage like that.

Let’s do tomorrow in Henrietta.

How will we find each other?

I found somewhere just off the highway.

Outside is best less people around.

I’m cool with a parking lot.

We can even stroll around outside.

I can’t wear jeans anymore so…..

LET'S DO IT.

3:30 would give us an hour of daylight.

I forgot how to socialize in person, so I will apologize in advance.

My hair appointment isn’t until Monday.

I don’t want to read about you guys on the police blotter!

 

That is a real conversation. Okay, I did a little cut and paste here and there to bend it to my purpose, but believe me, it didn’t take much. That is me texting with three other teammates who have worked together since the first of June. Sounds like we’re a couple conspiring an affair, right? That’s how desperately we wanted to meet! After eight months of working together, we had reached a breaking point.

When it was suggested I write about our meeting, I thought, “It’s just a few people getting together talking about nothing in particular. Nothing to see here.”, but then I looked back at our conversation and saw a pattern. We really were like lovers planning an affair. That’s how badly we need human contact, friendship, love, kindred spirits, and bonding. We yearn for it, crave it, need it, want it. And we will drive for an hour in the middle of snowy January for it, even if we have to stand outside and freeze our nuptials off to get it! We wanted to meet each other, and nothing and no one was going to stop us.

We laughed like old friends, but we were new friends. Old coworkers, yes, but new friends. Yet, at the same time, everything about them was familiar. It was inconceivable we had never met. Hardly spoken except in a few brief meetings, their voices were familiar, their laughter intimate, their nuances comforting. How could that be? Previous face-to-face meetings or not, I knew these women. These comrades, these coworkers, teammates, sisters, friends. We fell into conversation like it was a talk we had begun ages ago and were just picking up where we left off. Somehow we even knew what the other would really look like.

 

Sophie was fresh and cozy with her sleek blonde hair, Uggs, and black puffer. Jean with her stylish red wool coat, beige jeans, and winter boots for getting muddy and stirring up trouble. She was dressed for anything and prepared with hand warmers for all. Why wasn’t that at all surprising she would have those? And then there was me. I was identical to my profile picture, boring. It wasn’t intentional, but you could have held the photo beside me, and the only difference was that I wasn't wearing sunglasses. But I’m willing to bet my large blue eyes, which always draw attention, didn’t surprise them in the least. Although I didn’t expect Sophie to have personalized license plates, I must admit I did expect the large black SUV. Slick, trendy, and made for fun and travels just like her. Jean’s silver sedan. Classic, pretty, lavish but economical, and fully loaded with both features and supplies. Me, I was a combination of the two in my black sedan with leather seats and two-tone interior. I had a couple of necessities but not much. If they needed reusable grocery bags, a candy bar, or a knife to ward off trouble, I was their girl, but no room to shelter my new friends from the bitter wind and no hand warmers.

All of it was quintessentially us. Individually we were somewhat lost, band us together, and we had everything we needed except the fourth person in our conversation who couldn’t make it but checked the police blotter for our names. We had thought we would get together for an hour or so. An hour became two; two turned into four. I was the first one to see the time and realize I was late for dinner. I was sorry to leave my friends. We talk almost every day, and conspire of another time we can sneak out of the house to meet at another secret location. Until then, we always have the park.

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