“Hey, Gillian. What are you doing here this morning?”
Gillian Bridges walked past her brother, Trey, and into his apartment on Saturday morning. He’d had the day off, being a fireman in the town of Colonie, and she needed to talk to him.
“I’ve been thinking about what you told us this week.”
Her brother told her and their parents that a woman he’d been dating found out she was pregnant. He hadn’t gone into a lot of details and she wasn’t going to pry too much, but the gist of it was he was going to raise the child alone once the baby was born.
Their family being close jumped in and said they’d help in any way they could. With him working nights and weekends, often being called in last minute, they’d have to be there to support him.
“If you can’t manage it, I understand, Gillian. You’ve got your life with Mike.”
She snorted. “About that. I’m going to start looking for my own place.”
“What’s going on?” Trey asked. “You guys have been together since college.”
“We have,” she said. Almost ten years at this point. “And what is going on is nothing. We are still in the same place we were when we moved in together.”
“Oh,” Trey said. “I thought you were happy.”
“I’m not even content. We’ve talked and I get nowhere. He’s not ready for more and I’m tired of waiting.”
She was twenty-nine years old and thought she’d be married and have a few kids by now. Not sharing the same small apartment she’d gotten with Mike seven years ago. That was just a step up from the one they’d been sharing before with other roommates.
Looking back, she couldn’t figure out where she fell into this hole, but hearing that her brother was going to be a father kicked her butt in gear to do something.
“I’m sorry about that,” Trey said.
“Don’t be,” she said. “It’s my fault. The reason I’m here is that you said you were looking for a place too. I haven’t started my search. I’d like to find somewhere close to you. It will make it easier.”
“If you need to move out, Gillian. Do it,” he said. “Don’t wait for me. I’m not sure how long it will take me to find something.”
“It’s not a need as much as a want. I haven’t even talked to Mike and I don’t plan on it. Not like you think. Nothing will change. It never does.”
They’d had the same conversation for years. She wasn’t one to give idle threats that if he wasn’t ready she’d leave and hope he’d change his mind. He hadn’t changed it yet so it was about her now.
“If you’re really thinking of moving out and finding a place, one of the guys at the department mentioned a two-family house for sale that he wished he could purchase. I overheard them talking last week. Not sure if it’s still available. If you don’t mind that, you can live upstairs since you’ll be helping me with the baby.”
“Perfect,” she said, smiling. She was getting excited over it. They’d have their own spaces and she could get her baby fix when she wanted.
“If you’re sure,” Trey said. “Man, it would take a load off my mind if you were that close.”
“I’m positive. I’m not changing my mind. Even if Mike changes his, which he’s not going to, I’ve got to do this for me. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself somewhere. Maybe your news was the kick in the butt I needed.”
Trey forced a smile. “Glad I could help.”
“You know what I mean,” she said. “How are you holding up?”
“Still in shock, but it will work out. It always does.”
“That’s right,” she said. “It always does. I’m starting to get excited.”
“Slow down,” Trey said. “The house might not be available. It might be a horrible buy. Could be a lot of things. It’s not easy to find another one, so this could just be nothing more than a conversation we are having.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “There is hope there and I haven’t felt any hope in too long.”
Trey looked at her, the older brother who watched out for her when they were younger, but they’d both gone about their separate lives as adults.
“I feel bad,” Trey said. “Until you started this conversation, I hadn’t realized how much you have changed.”
Her shoulders dropped. “Changed how?”
“You’re not the happy carefree little sister you always were. Seeing you getting excited and smiling bright, one that is reaching your eyes, that just hit home for me. I haven’t seen any of that in a long time.”
“No,” she said, sighing. “It’s time to get it all back.”
“Then that is what we’ll do.”
“Thanks,” she said. “Don’t tell Mom and Dad. Not yet. See if the house is available, and once we know more, then I’ll break it to them. They love Mike.”
Trey snorted. “They love Mike because you do. They’ve got nothing against him, but if you aren’t happy, they are only going to want what is best for you and you know it.”
It was exactly what she needed to hear.
“What is best for me is to rediscover the person I used to be, not the one that fell into some boring hole and feels she is stuck in the mud for a man that could care less about moving on.”
“Then let’s get you out of there and cleaned up,” Trey said, laughing. “We can muddle through the next year together because I’m going to need all the help I can get.”
She needed this in her life now. Something to actually look forward to.