Emma Lynn began tearing through the yearbooks. It would have made sense for her to have less than the average person since she had skipped ahead. Instead, Emma Lynn had gotten yearbooks for all of her years in school and the years she skipped over. She knew he had to have been in one of them. Unless. Emma Lynn froze, her hands stuck between pages. Her frantic flipping paused mid-motion. Unless, she had tutored him.
The dream she so vividly remembered came back to her in a flash. Heat warmed her body, starting between her legs and traveling upward. Emma Lynn had always had a feeling that her recurring dream had been more than that, but there had never been anything to support it. She pulled out the yearbook for what should have been her graduating class, even though she had long since left high school, she had still ordered the book. Tearing the through the pages she found what she was looking for. There was no denying that what she had believed to be a dream, had been a memory. Emma Lynn looked down into the eyes of Ryan Hunter. She felt the pull of her skin across her body. It had been one time. The only time she had been with anyone other than Timothy.
Emma Lynn grabbed most of the yearbooks and stacked them sideways on the bottom shelf. She could always tidy them up later. Rushing into her bedroom Emma Lynn closed the door and began to pace. Nick and Carmella were out with their friends. Timothy was giving a lecture, which is why he had missed back to school night to begin with. There was no reason for Emma Lynn to have closed her door. But she had. It was as if a piece of her soul had been exposed. It stood in front of her children every day like a well wrapped present filled with a decaying cat. The smell would eventually escape. Things like infidelity didn’t stay quiet for long.
The sheets felt like butter cream as Emma Lynn laid down in her bed. Between pacing and thinking she had undressed herself. It was late enough that she wouldn’t be going back out, but too early to go to bed. She had intended to change into her house pijamas. At least that’s what she believed to be her intentions. Obviously she had been mistaken as her clammy hand made its way up her thigh. She thought about her string of moments with Ryan. The library, the car, the bathroom afterward. Emma Lynn melted into herself. Her back arching as it had that day, the same way it hadn’t truly arched since. It was as if no time had passed between the moments in her car and now. The only thing missing was him. Emma Lynn cried out as she released herself to the idea that she could be with someone else. As she steadied her breathing she wondered had he remembered her.
The meeting had been a group one. Since Mr. Hunter was a substitute teacher and hadn’t been with the students very long he wanted to make a blanket address. He promised if he was still there the next round he would make specific appointments with parents either by their choice or his suggestion. She hoped that one of her children would do something that warranted a meeting. Nick’s attitude had been that of a typical suave and brooding teenager, teachers loved to discuss his unused potential. Emma Lynn felt herself blush as she chided herself. She was behaving like a teenager herself. Walking into the bathroom Emma Lynn washed her hands, brushed her teeth, and returned to her bedroom to put on her house pijamas. Timothy would be home from his lecture soon.
Emma Lynn walked back over to the bookshelf. Kneeling on the floor she properly stood the books up and returned them in year order back to the shelf. She was missing a year. Emma Lynn looked around. There was a corner sticking out from under the bookcase. Pulling it out, Ryan’s picture greeted her once more. From the corner of her eye she saw a picture of Carmella and Nick sitting on one of the shelves. Since birth, the twins had always been told they looked like their mother. So much so that over the years the occasional joke had been thrown around about the milkman’s babies and such. It hadn’t helped that twins had never run in either Timothy or Emma Lynn’s families. Looking between the photograph of her children, and their substitute teacher and her one time fling it struck Emma Lynn that they might not have looked like Timothy, but there was an uncanny resemblance to Ryan.
The book fell to the floor moments before Emma Lynn had. She had been smart, smart enough that the math had been done and processed before the implications had fully processed. Opening her eyes, Emma Lynn looked up at the study’s ceiling. She had never noticed the light cracks that separated the warm white paint. Life was full of small cracks just waiting to make themselves more prevalent everyday.
The cracks ran through the vinyl of the seat of Ryan’s motorcycle. Carmella traced the most prevalent one with her index finger, “you must really love a rough ride, huh?” A sweet, innocent smile spread across her face as she waited for an answer. For a moment Ryan thought of the last time he had seen a smile like that. It had been from one of the parents as parent teacher conference night. It had brought something up from deep within him. A memory-like dream of sorts. Looking at it now again on Carmella’s face, Ryan knew he was in a world of trouble.