Julia was late. She had spend her lunchbreak with one of her girlfriends who had kept her much longer than intended. So she had decided to take the short way through the park despite the fact that her cream colored high-heels were not quite the perfect footwear for the dirt paths there. However, walking the streets would take her ten minutes longer and she really shouldn't be showing up late again.
At least it wasn't raining anymore. In fact, the day had turned out sunny and warm, the sky was bright blue. The park was therefore flooded with visitors; joggers, families with young children pushing a stroller, people walking their dogs.
Come to speak of, a big dog, probably a german shepherd - she really was no expert on dogs - caught a frisbee that almost landed on the path a few meters in front of her. Julia huffed impatiently. She was no dog person and she really was not in the mood right now to deal with the big animal looking at her curiously, his owner not to be seen nearby.
She slowed her pace and eyed the dog warily when a call rang out "Rex! Come here buddy!"
Julia stopped and looked around. She recognized that voice. She would recognize that voice among thousands. It belonged to Charlie, Charlie Hudson. Her ex-husband.
The big dog, Rex, she knew now, turned and trotted away towards the familiar voice. Julia watched him disappear around the corner, his frisbee in his mouth.
She couldn't help it, slowly she followed the dog.
She hadn't seen Charlie in ages. St John's wasn't a big city, nevertheless, they hadn't run into each other in the past few years. Come to think about it, she had seen her ex-husband in the newspaper and on TV a while ago after he had solved some crime particularly interesting to the public. That dog had been there with him, referred to as his partner, so it had to be a police dog for sure.
It had been over six years since the divorce. Six years since Charlie had discovered her having an affair and moving out in a hurry, filing for divorce right after that. It had been an uncontested divorce. Julia was fully aware that she had to take full responsibilty for the breakdown of their marriage since she had voluntary sexual relations with a person other than her spouse. She still believed she had her reasons for cheating on Charlie. At that time, she had felt neglected because he worked so hard. When a colleague brought her the attention she missed so painfully, she accepted it gladly and plunged headlong into the affair.
Julia snorted. An affair, that's what it had been then. It hadn't turned into a real relationship and she had been dating occasionally ever since, but she hadn't found the right one yet. Turning forty the next month, she had to slowly come to terms with the fact that she probably would no longer start a family in the classic sense.
Unless it was a wink of fate that she met Charlie here in this park today. With that thought in mind, a smile appeared on her face as she turned the corner, flicking her long blonde hair flirtatiously over her shoulder.
Her smile died when she saw the scene in front of her unfold.
Rex walked up towards Charlie, who looked particularly handsome in his blue denim shirt which Julia instantly knew would match his blue eyes perfectly.
Right next to him, however, was a little girl, her brown hair braided in two pigtails. The approximately three year old girl happily clappped her hands when the dog dropped his frisbee on the ground in front of her. While the girl bent down to get the toy, Julia slowly moved closer, now hidden behind some bushes.
Before the child could throw the frisbee for Rex once more, Charlie gently admonished her, "Ella, remember to throw on the meadow and not on the path again, okay, sweetheart?"
Ella nodded seriously and this time threw the frisbee in the opposite direction, just as she was told. Rex ran after the toy and the child squealed with enthusiasm.
"Good job, little munchkin!"
Julia's head snapped towards a bench nearby where the woman complimenting the girl sat, one hand on the handle of a stroller which she gently rocked back and forth. She was indeed beautiful, her brunet hair falling in soft waves on her shoulders, a radiant smile on her lips. Julia immediately noticed the glitter of the wedding ring on her hand resting on the handle of the stroller.
Ella ran and threw herself into her mother's arms, "Mommy, mommy, have you seen it? I threw the frisbee for Rexy!"
The woman smiled fondly, "Of course I've seen it! You did really good, baby."
Ella smiled back proudly and climbed on the bench next to her mother to take a look into the stroller. "Daddy, Noah is still sleeping!" she announced audibly annoyed, which made her parents chuckle with amusement.
Charlie stepped next to the stroller and gently put his hand on his wife's, throwing her a fond look. Then he scooped Ella up in his arms and sat down next to Sarah, "Yeah, sweetheart, you know, your little brother is still so small and little babies sleep a lot."
Ella nodded eagerly, snuggling into Charlie's chest. He put his arm around Sarah's shoulders, pulling her close to him and whispering something in her ear which made her giggle.
Julia's insides churned at this sight and she drew in her breath sharply.
So her ex-husband had moved on. Somehow she hadn't expected that. She had expected him to stay alone, being married solely to the job.
She found herself thinking that she could be in the other woman's place today if only she had stuck to her marriage.
Another look at the small family which had now been completed by the dog returning the frisbee belied that thought. Julia had never seen Charlie being so carefree and at ease before. He looked genuinely happy there. Next to this woman he looked like he belonged right there and nowhere else.
When Charlie leaned over and kissed his wife gently on the lips, Julia slowly withdrew and continued on her way. Shortly thereafter she felt tears streaming down her face. Somehow this brief encounter left her with a feeling of having lost something good - again.
Recalling the content expression on Charlie's face she shook off that thought. No, she hadn't lost anything but Charlie had gained something. Something that she hadn't been able to give to him, namely true love and affection.
Guess everything happens for a reason she thought bitterly as she finally entered her office, preparing herself for being told off by her superior for being late once more.