The Y-files [GL]
A staple snack that consists of 2 slices of bread with ham and cheese, grilled in the oven, baked in a pan or with a croque machine.
Menus in taverns and brasseries and even cafes often have many different types of croques. Changing up the types of cheese, changing the ham to bacon, salami, or even smoked salmon and adding different toppings, like pineapple, tomato slices, a fried egg, spaghetti sauce, etc.
Volunteer organisations often serve croques as a quick lunch on day activities because it is cheap and easy to make very fast on the spot.
Interlude 13: Coming home
Sandra was in the kitchen making me something to eat. I had told her it wasn’t necessary but she had insisted.
We had only just reunited, and when Sandra called to tell me the girls wanted a sleepover, I thought she was asking permission for Eline, but then she invited me too.
Of course I said yes, but now that I was here I felt all nervous, so I got up and went to the kitchen.
Sandra was preparing me cute little mini croques, all with a different filling. I even saw some with baked bacon, goat cheese and honey. My favorite! I can’t believe she remembered that. She was putting in way too much effort. That told me she was nervous too. I felt a bit happy that I was not alone in that.
“Please, let me help.” I said and went up to help her. It wasn’t really a question I did not want to be alone and it was always fun to do something together with her no matter what it was.
I could see that Sandra was a bit conflicted, she wanted to pamper me, but at the same time she was happy to do something together. But it was clear that the happy part took over. When the croques were done, we brought them to the living room and talked while snacking and enjoying a fine glass of white wine.
When we finished eating, I sat next to Sandra and layed down and put my head on her lap. Just like in the old days, I talked a bit about my day at work. It was all pretty simple but to me this felt really special.
Our conversation deviated to my past and how I got Eline.
After Sandra had left me behind to get married, I had started working as a nurse. That hospital was where I first got to know my ex-husband. Daniel, was the head-nurse in the hospital where I worked. He was nice and we got along, but I did not really feel anything for him. Everyone around me kept on telling me how perfect we were for each other, so when he asked me on a date, I said yes. Perhaps it was just me that did not see it. I felt I should at least give relationships a chance. I had gotten seriously drunk, and a month later I found out I had gotten pregnant.
I went to tell him and when I did, I told him that I was raised as a catholic and could see no other option than keeping the child. He took responsibility and asked me to marry him. At least he had that much honor.
Even after we got married I never felt really connected to Daniel. Not even after my precious Eline was born. Our relationship kept growing more and more sour. In the end we even stopped talking to each other except for the extremely necessary. The only thing in common we had left was Eline but it was clear that he was not all that interested in raising a daughter and he left everything just up to me. One day at the job I walked in on his affair with a new nurse. The last pillar holding our marriage fell with that action of his. So I just took Eline and left him and moved to the capital. I knew Sandra lived here somewhere but the chances to run into someone you know in a large city like Brussels are minimal, but at least there would be a chance. Daniel paid his alimony, but he only came to visit Eline once a month and even then he often called her telling Eline that he could not make it.
I knew Eline was hurt by it, but she kept really strong, always sounding cheerful on the phone and acting extra excited when he actually showed up. She was always doing her best to please him and blaming herself if he skipped a meeting day. I always did my best to talk those feelings of guilt out of her but I was sure it was impossible to completely erase.
After telling Sandra my story entirely I noticed she had a tear in her eye and she caressed my hair to comfort me.
The time went by like it was nothing and I noticed it was getting close to midnight. So we got up to check and see if the girls were sleeping before we would go to bed ourselves.
When we arrived at Elodies room we could see the lights were out. I pushed the door open a little to take a peek. Although I should not have been so surprised, I was a little shocked to see Eline cuddling and kissing Elodie while Fien was already sound asleep on a mattress.
I quickly closed the door again. What did I just witness? I must’ve looked startled because Sandra asked me “What is the matter? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
“I think I just witnessed something I shouldn’t have. Kids these days sure move fast.”
I felt a bit conflicted. I was happy for them. But I also felt a bit jealous. It felt like they had what I had always wanted.
“What do you mean? What did you see?” Sandra moved to open the door herself, but I stopped her. She looked a bit confused at me. She tried again to move her hand to the door. I stopped her again and said “Let me show you.” I pulled her toward me and kissed her. I could tell she was a little bit shocked and even a bit reluctant, but I persisted, I was not about to give up. If this would not work out I would lose her forever. I felt like I was betting my life.
Sandra pushed me away. I felt regret coming over me. I felt tears coming up in my eyes, I guessed this would be the end of the dream. “I’m sorry.” I said with a shaky voice. “Maybe it’s better that I leave.”
Sandra looked sternly at me and then she said “That’s not it. I just cannot do this here in front of my little girl’s room.” I felt a bit confused. She took me by my hand and led me to her room. Once she closed the door behind us, she pushed me against the door and kissed me. A warm feeling came over me, in a way it felt like finally coming home. This is where I belonged. Melting in Sandra’s arms.
Later that night when we were engaging in some pillow talk, I told her about what I witnessed between Eline and Elodie. Sandra’s eyes grew bigger and then she said “At least they are smarter than us. That must mean we did something right these last few years.”
After such a wonderful experience I felt really bold and asked “How would you feel about moving in together? I really don’t feel like being apart from you anymore.”
We discussed it for a bit and decided to make the necessary plans and to look for the right time to tell Eline and Elodie of our decision.