Plum Island is a nine-mile long barrier island off the northern coast of Massachusetts. By all accounts, it is a spectacular location with an oceanfront that boasts a beautiful public beach and historic lighthouse, boardwalks leading to romantic dunes, tidal marshes that take your breath away, and a continually changing population of birds to delight even the most hardened soul.
In truth, it sounds like paradise, but I wouldn’t know. I have never been to Plum Island, and this very fact makes the phone call that could have ended my marriage all the more galling.
Caller ID is a wonderful invention — you don’t recognize the phone number or name of the caller, you don’t pick up the phone. What could be simpler? Nothing really, unless, like my husband, Greg, you cannot read the identifying information if you’re not wearing your glasses.
So it happened that Saturday morning when our phone rang and Greg, sans his reading specs, answered the phone.
“Is Amy there?”
Since I was in the shower and indisposed, my husband asked who was calling.
“Can I take a message?” asked Greg.
And here’s where it gets interesting.
According to my husband, the message went like this: “Tell Amy I have been trying to find her for some time and finally got her number from Steve in California. Tell her I think about the year after college we spent together on Plum Island all the time and I would love to see her again.”
When Greg introduced himself as my husband, my gentleman caller hung up.
It’s no surprise, then, that I found Greg arms crossed and scowling at the phone when I came downstairs.
“Who’s Peter?” he asked.
“Peter from Plum Island.”
“If this is supposed to be a knock-knock joke, you’re not doing it right.”
“It’s no joke, Amy,” spit Greg. “Who the hell is this guy? He called and asked for you. Said to tell you he thinks about the year you spent together on Plum Island all the time.”
Greg’s tone went from angry to hurt. “I thought we promised never to keep anything from each other.”
Now it was my turn to scowl. I had no idea who Peter from Plum Island was. And to be honest, as much as I would like to spin a past of wild adventures and romantic escapades, the most scandalous act of my youth involved a six pack of beer, a bonfire, and a missed curfew after my senior-high class picnic.
“I have no idea who Peter is. Did he happen to mention when we were supposed to have spent this memorable year together?”
“Right after college,” said Greg, red-faced and clearly unhappy.
After all these years it was a revelation to find that my normally unflappable husband did have a jealous bone in his body. It was also disconcerting to discover he had misplaced the most important day of our lives.
“Greg, what did we do exactly one week after we graduated?”
My husband, the true love of my life, thought for a moment, then looked down. I could see the wheels churning as his anger melted into embarrassment.
“We got married,” he said sheepishly.
“And have we ever been apart for more than a few days?”
“So is it safe to assume that Peter-Whoever-He-Is got the wrong Amy Barrett?”
” I guess. Maybe I did over react a bit.”
“OK, a lot.”
Greg opened his arms and I quickly snuggled into his embrace.
“This is better,” I sighed.
“Yes, it is” he said as he held me close.
“I’m sorry I doubted you. I do have one question, though,” he murmured quietly in my ear. “Who is Steve in California?”