I met her when I was young. I was working in a cafe, she was in college. She would come in almost daily, I would like to say it was because she had a crush on me – but it was more of the reason that she had a crush on a medium caramel frap. There was something about her . . . the confidence she had in every step she took.
I couldn’t work up the courage to talk to her – other than when I would take her order – for months. It was a rainy day when I finally did. I ran into her in the parking lot – literally. I had been walking with the garbage, my head tucked down so the rain wouldn’t get in my eyes. She was walking with the same stance. Both of us basically blindly rushing through the rain, we bumped. I stumbled a bit, but she was almost unmovable.
We endured the rain for a minute as we stood there making small talk. She said she recognized me, I said I did too. I called her caramel frap, she giggled. Although the cold rain was pouring on me I felt warm inside. We made a date for the coming Thursday.
Months later we were at a small party held by friends of mine. She could strike a conversation with anyone. She did it smoothly, navigating her way through topics. I don’t know how she did it, but she was able to figure out everyone’s favorite topic, just by watching how they interacted. It blew me away.
Along with these conversations, she was so versatile on what she spoke about. She conversed with Henry over biology; he was a high school AP bio teacher. She joked with Maria over babysitting, although never showing interest in children when she and I were together. She held an in-depth conversation with Riley about the struggles of botany, which Riley was in her seventh year of college for at the time.
Two months later I proposed. Four months later we were married. It was the best day of my life.
Now it’s been three months since. She’s gone a lot more than I expected her to be. I try to ask her about work, but she seems to get uncomfortable when she talks about it. I’m worried she’s lying to me.
One night after dinner I tried to casually ask her about work. We were hanging out, doing the dishes together. She seemed to be in a calm state, so I figured this would be a good time.
Her body tensed as the words left my lips.
Quickly she exhaled, loosening herself up again. She bluffed about some accident that happened at work that day, but I could feel it wasn’t the truth. I nodded along to her story as if I believed what she was saying.
There was an odd silence between us after she was done speaking. I took my hands out of the soapy water, dried them, and turned to her. “I want you to tell me the truth.”
She froze, but in a seemingly calm and rather curious tone she managed to ask me what I meant. I explained to her how I felt, how I could tell she never seemed comfortable talking about work with me. How she was gone all the time, and the amount of time the “work” she told me about would take didn’t add up to all that time.
Stunned, she stared at me. She opened her mouth, but no words came out. Slowly she closed it, swallowed, and opened it again. It took a second for the words to come out: “I’m a FBI psychologist.”
I stared at her. “Do you want me to believe that?”
Her eyes grew wide as the words sputtered out of her mouth saying she was telling the truth. Quickly she went to her purse, the confidence in her steps she usually had seemed to have vanished. She pulled out her wallet, and from there pulled out an identification card.
A small gasp left my body as I read her name and number from the card. I closed my eyes to try to make sense of what I was being told. Suddenly memories flooded my mind, her sturdiness when she and I bumped into each other in the rain; the confidence in her steps that I thought was just a characteristic of hers, the versatility in her range of conversation topics. It all added up.
I dropped her card as I brought my hands up to my face. “God! How could I not see it?” I exclaimed.
She rushed to me, pulling my hands away from my face so she could look into my eyes; wrapping her hands in mine to try to calm me. “You weren’t meant to! That’s what part of being in the FBI is: secrecy. I wanted to tell you, I really did! But I wasn’t sure when and I didn’t know how. The FBI is tricky business, I’m sure you know that, I didn’t want to screw anything up.”
I urged my breathing to come back to normal. It took some time, she ushered me to sit down. Any chair was too far away, so I sat on the floor – she came down with me.
We sat there for hours, discussing her line of work and what could have tipped me off from when we met to now, in that moment. I asked her if she was really in college when we met, she said she was. She had been in her senior year, and was quickly accepted into one of the biggest parts of the FBI agency after completion. She told me where she worked, where she truly worked. All the people she has to meet with and the dangers involved. But she assured me she was safe, and that she never met with a client without at least two armed guards either with her or somewhere close around her.
By the time I felt satisfied with her answers three hours had gone by. We laughed at the time and how it passed by so quickly. I embraced her, happy to finally feel like I truly knew my wife again.