Seventh grade, that magical and fearful time when you moved up to associate with the bigger kids--yes and meet some bullies too. Over the summer vacation you found out that girls weren't such a bad thing to have around either. When you found your home room you looked around for kids like you that looked interesting. My eyes came to rest on a little dark-haired girl with pigtails, three seats over on my right and two seats down. I could watch her from where I sat and she would never know. Gee I wonder what it would be like to kiss her.
She was a feisty little thing and that brought her trouble. A couple of eighth grade kids cornered her in the hall. "Oh my, look at pigtails. Bucky, you grab her tight and I'll just give her a little kiss."
"You do that and I'll slap you so hard you won't wake up for a week."
"Oh, ho, I was kidding, but you're really going to get kissed now. You hold her tight Bucky, I don't want to go to sleep for a week."
Bucky was following directions when I barreled into him, tipping him off his feet. The other kid (I never knew his name) grabbed me, pinning my arms to my side. Bucky said, "What ja' do that for?"
"That's my girl, you leave her alone!" I wasn't very big, but I wasn't going to let this happen to somebody I wanted to kiss. I looked as fierce as I could.
"Okay, okay, we were just fooling. Who'd want to kiss somebody in pigtails anyway?" They let me go and went off down the hall laughing.
I hardly dared look at the girl I had stuck my foot in my mouth for without thinking. My face was pink and then turned red when she started telling me how wonderful I was. Walking toward home room, she shyly asked me where I lived. I told her and we discovered we lived only a couple of streets apart. Her family had just moved here so her father could work at the Cummins Factory that made cleaning and lighter fluid. The factory motto was "Keep It Clean with Energine."
I thought I was being bold when I asked if I could carry her books and walk her home after school.
"Oh, yes, that would be fun!" She was quiet until just before we entered home room and said, "I don't kiss boys yet, but when I do you will be my first." I was bound to this person, forever I hoped.
Gina and I were sweethearts all through Junior High. High School brought its own challenges but we remained constant. I was usually there to walk her home after school unless school activities prevented or interfered.
We did the school dances and blowouts and went to the sports games together. Everyone knew we were a couple, and not many kids tried to come between us. We had a lot of friends and were comfortable having activities the other didn't participate in, as I knew she was for me, and she felt the same.
The summer we were Juniors almost ended it. We used to hitch-hike up to Williamsville to the swimming hole. You went down a steep hill, and down some more to the river bank. There was a huge deep swimming hole that was always populated, as it was well-known and had been for generations. Across the river there was a twenty-foot cliff to dive off from. If the diver was real daring, there was a tree you could climb that added another ten feet to the total height.
Gina and I had been there all afternoon and decided one more trip across would be about it. Swimming over under the cliff Gina turned and pushed away from the rock when someone jumped from the top. He hit her a glancing blow and drove her under. I waited for her to come up. She didn't immediately so I dove down looking for her.
Gina was at least six feet down when I grabbed her arm and pulled her to the surface. I shouted for help and some other swimmers got us out and across the river onto the bank. I was in the boy scouts until I had lost interest the year before. Thank God I stayed long enough to learn artificial respiration. I got the credit for saving her life, although there were others that could have done as well.
We knew we would graduate, get married, start a family and remain happy ever after, just like our parents. College was not an option for either of us. My Dad worked at Churches, motto; "The Best Seat In The House" making wooden toilet seats and Gina's father worked at the Energine factory. Our mothers kept house and saw that the family was clean, fed and clothed the best they could with the money earned at the factories.
We planned our life before we finished school. Gina would be a telephone operator and I (Gordy Benson) would become a telephone lineman for the New England Telephone Company. This was one of the most stable companies to work for in our town. Eventually the pay would be good if you worked there long enough. The Korean War was being waged, so I knew sometime in the future I would be drafted, but that was far ahead and being young like we were, we didn't worry too much.
When we graduated, Gina immediately was employed, but there was a waiting list for men wanting to work for the phone company. It took five months before my name reached the top of the list and I was called to come in for an interview. I was nervous, mostly because I wanted the job so badly and to work at the same place Gina did. I guess I didn't impress Personnel when they interviewed me, but I started as a temporary hire and was put on probation for a period of three months.
I set about learning the job with a vengeance. I ran my ass off, and any free time I asked questions and read repair manuals and all of the technical information I could find. At the end of the three month temporary period I was employed full time. Gina and I were married before the year was out. Both of us were working at steady jobs now and ready to begin our time together down life's highway.
We settled into a three-room furnished apartment. It was small and this was before there was television for the masses. This was back in the nineteen-fifties and being a telephone operator was a pretty boring job. I didn't see it because I was involved in being the best I could be and wanting to be more than just a lineman. Our first major purchase was a 1935 Ford coupe. It was almost twenty years old, but it was in great shape and I loved that car almost as much as I did Gina. At least that is what I kidded her about.
I was studying correspondence courses on wiring at night. I signed up through the mail and the phone company even paid some of the cost. Gina, bored during the day and with nothing to stimulate her in the evening, asked if it was okay to go out with the girls one night during the week. Knowing that I didn't want her to feel obligated to hang around with me while I studied, I said, "Sure, have fun."
Gina knew that my studying so hard was for her. If I could get a promotion, then she could quit and we could start a family. Our main entertainment was to go riding the back roads in our little car. Saturday afternoon we took trips and we took longer ones on Sunday. Saturday nights we usually went out with friends. The age to buy alcohol here in Vermont was twenty-one, but liquor was readily found, especially if store owners knew you and you could keep your mouth shut. Once in a while we would travel the forty-five miles to New York where the legal age was 18.
Gina was something! She sparkled all the time. It didn't matter who she was with, she was just a joy to be around. Me, well I was kind of quiet and was satisfied to watch my wife having fun and enjoying herself. When she had a couple of beers in her, she was the life of the party. I suppose being bored on the job and bored staying home while I studied made her break loose and have fun when she got out.
Summertime, the year we were twenty, we went across the line to New York to buy beer and dance at the Bloody Bucket or another place called Webbs. Usually a few of our crowd would be there and sometimes more than a few. Quite often there would be three or four vehicles, including our little two-seater coupe traveling west.
I was young and I knew that I could drive just as well drunk as I could sober. And if I was drunk, I swore maybe I could drive even better. It was a hot August night, the music was loud and I sat watching Gina dance, sipping all the while on the beer that seemed to keep coming my way. All my life I never distrusted Gina. She never gave me any reason to and I had saved her life hadn't I? This night it did seem like she was a little more friendly with a couple of guys. I mentioned it to her, not criticizing, just making a comment. She said she could control them and besides they were a lot of fun. She said she had met them somewhere before on her night out with the girls.
When it was time to head east toward home, I could hardly stand up. I argued that I was not too drunk to drive and got behind the wheel. When Gina, upset over losing the argument, got into the car, I backed up and into a sign post at the edge of the parking lot. I staggered out and looked at the damage. There was no damage to the post I had backed into, but my rear fender and bumper were crumpled.
I gave up and admitted I was in no shape to drive. The two guys that had been paying attention to Gina offered to drive my car home for me and the other would follow with Gina. They lived south of us in Massachusetts so it wouldn't be out of their way.
What was I to do? If I wanted to get me and Gina home, this seemed in my befuddled mind to be the only way. I remember getting into my car with one of the strangers sliding into the driver's seat. That was it, that is all that I remember.
Have you ever been hung over--bad, real bad? I roused up as I laid on the couch in my living room. I felt like I could die! Then I heard the toilet flush. Good, Gina is awake and can make me coffee. The bathroom door opened and I was waiting for Gina to say something. Then I realized the footsteps were going by me and I partially opened my eyes. At first I couldn't figure out who was opening the front door to go out. Then it came to me that this was the guy that drove me home last night.
Then I heard the bedroom door open and someone go into the bathroom. Again I heard the toilet flush, the door opened and another guy tip-toed by the couch. A car engine started out front of our apartment and I heard it go down the street. Where was Gina? If she was in the bedroom, my life was over. Dumb-ass, I got drunk last night and didn't watch out for my wife. I didn't know I had to, but it was too late now!
When Gina opened the bedroom door and came out, I think she was counting on me being still asleep. Startled that I was awake, she could see the question in my eyes. "They did it with you didn't they?" Her head went down and she nodded. She wasn't crying, but with the look on her features, she might as well have been.
"Don't blame yourself Gina. I should have stayed sober." Then I asked, "They didn't hurt you did they?" Gina shook her head no. "Do you want to tell me about it?" She shook her head again. I moved toward her to give her a hug.
"Don't touch me. I'm dirty." Now the tears came. They didn't just trickle down her cheeks, they flowed along with her great wracking sobs. "I'm going to take a bath."
The day got no better for either of us. Gina was in the tub more than an hour. I blamed myself and Gina blamed herself. Not once did I criticize her. Finally with her head bent so she wouldn't have to look at me she said, "I met these guys a couple of times before. They always acted nice and never bothered me. I thought I could handle their flirting. They started more than just flirting when we brought you into the house. Then they started grabbing and pulling my clothes off me. I kept saying no until they had my clothes most off. I just didn't think this could happen.
"I kept drinking when it was offered on the way home, so I was pretty drunk by the time we got here together and they started pawing me. It got to the point where I didn't stop them or maybe I didn't want to stop them. It happened then."
"How come they were still here this morning?"
"They went to sleep, I guess. It was late anyway. We didn't leave New York until the bar closed at two. It was nearly four before they got you in the house. They probably didn't sleep more than an hour."
I looked at the clock. They must have messed with my wife for two hours or more. Why in hell did I get drunk last night? "Do you want to report this as a rape?"
"No, you can't. Too many people saw me get in the car with one of them. Nobody would believe me." I agreed with her.
This was Sunday. I asked Gina if she wanted to go for our usual ride. She didn't, especially with the car dented up like it was. I went out and looked at it. It needed a new bumper and some body work, but other than that it was driveable. I called a buddy that worked in an autobody shop over on Spring Street. I asked if he would have the shop owner look for a new or used bumper and make an appointment to hammer out the fender.
Bed time was difficult. Gina acted like she didn't want me to look at her or touch her. I wanted to hold her and tell her how sorry I was. We hadn't touched before this today and I didn't know how to approach her. She kept saying she was dirty and unclean and to keep away from her.
Monday she called in sick. This was highly unusual for her. She said she was going to see her mother and father and probably would be there all day.
My buddy picked the car up and a used bumper was installed. The shop just hammered the fender into shape temporarily and replaced the blown light bulbs in the tail light. I could have the final repair done when the paint shop wasn't so busy.
I couldn't concentrate at work and I don't know how I made it until quitting time. Gina didn't eat but little that night. She seemed more and more depressed as time went on.
In bed that night, I rolled over and tried to hold her. Again she acted like she wanted to get away from me. "Can we try to make love? We have to get over this and put it behind us." I was hoping that the closer we were, a spark might be struck and things would return to being more normal.
We tried for sex, but I wasn't up to the task. This had never happened to me before. I tried to talk about it, but that just made it worse. Finally I turned away from her. Neither one of us slept much that night.
Gina quit her job the next day without telling me. She was spending most of her time with her folks. I finally decided to tell my parents that we were having some problems. Mother couldn't at first believe our rift was serious. Gina and I had been a couple now for eight years and nobody would believe we could have trouble.
The next Sunday I finally was able to finish what I had started a few days before in bed. I wish I had given it more time, because Gina ended up sobbing and pulling away from me as soon as she could. It was a dark time for me and it was about to get worse.
Wednesday night, Gina was waiting when I came in the door. There was no supper on the table. She led me in and we sat on the couch.
"Gordy, this isn't working and I don't know if it will ever again. I called my aunt out in California. I want to go out and stay with her awhile. I've failed you, so please let me go. I don't see how you can even stand to be near me. We are just tearing ourselves apart and it isn't even your fault. You have saved me so many times, but this time you can't."
I could see it was useless to argue with her, so I went on to more pertinent things. "What do you need?"
"Do we have any money? I need about two hundred dollars."
"We don't have it now, but I can get it by tomorrow night. When are you leaving?"
"Saturday morning. Dad is taking me to Albany and I am flying out of there." Gina was crying and I was too. How could I fight for her when I could see that her mind was already made up. "I'm going over to Dad and Mom's now. Would you bring what money you can scrape up over there?"
"This sounds like a good-bye. Am I going to see you again before you leave?"
"No, Gordy. I can't bear to face you anymore. I just have made too big a mess of things."
"I'm not blaming you, I'm blaming myself. You didn't make any mistakes. I did when I got drunk. Please can't you forgive me and stay with me?"
"Let me go, Gordy please." Gina was begging now so I let her go, tears streaming down my face.
We were just starting out in life together and hadn't saved any money, but I was willing to sacrifice the only thing that was of any value to me, besides her of course--my car. One of the supervisors for the phone company had promised me one hundred seventy-five dollars any time I would hand him the keys. The keys were turned over and even though it was a day early I asked for my paycheck. I was able to hand two hundred twenty-seven dollars through the door to Gina's Mom Thursday night.
Friday night late, I felt Gina crawl into bed with me. She came back and I was so happy! I held her and we made love. The most gentle love and the most satisfying we had ever had. I went to sleep knowing she was beside me.
Morning found my bed empty, a tear-soaked pillow beside mine. This time I knew she had really gone, and quite possibly for good. The fifties--if you had sex with someone other than your husband or wife, you divorced or were expected to. My wife was gone and my life was empty.
I didn't hear from Gina again. Three weeks later I was served the divorce papers. The Thursday before she left Gina had hired an attorney to do the processing. I was very upset because I thought the money from the car had been used, not to keep us together, but to hire someone to split us apart.
I went over and stormed at Gina's parents. They calmed me down and said they were sorry, but Gina had insisted on the divorce. What could my father-in-law do, when Gina said she had wounded me beyond repair. She just wanted to set me free to make up for it.
The same day it was confirmed she wanted a divorce, Uncle Sam sent me Greetings and said he would provide me with pay, food and clothes and teach me all kinds of useful things. You know, like how to use a rifle and crawl around in the mud. I didn't have any choice, so using the thirty days granted for taking care of my affairs, I put what was left of my life in order.
Washing dishes is a great job in the army. I did my share at Fort Devens the week I was there. Then the army put me on an old DC-6 and flew me out to Fort Lewis, Washington for basic training. I was one of the lucky ones with my work history for the telephone company. I escaped being a cook or rifleman because they needed to fill some slots in the Signal Corps.
I still had to do the first eight weeks of basic to learn about all that shooting and stuff. My next eight weeks had basic use of communications used in the service. Then some six weeks of really serious specialized training, put me within a stone's throw of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
The truce ending the police action had been signed the year before at Panmunjom, but you never knew when those Yellow Bastards would break out with another round of fighting. Advancement came my way pretty rapidly. Communications were the most important part of the surveillance, now that the fighting had ceased.
I was advancing rapidly in pay grades. I went from seventy-eight dollars a month when I was inducted up the scale until my rank reached Master Sergeant. Having nothing to go home to, I even debated staying in for twenty, but then when my tour was almost up, I got homesick. Sixteen months in this crappy country was enough.
I laid over for three weeks in Fort Lewis before I mustered out at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. I had no particular duties while at the fort. Often times I didn't even make reveille.
I traveled to Seattle several times to see the sights while waiting to cross the country to muster out. The city was pretty lively with all the soldiers and navy personnel stationed near there. I much preferred the city of Olympia for a place to kill time in, as it was quiet and much more beautiful.
Then I got the surprise and shock of my life. I was wandering down the main avenue where the fine restaurants and dining clubs were located. Ahead of me about a hundred feet I saw a limousine pull to the curb and a driver get out and wait for a couple to exit a dining club. I was not paying particular attention to the couple, when I heard Gina laugh. I could never forget her laugh for I had often caused it to come forth. My head snapped up and I spotted her on the arm of a older gentleman.
My Gina! God, she was beautiful! I used to be married to this vision. I started forward thinking to get her attention. Just then the man said something to her. She looked into his eyes and hugged his arm to her bosom. "Oh, I love you, you're so good to me," I heard her say. I turned away and blindly retreated. My dreams about her changed that night.
When I say dreams I meant one reoccurring dream that was with me in times of stress. It usually happened about two in the morning. It was always of Gina and I laughing while whipping around the country roads of Vermont in my little Ford coupe. Loving the ride and each other, the dream got me through loneliness and homesickness as I traveled halfway around the world. Always the two of us were together. This night the dream was the same except--I was alone in the car.
Mustered out and returning home, I was curious about Gina. I went by her parents' house and found they had sold the house and moved out West somewhere. The new homeowners didn't know anything about them.
I asked my parents if Gina ever contacted them. The final decree of divorce had been delivered to Mom just as I had directed when I signed the first papers stating I would not contest the divorce. Never a word. Mother didn't seem upset--Dad did.
Pretty shabby treatment to me and my folks. It seemed to bother Dad a lot more than Mom. My trying to shoulder the blame for getting drunk and letting Gina be messed with, was certainly misplaced. The one good thing that came out of that night was I swore off alcohol. Since that night more than two years ago I had never taken a drink. This was pretty damned good when the United States Army travels on beer sold in its beer halls and PXs.
I put my old life behind me with all the baggage, beginning my new life by picking a good technology school to attend. I had saved most of my pay. Not that I had been extremely frugal, but I didn't drink or whore around, so I came home with most of the pay I had received while serving in Korea. Nothing to spend money on over there if you didn't do the two things I just listed. I was eligible for the GI Bill, too. This paid my tuition and I picked up odd jobs at Radio Shack to pay my board and room. Then in my third year at school I met Kim--Kim, my second love and shortly my wife!
I had the knowledge, a whole lot of experience and I was a little older than most of the guys going out into the workplace. The most trouble I had was choosing the right company to work for as I had several good offers. I guess I picked the right one, because I moved rapidly up the corporate ladder. Along with that success, I had a pretty wife and soon two kids, a boy and a girl. We also had a nice home in suburbia and two cars in the garage.
Kim was a gem, not really beautiful but attractive. I gave her all my love and she gave it back with interest. She was not interested in politics, but would know both sides of an issue. She made a great corporate wife. Often we had guests in of one sort or another for their stimulating conversation. Everything was typical for our lifestyle, except I never drank alcohol. I was famous for my well-stocked wine cellar, though.
Six years later, with another co-worker, I started a cable television company located in a small Midwest town.
The years passed by--twenty and then twenty-three. I came in from playing golf one day. Kim and I were so attuned to each other that we always picked up on the other's thoughts and feelings. "What's up?"
Kim looked kind of doubtful as how to answer my query, "I had an interesting visitor today. This man claims he needs your help and he is desperate. He is rich and willing to pay. What he wants, though, I don't think you can put a price on."
"Well, what does he want?" I was intrigued!
"He wants you to donate one of your kidneys. He thinks there is a tissue match between you and his son. The son is twenty-five and is dying. The boy was in an auto accident and his kidneys are failing. He needs a kidney for him to live. If the transplant is successful, his son will live a full life, otherwise he will die in a couple of months."
"Jesus Christ, you mean he wants me to give one of my kidneys to an unknown person? Isn't that asking a bit much? I have been a willing donor and my driver's license says so, but I thought it was for blood, not one of my organs. At least not while I am alive, anyway." I stopped and thought, "Why does he think his son and I might be a match? Where did he get my name anyway? This is crazy."
"He mentioned something about asking the army about you. I don't know what that would tell him. Ask him, he is coming back this evening."
"How can someone put me on the spot like this? If I refuse to be checked for a match and the kid dies, I'll feel like shit. If I agree to a tissue check and it is a match, and I refuse to give him a kidney, I'll feel even worse." I looked askance at Kim. "What do you think I should do? What about us? Do you want to live with half a man?"
"Well, you kind of have to talk to him. I said you would. Think about it, what would you do if Jimmy needed a kidney and there was a possibility that a stranger had the key to your kid's life? Wouldn't you be as persuasive as possible under the circumstances? That is how I looked at it when he talked to me."
Kim and I seated George Jenkins in the living room. My two kids, Cheryl eighteen, and Jimmy seventeen, were nearby in the game room. While Kim was in the kitchen, George abruptly got up, walked over and looked at the picture over the fireplace. It was one of me right after I bought my '35 Ford. In the photo I was standing by the front door facing the camera. There was a look of pride and possession on my face. In the background, the big maple tree that was by Mom's house was blazoned with fall foliage. George studied it with much interest and then turned to me, "You must have been about twenty when that was taken?"
I said, "Yes, this was a snapshot that I had enlarged. At one time I had several more like it, but my ex-wife was in all of them and I discarded them long before I met Kim." He came back over and sat down.
"Your wife must have told you what I need. I really am desperate. My son is twenty-five, just starting out in life. He has a fine girl he just became betrothed to and they have just set their wedding date. A few weeks ago, he was coming home from her house in the evening, when another car smashed into him. He was pushed off the highway, rolling his car several times and then flipping it end for end. Rescue had to use the jaws of life to extricate him.
"At first his mother and I didn't expect him to survive, but he has. The problem is, his kidneys are both damaged. One has been removed already and the other is barely functioning. He has only just so long before that one will fail if he doesn't get one to replace the one he lost.
"I have been scouring the country and I finally found you through your service records. I am here to beg you to have a tissue sample taken to see if there could be a possible match. In fact, it is almost certain that you are the only one that can do this."
"I don't understand. Why are you so certain?"
George opened the folder he was carrying and laid a photograph face down on the coffee table in front of him. "Before you look at this, let me tell you a little bit of history. I know just about everything about you up until you went into the service.
"My wife's name is Gina and she doesn't know that I am here, but at one time you were married to her. Gina has told me how you fought for her and even saved her life. I guess I am trading on that trait as I love my son and I can't let him die if there is a chance to save him.
"I know you were married and divorced when you were about twenty. I know Gina left after cheating on you. I know she took every last cent you had and even got your mother to pay for the divorce. What I am sure of, and you are unaware of, the last time you had sex with your wife produced a child.
"You don't know me, but she and I were married shortly before my son was born so he bears my name. I, of course, claimed him as my son and he doesn't know about you. He doesn't even know his mother was married before to someone else.
"In Gina's defense, if there could be one, up until the time my son reached grade school she thought the biological father was one of the two men she cheated with. It is now evident just from his features that you have to be his biological father." George turned the photograph over and handed it to me.
The picture was of a young man standing by the front door of a '35 Ford coupe, positioned almost identical in the photo as the one over my mantel. "The antique car was a gift from Gina to my son on his twenty-first birthday."
Looking closer to compare features, we could have been twins or even the same person, our looks and expressions were that much alike. The major difference in the photo was the palm tree behind the car, rather than the maple tree.
Christ, what a mix up and what a way to spring something on me. Gina had been out of my life for twenty-five years. I had put the divorce behind me. I didn't see how I could deny this man what he wanted, but what about my family? I had to think of them too. Would I be cheating them if I put my body at risk by having an organ removed. We had never had a crisis of this magnitude in the family before, but this sure was one now. I would have to ask help from them with this decision.
I went to the door of the game room and asked Cheryl and Jimmy to come in and meet our guest. When the introductions were over, I handed the photo to Cheryl and Jimmy and asked if they knew that person. "That's you Dad. What's with the palm tree, though? I never knew you went west at that age. It's just like the picture you have, except for the tree."
"Kids, that is not a picture of me. This man tells me that I am the biological father of the person in that photo. It is extremely likely that man is your half brother. If it is true, and I'm sure it is, then you have to help me make a decision. This kid, my son and your half brother, will die if I don't give him one of my kidneys. How do you feel, knowing that there is some risk involved?"
Kim, being the person she was, would pressure me to comply even if I didn't want to do it on my own. Cheryl, the oldest of my children and more outspoken said, "You have to Dad. If it were Jimmy or I, you would do it without question. I think you should do it!"
George Jenkins stayed the night. He walked me through what the procedure would be. I would be more indoctrinated by the doctors, if and when I actually was called on to donate. I was surprised that although this was a major operation, the time the donor was incapacitated was minimal. The main restriction was after the removal, the donor had to be very careful about lifting any weight.
George's only worry now was that I wouldn't match his son's tissue. We decided we wouldn't think about it until we were sure one way or the other. As the evening progressed he started to tell us about Gina and how they met. I was interested, even though hearing about her was painful.
"I met Gina when she first arrived in California. Her aunt is married to my brother. I was staying at my brother's house when Gina arrived. Over time, Gina's aunt thought she might even destroy herself, she was that depressed. Gina didn't even know that she was pregnant until she was there for a few weeks.
"I am fifteen years older than Gina and had never married. The moment I met her, this young woman was the person I wanted to be my wife. When I told her I loved her, she told me everything about you, especially what she had done and how she had treated you and your folks.
"I didn't care and I courted her more and more persistently while the baby was coming to term. Finally in her eighth month we were married. The only request she made was that if the baby was a boy that it be named Gordon after you who she felt she had wronged.
"She didn't think it possible you could be the father, but she wanted a reminder not to cheat again. This was her way of doing that. She was happy and sad at the same time when she reached the conclusion that Gordon was actually a son by you. The sadness was for you, that you might never know you had a son. But more happy that her cheating hadn't born fruit.
"Just so you know and be prepared when you meet her, she really did cheat. The night in New York was a planned event, but you weren't supposed to find out. Gina was active with the two men the previous Wednesday while out with her girlfriends. Then that night those men stayed too long with her and you woke before they left. Instead of accusing her, you took the blame on yourself. At that point she knew that you were too good for her and she had to leave.
"She confessed everything when I asked her to be my bride. She is a wonderful wife and has been for twenty-five years. I'm sure she will confess and ask for your forgiveness when she meets you again."
I asked if George had ever been in Olympia, Washington. I told him about seeing Gina, but of course I didn't remember him because my attention was solely on her. He told me that they loved the city and were there often. He was an executive with Boeing Aircraft and had lived all his life in the area, but was retired now.
We flew out to Seattle in the morning. Cheryl traveled with George and I. She was terribly excited about having another sibling. Kim was to follow with Jimmy tomorrow when she had arranged for him to skip school for an extended period of time.
This was Jimmy's senior year and his grades were such he felt he could ace his tests when they came up. I wanted my whole family with me if it came to me giving up my kidney. That I was nervous about meeting Gina and needed the support of my wife and family, goes without saying.
Gordon, my namesake and the son I never knew, was lying very still and asleep when we entered his room. He looked gaunt and pale. George immediately rang the bell and informed the nurse that hurried in, that he had found a possible donor for his son. Very soon Gordon's doctor came in and discussed the procedure for matching tissue. I followed him into the lab, with Cheryl right behind me. When the doctor asked her to leave, she replied, "He is my brother. Take a sample from me too. This will save time if Dad's kidney is no good and you find out that mine is."
George had been trying to reach Gina by phone and finally after several hours, contacted her. She rushed in and gave George a hug. She had been at another hospital looking for possible donors. Gina was more mature of course and as beautiful as I remembered. She wasn't even aware of me until I spoke, "Hi Gina."
I'm sure Gina recognized my voice before turning to face me. Looking at her husband, "You went and found him, didn't you?"
I was surprised at the half accusatory tone of her voice. Christ, I had come here to save her son's life. What's the matter with her?
She turned to me, "Hi Gordon. George and I have discussed looking for you, but I wanted to put it off until you were the last resort. He evidently couldn't wait. Now that you are here, I suppose I'm glad. I am really glad now, because I was having no success finding a replacement kidney." Gina came over and gave me a hug. I felt like crying and she did too as she quickly turned away.
"I knew you wouldn't refuse if you found out about him. You are here so you must have decided to help us. It is just such a burden to saddle you with." Again I felt there was some hidden resentment. We had to talk this out, but it would be later after the present crisis was resolved.
"Gina, what happened, happened years ago. Let's see if my family can't make Gordon well for you and George. By the way, this is my daughter Cheryl. She has had a tissue sample taken also, in case they can't use mine."
Gordon, awake finally and holding his betrothed's hand, demanded from his mother what was going on. "Who are these people? I know they must be donors. Maybe you should introduce me, especially if they are going to save my life."