Story has change in points of view
I live on the original Reagan family farm in Vermont where I was born. I have a wife, Jean, and a daughter, Cassie. I also have some problems in my life that I have been unable to do much about. You see, Jean lives in Boston and Cassie, my twelve-year-old, lives with her. Jean visits me about once a month and I have Cassie for most school vacations. It is just not enough. I would say our marriage is a marriage of inconvenience. I abhor the city andJean feels the same way about the laid back lifestyle I enjoy so much.
We met while we were in college. I majored in writing and journalism and Jean was taking courses in fabric design and home decorating. I made a lot of mistakes while I was there. Hey, a farm boy had a lot of catching up to do. I guess I appeared a little slow to the other students, as I was off the farm and unsure of myself. I had to experience all of the delights that being away from the responsibility of farm life had to offer. Experience them for myself and decide whether I liked them or not. My peers there knew how to drink and hold their liquor. I didn't at first, but I learned--the hard way.
I suppose I would be considered a hunk. I was large framed and definitely filled out from all the hard work that farming entails. I had the gift of seeing something and being able to describe it so people could visualize what I saw. Grampa had lost his sight when I was young and he used to make me sit with him. Then he would make me tell him what I saw. I was his eyes to the world he still lived in but had been lost to the darkness. Writing came easy for me, and I breezed through my courses in the top two percent of my class.
Girls--I had a whole pasture full of them when I got to college. Maybe I didn't speak too well, but I sure could write a love note. Sex--hell I knew all about that, living on the farm with cows and bulls and other animals. And I considered that I was always in control. I plowed my way through a bevy of beauties and had a lot of fun doing it. Jean caught my eye the last year before I received my degree. She kept me at arms length for longer than I wanted, but I turned on the charm with the notes and letters I posted everywhere for her to read. She succumbed at a frat party. Once the dam was broken she was insatiable.
Two mistakes: One, I assumed that she was on the pill and two, I neglected to watch how inebriated I was one night. I had always withdrawn before climax with every other woman whether they said it was safe or not. Morning found Jean and I in bitter dispute with recriminations toward the other for having unsafe sex. I never doubted that I was Jean's first and only partner, so a month later Jean became Mrs. Brian Reagan. Cassandra Eileen arrived on time nine months after the mistake I made with Jean.
Mom and Dad welcomed Jean as I knew they would. Her family, well that was different. I have never been able to change their mind about me either. One brother and one sister was all I had and they had left me to take up the farm when they moved away. That's okay, this was where I wanted to be. Jean, I give her credit, she tried to make it work. We had our own little house, but I knew she wasn't happy. I would come in from the barn after cleaning stables and she would be sitting pouring over home magazines with the tears running down her cheeks.
Dad was killed during the first snowfall coming down out of the woods when the tractor skidded and rolled over on him. Mom caught the flu in February and died a week before Cassie was five years old. A month later Jean gave me an ultimatum. Move to Boston to a studio that her parents had provided for her or stay here by myself. She was taking Cassie with her of course. That just about broke my heart to think she was taking my adorable little girl from me.
Ten days later they were gone. Cassie was enrolled in kindergarten in a big city school. Cassie cried with a broken heart on the phone to me every night. I sent my cattle to auction. A Realtor listed our little house and two hundred acres of the farm, barns included. This place had been in the family since revolutionary days. I kept one hundred acres and the original farmhouse so that my sister and brother wouldn't lose all of their roots and could come home to visit occasionally. This would be a place to come and remember their parents from days long gone. Some day I hoped Jean and Cassie would come home. I was afraid it was just a hope.
Things completed at home, I arrived in Boston just before Cassie got out of her first year of school. Jean was a fresh face on the home decorating scene and with her parents to open the door for her, she was swamped with clients. I was like a fifth wheel. There wasn't any job I looked at that appealed to me at all. Jean was busy working long days and even some nights. Some days before Cassie got out of school I just walked around looking the city over. God, I was homesick! There was nothing I saw that would compare to my home in Vermont. Two days after Cassie finished kindergarten I said, "Cassie let's go home. Maybe we need a pony to keep us company. What do you say?"
"Daddy, I don't even need a pony. I want to go home. Don't even tell Mommy 'cause she'll try and stop us."
I knew there would be hell to pay, but I'd handle that when and after I reached home with Cassie. I did leave a note telling Jean that I was taking Cassie, because we were both homesick. I took a few clothes and called a taxi. God, it was expensive to garage a car in the city, especially when you had to call a cab just to get to your car. An hour later we were headed north toward home. Cassie slept most of the way until we arrived in Brattleboro. When we turned onto our road, she was bouncing up and down with joy.
Cassie had not been home since I had sold the cattle. There were no calves to feed and she missed them. The first thing I did was go to the neighbors and get Trixie, the little dog that we bought soon after Cassie was born. I don't know who was the most excited over the reunion, Cassie or Trixie. I wished Jean could have seen this.
Cassie and Trixie ran through the house. "I wish Mommy was here like she used to be and I miss her. Do you think she will ever come home again?"
"I don't know, Honey, but we're here now. I'm sure we will see Mommy soon." How was this going to play out? There was going to be more pain and broken hearts ahead before this was resolved. I was sure of that.
Cassie went right off to sleep in her own bed. She looked so happy as she slipped into slumber. I knew the call from Jean would be coming and I awaited it with trepidation. It was nearly eleven p.m. when it came through. "What the hell do you think you are doing? I can have you charged with kidnapping and I just might do that too."
"Hello to you too, Jean." Jean wasn't even civil which peeved me, although expected. "Cassie begged me to bring her home, so I did. You could come home too, you know. The city is no fit place to live. You know if you get too nasty I can have you charged with abandonment. You were the one that left me, remember?"
I waited for her response which wasn't forthcoming. I softened my stance by saying, "Cassie misses you, you know, and I miss you too. Why don't you come home?" I didn't want to beg and yet wanted to let her know I still loved her.
There was silence while Jean thought this over. Maybe she missed me some too. Then she said, "I'll borrow Mom's car and drive up this weekend and we will talk about it then. Okay?" I didn't hold out much hope that things would change for the better.
The next morning Cassie was up and out the door talking to Trixie about all the things she missed. I called to her and we went down to the diner for breakfast. Suzy, the waitress, made much of my little girl, and was informed by Cassie that she was home to stay. Suzy looked at me and I shrugged as if to say, "I don't know."
I made the days as much fun as I could for Cassie. The evenings didn't go as well. I had taken up writing for I needed income, but I never hesitated to stop and pay attention to my little one. Cassie missed her mom. I could see her weighing the idea of being home with me or being with her mother in the city. I guess I made out okay, but it bothered me all the same.
Jean wasn't belligerent at all when she pulled in early Saturday morning. Cassie ran to her for hugs and kisses. I think Jean was worried that I would try to turn Cassie against her. She should have known better, because I wouldn't think of doing that. When she mentioned this to me later, I just said, "Jean, you don't know me very well and it hurts to think you think so ill of me."
Jean approached me when we had time alone out of Cassie's hearing. "Brian, I know you hate it in the city, but what are you going to do? You can't live off what you sold the cattle and the farm for. I'm not going to give you any money. Besides, I'm not going to let Cassie live here. She needs to be in the city where the advantages are better."
"Better? Christ, you can't even breathe in Boston. What about crime? Do you think she is safer there than here? Your stubbornness in leaving is killing us all. That's the only crime here. There's not a damn thing for me to do in the city. I'm trying my hand at writing and I can't do it there. What do you want, a divorce? You can have it in a minute, but Cassie stays here where her heritage is. There have been Reagans here for two hundred years and Cassie is a Reagan."
"Ha, you think so. We'll see about that. The mother always gets to keep the child."
"Maybe, but remember that this is Vermont and Vermont judges look at what is best for the child."
.... There is more of this story ...