I was met with silence as I walked into my favorite bar. Normally I’d get a shout out like the guy from Cheers, but I think the shock of seeing me was too much for them.
You see, just a few weeks ago I was beaten so badly I wasn’t expected to live through the day. I was found several hours after my assault stuffed behind some bushes along side the park’s running trail. I frequently used the trail at night to calm myself and lately I’ve used it an awful lot.
An elderly couple found me and called 911. I had multiple internal injuries including a lacerated spleen and bruised kidneys, fractured ribs, severe concussion, bruised femur and a broken arm, just to name a few.
My destination was a table toward the rear of the bar where the three men who beat me sat. The fourth person at the table was my soon to be ex-wife. Needless to say I was none too thrilled to be this close to any of them.
The biggest goon at the table, Reginald (he hated be called Reggie), was a muscled bound Englishman here in the states working for his old man. His old man, Reginald Wallace II, is some kind of big shot corporate lawyer in the United Kingdom. His specialty involved helping American corporations who like to hold their riches off shore and out of the IRS’ hands.
Little Reggie holds some made up title in his daddy’s firm. He actually was a lawyer in his home country but he was having trouble passing the bar here in the states. Since there wasn’t much for him to do for his daddy’s company, he instead uses his title, muscles and accent to his advantage and seduce married women.
He’s been named in a few divorces when his daddy’s money couldn’t keep the husband quiet. A couple husband’s took the money and ran, leaving his cheating wife behind with no support and alone to suffer the condemnation of our town. After Reggie destroyed the marriage he dropped the wife quicker than she dropped her panties just to suffer another indignity.
This time though things were different. Normally his size, and his two friends, intimidated husbands into submission, but it didn’t work against me. I was raised to stand your ground when you are in the right, even if it means you get hurt. And I did get hurt.
The people in the bar were shocked at my appearance. Most heard what had happened to me but seeing it up close is pretty disturbing. The facial swelling wasn’t as bad as it was, but it still had an elephant man sense to it. The bruising was mixed with dark and ugly shades of yellow that it does when it starts to heal.
A couple people tried to get me to turn around and go home, but I ignored them even though my body did not. My ribs were wrapped tightly and I was clutching them with my free arm hoping it would help me breath easier. It wasn’t helping much. The most painful part was the bruised femur in my left leg. If there was any one injury to stop me tonight, I think this would be it.
There were only ten feet between me and their table when Reggie, Sylvia and his two minions become aware of the room’s silence and started to look around. When they noticed me limping their way the shock that registered on their faces was almost comical. It was obvious I was the last person they expected to see tonight.
You see, Reggie promised to end my life the next time we met because I refused to going along with his plan. I was supposed to sit by like a good little wimp and let him take my wife, use for a short period of time and embrace the spoil goods she became. Too bad for him, and her, I don’t play that way.
I didn’t doubt him in the least he meant what he said about killing me, but I was playing the odds he wouldn’t do it here in the bar in front of witnesses.
Reggie and his buddies, Eric and Stan, began laughing and making comments about my present physical condition. I showed no emotion as I stopped at their table raising up straight despite the pain from my ribs.
Since I wasn’t fazed by their taunts they decided to question my parents heritage. Big fucking deal, they were assholes too.
I had one family member that had loved me unconditionally and that was my grandmother. Grandmother Beverly took me in without question or hesitation after allegations of neglect by my father, her son.
My parents enjoyed the party life a little too much. When a concerned neighbor called the police and I was found left alone, unfed and dirty, I was taken to my grandmother’s house and temporarily placed in her custody by the authorities.
It wasn’t until years later I found out my grandmother gave my parents a little bit of traveling money, removed them from her Will and sent them on their way just to get me away from them. It ended up being the best thing for me. I had a very good childhood.
Grandma’s love and influence has been a guiding force from that day forward. She taught me to do the right thing, even if it hurts and that there were limits to the amount of shit you took from people.
She worked hard to pay the bills and provide us with everything we needed. We lived in the same home she and grandpa did when he was alive. It was located in your typical middle class neighborhood. A strong work ethic was another virtue she instilled into me from the time I could understand the concept.
Grandmother Beverly died in a hospital bed two days after she was in an automobile accident. I was away attending my second year of college, but I was by her side within hours of being notified. It would take me months to recover enough from her death to start acting normal again.
A week after I buried her along side my grandfather, I was called to her lawyer’s office. It was there I was told my grandmother was actually a very wealthy woman. Unknown to me my grandfather was a very successful business man throughout the years and was very frugal with his money. Of course, with his passing everything went to his wife.
For a moment I wondered why my grandmother continued to work as she did if she was so well off but quickly remembered that self support was expected of us. We were expected to make our own way through life and not waste any God given talent we may have.
When she died, I was her only heir.
The money was now mine, although it was tied up in a trust. The trust was very specific on what it would or would not do. There were limits on how much I could use and benchmarks that had to be met before I had access to any or all the funds.
I was expected to continue my education and earn a degree or learn a trade capable of earning a decent living.
All school tuition and subsistence would be paid for as long as I kept a three point grade average or above. If I dropped out of school, I would only receive a third of the trust. If I got married before I earned my degree, I only got a third. If I did not obtain gainful employment in my field of study within a year of graduation, I’d only get a third.
You get the idea. No free rides were allowed.
Any money I received from the trust meant nothing compared to the love and guidance my grandmother had given me while I was growing up. In her memory alone, I refused to fail her.
The trust maintained our home while I was away at school and became my only destination on weekends or holidays. The joyful memories of growing up there remains to this day.
Even with that, there is only one material item important to me. It was not part of the trust and it was given to me with no stipulations or restrictions, except for a bit of advice and a wish from a dying woman.
It was my grandmother’s wedding engagement ring. She placed the ring in my palm just before she died. She wrapped her hands in mine and told me to find a good woman to love, raise a family with and live the rest of my life in love and happiness.
It was her dying wish.
I had already met all the terms of of the trust before I met Sylvia, but there were still protections inherent within it. One of those protections were a requirement for a pre-nuptial agreement for any prospective spouse.
I was smitten from the moment I had first laid eyes on her. We dated for only a few months before she moved in with me and a few months after that I asked her to marry me.
Surprisingly, Sylvia had no qualms in signing on the dotted line. I thought I had a keeper but I was wrong. It turns out she isn’t motivated by money. Her inclinations are more aligned with extracurricular carnal activities.
There was one item I added to the pre-nup and that item is the reason why I’m in the bar tonight.
Sylvia new the history of the ring and when I slipped it on her finger she swore to honor the memory of my grandmother and the love it was built on.
It was my fault alone for making such a poor choice in marrying Sylvia. Her pretty face and an athletic body drew me in like a moth to a flame. The physical aspects of Sylvia blinded me to her obvious mental weaknesses. Muscle bound English accented rich pricks seems to be one of those weaknesses.
My left arm was in a cast, suspended in a sling. I held out my free hand toward Sylvia. I said nothing, but she knew what I wanted. She sat motionless staring up at me with pleading eyes asking I not take back what she so easily soiled.
My patience was wearing very fucking thin at this point. The pain in my leg and my ribs were pushing me to my limits of endurance. Everyone of the bastards sitting at this table had put me through hell the last three weeks and everything was coming to an end. More than they could possibly know.
“Now.” Still nothing. My hand remained out with the palm facing up. “Now!” Her tears began to fall.