Graciously edited by Barney R.
Massaged for spelling and grammar by Grammarly.
Tweaked by me; all mistakes are on me.
I will admit it. When I found out I was so angry that if she said anything else, I would have punched her in the mouth.
My day started out great. It was a Monday, and I had a meeting with my division manager and the company president to discuss a possible promotion. I had applied for an open position to take over our Grand Rapids, Michigan division. If I got it the promotion would be to division manager. I had heard that the outside search had not turned up a good candidate. The look for an inside promotion was limited to branch managers and above.
Carla, my wife of 12 years was not aware that I had applied for the position. She knew of the opening and had disparagingly mentioned that she would never move back to that jerk water town if it paid a million dollars a year. I hoped I could be able to change her mind when she discovered how big a raise came with the move.
My name is Jeremy (Jerry) Slade, I was 18 years old when I met Carlota
Vasquez the first time. She was almost 18 and we were both seniors at Grand Rapids Central High School. She was trying to graduate and get a college scholarship and was having trouble with her math class. I was an honor student and a volunteer tutor in math and history. My counselor, Mr. Jarvis, asked me to help her shortly before Thanksgiving.
We met and talked. I could see she was having some major problems understanding some of the concepts of Solid Geometry. We agreed that I would help her at her house every Tuesday after school.
We ran into a big problem when Carla’s boyfriend tried to force me to stop going to help her. Jacob Davis was an all-star athlete in football and wrestling. I was and still am the ultimate nerd. I was 6’ 0” and weighed 135 lbs. I am also very stubborn. I got a couple of beatings from him before Carla told him that if he didn’t stop harassing me, they were done.
Luckily Jacob didn’t do any damage other than a few bruises. However, I managed to get a large portion of the athletes to also work on him. I just refused to tutor any Football player or Wrestler until he stopped. He had never asked for tutoring help.
I managed to help Carla bring her grade for the year to a solid A-, and she received a scholarship to St. Catherine University. She would be in St. Paul Minnesota for the next four years. I got a scholarship to Columbia University in New York City. If my plans worked out, I would stay there for my MBA.
Jacob did not get any scholarship offers, because his SAT scores and grade point average precluded any college from offering an athletic scholarship. He ended going to the local community college and dropping out when he did not make their football team.
I did not meet Carla again until our five-year class reunion. She had thrived in college and graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting. I was a few months away from my masters. Jacob showed up and interrupted our conversation claiming I was trying to steal his girlfriend again. Before any real trouble started, one of the faculty chaperones escorted Jacob out of the party.
Carla and I resumed talking, she told me that she had a job lined up with a small accounting firm in Chicago, and after she got it she would only come back to Grand Rapids, or as she called it “this shithole town”, to visit her parents or for events like weddings and funerals.
She asked what my plans were. When I told her, I was a few weeks away from my MBA, her interest seemed to increase. When I told her, I was going into the Army for the next four years, she seemed to deflate.
Fast forward to six years. I had been out of the active-duty army for a bit over two years. I was still subject to recall until I was 50 because as a person accepting an officer’s commission, I signed up for inactive reserve duty for that long.
I had made some connections while I was in the service, and when I was released from active duty, I was hired as an assistant manager of a small plant that was part of a division of WYX Inc., a national manufacturing company that made nuts, bolts, screws, etc. The plant I was working in was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I was back in Grand Rapids for a wedding of one of my cousins. Carla was in the wedding party, and we reconnected. When I got a chance to talk with her, I found out that the small firm she had worked for had been absorbed by a national accounting firm and she had gotten a promotion and passed her CPA exam.
When I told her about my job in Milwaukee she just about broke my neck. When she calmed down, she told me she had been transferred when she was promoted and was working in Milwaukee too.
She gave me her cell phone number and her home address and asked if we could meet sometime for coffee.
I probably should have said no, but I had always liked her, we were both unattached, and I thought that we might find some stronger feelings between us. I said sure, and that I would call her sometime in the coming week. She did not ask for and I did not volunteer my phone number or address.
I called her the following Tuesday evening. We agreed to lunch on Friday, and when she told me where she worked, I laughed and said I would walk over and pick her up. Her office was in the same industrial park as the plant I worked at.
We had a pleasant lunch and I decided to find out more. I asked if she was dating anyone, and when she said no, I asked if she would like to go to a play being performed at a local college.
She said she would enjoy that. Then she asked the usual things, whether it was dressy or casual, what time, and such.
The play was great, and that lead to several more dates. After three months of almost every weekend together I asked her if we could be exclusive as dates.
She gave me the cutest laugh, “You mean you want to be my Boyfriend?” Then she added; “I guess that would be OK; as long as I can be your girlfriend.”
We both laughed at that.
We progressed in our relationship, and I bought a condo near Lake Michigan, and she moved in with me.
We had been living together for about four months when on Valentine’s Day I asked her to marry me.
She said yes. Then she asked when.
“As soon as you and I can plan it; I wouldn’t care if we were married by one of the local judges in his chambers, but it is our day to make a public statement of our love, so if you want something fancier, let me know.”
Well, she planned, and the gods laughed.
My parents were killed when the house they were renting caught fire, and with me being the only child, I had to go back to Grand Rapids to settle the estate. It ended up taking me seven months to clear everything up. I had to take a leave of absence from my job and temporarily move to G. R.
While there was a substantial life insurance policy on each of my parents, and the company where dad worked had a policy also, the rest of the estate other than the bank accounts and safe deposit box was a mess.
The cars were leased and had an early termination clause that they were sticking to, so I just paid off the lease and paid the difference to purchase them outright. Luckily, other than a few utility bills, and a credit card, there were no bills. I gave one of the cars to the local Catholic charity and kept the other for myself.
My parents never owned their houses, always renting. The Fire Marshal found substandard wiring, a faulty furnace, and no smoke detectors in the house. When I saw the report, I contacted John Summers, a friend from the military who was a lawyer in G. R. We brought suit, and when the owner’s insurance saw the marshal’s report, settled for a sizable amount. I had the entire amount put into a trust fund for my retirement.
When I got back to Milwaukee, Carla had everything set up for our wedding. It was going to be a small one, only fifteen or so guests on each side. Carla also had talked to some of the financial planners in her company, and they suggested a pre-nuptial agreement. I had planned to bring that up, but as she broached it, I agreed.
When I asked if she had seen a lawyer to have one drawn up she put the papers in my hand. Alarm bells started ringing. I said; “I will take this to MY lawyer, and if there is nothing wrong I will sign it.”
Carla looked kind of angry, and also sort of embarrassed.
My lawyer called it the most one-sided piece of legal shit he had ever read. The proposed agreement said that any property or other assets would be Carla’s if we were to terminate the marriage. He then proposed we counter offer a similar one-sided in my favor, knowing that they would not agree. He then said that the two lawyers would complete a fair agreement that would protect all premarital assets for each party and would penalize the guilty party if the marriage failed because of abuse or adultery.
The lawyers ended up doing just that. We signed and got married the week after Thanksgiving.
For a wedding present, I bought a house in a suburb closer to both of our workplaces. Then I gave Carla a debit card and told her to go to town decorating it to her taste. I kept the condo, and rented it out as a summer rental.
Marriage was all that I could ask for, and I truly loved Carla. We were happy for the first three years when we got some bad news. Carla had wanted to have a baby. And when she didn’t get pregnant after more than a year of trying we went to a fertility clinic and had all of the tests done. It was discovered that Carla’s eggs were not viable. We would never have a natural child.
She was distraught and went into a severe depression for about six months. I finally had enough and told her to get help or get out.