Okay Folks, this one is kind of crazy. You can chalk it up to the changing of the seasons scrambling my brain, or maybe the fact that yesterday was the saddest day of the year for me. Yep, I put the Mustangs up for the winter. Anyway, thanks as usual to the incredible Mikothebaby for making this story readable.
The funeral had been touching. It had been a truly beautiful ceremony. The flowers were fresh and the church looked and smelled great. The sun was high in the sky and beaming down on the people who attended, as if God was thanking them for their presence as he accepted one of his own into the kingdom of Heaven.
The priest had prayed and praised the departed, imparting upon her character the greatest accolades that could be said about any earthly woman, while I sat back in the first row giving the greatest acting performance of my life. I listened to it all with a completely straight face, nodding along with his words in seeming agreement, while inside I was laughing my fucking ass off.
I'd practiced for at least a couple of days by having Darla read the priest's speech to me while I tried to remain calm and collected. In the end, I'd failed. I hadn't been able to sit idly by and listen to a pack of lies, so I had taken the next best step. I was paying for the fucking funeral, so I got to say what happened. I changed the priest's speech.
Where originally he wanted to say that she was a great wife and mother, I edited it. He said instead that she was a wonderful mother to her children. Where he wanted to call her honest and caring, I made him change it to forthright and stalwart because nobody really knows what those things mean anymore. In fact, I was puzzled myself so I googled them and then had him take out forthright, because Kathy was a lot of things, but forthright wasn't one of them.
In actuality, the whole ceremony was a farce. Kathy wasn't even a fucking Christian, so having the ceremony in a church was meant to be a slap in her face. It was a sham meant to show penitence to my two and a half adult children. I really didn't want to do it, but Darla wanted a fucking family and my kids wanted me back in their lives as well.
My kids had no idea, what to make of Darla, and I wasn't saying a fucking word about her. As Darla pushed my wheelchair over to the grave after the casket had been lowered into place and I was supposed to throw or drop the first ceremonial clump or handful of dirt on the casket to send her spirit heavenward, I faked tears and infirmity. The few people there were touched and I gestured to my son Rad, short for Conrad, to assist me.
Had I not been there, it would have been my son Michael's job as the first-born son to handle it. My asking Rad to do it was a sign to family members that the breach between the two of us was well on the way to being repaired. My two other children, Michael who was thirty eight and Jessica, at thirty four, smiled and nodded; they liked seeing the rift between Rad and I healed. Conrad, who was thirty five, gently sprinkled dirt over the rich wood of the casket, while holding my right hand.
"Be at peace Mother. We all loved you and you should know that your family is united again as you leave us," said Conrad sadly.
Had Darla not pinched my hand so hard it nearly drew blood, I'd have lost it and burst out laughing. I screwed my face up in reaction to the pain of her pinch. Most of the people at the funeral mistook my pain for me thinking that I regretted the things that had kept my family apart for the past seven years.
Having Conrad drop the dirt was a master stroke on my part. On one hand, it saved me from having to do it. If I'd had my way, the casket would have been lowered into the grave with the lid open and instead of dropping dirt on the lid; I'd have pissed or spit into Kathy's face. The second reason is because when you get two alpha males in a pissing contest, only one of them can win. Conrad had always been an asshole and a wise ass and for the past seven years he'd been like a ship without a rudder. He'd been lost at sea with no landmarks to steer by and I had caused it for pure shits and giggles.
Conrad and I had a difference of opinion and, as usual, he tried to get into something that he should have had the sense to stay out of. It was the wrong time for him to do that, so Conrad ended up as collateral damage in the war between his mother and me. I did feel sorry for what I'd done to Rad, but if his pain and uncertainty over the past seven years made him a better man, it was worth it.
As the few people who'd come to see Kathy off left, after slowly parading past the grave and dropping their samples of earth on the box that would be her home until it rotted away over the next several centuries, I groaned.
"What's wrong, Fossil?" asked Darla. Her voice, which none of my children had heard until that point was paralyzing. It was the kind of voice that should be relegated to late night, smoke filled, jazz clubs and phone sex operators.
To say that my kids were shocked at the way she spoke to me was an understatement.
"I just don't feel like getting back in that fucking box or going back to that fucking place," I said.
"Freudian slip?" she asked, causing my kids to look at her again. They'd assumed that a woman who looked like her would probably be stupid. So even knowing a term like, "Freudian slip," let alone using it casually and in the right context, meant that they'd have to re-evaluate her and her position in my life yet again.
"Look," she said, kneeling next to me regardless of what it looked like. "You're just skittish because for the past three weeks, while you've been in the nursing home, you haven't been getting any sex in any way, shape or form..."
Both of my sons' mouths dropped open and I thought my daughter would have a heart attack right then.
"To tell you the truth..." she continued. "I've been getting a little antsy myself. But your doctor says you can come home tomorrow. So I guess it really doesn't matter if we go there now. It has to be tomorrow already somewhere in the world."
I smiled and nodded. I could tell my kids were even more shocked at her line about being a little antsy herself.
"As for the second part," she continued. "You're still going to have to ride in that box to get there. You can't bend your leg at all for another three weeks at least. So there's no way we can get you into the Mustang and even if we could get you into it, I can't drive a stick. And you can't either with your right leg broken."
"Good," I snapped. "I can make sure that all of the lovers you snuck into my house while I was at the "retardiment" home didn't steal my stuff or damage anything." She looked really smug about that.
"Don't worry," she said. "I made sure to clean up after them and wash all of your clothes that I let them wear after they did me." The kids probably didn't notice it, but Darla was hiding something. We'd have to talk later.
"So which one of the nurses at the home will be my replacement?" she asked. "Which one of those old biddies was giving you the blow jobs under the table when I left every day?"
"Why do you want to know?" I asked. That was as far as the conversation got before Michael, ever the voice of reason and squeamishness interrupted.
"Uhm, Dad," we'd like to talk to you some," he asked. "Would it be possible for us to come home with you and talk for a while?"
"I guess..." I said.
"Uhm, Mike, please keep me in the loop, if you can?" said Conrad, turning to go.
"Rad, where are you going?" I asked. "Aren't you coming too?"
"I didn't..." he hesitated. "I didn't think you'd want me to come. I thought maybe this was some kind of family thing. And with Mom gone ... I'm not..."
"Conrad, you are, were and always will be just as much my offspring as Michael or Jessica. I love you just as much as I do them. You are my son. Nothing in this world can ever say anything different."
Conrad had tears in his eyes as he looked at me. "How about that DNA test that you took to court," he said.
"Well, yeah there's that," I said laughing. "But there are things we need to talk about and you should be there too. Shit, I'm fifty nine years old and if anything, this has proven to me that I won't live forever. I'd like to have my family around me in my golden years. So let's all sit down together and have a meal and a few drinks and talk about the past, the present and the future, with open minds and no pre-judgments left over from by-gone days."
"I wish Mom could have lived to see this," said Jessica. I couldn't help it. I let out a snarky laugh.
"But Dad," she said, looking at me strangely after my laugh. "You were there with her in the end. And you said such nice things to her. My heart melted." I chortled and Darla smiled at them and told them they could follow us to our house.
Darla had called our favorite restaurant before the funeral and arranged for a meal to be catered. She quickly set the table as the kids and I made small talk.
I noticed that on one of her trips back and forth between the dining area and the kitchen, Michael went after her. He came back a few moments later with a big smile on his face and declared, "I guess she doesn't want any help."
He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me. "Dad, would you really short her check if someone helped her?" he asked. "That's kind of cold, isn't it?"
"Michael, how much money do you earn?" I asked, pretending I didn't already know about Michael's salary, his failing marriage or his gambling problem.
"I make almost fifty, Dad," he said warily. I nodded. Michael had been fairly truthful if you considered thirty thousand to be almost fifty thousand.
"She makes a lot more than you do, son," I said. "And it really isn't me. She lied to you to cover up the fact that she just doesn't like people in the kitchen. It's kind of like me and the garage. I'm her boss and even I can't go in there without her throwing some kind of fit."
He stared at me. "She keeps that place as clean and spotless as if she did surgery in there instead of just cooking."
Darla returned then. Her eyes scanned me instantly upon stepping through the door. Once she'd made sure that there were no differences in me since she'd last seen me, she set two plates down in front of Jessica and Michael. She immediately headed back into her kitchen and returned almost immediately with plates for Conrad and herself. Her last trip was for a bottle of wine and my plate.
I noticed that Michael and Jessica seemed to be fascinated with Darla. Most people always seemed to stare at her. Darla is tall and very blond. Her hair is nearly white. She has huge boobs, thick, sculptured legs and a big round booty that just cried out for attention.
My son Michael seemed to be flabbergasted by Darla, but Jessica's interest left me wondering. Then I noticed them. Seven years ago at twenty seven years old, my daughter had been tit-less. She'd been as flat as a board, but now seemed to have sprouted a really cute set of average sized breasts. My daughter had gotten herself a boob job.
I smiled and looked around the table. With her usual flair, Darla had arranged and reheated the food so it looked like she had cooked it. And given time she could have. Darla and my children all had steak, vegetable and mashed potatoes.
I looked at them and my mouth watered. Then I looked at my plate. It had grilled salmon and steamed vegetables. I looked at her for an explanation.
"You need to eat healthier and lighter on the calories until you're back on your feet. I'm not going to have you turning into a butter ball," she said.
As I started to protest, she grabbed my lips with her fingers and shushed me. "Bobby, you heard me," she said. My kids all started to eat and pretended they hadn't seen what had happened.
After we'd eaten, Darla rolled me into the living room. She moved me from the chair to the sofa and covered me with a warm soft blanket. She handed Conrad the fireplace matches and he started to the fire. She moved a loveseat and a fat overstuffed chair near the sofa.
As the flames began to lick at the fireplace logs, Darla came and sat on the sofa at my side. I put the blanket around her as gently as she'd wrapped it around me. Her smile outshone the flames and wasn't lost on any of my kids.
Michael started. "So what's going on with the two of you?" he asked.
"We have an arrangement," I said.
"It's purely financial," said Darla. The three of them looked at each other.
"Daddy, why don't you have a TV?" asked Jessica. "You have this huge beautiful living room, without a TV. It makes no sense."
"When we stay here, we use the living room for sitting by the fire and talking or reading," said Darla. "Sometimes we just sit and watch the flames without ever saying a word. Most of the time we end up..."
"There's a 52 inch OLED 3-D set in the bedroom," I said.
"How did you end up being at Mom's side when she died?" asked Conrad.
"I know that all of you have questions," I said. "And there's a lot of this story that Darla doesn't know. So I'm going to start at the beginning. In order for us to see if we can move on as a family it's important for us to all know where we came from."
"I'm going to skip through the beginning stuff pretty quickly so we can concentrate on the events that led to our family being shattered. So if there's anything you need to know about and I'm not mentioning it, please stop me and ask. I intend to be very honest with you and I won't hold anything back so be prepared for it."
"To start out, I have to tell you that your mother and I were wimps..." I began.
"No Dad," said Michael. "When you found out what she..."
"Michael, I'm not talking about that kind of wimp," I said. "What I meant was that both your mother and I were overly shy. We liked each other from the first moment we laid eyes on each other, but we didn't do anything about until years later and even then it was by accident. We went to the same high school and every time I saw her, I just stared at her with my mouth open. My friends often caught me and urged me to talk to her but I couldn't. So..."
"Dad, Mom told me that no one liked her in high school," said Jessica. "She always thought it was because she didn't have any boobs. She liked you in high school too, but you were always hanging out with the guys on the team."
"Jess, Honey, can I tell the story?" I asked.
"Anyway..." I continued. "It wasn't until our second year in college when we were both about to turn twenty that fate intervened."
"I was walking down the hall towards class and your mom was walking in the opposite direction. She wasn't paying attention to where she walked because she was upset and she crashed into me."
"When our eyes met, there was no going back. It took me a few moments because she was so damned beautiful, but I finally asked her why she was crying. She told me a couple of assholes in her class had been making fun of her. I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to make fun of her, but I was instantly pissed."
"Where are they?" I asked her.
"She grabbed my arm and pointed back the way she'd come from. I stormed off in that direction while she trailed after me. When I got to the guys she was talking about, I erupted."
"Why the fuck are you two assholes picking on my girl?" I screamed. "The two of them were just your typical slackers, so they weren't ready for any type of serious threat. They immediately started backing up and apologizing. Finally, they turned tail and just ran while I stood there with both fists balled up; breathing like I'd just ran a marathon."
"That was how we got together and we never looked back," I said.
"Mom always told me she'd have gone through it all over again just to hear you call her your girl," Jessica laughed. "She said it was the best day of her life. She never had any idea that you were interested in her."
"See what I mean about wimps," I said.
"Daddy, why didn't you ever tell her that you liked her before that or even try to talk to her," asked Michael.
"Because Mike, when I really like someone I get all tongue tied until I get to know them. And even after I get to know them there are some things I'm just uncomfortable sharing. Anyway ... Your mom and I dated and ended up getting married. It came as no surprise to anyone because you never saw one of us without the other. Your mom was going to school for home economics, which was pretty common in those days. I was going to become an architect. Neither of us ever finished."
"Why not?" asked Mike. "You expected all of us ... no, Dad, you demanded, that we all finish college. Why didn't you finish?"
"You," I said. "Within a year of meeting your mother, we were married. I'd have married her anyway, but within six months of us meeting, she was pregnant with you Mike. I had to make a living for the two of you so I got a job. Since I was doing great as an architectural student, it seemed only natural that I'd go to work for a builder. Life took over and after ten years of being married, I ended up going into the building business myself. I started out doing small projects, like cabins, while I still worked for my former boss. I concentrated on maximizing the quality of each structure. After a while, I was getting calls for larger ones. Before I knew it, there was a conflict between my day job and my own projects. I rolled the dice and went out on my own. The first couple of years were not easy, especially since we had three small kids to bring up during that time, but we made it and we made sure that no matter what happened the three of you grew up loved and wanted for nothing."
"We did have a great childhood," said Conrad.
"We had so many dreams, Kathy and I," I continued. "I loved her more than anything on earth. She was my partner, my best friend, the love of my life and my soul mate all rolled into one. Maybe she didn't have the most incredible body on earth, but her smile could light up a room like you wouldn't believe. She was one of a kind and I accepted her quirks because I loved her so much. We didn't get married in a church. We got married in the middle of the woods with flowers all around us and a lot of our friends gathered with us. Our wedding night was really special too, or at least I thought it was at the time."
"We rolled through life together sharing all of the good times and all of the bad and I'll tell you the good ones by far outnumbered the bad. I was just stupid. I gave that woman, my heart, my mind, my trust and all of my faith ... Never again. I had no fucking clue. Anyway ... we raised the three of you and got you all through school. Michael, you got married and had a great job. Jess, you were about to get married and Conrad worked in the family business with me."
"Mike, you were the son every guy always wanted. You made your own way or tried to. I never minded helping you out on occasion when necessary. Jessica, you were my little princess. Rad, you were an asshole. You showed up late for work more often than you were on time and you criticized and countermanded every decision I made. I just didn't understand why then. Since then I've realized that middle children tend to act out because they're usually ignored. The oldest kids and the babies always seem to get all of the attention."
"So, there I was, married for just over thirty years with the world in my pocket. I was giving serious thought to retiring at fifty two and spending the rest of my life just traveling and having fun with my wife. The biggest concerns I had were in deciding what to do about my business. I wanted to keep it in the family, both as a legacy and as a source of continuing income. Our reputation for quality work was beginning to bear more and more fruit. I was sure that I couldn't just turn things over to Conrad and I didn't want to try to put pressure on Mike to take over. Mike didn't know the building game. Jessica's husband also didn't seem like the kind of guy I could hand the keys to. But a few months after our thirtieth anniversary, the decision was taken out of my hands."
"Your mother and I weren't really religious people. I knew that she didn't consider herself a Christian, but I thought it was something like maybe she was just a different sect. You know, the way the Baptists and the Lutherans and the Mormons try to say that they're totally different from the Catholics? But I'd never really sat down and discussed religion with her once in all of those years. It's probably because ... Well religion isn't really important to me at all. I never even give it a thought. To me Sundays are the days I do my longer runs if I'm doing a marathon that year and the day I watch football and wash my Mustang. Church just never enters my mind."
"The only time during thirty years of marriage that your mother and I are ever separated is the yearly religious retreat that she goes to with her parents. Your Aunt Rose always goes to it too, and you even started going when you were about twenty Conrad. You never said a word to me about it son. And I guess that's why what happened between us, did."
"Anyway ... just after our thirtieth anniversary, your mom told me about the conference. I never gave it a second thought. After all, she'd done it every year since before we were married. There were some years that I had I to use our SUV to drive all of you guys to the airport and then pick you up three days later, but other than that it wasn't a factor. I'm not stupid, but your mom cheating on me simply never entered my mind. We loved each other so much. Our sex life was perfect, even after thirty years we couldn't keep our hands off of each other and with you guys out of the house we'd started experimenting even more."
"There was no thought in my mind that anything was going on. And if I had even dreamed that there was, I'd never have expected it to happen in a place that her parents, her sister and our son went to with her. The retreat or conference was usually held in Las Vegas, so that year I decided that I'd surprise your mom and meet her there. There was also a huge home builder's conference there at the same time. So I checked her reservations to make sure that I'd be able to find her."
"Your mom and your grandparents left the day before I did. When I got to Vegas, I checked in and found out that the hotel she stayed in was right down the street from where I was staying. I had visions of taking my wife out for a ritzy Las Vegas evening and then retiring to one of our hotels."
"I went to her hotel and found out that the conference was some kind of Pagan retreat. I had no idea what a fucking Pagan was, let alone that your mother was one of them. I couldn't even get into the conference because I wasn't a Pagan myself. Luckily I had a friend who worked for hotel security and he got me in."
"As the big door closed behind me, I was sure that I was in the wrong place. The huge conference suite was dimly lit and it smelled like sex. I was sure that I was in the wrong place. Then I noticed that all over the room there were couples in acts of copulation. I also noticed other people running around naked eating or drinking. I was even more certain that I was in the wrong place until I spotted your Aunt Rose. Rose had her head buried between some older woman's thighs and was oblivious to everything going on around her. Rose was making all kinds of slurping sounds and trying to get face as far into the woman's crotch as she could. I wondered what her husband would think and then it hit me. I pulled out my phone and took a picture. The flash startled her and she looked up and saw me with horror written all over her face."
"Seeing Rose had lit a fire in my mind and from then on, I was on a mission. I walked around the place as if I owned it until I found Kathy, the woman I'd loved and been married to for just over thirty years."
"It wasn't hard to find her. I simply looked around the room until I found a tall skinny woman with an incredible ass and no chest. She was in a pile with two or three men and so into what she was doing that she never knew I was there. She was giving one guy a hand job and she very gently moved her hand up and down on his dick as he pumped his hips. He had both of his hands locked on his balding head and the biggest smile on his face. I wanted to shoot that fucker before he got a chance to shoot off."
"Another guy was jacking off while he watched Kathy's ass cheeks clench and unclench. As I watched, he ejaculated all over my wife's back and shoulders, giving out a huge roar as he did. The third guy was the one I wanted to kill the most. He was pumping his dick in and out of my wife's pussy, doggy style and there was no question that she was fucking him back. He was slapping her ass like he owned it each time she slammed it into his abdomen. Kathy just had a blank look on her face. It was as if she did this every day and there was nothing unusual about it. I did notice that her nipples weren't extended, but that was probably because none of the guys there were playing with them yet."
"Once I saw her, I shot off a few moments of video tape on my phone. It wasn't high def video like we shoot on our phones now, but it was good enough to take to court. I slowly rotated and filmed the entire room and then I headed for the door."
"The only person, who tried to stop me, was of course..."
"Me," said Conrad. "But Dad, I saw the hurt in your eyes and I needed to try to explain to you what was going on. I knew that you'd jump to the wrong conclusion and do exactly what you did. I figured there was some way that I could explain to you that for a lot of the people there; this was the way they practiced their religion. The Pagan rituals had been practiced that way for thousands of years. It predated Christianity. I had to try for the sake of our family."
"For a lot of the guys I spoke to later, it wasn't about religion," I spat. "It was just about sex. In fact, they became Pagans for the free and easy pussy. Some of them said it was way easier and much cheaper than finding hookers."
"So when I saw Conrad," I continued. "I was already pissed. Him, trying to tell me not to go was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Rad decided then that he was going to make me listen to reason, so he tried to prevent me from leaving. I very gently propelled him towards a place where he could continue to practice his religion."
"He shrugged off my arm and threw me across the floor into a group of people," said Conrad. "Even seven years ago at fifty he was strong as hell."
"He's still strong as hell now," smiled Darla. "We probably wouldn't have even been in the nursing home to run into your mom, if he hadn't broken his leg skiing."
"Conrad was, of course, so intent on explaining his religion to me that he didn't notice how badly I was hurt. I never even went back. I checked out of my hotel then. I paid the full weekend rate and flew home that evening. It took less than fifteen minutes for Conrad to find your mother. I knew that because she started trying to call me then. By that time, I'd already gotten back to my hotel and checked out. I went up to the room, got my bags and hit the airport. I didn't want to wait for the next day to leave like you guys had to, so I found another passenger at the airport and changed tickets with him. It cost me a thousand dollars. He was happy to do it because it gave him another day in Vegas and a grand of my money to gamble with."
"That was why Granddad couldn't find you the next morning at the airport," said Conrad. "When you wouldn't answer your phone, he checked on your hotel and plane reservations. We went to your hotel but they wouldn't give us any info. This was before 911 when anyone could get info on their family members. The airline just told him that you'd be flying out that next morning so he went to the airport and sat there in the lounge waiting for you to show up. Mom sat in the room and cried the whole time."
"Yeah, I guess we all did a lot of crying," I said. "I flew home and immediately contacted my lawyer. I canceled all of our joint credit cards including the ones your mother had with her. I also canceled the cell phone accounts for your phone and hers. The three of us were on a family plan. I just removed you two from the plan. It didn't help. She called me from payphones or other people's cell phones until she got her own."
"Dad it was awful," said Conrad. "She didn't eat. She didn't sleep. She just kept trying to call you and crying. Unlike you, the airport was so busy from all of the people flying in and out, that we couldn't get a flight out. We had to stay there the whole time."
"You should have just gone back and enjoyed your conference for a couple of more days," I said.
"I did," said Conrad sheepishly. "Mom didn't, neither did Grandma or Granddad. Aunt Rose was so afraid that you'd tell Uncle Derek that she stayed with them. Uncle Derek, unlike you, had some idea of what went on but I don't think he knew what Aunt Rose did. I think he thought that when they got married she'd just attended for the rituals and didn't really participate in the ... uhm ... sex part."
"Granddad assured Mom and Aunt Rose that he'd have a talk with you and straighten everything out. You guys got along pretty well. And I think he thought that he could convince you that everything was alright. Everyone knew how much you loved Mom. I mean it wasn't like you guys were newlyweds; you guys had been together for thirty years and had grown kids. Dad you were fifty two years old and had married Mom when you were twenty two. You had been with her for most of the years that you'd been alive and vice versa. The thought of either of you with anyone else was just silly. The thought of the two of you without each other was equally silly. Even Mom was sure of it. She just kept crying and crying and everyone there knew that there was nothing she wouldn't have done or changed to get you back. Dad, you were everything to her."
"And she'd been everything to me," I said. "But the pain and betrayal I felt scorched my soul. You've talked about how much your mother and I loved each other ... I don't think you can imagine how much it hurt me to see her that way. Nothing mattered anymore. It destroyed any link I had with sanity. I just had to keep moving to get through it. For the first few days the only thing I felt was pain."
"So why couldn't you at least talk to mom?" asked Michael. "From what I've been told you never even gave her a chance to explain. The two of you never sat down and talked about it. If you loved her that much..."
"Mike, your mom was the most important part of my life," I answered. "But as close as we were, she wasn't a part of me. It's like a person with a knife collection. You love those knives to the point of worship. Then one day you slip, and one of the knives goes through your hand. This thing that you love and cherish has hurt you. You pull that knife out and get it away from you. You don't care that your blood will probably damage the knife; you just want it out of you. And when you pull it out and get it away from you the real pain starts."
"I wished with all of my heart that it had never happened," I said. "But once it had, there was simply no going back. I'd married a woman that I loved and had been faithful to, not some Pagan who needed to be a slut every year."
"Conrad, how many women did you usually screw at those conferences? You're an attractive guy, so maybe three or four a night if you could get it up. So you had somewhere between nine and twelve per year. A woman on the other hand ... I saw your mother linked up with three men. She could probably screw as many men in a night or more than you'd do the whole weekend. Let's be conservative and say she did maybe forty guys each year. Over our thirty plus years together that meant my loving wife had cheated on me over a thousand times."
"But Dad, it wasn't really cheating," he said.
"That's what your grandpa tried to tell me. He failed too," I said. "Anyway, by the time you guys got back to town, I'd already gotten a lawyer. I'd spent the day before you got home changing the bank accounts, getting my lawyer and removing all of my personal things from the house. I was sure that the house would be sold during the divorce. I had no intention of ever going back there. I never expected her to get back as quickly as she did. I'd rented a condo across town from us and that morning I remembered that I'd taken my car out of the garage but I'd left a couple of tool boxes and my fishing gear. I hadn't really gone through the garage at all. So I headed over there first thing in the morning. I didn't expect her plane to land until afternoon and I knew I had a good cushion because I wasn't going to pick those assholes up at the airport so they'd had to arrange their own transport to their homes."
"I also expected Kathy to stay with her parents while we worked things out. But it didn't go that way. First, I overslept that morning. Then I ran over there and my Mustang really isn't a great car for hauling things. I couldn't even fit either of the small tool boxes in that trunk. So I'd had to take only the tools that were so essential that I didn't want to lose them. I could only fit lures and hooks and other small items of my fishing gear in the car also. I'd been thinking about tying a couple of my favorite rods to the top of the car when I saw them pull up. I closed the garage and jumped into my car and started down the driveway. Your mom got out of the car and stood in front of mine. If it hadn't been for my performance brakes, I'd probably have run her down."
She tried to get me to talk to her and I refused, so she just stood in front of the car thinking that eventually I'd give up. The whole time, your Granddad and your Aunt Rose were babbling at me to be reasonable. I locked my doors and let all of the windows up. I gunned my engine like I was going to move the car. Your mom was so sure that I'd never hurt her that she didn't even blink. So I just shut the motor down and sat back in the car to wait her out. She kept talking but I couldn't hear her over the radio. She laid down on my hood and put her face up to the windshield and kept talking. I pulled out my phone and called the police."
"When the police pulled up, your granddad thought he could bullshit them. He told them that it was a family squabble and we could work it out on our own. I let my window down and yelled to them that I was the one who'd called them. They immediately came over to the car and I got out. I explained to them that I was moving out of the house and they were preventing me from leaving. I was legally able to live wherever I wanted and I didn't want to live in that house for one second longer."
"The officer explained to your grandpa that preventing me from leaving could be considered unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping. Your grandpa was slick. He asked them if desertion was okay, because I was deserting my wife and kids. The police turned to me. I asked your grandpa if he really wanted to play that kind of game?
He didn't say anything so I explained to the police that it wasn't desertion because all of our kids were not only grown, but out of the house. Both of us were in our fifties and I'd recently discovered that my wife had cheated on me for over thirty years. I also explained to them that her father had been a part of it. I told them that if they needed to see it, I had video and photos as proof and that I'd be using them in the divorce."
"As soon as the word divorce left my mouth everything got quiet. From what I saw your mother fainted. Your grandmother and granddad took care of her, while your Aunt Rose started begging me to leave her out of it. The cop signaled for me to use that time to get out, so I did."
"From what I later learned, your mom went into the hospital for a few days and then went to stay with her parents. I went into work the next day and started to work with my accountant to put all of the books in order and to make sure everything was on schedule and operating perfectly. From conversations with my lawyer, I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep my business AND cut ties with your mother. And that was what I really needed. I didn't want to have to pay her any alimony because that would give her a reason to or a way to contact me. I'd have to give her a phone number or an address or even a lawyer to talk to in the event that something changed and I didn't want that. I wanted to walk out of the courtroom on the final day of our divorce and never have to lay eyes on her again."
"My lawyer had, of course, heard the entire story of what happened. He told me that even if I could manage to separate myself from her financially, there would always be you three to consider. You'd all get married if you weren't already and you'd have kids and there'd be all kinds of family events where I'd run into Kathy. I told him to draw up the papers anyway."
"When I got back to work that day from meeting with my lawyer at lunch, Conrad, the gem of an idea was already in my mind. You nursed it along by coming in and as usual, giving me your opinion on what a coward I was. You railed on me for being too cowardly to even listen to what your mother had to say. You went on and on about how I didn't understand any of it. Son, it was the wrong thing to do at the wrong time. So I fired you and had security escort you out of the building. I can still see the hurt look on your face, but things were going to get worse for you. In my mind you had simply ramped up your betrayal even further. You painted a target on your own back."
"It didn't take long after that for your grandpa to show up. He told me about your mother having a hysterical nervous breakdown. I told him that she'd still be covered under our company's health plan until the divorce was final. That was the first time I remember seeing that man cry. He told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I told him his daughter had already made hers. He started giving me all of this quasi-religious shit and facts and the history of Paganism and I asked him what it had to do with us. He told me that this country was founded on religious freedom. I countered with the marriage vows. He then reminded me of the ceremony we'd done. Our whole marriage ceremony had been based on Pagan ceremony and we had never vowed to hold ourselves only unto each other. I was stunned because he was right."