J*** was still traveling. He was still playing music although not as often. He also began to play golf again, which he loved and hadn’t been able to do in a long time.
R*** and his daddy hadn’t been around for years because of her drinking. J*** came home one day and said that they wanted to come down and take us to dinner for our anniversary. He said his mama wouldn’t drink. I agreed to let them come down.
They got there and we went to a nice restaurant. J*** ordered a beer and right in front of me, R*** grabbed his glass and downed almost half of it. Of course, neither J*** nor his daddy said a word. I wasn’t able to eat. When the meal was over and the check came, it was like they were waiting for J*** to pick it up, which he did. I was even more furious.
When we got home, R*** and his daddy went down the hall and I asked J*** if he noticed that she drank his beer. He said “that was pretty fucking blatant, wasn’t it?” R*** overheard him say that and asked his daddy what was wrong. He said “you took a drink in front of P**. ”
I mentioned to J*** that the whole visit was supposed to be about them taking us out to dinner but he paid. He told me not to worry about it. I wasn’t worried about it. I was pissed about it.
Our friend S*** had moved back to O****** from D.C. He had been working for the bureau up there. He became a regular fixture at our house.
He and J*** were both long drinks of water and both of them equally cut a fine figure. S*** would come to our house to fix barbecue chicken. They would stand outside, cooking and drinking beer until all hours of the night. They would both come stumbling in and I would put S*** in “his bed” which was my sofa and then point J*** down the hall.
S*** had seen J***s’ volatile side but was a staunch supporter and loyal friend.
J***s’ fiftieth birthday was coming up and he wanted a party. I made all the plans and with the help of my children, it was a great party. J***** from Denmark, J** from Chicago, D****, his lifelong friend and his wife S****, his brother and sister-in-law, M*** and his wife, N****, R*** and his daddy, our friends from down the street and S*** all came. I would say it was a birthday he would never forget but I suspect he already has.
One night in February he was sitting in the kitchen watching television and reading a magazine. He said “hey. The C********* paper is looking for an editor. Should I apply?” He knew the publisher and had actually worked for him in D*****. I said sure, why not? The best time to get a job is when you’ve got a job. A few days later, he made contact with them.
In May, he suddenly turned around and said “you know, I never did hear from those fuckers in C*********.” We both laughed.
That June was my fiftieth birthday. J*** surprised me with a trip to S*. A********. He had gotten us a room in a swanky bed and breakfast type place. The next day, we went to the old fort and walked around. I loved going in and trying to imagine what the men who had been there were like and what they thought. We walked down the streets and went into several different stores. He offered to buy me something from each one of them but I was content to just hold hands and be together. I found out later that he had a terrible headache the whole time and I felt so bad for him….having to do all those things.
The next day, we went to the beach. We agreed that the casual style at the beach was more enjoyable than the swanky place.
While we were there, I kept getting voice mail messages for J***. They said, “J***. This is B****** W*******. Give me a call.” He didn’t know who she was and neither did I. When we got back home, he figured out that it was the current editor in C*********. It had been four months and they were just now getting in contact with him.
Since J*** was regularly playing golf, he suggested that I get a job at the golf course. I did and I enjoyed it for the most part. I enjoyed the money, for sure. Sometimes I would come home with almost six hundred dollars in tips.
Our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary was coming up. This was a big one and I was excited…..until J*** came home and said that he was going to Denmark to play in a golf tournament. True to myself, I didn’t say anything. It just seemed normal to me…..that it was no big deal to him. He had over the past few years seemed to always be gone around our birthdays and our anniversary. I used to ask him if he planned those trips on purpose.
B***** told me to tell him that he couldn’t go…..that this was an important anniversary….that I wanted him to stay at home with me.
I asked her if she could imagine what the “temperature” in that house would be if I did that. She knew and how sad it was that she knew.
He went to Denmark and I went to work at the golf course. I enjoyed the different personalities. I didn’t care if the men had on Polo shirts or looked like they had just crawled out of a ditch. I treated them all the same. Two well-dressed men stopped me to buy beer and one of them started talking to me. He asked me if I was married and I told him yes and that today was actually my twenty-fifth anniversary. He first told me that I didn’t look old enough to have been married for twenty-five years and then asked me if we had big plans for later. I told him that my husband was in Denmark, playing golf. I think he was waiting for me to laugh and say I was kidding but I didn’t. I told them to enjoy their game and started to drive off. He called for me to wait a minute. He got out of his cart, walked up to me, handed me his business card and told me to hang onto it. He was a divorce attorney.