Home » A Wasted Life » What Now? The Doors Were All Closed

What Now? The Doors Were All Closed

J*** stayed at the paper for a few more weeks to tie up some loose ends, like naming a managing editor before he left.  He had four candidates who had applied.  He had brought their written “petitions” for why they were the best choice home for me to read.  One of them was D****,  the woman he had brought up from O****** and I think she thought she was a “shoe-in.”  The others were M*****, the woman he had gotten into a screaming match with,  A****, an elegant man, who I wouldn’t have picked for my own personal reasons, and S****, a man who J*** didn’t trust.  I told J*** that I believed he was wrong about S**** and I thought he would be the best fit.
Ultimately, J*** chose S****.  That was his last action as the Executive Editor of the paper.
D**** was so incensed that she went to another paper.  M***** stayed and was demoted and A**** eventually left the paper as well.
After J*** was fired, I immediately went into damage control mode.  I was going to protect him as much as I could.  There was no way I was going to let our children know what had happened so I told them that he had simply “quit.”  I told my family the same thing.
J*** was clearly shaken up and talked to several of his friends about it and they offered as much support as they could.
He immediately started looking for another job.  He was on the computer and the phone all the time.  Slowly, it was becoming clear that his reputation had preceded him.  He had always considered himself to be the best in the business and highly sought after but now, he couldn’t get anybody to return his phone calls.
I’m sure this was uncharted territory for him.  He would talk to me about who he had contacted and what they had said but no offers came.
At one point, I said “this is the first time since we met, that I have a job and you don’t.”  It was bizarre and we managed to get a laugh out of it.
Since nobody at work knew who he was, there weren’t any questions. My boss knew but never said anything about it.
I tried to keep his morale up as much as I possibly could.  I tried to include him in my work by telling him about my calls.  I wanted to let him know that I was on his side.
I tried to understand how devastating it must have been for him and I was as kind to him as he would allow me to be.  I remember thinking that I was glad he could at least play golf.
Our friend S*** continued to come see us and it was a good distraction for J***.  He loved S*** and S*** loved  him.  They would play golf and when they would get to the eight green, which was behind our house, they would call me and I would walk down and watch them show off.
We’d still have our fights but I decided to not let things bother me too much.  I tried to let some things go, like him being “lit” when I got home.  I almost felt guilty for enjoying my job while he was at home feeling absolutely miserable.
He had started watching birds while he sat on the patio, looking for a job.  He had gotten a book so he could identify them.  That was something that I would have never thought he would be interested in.  It made me wish that I was a bird.
We met his brother and his wife and their two sons at the beach to eat at a seafood restaurant.  J*** brought one of her friends with them.  When the bill came, J*** paid of course.  I have no idea how much it was, but I can imagine that it was well over a couple of hundred dollars.  They all had jobs but somehow, it wasn’t challenged when J*** paid.  Not one of them even offered to chip in.  That’s the way it had always been, so why was I constantly surprised when it kept happening?
J***s’ mama and daddy continued to come to C********* but would stay at J** and J***s’ house.  J*** would go over there to see them.
At one point, my sister, her boyfriend and my mama were coming down to see us.  R*** and J***s’ daddy were also going to be down there.
J** had come over to have a beer with J*** and mentioned that it would be a good time for them to finally meet.  J*** said it would be interesting indeed if S*** (my mama) and R*** met.  I told him it wasn’t going to happen and then told him about the phone call R*** had made to my daddy all those years ago.
J*** wasn’t outraged.  He didn’t say that it was a shame.  He didn’t excuse it due to R***s’ alcoholism.  He just laughed.
I hoped every single day that J*** would find another job.  I think he did, too.  Actually, I know he did.
He would get impatient sometimes and yell at me but I knew it was out of pure frustration.  Sometimes he was brutal.  Sometimes I handled it and sometimes I didn’t.
I had vacation time accrued and I mentioned that we should go to F****** to see the girls.  He didn’t want to so I didn’t bring it up again.  I think the initial desolation he had felt was starting to subside somewhat, although he still couldn’t find a job.
Sometimes J*** went out on his boat but he eventually sold it to the guy who was docking it.
It was my day off and I had plans in my sewing room.  I was working on a quilt and was anxious to get it finished.  J*** was going to play golf and after I stood in the driveway and waved goodbye, I went upstairs and started sewing.
I had hoped he would remember what day it was, but he never had before so there wasn’t much chance.  It was August 17th, 2005, 31 years to the day when we first met.
Then…..the telephone rang.

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