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"You have an appointment with these people in thirty minutes. Whether or not you keep that appointment is your decision, but I suggest thatyou do." He stood up and was ready to leave when I stopped him.
"Mr. Gordon, why are doing all this for me?"
He looked down at the floor for a long time before raising his head to look me in the eye.
"Because I was in your position myself a long time ago. Besides, Mrs. Lopez told me this morning that if I didn't help you, she was goingto bring her husband in to beat the crap out of me. The scary thing is I believe her. I don't know what you did to earn her loyalty, but that's the kind of people I like to have around me. She started this morning as my personal secretary."
"Thank you Mr. Gordon...and please tell Mrs. Lopez thank you and that I will miss her."
"I think she already knows that Robert, and good luck. I know it doesn't seem like it right now but life will get better, you're just going to have to trust me on this one."
One more time he looked at me and grinned.
"This morning an independent auditing firm willbegin examining the accounts that Andrews managed. I'm very interested in seeing what they find."
He shook my hand and walked out the door.
I did keep the appointment with the attorneys. Obviously Gordon had set this up himself because they already had some background information about what had happened. We spent the rest of the day going over all the options that were available to me and any possible consequences. I made it clear that for all the pain and the shit that Barbara had dumped on me, I did not and would not seek any revenge. I did not want to destroy her, to have my "pound of flesh." All I wanted was out of the marriage as quickly as possible and to never see or hear from her again. I had alreadytaken the few things I wanted to keep from the last five years and just wanted to walk away.
I finally left the lawyers around 7 PM that evening and went back to the hotel. I was able keep some food down and for the first time in days felt as though I was taking back some of the control over my life that had been yanked way from me. I waited until I knew it was afterdinnertime in San Miguel before I called Colleen. It was such a joy just to hear her voice when she answered.
"Bobby, where are you? What's going on? Barbara has called here a hundred times; she says that you're missing."
"Do you know if she's talked to Mom or the twins?"
"Yes she has, she's been calling everyone from what I can tell. What's going on?"
"I'll explain everything later but right now I need some help."
"Anything you need, you know that Bobby."
"Thanks. I need you to pick me up at the airport. I'll get into San Miguel Friday afternoonat 5:30, TWA flight 1649. I also need a place to stay for a while; I was hoping I could stay with you and the girls."
"Of course you can, I'll move Molly in with Meghan. They will love to see you."
"One more thing, call Mom and the twins and ask them to come to your house Saturday morning, but don't let them know that you've talked to me unless you have to. I don't want Barbara to know where I am just yet. I'll explain everything on Saturday."
"OK Bobby, but the explanation had better be agood one."
After a few minutes of banal conversation we hung up and I lay back on the bed. I tried to compare what had been the two most important people in my life up to now. Barbara was cutting edge fashion and all night dance clubs. She was all angles and flat planes and tight muscles; she was smoky darkness and a promise of sensual erotic delight. You knew that sex with her would turn into an athletic event.
Colleen was clean simple lines, all curves, classic, timeless traditional beauty. She was daylight and PTA meetings. She gave you a feeling of contentment. I can put on a perfectly tailored suit and it will look like I had slept in it for a week before I reach the sidewalk. My sister on the other hand, can put on discards from the Salvation Army store and look elegant and sophisticated. She makes people, male and female, want to go find their partner and reproduce the species so they couldhave children just like her.
More from total exhaustion than anything else I did sleep that night, but the dreams made me wake up the next morning in a cold sweat.
I spent most of the morning back at the lawyers finishing everything so I could leave Chicago the next day. I told them about Barbara calling my family. They immediately started the paper work to get a restraining order that would prevent Barbara from contacting my family or me. I signed a power of attorney so that I wouldn't have to be involved in every little detail of what was going to happen. In the afternoon I tried to tie up all the loose ends I could think of and packed everything to leave.
And then I waited.
By this time all of the rage and anger had dissipated but in its place was a constant dull throbbing pain that was starting to wear huge calluses onto my soul.
The next morning a secretary from the attorney's office drove me to the airport in my car. The lawyers were going to sell the car and the money would be added to the final settlement. The divorce papers were to be served to Barbara that afternoon. From the time I left the hospital Sunday afternoon until Igot on the plane Friday morning, I had not seennor spoken to Barbara. And if there was a God in heaven I never would in the future either.
I don't remember much about the flight. I kept trying to force myself to stop thinking about what I was leaving behind and concentrate on where I was going. I had a three-hour lay over in Denver where I changed planes for San Miguel. Everyone left me alone as I waited; it felt like I was sitting in some type of isolation both. When I went to the men's room I was startled by the dead face staring back at me from the mirror. I was lucky I wasn't hauled away as a suspected terrorist.
John Gordon was right; being close to family was just what I needed right then.
The only emotion that I could feel was a small flicker of excitement at being able to see Colleen. It's funny how genetics works. The twins, Jimmy and Mike, and I look like Dad. Fortunately Colleen looks like Mom. Growing up,Colleen was the typical girl next door. She was cute and bright and sunny and everyone's best friend. When she was in high school she was the head cheerleader and had at least two dates every weekend. She was so sweet that the twins and I teased her that she would give us diabetes, but every boy in town knew that the twins would beat the crap out of them if they didn't treat our sister right.
Colleen had made the transition to adulthood beautifully. If you look in the dictionary under Soccer Mom you will see Colleen's picture. She isfive foot four and had complained to me one time that her wedding dress was a size 6 but after giving birth to my nieces she was now a size 10 and her bra had increased a full cup size. Just like Mom her hair is the color of gold and she keeps is short, not even long enough topull back into a ponytail. The twins and my eyesare blue like Dad's but Mom and Colleen's are a deep brown that has a completely serene look. I know it sounds corny but it is true; when she smiles the sun shines.
After the plane landed, I walked through the gate and started to look around when I heard two small voices squealing, "Uncle Bobby! UncleBobby! Over here." Meghan, age seven and Molly, age six were jumping up and down, waving their arms and each holding a bright redballoon on a string. Colleen was standing behind them, smiling and they all rushed over to hug me. I have never seen a more beautiful sight.
We collected my bags and on the ride to the house Meghan and Molly were chattering a milea minute telling me everything they had been doing since the last time I had seen them. Colleen lives in an older part of town in a large craftsman style cottage that had been built in the 1920's. She and Bill had spent a lot of time and money restoring it to a pristine condition. Pulling into the driveway, I felt as though I hadcome home.
After we had unloaded my stuff, Molly took my hand and pulled to show me her room where I would be staying. While the girls and I talked, Colleen went to the kitchen to start dinner. After we ate, she told the girls to get ready for bed and that she had surprise for them. Grandma and Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Mike were coming tomorrow for a visit. This caused more squealing and jumping and it was another hour before she could get them into bed.
After closing the bedroom door on the girls, Colleen went to the kitchen and came out a fewminutes later with two cups of tea. She set them down on the coffee table and sat next to me on the couch. When several minutes of a comforting silence had passed she put her armsaround me and gave me a little kiss on the cheek.
"Is there any thing you want to talk about?"
"Not just yet, wait until tomorrow. I don't want to go through this more than once."
"Ok." She stroked the back of my head and gave me another peck on the cheek. "It's good to have you here. The girls are really exited about you staying with us."
"Thanks, I think this is where I need to be rightnow."
Colleen stood then took my hand and pulled me up after her. "I gather that tomorrow is going to be a tough day and you look beat. Why don't you go to bed and I'll see you in the morning."
I lay on the bed but did not get undressed. I laythere staring up at the ceiling as every emotion in my body slowly drained away, leaving me completely numb. I must have eventually fallenasleep because the next thing I knew it was daylight and Meghan was shaking my shoulder to tell me, "breakfast is ready and mommy saidto come and eat." After breakfast, I took a quick shower and then spent the rest of the morning letting the girls introduce me to their favorite Saturday morning activities.
Mike pulled up in the driveway just a little before noon with his wife Sharon and their three kids. Mom arrived with Jimmy and his wife Mi Lin and their two kids about 10 minuteslater. Mike has a successful and growing construction business and Jimmy is a deputy sheriff. No one was interested in lunch right then so Colleen asked Meghan and Molly to taketheir cousins out in the back so the grown ups could have a little talk. On the way out, Mike's youngest, two-year-old Patricia, turned back, climbed into my lap and refused to leave. Somehow that seemed right so I kept her there and five minutes later she was asleep in my arms. I was sitting on the piano bench facing everyone else who was spread around the livingroom.
Over the next hour I told them everything, the story of Barbara's infidelity, the baby and Derek Andrews, spilling out all the anger and pain and frustration that had been overwhelming me for the last week. I held nothing back and ...

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