Trust Cal to come up with a solution so I wouldn’t have to live in motels forever and go broke in the process. He and Lily have a little travel trailer that they used to use all the time when they first got married … at least until Lily ran into a snake one time when they took it out of storage. Now she won’t have anything to do with the trailer and considers a night at the Econolodge as close to roughing it as she wants to get.
“It’s just sitting there on the storage lot. Someone might as well get some use out of it,” he said sarcastically after he realized it was useless arguing with me.
“Well, I’m going to pay you rent because it could be three months or more before I can move into the house full time.”
“Oh no you won’t.”
“Oh yes I will.”
“No, you won’t. And before you start arguing again let me tell you why.” I shut up but only to give him time to persuade me, I wasn’t stupid, but I was bound and determined to refuse charity. He cleared his throat and then sighed and a lot of the fight just seem to go out of him. “Lily and I are in counseling Aria.”
I sat down beside him in slow motion. We both dangled our feet off of grandfather’s dock. “When did this happen?”
“It’s been coming for a while but we started two months ago. Don’t be so surprised; we’ve been down this road before. We were in counseling almost the entire first three years of our marriage.”
“Um, not that it’s really any of my business but is it the baby thing?”
“Yes and no,” he admitted. “I want kids. But I want my wife more … or did. Still do I think. I’m not sure right now.” Rather more matter-of-factly than I thought any man would say it, he told me, “She slept with a guy. Same guy she had an affair with six months after we got married.”
I swallowed and wondered what to say that didn’t make things worse. “I … um … I …”
“I know you didn’t know. Not too many people do. Not exactly something I want to get out and about. My parents knew but they took it to the grave with them. My older brothers know but they kind of washed their hands of the whole situation when I refused to divorce Lily over it the first time around.” He shook his head like he was confused or maybe shell shocked was a better term for it. “Uh … the guy … he’s like her first love from high school. She married me on the rebound when he needed a little space and started tramping around Europe to find himself or some crap like that. I just … it caught me … off guard … happening again. I know that she’d been having a lot of second thoughts about our marriage. She was mad that I didn’t make detective. I tried to tell her it was just a budget thing but she thinks I did it on purpose to stay on patrol. She thinks I love my job more than I love her.”
More than a little uncomfortable about the sudden revelations I asked, “What … er … what does this have to do with the trailer?”
“Lily and I had a rip roaring fight the other night. She … uh … she said that if there was a divorce she was going to make sure she got her share of everything and then some for putting up with me all this time. It … uh … worries me. Her parents have money. They could hire a lawyer that would take me to the cleaners in half a second. I’m thirty years old Aria … I don’t want to go back down to zero, living on ramen noodles and oatmeal. It’s taken me too long just to get where I’m at right now, and I’ve had to scrimp and save to get this far. If she does what she threatened it could take me another ten years – maybe longer – to just get back to zero. I’ll be on the other side of forty and barely have anything to show for it.”
Still not sure I understood where he was going with this I asked, “You want to hide the trailer out here so that she can’t find it? I’m not sure that makes sense. She knows where I live Cal … and aren’t you thinking worst case scenario too soon?”
He sighed. “If this situation with Daniel taught me nothing else, it taught me that the worst case scenario is exactly what I need to prepare for. If it doesn’t happen then great; but if it does I don’t want my bare butt hanging out in the wind for the whole world to see. I don’t want that kind of regret.”
Worried about his state of mind I told him, “Ok, so bring your trailer out here. I can’t believe Lily would ever do that to you but if it makes you feel better to do this … and she finds out … you can at least tell her you’re just doing me a family favor.”
“It isn’t just the trailer.” He saw my concerned look; I have Feena to think of now and as much as I love Lily and Cal both and appreciate all they’ve done for me, I have to put her well-being first. “Don’t worry Aria, I’m not talking about money or anything that, certainly nothing illegal. I just want to cache some of my guns and ammo out here. A few other things too. She almost kicked me out of the house during the fight and if she does that the law is on her side and I might wind up losing some of my stuff or having her say that she is in fear of her life or something and … I get a swirly at the hands of some lawyer. Her parents have never exactly been thrilled with my gun collection, they’d love to have an excuse to … never mind, I’d just lose ‘em, probably never see them again and most of them belonged to my dad and his dad and I … I just can’t take that chance.”
“Cal, you know she’ll notice if things start disappearing from the house like that.”
“No she won’t. Most of that stuff has been put into storage since we got married. When her parents start making comments about something being in the house, or she made noise about not liking something, I would “get rid of it” by hiding it in the storage container. She’s never even gone with me to see it; the thing was originally rented by my parents, I just inherited the contract. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a clue what all is in there. But she knows where it is at and technically it could be force sold at auction so that the cash can be split 50/50.”
I still don’t think that Lily would ever do anything like that to him but Cal … well he was there – he AND Lily – when I needed them to be. If this helps Cal not to stress so much then of course I won’t object. He says it will also save him the lot rent and the storage container rent which is getting more and more expensive. He says he’ll be able to save that money in case he and Lily have to separate and he has to get an apartment until they can work things out. I hate to even think about it.
As bad as things got with Daniel, as horrible as it was, as horrible as the memories still are, at least I can say he was sick and didn’t know what he was doing. Somehow it seems so much worse when people tear each other up and they know exactly what they’re doing, that there are no excuses for their choices.