Barbara began the day struggling to concentrate mindfully, reticulating on the complexity of her life. Her wandering focus was interrupted by Julie entering. She was her only patient scheduled for the morning—another married woman with a roving husband who yearned to keep her marriage, merely for security.
Barbara opened the time-worn manila folder, scanned the previous session’s notes to refresh her mind. She then acknowledged Julie and smiled as she sat directly across from her in the comfortable chair. She then looked down as though reading and thought, ‘How sad to stay with someone only for security is like being a legal prostitute.’ Then said, “Julie, what’s been going on this past week?”
Barbara listened, and as she vacillated about all the happening of her problematic life. Barbara interrupted her to regain her focus. She asked, “Have you given any thoughts to last week’s suggestion?”
“I did. I signed up to finish my teaching degree. The administrator said they would accept all my credits. I can finish most of it online and do the finals at the college. I’ll graduate at the end of this year.”
“Julie, That’s wonderful. You accomplished all that in one week,” Barbara was amazed, for the first time she had taken her suggestion. “Now think about meeting people, maybe a gym or the Y. You’re doing great. I can’t wait to see you next week and hear how well you’re moving forward.”
Julie looked at Barbara, saying how much she appreciated her guidance. She would never have finished her degree if she hadn’t suggested it. She said, “I intend to look into a gym. There’s one within walking distance from where I live. I’m starting to feel better about myself. I know now I want to move forward to gain my self-esteem.”
Barbara said, “See you next week.”
After Julie left, she reclined in her leather office chair, put her head back, and closed her eyes. Barbara’s mind reflected on the multiple clouded judgments made during her marriage to Carl. Why hadn’t she considered her profession, which haunts her to this day? She questioned the why’s of self mentation. Taking a patient’s history doesn’t make sense when her situation is fruitless. For years, a web of lies has become a jagged pattern that allowed Carl to hoodwink her. Now feeling void of future dreams. All Barbara could think was, ‘I blinded by my truth?
The Town Square clock chimed twelve, and Barbara validated it by looking on her desk digital, Friday, 12:04. It was time to leave and finalize her declaration of independence. She had agreed on the lawyer’s terms to get her life in order. Previously she had reserved a suite for the weekend at the Hotel Mariott. Her bags were packed, and the ordered cab should be waiting outside her office. She took a deep breath and hurried out.
In the distance, a parked cab was waiting, and Barbara quickly walked towards it. She leaned on the driver-side open window, looked inside, and asked, “Are you waiting for Dr. Barbara MacMartin?”
“I sure am. Would that be you?”
Barbara nodded, and he gave a nod in return. He noticed she had a few pieces of luggage, then proceeded to assist his passenger, placing the two overnight valises in the cab’s trunk. Barbara silently handed him a paper with the address of her destination. He nodded as he noticed the familiar address. Upon arrival, she asked him to wait for her. He reminded her that her luggage was in his trunk. She told him it shouldn’t take very long. He reminded her the meter would be running. All Barbara could say was, “Thank you,”
It was near the end of the day as Carl had wanted to facilitate his use of time. Not only did he deceive and break her heart, but Carl also manipulated their judicial appointment for his convenience.
Barbara took a deep breath of relief as she exited the courthouse doors, paused on the top landing, wondering, how did this happen? ‘I put that bastard through college working double shifts at the hospital psych ward. Now that he’s successful, he wanted a divorce. Now you’re going to share our dreams with your young girlfriend. Go to Hell, Carl! I got my annulment.’ She slowly stepped down the granite stairs, and there he was, sitting in the sports Jaguar, purchased with her money, next to his young sweetie, and kissing her passionately.
Trying to feel dignified, she felt relieved from the vortex of his confusion. She held her head high looked straight ahead. In a statuesque feminine stride, she sauntered to her waiting cab, swallowing to clear the lump in her throat, thinking, ‘I’m going to puke,’ and saying to herself, ‘I’m going to dissect you starting with your penis. God, please don’t let me faint.’
When her cabbie noticed his passenger finally coming down the steps, it was late afternoon. He watched, making sure she was all right as he noticed she looked off-balance.
Barbara’s cab driver was waiting, with the meter running. She climbed into the back seat and asked, “Would you please stop at the first bar you see. I want to have a celebratory drink and toast to the success of my former husband’s future lobotomy.”
“Lady, that’s a pretty serious thing to say. I’ve felt that way myself at times. Better to drown your sorrow. I have the perfect place for that drink. I wallowed in a few.” He drove to a side street and stopped in front of Clancy’s.
Barbara thought how unique. Of course, an Irish bar. It looked a bit sleazy and matched her thoughts perfectly. She asked him to accompany her in because it looked a little rough and asked, “By the way, what is your name?”
“Henry’s, my name. It was originally Honour, an old Scottish name, but I Americanized it.”
She sat there and listened to him ramble on and thought, ‘I don’t care what the derivative is of your name. I could care less about your history right now. All I asked was your name?’
“Too many people would poke fun at me being named Honour. I assure you, Miss, I am an honorable man. I changed it to Henry. I’m on duty, and the meter is running. Don’t worry. I’ll keep an eye out. Tell the Bartender that Henry is waiting outside, and he’ll watch over you. Mark my word.”
Barbara thought, ‘After that explanation, he should remain in his cab.’ She continued to think, ‘Watch over me! Mark my word! all these clichés. I guess that’s what cabbies do; they engage in foolish conversation all the time.’ Bobbie proceeded to walk into Clancy’s, sat at the bar, and ordered a glass of Merlot. She introduced herself to the bartender. “My name is Barbara, but please call me Bobbie. By the way, Henry told me you’d watch over me while I’m in here. He’s my driver tonight.”
Bobbie returned to the cab with a smirk on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell Henry how pleasantly surprised she was that Clancy’s wasn’t what she had imagined. She was stunned that it was an authentic Scottish Pub, then she thanked him for taking her there as it brought her back to her college days.
Barbara asked Henry to call her Bobbie as that’s what her friends call her. Barbara sounds too professional. Bobbie told Henry she mentioned his name to the bartender. He laughed and said that everyone calls you Honour. At that, Henry laughed and went into his Scottish brogue and said, “That’s why I told you my Scottish name, just in case you needed it as a reference.”
She mentioned how much she enjoyed Clancy’s and would like to return at another time. It brought back memories of my youth. I didn’t drink, but there were many happy memories, and I’d like to come back at another time. I am of Scottish descent. My great-grandfather came from Scotland and settled in Nova Scotia. That’s a long story, and I’ll save it for perhaps a time when I go back to Clancy’s.
“Where do ye want to go now Missy,” Henry asked in his Scottish brogue.
“To the Marriott” Bobbie was amused at Henry’s dialect. She felt a sense of happiness. An aura of relief came over her. Her decision to reserve the suite through Sunday gave thought that a mini-vacation was what she needed. Her valise and overnighter would come in handy. Bobbie could only think of the sorrow if she returned to an empty home with the regretful reminders of Carl’s infidelities. Now another woman is reaping the profit of her efforts. She was relieved that she had never revealed any of her savings, inheritance, and investments. Most of all, she kept her past a secret, never spoke of Joseph or Joey to Carl or introduced his mother or stepfather. The annulment took care of that.
On the way to the courthouse, she remembered seeing an elegant dress shop. The store looked interesting, also expensive, but at this point, she didn’t care.
“Henry, I want you to stop at a dress shop I had seen on the way today. I’ll point it out to you.” Henry obliged, respecting her last-minute decision, and when she said stop, he realized this was one of the city’s most expensive lady’s boutiques.
“Miss, enjoy yourself, and take your time.”
About an hour later, he noticed she was standing in front of the store holding several parcels clutched in her hand and under her arms. Henry pulled his cab in front, got out, and loaded them into the trunk of the cab beside her overnight luggage. Off they went towards the Marriott. She was exceedingly delighted and chatted about how the shopping adventure energized her. She then asked if he knew of any dinner nightclubs in the area?
He told her that there was one that would be fitting for a fine lady like herself. She asked if he was available to drive her for the night. He replied yes, and asked him to pick her up at seven.
Barbara went to the Guest Check-in desk to secure her room pass. She then grabbed a Moche Latte’ at the guest convenience coffee bar. The Bell Boy waited patiently to assist with her packages and luggage. When they arrived at her suite, he brought the parcels in, and she gave him a sizable tip. He bowed and thanked her, saying, “Miss, I’m grateful for your generosity. As a college student, I appreciate this very much.”
“I understand. I was there once myself. What are you studying?”
“ Psychology, I want to be a Psychologist. I’m on a scholarship and small student loan, but it doesn’t pay for any extras. I like working here. I meet a lot of nice patrons.”
Barbara asked him his name and college?
He replied, “Andrew, I attend NYU.”
She handed him a pad and pen and asked him to print his full name, number, and grade average. When he handed it back, she glanced it over and told him to expect a call from an NYU staff employee named Rachael in a day or two. She knew when he thanked her; he was being polite but looked perplexed.
Then she told him, “Andrew, what a coincidence, I work at NYU. Maybe I’ll see you there someday. Good luck with your studies.”
Barbara organized hanging her new dresses, then unpacked her luggage, placing it neatly into the dresser. She then sat in the chair next to the windows that overlooked Long Island Sound. She couldn’t clear her mind of Andrew, the Bell-Boy, who worked two jobs. Barbara thought, ‘Now is the perfect time to set up the scholarship fund in Joseph’s name. The Bell Boy is the perfect first recipient. I know the family will approve of Andrew.’
She took out her cell phone, pushed her office icon. “Hi, Rachael, this is Dr. MacMartin. I have an application from a young man named Andrew, who happens to be a student at NYU. I want him as my Research Assistant. I’m sending you a photo shot of his details. When you contact him, ask him to report first thing Monday morning to my office. Please mention that a Research Assistance will receive a full college scholarship with a stipend. Not to worry, I am setting up this scholarship and will explain when I see you. If there are any questions, we’ll talk then. Thanks, Rachael. I’ll see you, and by the way, don’t mention my name.”
Then she relaxed with her Latte’—watching the motion of the water as it placed her mind in a state of tranquility. At last, this was the first time in years that she could enjoy the blank sound of calm and felt relaxed.
Barbara, known to her friends as Bobbie, allowed herself to reflect as she held onto the cup’s warmth. Her mind retreated to the long-ago memories tucked far back into her mind. Back to her high school days, excelling in the honors program, feeling happy for the full scholarship to an Ivy League College in their medical program.
Her elderly grandparents brought up Bobbie on a small farm. During her early college years, she worked in the morgue to help pay for the extras. She loved working there and had considered Forensic Sciences but discounted the thought as she wanted to become a heart surgeon. Her grandfather had a cardiovascular condition, and she wanted to help others with this condition. During her fourth year, it was then that five male medical students came into the morgue. She had worked on an intricate project for a facial surgeon and decided to continue late one evening to finalize the restructuring. It was at that late hour that she was viciously attacked and raped one by one. They left her inside the stainless-steel cadaver bin, sealing her alongside the cadaver’s body. Unable to get out, Bobbie lay there naked. The room was cold, and screaming was not an option. She needed to preserve her energy to prevent herself from becoming hyperthermic. She lay there quietly to listen for the door to open, knowing the doctor she worked for would come in soon for her facial bone work-up. Later that evening, he found Bobbie, covered her, then placed her on a gurney and took her to the ER for treatment.
It was grueling for her as she was a virgin and the attending ER team had to examine her for possible damage and social disease. She remembered how they kept her overnight as the college and hospital were affiliated. The staff needed to keep the incident private.
The college couldn’t discipline the boys because they were from wealthy families. The parents were part of the Alumni who made a substantial donation to the college and wanted the faculty to make the problem go away, so the boys got a slap on the hands and continued to create havoc. Bobbie returned to pre-med within the week, shared the same classes, and made rounds with identical boys. It was tough on her as they continued to smirk and gesture within the realm of classes. It wasn’t, but a few months later, when Bobbie found out, she was pregnant. She continued her studies. The boys would walk by and see that she was carrying a child, then they stopped sneering.
One day, Joe stopped and asked her if they could talk in private and mentioned he’d like to help. They were in the same med and lab classes for a couple of years. Although she knew that his name was Joe, she never had time to get involved in any outside activities as she had to work.
Bobbie continued to reflect on the darting memories of her forever love Joe and precious-year-old Joey. Her mind could see them laughing. She put her arms around herself, imagining them hugging her. Bobbie looked up and asked God to give her a sign that they were okay. She felt overwhelmed, thinking she could hear a soft voice whispering in her ear, ‘You have loved, and you will always be loved by two Joseph’s.’
She remembered how Joe mentioned his sister and how he would react if this had happened to her. He said he spoke to his mother, and she agreed. We want to help. Joe brought Bobbie home to their place in the country, and his mother made a suite up for her. As life would have it, they became good friends during her four months of pregnancy.
They continued college until the delivery, which he and his mother attended. Her obstetrician, Dr. Michaelson, delivered a healthy baby boy. They all instantly fell in love with him, and she named the baby Joseph after Joe. He asked if he could put his name on the babies, birth certificate; otherwise, it would say father unknown. They spent all their free time together. In a short time, Joe proposed to Bobbie. He loved her and little Joey and wanted to make them an official family. His mother concurred but asked them to finish college and said she and her maid, Maria, would take care of Joey, and they approved.
Bobbie and Joseph married on the mansion’s patio in a simple ceremony. Joseph’s sister Rosa Louise was Maid of Honor and Joseph’s Stepfather, Vincent, as Best Man. Bobbies Grandparents, and his mother, invited a few close friends and neighbors and a few of the bride and groom’s college friends.
Bobbie started to tear up, thinking about her grandparents. The joy they shared holding little Joey and seeing Barbara married to a fine young man. Bobbie wondered why God had put so much grief on her shoulders at such a young age. She shook her head and knew there had to be a reason, but why?
She still wondered why, when she went for her check-up, Dr. Michaelson told her that the problematic delivery left her unable to have more children. She was devastated, and at that time, she had decided she would take the year off to enjoy Joey, then return the following semester. Joe had switched his degree after his dad had died of undetected heart disease, and he’d finish the following year. After all, Joe will become a doctor, and when Joey is a year old, Bobbie will return to pre-med.
She sat in the hotel chair and flashed back to how the mansion was full of excitement. Both Joe and Joey filled Bobbie’s heart with all the love and comfort of how she missed being away from her grandparents. Living in the mansion was unlike her upbringing. She was a country girl and wanted to show Joe where she grew up. Joe’s mom would tell her about Joe’s dad and how he carried his father’s name and the delight that Joey’s named after him, and the tradition of naming from father to son, being brought down through the family.
Bobbie loved her more for the acceptance and commonality they shared. They both were originality country girls of sorts. They used to call her a casual girl. She would talk about her upbringing and how she kept her family cottage to have a country home. She always said never forget from whence you came. Bobbie sat in the chair and remembered how those words stuck in her mind, which prompted her to ask Joe to bring her back home and show him where she came.
Bobbie mentioned she wanted to take a trip to visit her elderly grandparents and show him her roots. They packed a couple of bags and put Joey in the back, strapped in his car seat. Joe got in, and everyone was waving goodbye to his parent’s and Joey was throwing baby kisses. By the time they got down the curved driveway, it didn’t take long for them to arrive at the highway. Bobbie was grateful that Joey finally fell asleep so they could enjoy a peaceful ride. She and Joe were chatting, and he began to accelerate as he started up the ramp to gather speed to get into the proper lane. As they approached the entrance lane on the expressway, a speeding vehicle came out of nowhere and hit their car full force, making it spin out of control. Joey was in the back, strapped in his car seat. Their SUV kept turning over several times, and they were all unconscious when the police, ambulance, and EMTs arrived.
Bobbie had no memory of the impact. When she opened her eyes, she tried to turn and look in the back seat for Joey. She started to turn her head, but the massive shards of pain paralyzed her movement. Bobbie suddenly realized they were in an accident. She could barely see through her swollen eyes. Joe’s mom was leaning over her in tears. Bobbie asked where he and Joey were? She took Bobbie’s hand, kissed it, looking at Bobbie; tears flowed down her face. Without saying a word, Bobbie knew they were gone. As she lay there, she remembered screaming and her baby crying, then quiet, and in her mind, she closed her eyes. ‘God, take care of my forever loves.’
Clara looked at Bobbie with tearful eyes, then she looked at Bobbie, put her head down on the bed in a prayer position, and slowly lifted it. Bobbie lay there motionless and said, “Bury them together. At least they won’t be lonely in heaven, and they’ll have each other. Bury them in the family cemetery. Joseph would like that. They love each other.” She then said, “As soon as I recover, I’m going back to med school.”
She remembered the long severe grief and demanding recovery. Bobbie didn’t want to be in the same class with the boys who violated her and with Joseph and baby Joey’s death. She made a conscious decision. Having a difficult time coming to terms with everything, she decided to switch over to Neuropsychology.
Another difficult decision she had to make was to move out of the mansion and take an apartment closer to the hospital. Her career was advancing, and her dedication helped her deal with the double grief. Bobbie went back to her maiden name, and in her mind, she would hold Joe and Joey locked in her heart forever.
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