Family Matters


Family Matters

The Rescue: Finding the Courage to Let Go

May/June 2018


I first meet Peter at The Bookshop, a coffeehouse near my apartment. My dad has just died, suddenly. Peter sits across from me at the big library table, working on his laptop; I’m grading Shakespeare papers. He says hello, asks if I’m a professor, says he is too, and buys me a refill on my coffee. He’s attractive: tall, well-dressed in a casual way, older than I. He laughs at my jokes, asks for my phone number, and calls that night to invite me for a walk on the beach the next evening.

A whirlwind romance erupts. We walk a lot: on the beach, to the movies, to Starbucks near the shore. We talk: he was an English major too, then worked for IBM out of college, breaking the mold of East Coast business geeks by riding his motorcycle to work. He started his own business in Alabama, where he was a successful headhunter in the medical industry. He got an MBA, and is now in the marketing department at State, where I’m in the English department.

One evening as we walk back to his apartment, Peter clears his throat and says, “I need to tell you something.”

“Okay,” I say, moving closer as he takes my hand.

“I’ve been married before,” he says.

“I know,” I say. He’d told me about a too-early marriage to a high school sweetheart who got pregnant. Their daughter became a famous fashion model. He pauses, and I look up at him. His face is taut, and slightly flushed.

“There’s more,” he says. I wait. “I was married more times.” Plural?

“Oh?”…

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