Saturday, July 20th, 2024

B Book Excerpts by Jean Loxley-Barnard
THE HOPE TRAP -- Where is the Anger?


The following is an excerpt from The Hope Trap, Jean Loxley-Barnard's forthcoming book.

Throughout the months following my separation from Rob, my friends asked repeatedly, "Where is your anger?"

"I felt all the anger years ago," I'd answer, fully believing it to be so, especially after Rob and I began exchanging loving letters.

I had other emotions- some fear of the enormous changes in my life, a lot of sadness, even occasional joy. But no anger. I just couldn't find anger. Then, one night, anger found me.

In late June, I returned home from a trip with my sister to visit our parents in Massachusetts. I was exhausted when I pulled into my driveway just after dark.

I was glad to be home. At the same time, I felt uptight being back in my own house. Knowing that Rob came in as he pleased was disheartening. It did, however, make for some interesting listening material.

Even though I had changed the locks early on, Rob had figured out some way to get in. Why he would come to the house and make phone calls to Kitty, I couldn't figure out. But he did, and I collected the tapes.

I called Jo to tell her I was home as soon as I got unpacked and into bed. Jo could sound like I was the only person in the world that she wanted to hear from that very minute. She raised my spirits and her voice told me immediately that she had something exciting to share.

Even though I had changed the locks early on,
Rob had figured out some way to get in.

"I'm so glad to hear your voice," Jo said. "I got some stuff," she intoned, accenting the word stuff. My heart skipped. I knew the "stuff" was whatever she had collected on the tape under my bed. Jo had the job of going to my house while I was away to collect and change the tape under my bed.

"Sounded interesting really. Wait until you hear how he talks to people," Jo said in staccato, emphasizing each word.

"Tell me, tell me," I urged. I wanted to jump out of bed and drive to the office in my robe and hear it all for myself.

"It's good," Jo confided, "but I don't think you need to rush out to get it." Was she reading my mind? "Rob gets a lot of calls and was so rude I couldn't believe it. And," Jo lowered her voice, "there's more."

"What?" I begged.

"Let's just say between us girls that there's a whole lot goin' on." Jo didn't want to elaborate on the phone.

"Well, Rob has problems..." I cautioned. "We could get carried away and make Rob a bad guy, but Rob made himself bad enough," I heard myself say.

"Listen to this last tape carefully," was all Jo answered, adding, "I don't think I can do this again. I thought I'd have a heart attack while I was in the house. But wait till you hear what's on this tape!"

I tried to convince myself I could wait until the next morning. It didn't work.

I couldn't wait until morning. I got out of bed and threw on some clothes. I drove straight to the office, where Jo had stashed the tape.

I put one in the cassette player as I drove back home. Jo was right, there was a lot to listen to this time.