Saturday, July 20th, 2024

B Book Excerpts by Jean Loxley-Barnard
The Hope Trap -- Anger Finds Me


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

It was hard to go through the beginning of the tape when there were a lot of things I didn't even want to hear.  One call was from Jo, who left a message for Jay asking for a duplicate key to get in to do something for me.  Jay answered that Rob had said no - it was still his house. 
Jo then called my son-in-law, Quent, who had a key and did let her in, not wanting to know why, but suspecting the worst.  Jo told me, laughing, that neither she nor Quent, who was every bit as uncomfortable as she was, wanted to do what they were doing ever again.  Jo then asked Quent to wait and toot his horn if anyone came up the driveway. 
"He was not a happy camper," Jo recounted, "but he did it.  I couldn't have done it if there wasn't someone outside watching for Rob," she confessed, "and I don't think I could do it again."
Finally, I heard Rob's voice. "Answer the dag burned phone, will ya'," he shouted.
"You have reached your physician's answering service," came a female voice.
"I know that!" Rob shouted in his inimitable way.
"All lines are busy," the recorded voice said.
"All lines are busy," Rob mocked.   
I sat on the bed to listen.  Rob dialed.  A nurse in the ER answered and Rob identified himself.  She asked him to hold on.
"What a fickle fellow you are," I heard Rob say.  I could tell he was talking to the cat.
Then, addressing the ER nurse, Rob said, "You call me back when . . . Hello,  hello!" He whistled in to the phone.  Next, impatient, the doctor yelled,  "Hello!" just before he hung up.
Rob called the ER.  "This is Dr. Hood.  Do you know what you want out of me now?"  the doctor asked sarcastically. I recalled Jo had told me how rude Rob was to the nurses. 
Rob made another call.  "Answer, answer, answer" and talked to someone in the background  "Don't you let him do that." 
Someone in the background .?  I decided to listen carefully to Rob's segments again.  That's when I heard it - a voice in the background during one break where Rob was waiting for a nurse to come on the line.  I played it several times to be certain.
Jo hadn't recognized the voice on the few seconds of the tape that caught my attention.  Those seconds called all my pain into focus.
The voice in the background was somewhat distant, but I recognized it.   While Rob waited impatiently for the ward nurse who had paged him to answer, I could hear Kitty in the background.   Kitty had been in my home.  

In my home! While I was in Boston visiting my sick father!  A feeling swelled up inside of me until I thought I might literally explode.  Anger was not descriptive.   Anger didn't even come close. 
It was one thing to know that my husband was having an affair with the girl.  Their behavior was theirs, separate after all from me.
Yes, it was one thing to know about Kitty.   It was entirely something else to know that she had been in my home.

I didn't know if I would breathe again, and then I didn't know if I could stop the pace of my rapid breathing.  I had to get control.  I lay down on the bed for a moment and tried breathing deeply.

This time, Rob had gone too far, way too far.  I was not going to have my husband, separated or not, bringing any teenager into my home.  I wondered if they had been in my bed.  I had to stop thinking about it and do something about it.

I would call her mother, I decided.  Right now.  She was the one I will hold responsible for her child. I picked up the phone and dialed the number Rob would never have guessed I knew.  Finally, now, I made the phone call that would change everything.

"Patsy, this is Julie Hood," I started right in, not so pleasantly.  "As the adult in charge, I want you to keep your child out of my house."   What a relief it was to say that.

I would not have believed that it was possible for me to hear what Kitty's mother said next.