Saturday, July 20th, 2024

B Book Excerpts by Jean Loxley-Barnard
The Hope Trap -- April Fools' Day



THE HOPE TRAP -- APRIL FOOLS' DAY

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

April Fools' Day. What a day for my first appointment with a lawyer.

Ironically, April first was my sister's wedding anniversary. It was also Rob's brother's anniversary. I always found it odd that my only sister and his only brother both had wedding anniversaries on April Fools' Day.

April Fools' Day would also mark my marriage â€" in a different way â€" the beginning of its end. I would see an attorney and cite examples of some extraordinary events that had led to my decision not to be a fool again.


    Death at the Window


Rob and I had planned a trip to New Orleans for a medical meeting the next day. Working past five, I got an almost hysterical call from our son, Jay, 12 years old at the time, and alone at home. Someone had just called, he told me breathlessly, threatening to kill his father.

Rushing home, I called Rob. He took the threat rather lightly, I thought, but after pressure, agreed to call the police.

Just as the police arrived, a call came in. I turned on a portable phone just in time to hear a distraught older man ask Rob why he had taken his daughter-in-law to a motel that afternoon. I froze to the spot. As I listened, it all became clear.

Rob was having an affair with a former employee, who was just a few years older than our daughter. Her husband's brother had become suspicious, and followed her.

On that afternoon, he had kicked in the door of what turned out to be a little efficiency apartment in a sleazy part of town, rented by the month. The brother-in-law had begun to beat Rob, who did not resist. Disgusted, he left and went to tell his brother.


The outraged husband had called our home,
saying to Jay, who sounded older than his 12 years,
"Tell your father I'm going to kill him."
He was later appalled to find out
he had frightened a boy.



The outraged husband had called our home, saying to Jay, who sounded older than his 12 years, "Tell your father I'm going to kill him." He was later appalled to find out he had frightened a boy.

"It's just another affair," I explained to the police. "And this time the girl's husband, brother and father aren't taking it lightly!"

When the police left, I told Rob to get out. Then I called Charlie, as both Rob and I always had when trouble loomed. He and his wife Terri came right away, sitting in the living room while I filled them in.

Unbeknownst to us, the offended husband had arrived outside, trained his rifle through the living room window, waiting to shoot Rob. Fortunately for Rob, my throwing him out of the house after the police left had saved his life.

It was Charlie whom the offended husband fixed in his rifle sight. Fortunately, he had been Rob's patient, so he realized Charlie was not Rob.

Charlie and Terri consoled me, not knowing the danger. Only later had the young husband told me what he had contemplated, and his relief that Rob had not been there.

I did not imagine at the time that it was not the worst of Rob's escalating affairs.