The Confessions of Terri Harold
The remains of my kid sister Ann were discovered on a remote Oregon beach three weeks ago on January 26, 2012. She was 42, a year younger than I.
Morning coffee in hand, I am sitting across from my second husband Robert Harold, watching him as he writes.
Every morning he writes.
And now I too must write. Ann’s passing and the secret I keep from my husband compel me to record this confession. Robert’s quantum discoveries are historic in nature and must be recognized–but not before I have joined Ann.
This afternoon I will buy a lockbox and give my husband the key. I can trust my Robert.
Whoever opens this, follow the instructions. Please.
1990 to 2005
Men are a calculated risk, and my first was Wayne Rayson. We met by my design in a physics class at Stanford University during the winter quarter of 1990. My objective at Stanford was to find someone to marry. I thought it would help dispel the loneliness that returned after I arranged to move Mom, my sister Ann Sumner and her husband Roger to Newberg, Oregon. Wayne’s ability to excel in physics and engineering courses indicated he would be an adequate intellectual match. The sex duties I didn’t care about.
Wayne and I married that summer in his hometown of Redlands, California. Ann and Roger flew down for the wedding. They brought Mom with them. The other 155 guests were Wayne’s family and friends.
The receiving line was a chore–Wayne introducing his new bride to one stranger after another. The most memorable comment came from my sister. Ann held both my hands and drew me close. “Terri, now we both have honorable names. Don’t you ever move from the West Coast.”
“We won’t,” I promised. Then, hands still clasped, I drew her closer and spoke quietly. “Wayne would never move far from his ‘Mums’.” I thought Wayne’s term of endearment for his mother a waste of affection, but after I came to understand Helen’s qualities ‘Mums’ no longer bothered me.
Helen had come through the line earlier, blubbering. Wayne had no brothers or sisters so this was Helen’s big day as well as mine.
“Oh, honey,” she finally managed. “You’re such a beautiful young lady and a great addition to our little family. What a wonderful day! I love you so much. We will . . .”
Wayne’s father, Jerry, pushed gently at his portly wife until she stopped this embarrassing babble of emotion. What he said when he embraced me may have been well-intended, but it sent a chill through me I still remember. His skin, his flesh, touched me as he spoke. “I love you, Terri. Welcome to the Rayson family.”
Well, Jerry is not my father, and he would have no right to say that if he was.
I fled my male parent and his brother for Northern California when I was 16. Mom came along to provide the adult presence required by law to set me up in a small apartment in Monterey, and then flew back to Boston and sister Ann once she was convinced I’d be okay on my own. There was a faint scent of alcohol about her when we hugged goodbye at the airport.
Livermore High in Boston had agreed to our unusual request to issue my high school diploma in January of my sophomore year, two months after I passed the Mensa test and the day after I passed Livermore’s required exams. Mom sensed the school’s office staff was relieved to have me out of the system. I was relieved to be out of Boston. The morning of my parting day was spent in secret with Ann and remains the last day I wept, except for one notable occasion when I wept incessantly for myself. Perhaps I will describe that later, should I feel stronger than at this moment. Discussing our family circumstances is not easy for me, but necessary to the confession.
Ann journeyed to Monterey to live with me late the next year. Mom came with her, joining our abandonment of the Boston family. My apartment was too small for the three of us, so we rented a house. The year alone hadn’t been my worst, but I learned about loneliness and the struggle it requires to cope.
You can draw your own conclusions about my male parent and his brother. Their penchant for young girls, related to them or not, had flattened Mom into a lifeless automaton. I learned only recently how much she had known about Ann and me, the two they abused who were related. The Vaseline stains on our underclothes may have been tell-tale clues.
Mom regressed over the years until she preferred drinking over dining. Her decline could have come from harboring suspicions about the males, or it could have been from living in denial of what she knew. I learned the truth a few years ago in Portland, not long before she died. She knew.
No matter. Mom was the weakest of the three of us if you think about it. I got past it; why couldn’t she? Nothing happened to Mom, and I was only molested. The one who emerged crippled was Ann, and understandably so.
The pertinent fact here is that a large family trust had been created when my grandfather died. That previous fall I had witnessed the extraction of my male parent’s (or his brother’s) illegitimate issue from Ann, and I became volatile. I represented an increased risk of contacting the authorities now that one of us had pelvic scarring. My male parent arranged to have $250,000 released from the trust on the condition that I move to the West Coast. Part of the arrangement was that Ann had to stay in Boston until she healed. Leaving her behind was a mistake she always attributed to me, but shouldn’t have–at sixteen I was not yet in control of the trust.
Ann had met her husband Roger Sumner back in ninth grade. He was the quiet kid with a passion for woodshop and metal shop, always hanging around one or the other after school. Ann married him, for reasons that surfaced later, in December of 1990, six months before the summer I married Wayne. A Sacramento court agreed to my petition to become sole trustee of the family trust, at age 21, a year after my male parent and his brother had disappeared. I arranged for Ann and Roger to relocate, together with mom, to Newberg, a little town south and west of Portland.
My late teenage years, those Monterey years with mom and Ann, had become insufferable due to mom’s alcoholism and Ann’s growing dysfunction. The bond Ann and I had enjoyed during our early childhood years, before the brothers, withered as her behaviors became increasingly erratic.
A curious fact about relocating them to Newberg is that many of the family drinking glasses and coffee cups disappeared from the Monterey rental house several days before they left. I’ve known why for several years. Ann wanted to possess my fingerprints to ensure that I would always fear the full expanse of her manipulative depravity.
I continued to stay on at the Monterey house for a few weeks, relieved to have Mom and Ann off to Oregon. But the loneliness of having no one around overcame me. I wasn’t about to rejoin family, so I enrolled at Stanford to find someone to marry.
Wayne and I bought a home in Riverside, California in 1992, even though we were abroad more often than not. After a dozen years, all irrelevant to my confession, we moved to the town of Wenatchee, Washington, in 2005–my attempt to save our marriage. This year, 2012, is my seventh in Wenatchee. I was 36 when we moved here, I am 43 now, and I will remain in this wonderful area until I die–which won’t happen anytime soon, should I persevere and not follow Ann to an early grave. Now I have my new husband Robert to consider.
I’ve determined to set forth this record now that the turmoil surrounding Ann’s funeral has subsided. Had the four of us survived as couples, this year would have marked our 22nd anniversaries.
It’s important you understand that during the early years of our marriages Wayne Rayson and Roger Sumner were among the happiest of men. They had the benefit of wives who, in addition to wealth, possessed certain conditions of mind and experience that work in a man’s favor.
Part of our advantage over men is our superior intelligence; we can outthink them. The rest I attribute to our years of untoward experience. Ann and I learned to counter the manipulations of our male parent and his brother with manipulations of our own. Since we knew that eventually we’d have to succumb to them, we learned to manipulate them by enhancing their pleasures, thereby maintaining their favor and enabling some semblance of civility in the family between molestations. This may sound sick to you, but consider that during most of those years we were not yet fully grown. Our manipulations served as a defense against pain, both emotional and physical.
During each encounter, it was as if Ann and I could become temporarily absent our bodies, standing outside of ourselves, looking down and assessing how best to mitigate each circumstance. Perhaps this was our instinctive attempt to maintain a sense of humanity, to enable us to cope with life after it was over.
I will not attempt to explain this, it was too sordid. I refuse to commit any detail about their behaviors to writing. But our ability to escape ourselves worked–up to a point.
Enough of this.
I am keeping this disclosure about Ann’s and my youth as brief as possible. I couldn’t leave it out altogether. One irony is that our troubled early years are integral to how my Robert’s postulates come about. I’ve learned to handle my past–no need to risk bothering you with it.
It may seem incongruous here to switch abruptly to discuss my first husband, but my successful marriage to Wayne demonstrates that I emerged from youth little affected by the brothers. I was able to relate successfully to this wonderful man, one so well suited to a wholesome relationship.
My genuine admiration for Wayne led me to believe that loyalty to this good man could help me deal with life. My devotion to him during our early Riverside years reduced any desire to use my powers of manipulation. My need to exercise control narrowed to providing Wayne good sex and making sure he behaved generally as I wished. This was easy, since until recent years he loved me.
Wayne Rayson was among the happiest of husbands before he began to obsess about poker during our last year in Riverside. By our early thirties my control of Wayne was less evident, but then a poker game gripped him and quickly became what, at the time, I considered an addiction. I was no longer able to compete with such an intruder and became stressed. I began to start little tiffs about his habit.
Ann had taken a different tack with Roger, since she had no interest in a real marriage. She kept his male needs satisfied, but was more interested in his skills as a carpenter and handyman to keep their historic Oregon house in good repair. Roger was puppy-dog happy. Ann controlled him within a narrow world she had defined, but he never seemed to care. Her inability to provide normal intercourse may have bothered him–but maybe not.
As my abilities to manipulate declined over time, hers only increased. I may have already said that. Ann’s phone calls and the incriminating fingerprints she left at the scenes of her excursions serve as proof.
Understand that I was not as attractive as Ann, although we maintained the same basic figures over the years that we had when we married. Both she and I are blessed with those female ratios that arouse men, but I lack Ann’s flesh. Size four does not draw men as readily as size ten. My small pert breasts with well-defined nipples and a waist that tapers to almost nothing have their erotic value, but physically I am no match for Ann’s full form.
Nor was I a physical match for the women Wayne Rayson had attracted at Stanford. Wayne has an appealing presence–he stands at 6-foot-2, he is sure of himself, and loves life naturally. The attentions of attractive women were constant. I suffered as Wayne’s opposite, since I seldom indicated an interest in life, or in people, from one moment to the next. But those Stanford beauties drawn to Wayne were at a disadvantage, given my abilities to control during those years.
I selected Wayne primarily for company, a man who was intelligent and mild mannered. A lesser reason was to fulfill early childhood dreams of romance, dreams so strong they managed to survive life’s reality of sexual usury. As it turned out, I was lucky, and I came to like Wayne as well as admire him–to value those qualities pressed into him by Jerry and Helen during his formative years.
It was different for Ann. I came through whole; she didn’t. I married Wayne out of respect for his special male nature, one far superior to the two men I had known growing up. He was a revelation–my first intimate relationship with someone considerate of how I felt. My kid sister came through damaged, both emotionally and, as I said, physically. She married Roger to cover the darkness that permeated her core–a show of surface normality to hide her subsurface passion for revenge.
That was a bit cynical. I later came to understand that she had other reasons to keep Roger around, better ones.
Wayne graduated from Stanford in 1992. I had started college late, at age 21, and only attended Wayne’s engineering and physics classes until he graduated. I didn’t have sufficient credits for a degree, but I’d like to add for this record that I never received a grade less than A-. Physics and engineering courses at Stanford aren’t easy for most; they were for me.
After we married, Wayne didn’t seem to miss those attractive Stanford women who were always swirling about. I used my special abilities to create an effective match of husband and wife, and I kept us matched as long as I could. Wayne didn’t often suspect there was a highly-developed framework of control determining everything I said or did. In the beginning, I gave him one hell of a sex life. There are times I wish Wayne could have provided the same for me, but that wasn’t an option. I may have already referred to my problem related to that area of fulfillment. Shit.
The first twelve or so years of our marriage, our Riverside period, isn’t important to this record. Nothing of significance happened in our lives prior to Wayne’s addiction to the absurd poker game called Texas Hold’em. At least I thought it absurd at the time.
That doesn’t quite work. The original purpose of this confession was to disclose Robert’s great accomplishment, the one that only I know about, so I glossed over portions of the record that relate to me and my sister. But now these damn confessions are as much about Ann and me as they are about Robert, so during this interminable editing process I should set a few things straight.
Wayne began to play poker because I refused to bear children. After eight years he finally gave up and turned to poker to fill the void, and to escape Mums all too obvious hints for progeny. Poker was the surface issue–having children was the real issue. I thought I could avoid discussing a few of these private things, but now I must consider that this manuscript reads as much like my biography as it does Robert’s astounding discovery, so I inserted this.
Ann shared in the children thing, too, but mostly after the Riverside years. The Boston event was so severe she was unable to conceive and her insistence that I bear a child became yet another way she tortured me.
As I’ve said, Wayne and I spent more time abroad than at our Riverside home during the early years of our marriage. I felt a compelling need to be with Wayne and build a new life around him; my attempt to overcome the damage of the Monterey period–those years of an incessant hammering of family dysfunction–and the one thing traveling accomplishes is constant togetherness. Europe was my favorite, and Russia. I was drawn to their abundance of history, their varieties of architecture, their grand works of art. St. Petersburg–my god. And Paris. And wine.
But Wayne, to his credit I guess, grew unsettled by this sybaritic lifestyle, made possible through my control of the family trust, valued at over $7 million at the time.
Early in 1995, after three years married, Wayne accepted an engineering position at Riverside Power and Light. His decision to lead a more structured life allowed us to remain within driving distance of his parents. We were no longer always off to Europe or Russia or Australia or the Far East or wherever. But being homebound I missed the higher level of excitement I’d felt during our near-continuous vacation. I became bored during the days with Wayne now absent. Financially independent, I didn’t need to work and wasn’t about to turn to some inane job to keep occupied.
Golf lessons helped and I joined a women’s golf club for a time, until I discovered that playing alone is better. I am more settled when alone or undisturbed, so long as I’m not totally isolated and have a life-companion. I had Wayne then, and now I have my Robert.
Wayne requested that we restrict withdrawals from the family trust to an amount that matched his Riverside P&L salary. I agreed to this partly because I was subjected to Mums’ prodding. Wayne and I determined to live within those limits and to travel only during his vacations. Wayne’s entry into his engineering profession, though belated, served to honor his upbringing and schooling–and it provided the discipline his nature requires. This worked well until poker made its insidious attempt to ruin our marriage in 2005.
The day Wayne began the Riverside P&L job he turned his back on the trust. This confirmed that he had married me for love, not for money–which, of course, I liked. Wayne seldom inquired about the trust, or indicated any gratitude for the considerable performance gains the few times he did. Perhaps he resented our wealth down at a level where it’s best not to inquire.
I knew to faithfully apply the momentum algorithms Ann developed that signaled when to invest in high yield mutual funds–and, more important, when not to. Today, after decades of averaging nearly 9% a year, the family trust is just shy of $12 million. It would be considerably more had I not withdrawn nearly $4 million for my two houses and $5 million last year for the divorce settlement. Now that Ann is dead, the trust will be dissolved and absorbed into my estate.
I remember bits and pieces of our conversations about the decision to make an abrupt move from Riverside to Wenatchee, a small town in the center of Washington State. The conversations I present here aren’t literally accurate, and so I’ve taken the necessary liberties. It was Ann who had the superior memory. Also, consider that the year 2005 was seven years ago and this is my confession. And I can do as I please. No one is holding a gun to your head to read this! What am I talking about? My Robert will know where this record is kept and he will probably destroy it after I’m dead.
I fall into these terrible states–like I just did–so damn often now. I probably shouldn’t write when I disassociate, but I can always change it later or edit it out.
But one more thing! Don’t get the idea I was jealous of my sister. My body is just fine, thank you. My memory is better than yours and better than 99% of everybody’s. I handled life a lot better than Ann did. I never threatened to frame her for committing felonies! Never!!
I have to go pee.
I decided to leave that little sidestep in for now. It says more about me than I’m willing to say when I’m calm and my record shouldn’t be too sugar-coated, don’t you agree?
I’ve always been jealous of Ann. If you’re a woman you would naturally understand this. She was endowed not only with more body than I, but with an intelligence that excelled. They sought Ann out, ignoring me, after we took the Mensa test as a lark in our teenage years. Passing the test placed our intelligence in the top 2% of the population. It placed Ann in the crosshairs of universities and corporations trying to weasel their way into the life of a 14-year-old girl. It was a nightmare after word got out, and word was not supposed to get out. I once thought her IQ must have started with a 2 to cause their guidelines to break down like that.
I will also admit that Wayne used to let his eyes follow Ann around whenever we were together, no matter how hard he may have tried to control himself. One reason I seldom suggested we visit them in Newberg was to avoid reminders of his wandering attention. Ann and I were close as children, a bond to survive the males perhaps, but we grew apart over the years. Wayne’s lustful interest certainly didn’t help.
Oh yes, Wenatchee. Wayne’s parents, Jerry and Helen, are the closest I’ve come to knowing that an Ozzie and Harriet world sometimes happens. Those two are so straight and so retro. Wayne loves them not only as parents but for their qualities of character. Jerry and Helen are consistent and reasonable people who assume honor in everyone. I couldn’t help but become attached. All Mom ever did after Monterey was drink, read disgusting books, and make snide remarks. How did Ann put up with her?
Helen became special to me. She filled the void left by an alcoholic mother who would ignore us for days and sometimes weeks at a time during the Boston and Monterey years. You probably can’t relate to this assuming you have a real mother. Substitutes don’t work in the end, though. That damn Portland trip later in 2009.
Wayne’s father was working at Halverston Industries as a biochemist in 2005 and retired two years later. Halverston allowed Jerry to arrange his hours to suit an energy cycle he referred to as “my special biorhythms.” One advantage of his schedule was how well it set up our lunches together. Each Friday at 12:30 Jerry, Helen, and I would meet at the Sea Galley in Redlands. We would eat and talk, and then at 1:25 sharp Jerry would leave for work. I would turn the conversation to center around Helen, to probe her life. Her world was so different from what I had known.
Helen possesses a wonderful simplicity. Except possibly for my Robert, she’s the only person I’ve met who’s blessed with a combination of naïveté, character, religion, and love. The time of her birth in the late 1940s permitted her to develop a simpler life–one out of reach for the generations born later, spoiled by a greater affluence and the lures of technology.
Okay, Wenatchee. One Friday in the spring of that year, our three-way lunch conversations centered, as they had of late, on my current problems with Wayne and his gambling. I had implied in previous talks that I was willing to leave Wayne, to divorce him if necessary, if the gambling didn’t stop. I wanted to make sure Jerry and Helen were solidly in my corner.
“But Terri, Wenatchee is so far away,” Helen lamented. “We’d hardly ever see you.” Jerry twisted around in his seat; he was obviously uncomfortable with my proposal. “Washington State,” he mumbled.
“The job opening in Wenatchee is ideal, if the website is to be believed,” I said. “They must have made it with Wayne in mind, and there are other benefits. We can ski all winter practically from our doorstep. A few of the area’s golf courses have decent reputations and better courses aren’t more than a few hours’ drive.”
“It’s too remote,” Jerry said. “If you force Wayne to quit that damn card game cold turkey, he might divorce you. Ever think of that?”
“Honey, please.” Helen didn’t like her husband using words like “damn” and “divorce.”
“Wayne wants to end the matching-funds agreement we established with the family trust,” I said. I needed to shock them. “He thinks he is so good at cards he could make more money in poker tournaments and high-stakes games than he does working at Riverside Power & Light.”
“Oh, Terri, oh my goodness.” Helen said quietly. The woman amazed me. What kind of soul could offer “Oh my goodness” as her strongest response to news like that?
Read this as an aside. You and I would both be better off if we had a life like Helen Rayson’s. But we wouldn’t choose to trade with her if we could, would we? I know I wouldn’t, and I have that damnable kind of baggage that persists. I’ve never loved anyone save the younger Ann, although god knows, I have tried. Let that sink in. I haven’t loved anyone. If I had the capacity to love it would be Helen–as a mother.
I could go on and on with more fake conversations, but it would take pages. You can read novels if you prefer dialogue.
This is a confession.
I knew Wenatchee had a low-stakes poker room that would provide Wayne an outlet for what, at the time, I considered his disease. I knew it was little more than three hours’ drive to a casino that sponsors poker tournaments three times a year–one tournament each day for over a week. I knew that if we were in Wenatchee I had a chance to keep our marriage together.
One weekend in March I secretly flew to view the area while Wayne was off at a Texas Hold’em tournament in Reno. I rented a car at Pangborn Memorial Airport and explored Wenatchee and two nearby towns, one Bavarian in style to attract visitors–the other nestled by a large, beautiful lake.
Nice. Very nice.
That next week Jerry and Helen spent more time with their only son then they had in the past year. I knew they would, and I knew they’d be persuasive. I had set them up with that powerful word “divorce” to convince Wayne to take my suggestion seriously. Their influence prevailed, because Wayne agreed to visit Wenatchee. But there was one development I didn’t expect. Wayne loved Wenatchee from the moment he deplaned on that chilly April morning of his first visit. What great luck! His reaction gave me renewed hope.
The next day Wayne applied for the management opening at the Chelan County Public Utility District. That night he played in the small $3-$6 limit Texas Hold’em game at Kegler’s Casino in East Wenatchee. That was okay with me.
Life has changed so much since then. I now have easy access to everything my Robert ever wrote–two shelves’ worth. In the pages that follow I’ll begin to insert some of his writings to help you understand how his seven postulates came about.
I purpose this day to hike Dry Gulch for exercise before Bison Bagels. I will read through the letter “B” in Q is for Quantum. I will drive up to Black Lake to judge if it will be free of ice by season open. I will agree to one thing Connie asks. /// The ice is almost gone and chances are good the lake will be ready to fish. Did not make it through “B” in Q, the book is too circular. The dictionary format leads me everywhere to try to figure out what the physics terms mean. Went shopping with Connie. Bad choice. A young man I had not seen before came into Kegler’s about 7:30. His name is Wayne, and he is good. He would do well in higher limit games. Lost $47.
–Robert Harold, April 7, 2005
Relocating to Wenatchee seemed to go on without end. Wayne and I rented a large apartment and we lived there through the summer and on into the fall while awaiting the completion of our river house remodel. We moved into the river house during the first week of November and endured two weeks of sleeping there by night and contending with workmen by day. The final details of the remodel were complete by the week before Thanksgiving.
Our search for a suitable house had presented a dilemma. We were unable to decide between a house on the Columbia River, eight miles distant from Wayne’s work, and an old house on Lake Chelan, 25 miles distant.
So we bought both.
The dilapidated Lake Chelan house stood on a large lakefront lot. We had it dozed and proceeded to build the perfect home on the perfect site. It took over two years to complete, start to finish, and cost my family trust $3.1 million. This was an overreach, considering our intent was to spend most of our time down at the river house. Also, I’d decided to never risk having children. My lineage had somehow fouled, as confirmed by the brothers and by Ann’s condition. It would be irresponsible to pass those genes on. And let’s face it, children can be a pain and I tend to be a bit selfish.
Another edit here; again, about children. Be aware that Ann’s experience with her fetal extraction was responsible for her adult depravities–she was not otherwise unbalanced. My sister was not crazy in any technical sense. Unable to have children, she obsessed about them. One purposeful oversight in my original manuscript was to skip over her obsession. I sometimes think that if she hated me, it was over an absence of nieces and nephews. You may understand this later, since I admitted to the detailed carvings that she made in a large evergreen tree near the bluff–where she threw herself over–the crowning evidence of this flaw. It was not only the brothers. It was also children. Some attempt at family, even if vicarious through me. I say she wasn’t unbalanced, but perhaps she was, at least in this one respect. I was not about to bear children to please Helen, or to please Ann.
I’m a visual person and I hope you are too. A rough sketch of Wenatchee and surrounds might help. I’ve scribbled out drawings and sketches since before grade school and dozens of my adult efforts are displayed in our hallways and bedrooms. Sketching isn’t hard for me.
Wenatchee is a better place to live than either of the California towns I’d known, and by quite a margin. Jerry and Helen would be farther away than we liked, but they could just come to us, which they did often–sometimes for months at a time after Jerry’s retirement.
I hope you like where you live. If you like your surroundings you could go on and on about them, don’t you agree? Wayne and I simply adore Wenatchee. We golf, we ski, we like water, we hate traffic, we like seasons, real seasons. The town has all this and more, but you have likely not heard of it until now.
Wenatchee is destined to remain undiscovered. That’s okay with me. The major industries here are power from the dams and fruit from the orchards. Power doesn’t employ many people, and the great expanse of orchards discourages a high population density. Our winters are cold. Hundreds of the orchards would have been torn out long ago and overrun by retirement communities if our winters were mild.
Wenatchee represented our new start, our second chance. Wayne and I were energized by the move and by our new surroundings. Compared to women more fortunate than I, like Helen (and hopefully like you) I was not inferior during those early years in Wenatchee, like in my youth–and again in recent years. I was able to make small talk with others and not consider it a bother. This impressed Wayne and helped enliven our marriage. He wanted sex more often, and soon after our move I shared in his desire and began to understand its appeal.
I remember the first moment we entered the Cottonwood Apartments unit we rented as a place to live until the river house was ready. Wayne smiled. “We should’ve brought some furniture with us from California. Look at the size of this place.” The apartment floor plan was based on two combined upstairs units and had more space than we needed, but there’s something about too much space that appeals to me. The location of the Cottonwood Apartments is marked APT on my sketch.
Wayne’s trained logic was in gear. “We could buy some furniture now and transfer the pieces later to the river house. If that doesn’t work, we could use them for the guesthouse at the Lake Chelan complex, once it’s complete.”
“Lake Chelan complex,” I laughed. “Listen to you.” Actually, it was a good idea. Wayne and I found the Davis Furniture store, located in Old Town Wenatchee, through their constant TV ads. We shopped there together for hours. Jenny Thompson became our sales agent and it wasn’t long before she and I were friends–my first real friend.
We bought a bedroom set that Jenny thought would also work at the river house. The Davis delivery men assembled the bed in the apartment’s master bedroom. They left mid-morning. “Let’s do sex,” I suggested, amazed at myself considering the time of day and that I could even be interested. (I suppose you would have said “let’s make love.”) There weren’t even sheets yet. I was slipping into those years when I was more open to the experiences life has to offer.
That morning, and into the noon hour, we established a tone for the next two and a half years. I willed myself to help Wayne carry on for a while. There were times he had a lot of sexual energy, and like many men, Wayne doesn’t take long after his first orgasm to regain interest. Still, there was too much time between his efforts to bridge with convincing intimacy and I remember struggling with the concentration required. My abilities to fake excitement and pleasure are so practiced Wayne has never suspected my failure to climax.
That next day, while Wayne was touring the dam complex, I met Mary Creighton. She lived downstairs and served for a time as my substitute Helen. Read “Mother.” She was a feisty older woman who had dealt with two cancers and was beginning a battle with her third, breast cancer this time. The diagnosis was confirmed two weeks before we moved into the unit above her. The worst ordeal Mary described was a severe brain cancer in 1992. She told me that her demands to get a driver’s license, in spite of her functional disability, finally paid off after six years of trying. Someone at the bureau finally wore down and gave in to her. A second fender-bender last year, 2011, got her de-licensed for good.