Tender Touch and Teddy Bear
I listen intently on the citizen’s band radio, it’s quiet. She’s not on these days. I listen from the apartment across the courtyard with all the devices at my disposal. I hear her with the children. She is putting up a good front for them. She has managed this week to go the marriage home and day by day pick up few of their things that she could carry by herself. A small TV for the kids, their toys, more of their clothes, their personal necessities, her clothes, a coffee table, some blankets, some pots and pans, some eating utensils.
But at night, after the children go to bed, I hear her quietly crying, every night. He calls her every day because he notices things are out of the house. She reminds him, that it’s still legally her home too, she owns these things too. She decorated the home, she supported him while he climbed the corporate ladder, she supported him and played the good little executive wife. She was a loyal and faithful wife, these are her things too. He calls her a whore, he tells her she’s crazy and she should check herself into a mental hospital or why doesn’t she just go back home to Kansas to her mother’s because she’ll never make it on her own. He’ll take away her kids so she’ll never see them again and he’s going to come on the weekend for his visitation. She says visitation is only fair. But she will have joint custody of her children. He was never there while they were together he was always gone. Traveling on trips, at parties, gone. She was the primary caregiver, she was there twenty-four hours a day. He had no clue, but she will be fair.
The weekend comes and he comes to pick up the children on Friday night. She hugs them tightly and kisses them with tears in her eyes as she watches them drive away. This is the first time she has been without her children overnight, let alone a weekend. She’s devastated. She runs up to the apartment, this time, she doesn’t cry quietly. I hear sobs, resounding sobs of despair. She cries herself to sleep that night and wakes early in the morning to face a weekend alone for the first time in her life, she is totally alone.
I watch her get in the van and drive away. I get in my truck and follow.
“Breaker, breaker one-nine, breaker breaker one-nine, Tender Touch, you out there?”, I query, hoping she has the radio in the van turned on. Crackle, crackle, “Breaker, breaker, you’ve got Tender Touch, is that you Teddy Bear?” She’s on. I’m thrilled. “Yep, sweetheart, it’s me, how you doin’ today? Haven’t heard you on in a while.” She weakly says, “Ok, hangin’ in there, hey, how about that cup of coffee, want to buy a girl a cup?” I smile to myself. “I thought you were a happily married woman”, I radio back. “That was last week, darlin'”, comes the reply.
We finally meet at Rosie’s Diner for that first cup of coffee and I get to see those beautiful green eyes, although red-rimmed from tears, they were the kindest and most gentle eyes I’d ever seen. I ask her what she means by the last week statement knowing full well everything that has been going on.
I know things that she doesn’t. I know about her husband’s affair with the young girl and the drugs. I sold him the drugs, I hate to admit it, but I did. I’m not a nice guy. In fact, I’m a really bad guy when compared to most people. I’m the kind of person, you would not take home to mother. I belong to a couple of organizations that, well, let’s say, I can’t tell you about, or I’d have to kill you, you know what I mean. I’m a biker. I’m Italian. I live on the East coast. Let’s just leave it at that. She doesn’t know this about me. I’m a truck driver, that’s all.
Anyway, all she says is that she and her husband have separated and probably will not get back together again. She doesn’t say anything bad about him. She just leaves it alone. She does say he’s got the kids this weekend and she misses them terribly and she is looking for a job. But today, she’s got go to the garage sales to get her new apartment in better shape, to make it more like a home for the kids. She also has to buy a typewriter to start writing her resumes and sending out job applications. She hasn’t worked since she’s been married and although she has a degree she has never used it. She’s a little worried. She’s running out of money and soon summer will be over and she really needs the job before school starts. Her oldest will start kindergarten and the youngest will be in preschool.
I buy her breakfast and we just sit and talk for a couple of hours about absolutely nothing. She doesn’t talk about him or her problems. She talks about what’s she’s looking for, the kinds of jobs, I talk about my family and all that kind of stuff. I’m falling for her and beginning to feel guilty as hell at myself and angry as hell at him. We part and I watch her drive away in that big blue van, I smile. I want to see her again, personally this time, not professionally.