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She needed a favor from her gay friend.
Lots of ugly little things were exposed on both sides. For the most part, we were working through them. There was one Karen struggled a lot with; it was the fact I refused to talk to my ex-wife.
I had been very open with Karen about my marriage and divorce. By that time, I could talk about it without getting angry or sad. I realized Karen was concerned I might still have feelings for Deidre because I did. After twenty plus years of marriage, those feelings don't simply disappear overnight. Of course, they had now changed, morphed from what they'd once been. The love I'd once had for Deidre had been poisoned with anger and bitterness. Any love that remained was now so diluted it would never threaten my love for Karen. I couldn't see any benefit of digging up the past and revisiting the pain surrounding my divorce.
Apparently, my thoughts and feelings on the matter were about to be overridden.
"Well son," my father growled. "Are you going to grow a pair, or are you going to run away like a coward?"
"Please, Will," Karen pleaded. "Talk to her."
I nodded sadly and sighed. Silently I stepped up on the porch. My mother went to hug me and I stepped back.
"Don't touch me," I said coldly.
I saw the pain in her face as the recognition of what her treachery might cost her began to dawn on her. I also noticed the look of horror Karen had on her face when she stepped forward and I shook my head.
"Great!" my father sneered. "Are you going to throw a temper tantrum, too?"
"Fuck you, old man!" I snapped back at him. "And one more shitty comment from you and I'll leave. So... anything else you want to say, asshole?"
My father's face turned bright red and the veins in his neck bulged. I wasn't sure if he was going to have a stroke right then and there. We'd had countless shouting matches, but I'd never verbally attacked him like that before.
He clenched his fists and I thought he might actually take a swing at me. He was still in decent shape, but at seventy-five it wouldn't have been a fair fight. The sad truth was things had gotten to the point where I would've hit my elderly father.
'What a sad state of affairs,' I conceded to myself. 'Maybe it's really time to walk away and start over.'
Amazingly, he didn't do or say anything else. I walked past him and into the house. The looks and smells caused the memories to immediately wash over me. This had been my parents' home ever since my brother had died. The furniture, the carpet, the walls, everything permeated the essence of my parents. It was my second home.
I felt a deep sadness as I realized I might never walk into this place again. My thoughts were abruptly interrupted when I saw her sitting in the living room.
She stood up and I noticed she'd lost more weight than she should have. She looked tired and her weary smile looked like it was forced. Even with all that, I still saw the woman I'd fallen in love with all those years ago. The pain I still felt must've been written on my face since I watched her smile dissolve.
"I'm sorry, Billy," she said softly. "I told them this was a very bad idea but they wouldn't listen."
She snorted and tried to hide a small smirk.
"Not like your parents have ever listened."
It was my turn to smirk. There was a great deal of truth in that statement. I felt the cold rage at their betrayal beginning to build in my mind. I hadn't realized it, but Deidre's reaction told me I wasn't hiding my dark thoughts.
"They really crossed a line this time didn't they?"
"Past the point of no return?" she asked quietly.
"I don't know, but I think so."
"I'm sorry. I tried to tell them but I think they believed it was necessary if you and Karen were to have a future together. Bill, even though they're a pain in the ass, they really do love you. For her part, so does Karen."
"But not enough to respect my wishes, right?" I snapped.