His father invited me into a cramped one room apartment, only the bathroom had a door. Classical piano music quietly filled the room. He explained the incident-one of the few times he had seen his son play. He worked many hours-trying to earn more than they owed. His ex-wife enjoyed trying to keep up with whoever the Jones’ were keeping up with at the moment.
“It only got worse after Robert…”
“She cheated on me with her therapist, but it turns out it was a long drawn out affair, started before Robert’s stroke.”
It was the last straw and they had a bitter divorce, forcing their younger daughter to choose sides.
“I hadn’t bonded with Amber…I worked too much.”
He further described Robert’s treatments and his ex-wife’s anger at his slow recovery.
“He was making progress, but she couldn’t see it. He was speaking one syllable words…”
“He speaks?” I couldn’t help, but interject.
“Yes, but he quit when the divorce happened and he learned of his mother’s betrayal. He, like I, only saw her as she once was-turns out to be-before the therapist.”
His face turned to disgust.
I, too, had a secret disdain for therapy. My parents had sent me to shrinks to see what was “wrong”.
“I wish I could take him home,” he suddenly announced. “That Miss King is exactly the kind of person Robert would mercilessly torture in school.” He grinned at his son’s former mischieviousness. “But I can’t afford it, between Amber’s college and alimony. She was a professional housewife used to the high life.”
It was hard for me to follow the rest of the rants-against the hospital, his ex-wife, the therapist, the square footage of the house. "He should marry her already.”
Robert could speak!
He offered me coffee and a family album. Flipping through the pages, he was a good looking kid and showed promised. There were many pictures with trophies, blue ribbons, and championship games.
“I bring them in every year on his birthday.” There were dozens on the sole bookshelf.
When I told him it was time for me to leave, he shook my hand hastily and said, “Thank you for working with Robert.” Tears filled his eyes and my heart sank.
The bus ride home was long. Did Robert miss me today? He was hiding his voice…if he spoke, he most certainly would be, “in there”. Who was this Carolyn King?