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A Story of My Life, Part 20: Guilty
Map of Florida
1992, continued again.
One big question I had for my husband: How in the world did you end up in the Dade County Jail, if you were staying in Daytona? Dade County is Miami territory, and if you look on a map, you see it's not really anywhere near Daytona. I'm not stupid. I had access to a Rand McNally atlas. I mean, what? That's partly what made his story so suspicious. The Dade County Jail serves Miami, Key Biscayne, that area. Daytona, my husband's official destination is many, many miles north of there, in the middle-northern part of coastal Florida, on the other side of the state!
My husband told me, because it was spring break, the Daytona jail was full, so they had to take him elsewhere.
Uh-huh. If he lied to me about his destination to begin with, what was he up to, away from me???
His whole story was hogwash, from start to finish. I should have known, it didn't really hang together that well.
He was in Miami, not Daytona. And there was a girl. A young (15-year-old) girl. My husband was 50 years old at the time.
The young girl had come on vacation with her parents to Florida. They were from Georgia. They were staying at the same hotel where Ed stayed. He and she met at the coke machine in the hallway, late at night. They struck up a little conversation. The girl didn't want to disturb her sister's sleep, and wanted to continue the conversation, so she went along with Ed (very naively) to his hotel room.
The girl was just not sleepy, wound up from traveling, and wanted a little company. Ed took it that she was ready, willing and able to have sex with him, since she went along willingly to his hotel room.
Hmm...I can kind of understand where Ed was coming from. Kind of. Early on in our relationship it wasn't unusual for Ed to mistake natural displays of affection on my part as an invitation to sex. Sometimes, the least bit of encouragement is all it takes to get a guy's mind moving in a sexual direction, when the girl is entirely innocent of any sexual motives whatsoever.
Well, once they got in his room, he came on really strong to her. He started ripping her clothes off, or something (I've never actually heard the details of how far this went), though I knew the sexual act wasn't completed, otherwise Ed would have been charged with rape, instead of "lewd and lascivious behavior to a child".
She screamed and screamed. The sister, who wasn't sleeping after all, got uneasy and woke the parents when the girl didn't come back to the room shortly. The parents and sister were prowling the corridors, looking for their lost chick, when they heard her screaming in Ed's room. They pounded on Ed's door, they broke the emergency glass in the firebox, and they yelled for the manager.
When they saw their disheveled, crying youngster, and Ed standing there, guilty and barefoot and barechested with his trousers hurriedly pulled back on, they hollered for the police. They insisted on pressing charges.
I knew Ed's original story, about the iodized windows, was a bunch of horse puckey, when we had a lawyer go down to Georgia, where the girl and her parents lived, and offer them $25,000 to drop the charges. They refused. They insisted on pressing charges. So it wasn't some resort hotel scam, or anything like that, even though Ed said the girl looked older, twenty at least, and was wearing make-up.
Ed was found guilty. He got a suspended sentence, because he was a first offender with no prior conviction of sex crimes. I saw him through his five years of probation: his visits to the probation officer, his trips to the mandated counselor.
Ed had become very morose, very withdrawn after this incident. I became a piece of furniture: a part of the wall. Ed ceased to notice me at all. He ignored me, he shied away from me, because he didn't want to answer questions about Florida. He just gently, mildly, shut me out. He made me become invisible.
That was hard on me. It was truly a miserable time for me. I was so anxious and uneasy about the outcome of Ed's trial, which wasn't resolved for about a year and a half. Ed had stopped talking to me, he stopped wanting to make love to me. And slowly, the truth of what happened came out.
I really had to wonder about Ed, if I was wrong about him, in a way that I never wondered about him before. I mean, really, he's 50. She's 15. There's something so wrong, so sad, so sick about that desire, though it isn't all that unusual for middle-aged men to desire much younger women (or girls). I was in my middle thirties and 15 years younger than my husband. Wasn't I young enough for him? Young men want young women. Older men want younger women. I was over 30 and I felt all washed up already.
I saw the stepkids through, anyway. Kenny became a career military man. Tommy became a landscape expert, married, has children, and they're both doing fine.
When the kids were gone, there was absolutely nothing left to hold Ed and I together. I didn't really trust or believe in him anymore.
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- A Story of My Life, Part 19
True stories from the not-so-usual life of a baby boomer, Part 19. 1992, continued, and what happened next.