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I Still Look For You – The Sequel – Chapter 3
Life went on and I didn’t hear from him for a while and had no luck reaching him at the mother of his daughters, though I did leave a message. Then one day I got a call and he was in town, at the truck stop, with his rig! He was an over the road trucker and wanted me to come see his rig and have coffee. I couldn’t leave work and told him so. He laughed at me, always thinking I could do whatever I wanted to even if I was at work, but this job was different than the one I had worked at before. He chided me and said I could even bring my husband if I had to. We could only talk a short time but I learned that he loved what he was doing and I was so happy for him that he’d found something that seemed to make him feel like he finally belonged somewhere even if that “where” changed all of the time.
My life was becoming complicated as my husband started suffering terribly from chronic pain. At first it was his knees and hands, eventually it would also include his back and legs. We started on a twelve year journey of trying to get a diagnosis and pain medications sufficient for him to continue working.
I only received one more call from Bobby before I left my job to go to work at the local University Hospital where I could get the kind of insurance coverage we needed for my husband’s condition. If I had known I would be leaving, I could have made sure he had a place to get in touch, but things moved swiftly and we moved from the complex I managed and into the little house that we had bought a couple of years before. My husband had to take a medical leave of absence and eventually ended up on Social Security Disability. I worked the 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. shift in the operating rooms of the hospital and though I didn’t mind my job, it had been years since I had a supervisor on a daily basis. I was used to our area supervisor stopping in maybe once every six to eight weeks and then we’d just have coffee and talk. I was also the manager and had people working for me, so I wasn’t used to being told what to do once my job was explained to me. But the worst aspect, the very worst, was trying to work with a group of women who had formed these little cliques and who tried to control who I should talk with or be friends with. I hadn’t experienced this phenomenon since I worked in factories when I was a teen and in my early twenties. It didn’t fly back then and it sure wasn’t going to when I cared even less about popularity.
While fitting in was not my goal, I did find the guys at work much easier to relate to. Truth be told, I have always gotten along better with the opposite sex. I think it has to do with my direct personality. I despise game playing and drama. If a man gets mad at another man they either resolve it through slugging each others brains out or, at the very least, they have a verbal confrontation and get it out of their system. Not so with women. We will plot the most miserable, sneaky scenarios possible to torture the offending female and the grudge will be held indefinitely. I was on a three month probationary status and had decided that when that was complete I would begin the process to transfer to another area of the hospital where I would have fewer co-workers. I suppose my early years of being moved and transferred out of schools two or three times a year has set my loner personality. It’s not that I don’t like people, I do, I just don’t find them necessary for my happiness. I grew up having pets as playmates and learned very early that making a friend just means saying goodbye so I’ve been very selective who I let get close. This probably also explains why the few people who have impacted my life as friends mean so much to me and why I try to hold onto them.
Picking up the recounting of my search for this friend, I have told you that I waited a full three months and beyond to hear from Bobby. Now doubting that his wife had passed long my message, I once again sent her a message on her internet social site. I tried reasoning with her this time – or at least that’s how I intended it, explaining once again that I wanted nothing that would take away from anything they shared, but only to speak with him. This is absolute truth. I would not even want to see him, only talk with him occasionally, but now this had become an obsession with me. I could see no reason for her to withhold my messages. Having lived with my husband for so many years, in a mutually trusting and respectful relationship, I had become forgetful of what this could look or feel like from anothers perspective. I sent the message February 3rd of last year. On February 5th, I received this reply.
“Hi Sherry, This is Bob. Long time no hear. I plan on giving you a call and have been getting your messages... Sorry for your frustrations for we have all been very busy. Hope all is well with you and Gary. However, please do not be sending somewhat direct intended messages to my wife. She has always forwarded your comments to me. Take care of yourself...Bob”
Finally, contact from Bobby, I mean Bob. Well, at least it says it is Bob, though the vocabulary sounds nothing like his. “for we all have been very busy…” who are we all? Then, “please do not be sending somewhat direct intended messages to my wife.” I realize eons have passed since I last spoke to him but this is just not his style, this is a stranger. So I jot off a message to him.
“Sorry for that. Won't write to her again. I just could not get a hold of you anywhere and had no way of knowing if you were getting the messages or not. As long as you are, I am completely satisfied and have no desire to bother Janet, didn't mean to before - just gets frustrating when you hear nothing. I would have been less direct if she had just said you were busy and would be in touch - whenever... my apologies. Patience has never been one of my virtues. Take care of yourself too.”
The months tick past and I hear nothing. By then though, we have learned my husband has COPD and, soon after, Hospice is in our home and he is expected to only live for another three to six months. The very last thing on my mind is a phone call from Bobby or Bob or a message from his wife. I’m on auto-pilot for the next four months just trying to care for my husband and all of the doctors, nurses, medication and special needs he now has. I have my own health issues and have a full blown heart attack in June and have a stent put in, so once again, my mind is pretty well occupied and I forget about anything other than putting one foot in front of the other. By late September, my husband’s COPD as not progressed as quickly as they had supposed it would and, no longer being paid from Medicare, Hospice pulls out. I am now his sole care taker and am overwhelmed for the first few months with his care. Then we adjust, again, and things settle into a routine of sorts. His pain medication keeps him disoriented and asleep, most of the time and I begin to feel a little lost. At some point, I can’t even tell you when, I started checking in on Bob’s wife’s internet site again. She had posted that she was at a casino and had just one $1,000 dollars and also posted, “Well, our oldest son is getting married… Life goes on.” This showed up as being posted to her ex-husband’s site. It was through one of his sites that I discovered his statement about his long lost love and his desire that she would one day see his post and they would be re-united, “as star-crossed lovers are destined to do.” It was more than I could stand, as I said before, and I messaged him – a complete stranger – the ex-husband of the current wife of my old friend. Had I lost my mind completely? Well, obviously, yes … I had.
A couple of weeks went by with no response and my head cleared enough to realize just how inconsiderate and ridiculous I had acted and I deleted my message to him, assuming he had not seen it and it would be deleted on his end too. Then over two months later, when I had once again put the matter to rest, on March 7th, I received a reply to my message. He was very cordial and said that about all he could do was forward my request to his ex but that he held little hope that she would forward the message on. I quickly thanked him and implored him not to do that, explaining I didn’t think the original message went any further than her and that I really was not wanting to cause her any distress.
Long story short, as they say, I was able to find out Bobby is driving truck over the road again.
I am now thoroughly convinced all of my brain cells, save the few it takes to operate the computer and keyboard, have long ago jumped ship. I started asking around about how truckers communicate these days and eventually ended up on a trucker’s board with some welcoming sort of folks. That’s how I came to the gem of wisdom that I’ve been reaching out for someone in my fear, someone who got me through one of the toughest times of my life, before now.