I STILL LOOK FOR YOU - PART 21
Lynn had made a decision that was, at the time, the only one her circumstances seemed to allow. She and Bobby had discussed the dangers of her contacting the Spear’s accountant but she knew him to be an honest man, not one who would risk his career for anyone. She thought telling him about the HUD investigation would give him a chance to work his magic with the books, still keeping things legal and she could keep her job. He had listened carefully and told her he would look into it. Foolishly she expected some loyalty from him, that he would come up with a reason he needed to come down and do a financial report of some sort.
Mr. Spear was not a man to mince words or waste time. When she arrived at work she had barely sat down when he came in the office and addressed her. “Lynn, have you been going behind my back and cooperating with HUD?”
She saw no reason to lie, obviously caught, and replied that she had but that she wasn’t given a choice. Somewhere in her distorted mind she thought she could make him understand the position she had been put in and how she only did what she had to do. The fact that she had contacted his accountant should show she was trying to protect him too and not just her job. He listened to her ramble without saying a word. She reminded him, as if he wasn’t completely aware of the position they had put her in, that she was made complicit in this by them having her pay the bills from their private accounts with HUD subsidy. She told him she had never wanted to be drug into this mess by HUD or by him. She had been put in a lousy position and only did what she saw as a possible answer to the problem by contacting their accountant.
He would not look her in the eye and very simply replied, “How soon can you leave?’
Her heart was in her throat beating so hard it almost choked her. “You mean leave, as in I’m fired?”
“How soon can you move off of my property and get out of my sight?” His betrayal of her was a smart business move, her betrayal of him was inexcusable.
She wanted to fight, to threaten him with every dirty little secret of his she knew. She wanted to scream at him that she would tell his wife of his mistresses including the prostitute he made her move into one of the apartments. She wanted to beg, telling him of how she had not told HUD anything other than that she was writing out checks for their private accounts in addition to her job as manager, how she tried to minimize the damage, that yes, she made copies of the books but she hadn’t sent them, they were still hidden in her apartment. But all the while she knew her attempts would be futile. Even if he could be convinced to let her continue working there she would have to be a major player in the cover-up and if it was successful her participation would be expected to an ever greater degree.
She went to the locked box of apartment keys, took down one that fit her apartment door only and took her car keys off the ring, laying all of the master keys and office keys on the desk. “I’ll be out as soon as I can", was all she could manage, “I’ll have to look for a place…” She was thinking out loud, making a fool of herself and she left the office shutting the door quietly behind her. Sobs escaped her before she could even reach her car. She had no where to go, very little savings, no job, and her life was falling apart in a way she had never had to deal with before. Lynn started the car, backing out of the parking lot but could only drive a couple of blocks before she had to pull over. Tears blurred her vision and she was shaking so hard she couldn’t drive. Shame was what she felt, shame for letting him down, for going behind his back. Never mind that he set her up to take the fall if trouble came, never mind that he used people as puppets to do his dirty work. Then came the fear. How was she going to manage to move, find a job and support the kids. The kids. She had to try to stay in the area where they’d be in the same school district.
The sun shone through the windshield and the fresh air of spring blew the faint smell of flowers and new growth. It was a truly magnificent day. It should have been raining. There should be lightening and thunder, hail, flooding of the streets, winds whipping the trees and tearing limbs from tender saplings. As she drove she saw two women pushing their babies in strollers, enjoying the warm breeze and chatting happily. Car radios were turned up and there was a quickening to the steps of people out for a walk. Spring in the Midwest brought out the best in people. New promises, fresh starts, tiny green shoots pushing though the earth would soon become brightly colored blooms. It all seemed to mock her. She had no place in this, no part. As she struggled with the strange key to her apartment –the apartment, no longer hers, her hands shook. Shutting the door behind her, she looked around and saw burdens that would have to be packed and moved, not furnishings she had so proudly acquired. This was no longer a home. It was a place she must leave and leave as quickly as possible.
She sat at the kitchen table, the smell of morning coffee still lingered in the air. Just an hour before there had been music and laughter in this room as she and Bobby enjoyed their time together after the kids were taken to school. She knew he was probably home, yet the thought of seeing him right now brought no comfort. She would have to say out loud what her mind still hadn’t fully processed. Everything felt alien to her. She started to make a pot of coffee and then stopped. She had to get out of here! She needed to clear her head. There were answers, she just had to find them, she had to pull herself together and do it quickly.
Lynn drove to the one place that had always calmed her and helped her think from the time she was a child, to the river. There was something about the Mississippi, all of its splendor and silent strength that had always felt she was in the presence of an old friend. She walked down to the edge and found a large rock, warm from the sun. She sat, knees hugged up to her chest and let the waves that lapped at the shore smooth out the tightened muscles in her neck and shoulders. Thoughts that had bombarded her now became more orderly. She was regaining her balance and forming a plan. She had been to this place before, many times. She knew how to operate in survival mode. This was doable. There would be little room for emotion, just put one foot in front of the other and pull it together. Avoid pain if you can, endure it if you can’t, but keep going. Always keep going.
I STILL LOOK FOR YOU - PART 22
- I STILL LOOK FOR YOU - PART 22
Lynn had sat by the river thinking and planning oblivious to time but as the sun disappeared behind clouds that had rolled in her attention was brought back to her surroundings. She noted the time...