Thursday, May 5, 2016

Chapter 29

The Weekend, November 6-8, 1964

What a week. I needed to take a breath, I needed a meeting in the worst way. On Friday, I picked one frequented by Rick, my sponsor, hoping I could talk to him. He was there. I filled him in, trying to speak in generalities and not doing very well. I explained my quandary, my role in the likely arrest of Dingo Dave, and my decision to enlist the aid of Eli Bonpere. He congratulated me for doing what I could but suggested it might be time to "let go and let God," a common slogan in the program. It fit my need to take a breath. I didn't feel like going back to the seminary and went out to an after-meeting gathering at a diner. That helped. 

In the morning, I went to breakfast, wondering how the catering routine was going to work. It went well enough. The university cafeteria food was better than we were used to, which was a nasty testament to the cooking skills of the good sisters. Let go and let God. The good sisters might not be missed. 

Things got back to a kind of normal, with the seminarians doing their Saturday obediences and the local boys going off to their families and the rest entertaining themselves with games, indoor and outdoor, and hobbies. Most of the latter would gather around the radio to listen to Notre Dame play an away game at Wisconsin. 

With my head having cleared a bit, I spent an hour in my room revising my lesson plans before going over to the Huddle, buying a cup of coffee and a Chicago Tribune and sitting down to relax, away from the scene of the crime, so to speak. 

This was not my weekend to be with Butch and Sissy, which left me free to listen to the football game with the seminarians. The Irish did well and there was good energy in the room, another semblance of normalcy. 

In the evening, I went to another meeting and another after-dinner gathering at the diner. I was feeling passably centered. 

Sunday was a bit of a surprise. Sarah had invited me dinner, which went well enough, given that I was having trouble looking Butch in the face. I was still contemplating how to broach the subject of Dingo Dave's arrest. 

By the time we finished, it was pushing two o'clock. Butch and Sissy went off to their own affairsButch to the basement to work on his model airplanes and Sissy off to a friend's house. This gave Sarah and me a chance to walk and talk in the crisp fall air. I was able to fill her in on the week, with considerable detail this time. I shared my conflicted feelings about the impending arrest of Dingo Dave. 

"It sounds like you're doing the right thing," she said. "You couldn't have covered for him, withheld information, or steered the detectives away from potential evidence. Besides, you went the extra milefor him
by lining up Eli as a potential attorney for him."

"I get that. It's just happening pretty fast, and I'm just not sure he's the guilty guy. He's just a kid."

"But you made it sound like all the evidence points to him."

"It does," I said. "But it's circumstantial."

"Well, that could be good for the boy."

"Maybe, but probably not," I said. "Eli warned me that many convictions are based on circumstantial evidence. And there's something else that's bugging me."

"And that is?"

ifit happens, my name is going to be mud with Butch. I got the most damning information from him." I told her about the Yew shrubs on Dingo Dave's island.

"I see," she said. "Well, if it's any consolation, your name was mud to him until maybe a month ago. Besides, he's fourteen. Most fourteen-year-olds think their fathers are idiots. Your relationship will just become normal."


"Well, what are you going to do?"

"Let go and let God, I suppose."

"Sounds like a plan," she said.

"Best I got."

Before the silence became awkward, she said, "I have something else I'd like to discuss."

"Oh, oh."

She grinned. Sarah didn't laugh much, but she did a little grin when she was tickled. "It's not that bad. In fact, maybe it's a good thing."

"I could use some of that."

"In the last couple of months, we've been interacting with some regularity."

"A couple times a week," I said. "I guess qualifies as 'some regularity.' "

She did the little grin thing again. "Well, truth to tell, the interaction has been more often and better quality than we have had in several years."

"Ain't that a bit sad?" 

"If you're looking at the past, yes. If you're looking at the future, maybe it's hopeful." She stopped and looked at me. This time there was no grin, more of a question in her eyes.

"Oh?" I said, after the silence became awkward. .

"It's different now," she said. "I have grown just a bit more hopeful."

"About what? Getting back together?" I ventured. It was my turn to look at her with a question. 

"I'm going to be a bit blunt here," she said. "I don't see you moving back in with me, not for a long time
if ever."

This time she was looking at the ground.

"Thanks for clearing that up," I couldn't take the sarcasm out of my voice. 

"You know I don't want to get a divorce," she said gently. 

"Yes, but because you're Catholic
and stubbornnot because you want to stay married." I couldn't hide the ... what was it ... bitterness ... frustration.

She took her time. "Yes, I'm Catholic. Yes, I'm stubborn. And maybe it's true that this is why I don't want to get a divorce. But I'm not sure about that last part. Maybe I'd like to remain married to you because ... because maybe I'd just like to remain married to you."

"But you don't want to live with me." I tried to sound like I wasn't whining. 

"Truth." She waited. "I'm afraid of living with you." 

"Because I beat on you. Truth, I don't blame you for throwing me out. I admire you. That's what you should have done." I was trying to sound like a man.

"And with your issues
your addictionI can't trust that you will not fall back into that world and threaten my worldor the children's."

"So we had to separate."

"Have to separate," she corrected. "But that's not a divorce. It's not the end of a marriage. It's something else."

"What then?"

"I don't know," she said. "But it needs to be explored."

"How," I said. I was getting more hopeful myself.

"Well, how about dating?"


She looked at the question in my eyes. When she understood, she had that little grin again. "Oh, I mean dating each other, not ..."

"Other people," I said. The air came back into my lungs. "Dating each other."

"Dating each other."

I paused. "Sounds like a plan."

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