…..the shotgun was gone and his cell phone was on the kitchen floor.
Chapter 1 can be found here.
Helen was trembling after hearing the Officer’s statement. The Policeman, of course, was relieved that there would be no gunfire. No “suicide by cop.” Helen was panicked. Was John so distraught over the separation that he would actually end his life? Could he do this to his children, his parents and siblings? John has always been so selfish Helen realized. He never thought of anyone but himself. This would be his final “Fuck you” and the really sad part is that John would think that he had won.
When Maggie shook her arm, Helen realized these were not simply her private thoughts but that she was speaking them aloud. Maggie’s calm demeanor and voice eased some of Helen’s angst. “You’re right,” she said to her friend. “We don’t know what’s going on yet.” Oh, but Helen a feeling that went to the depth of her being. Something was very wrong. They sat. They sat right there on the buckled black tar of the driveway, Helen and her friend, and wondered what to do next.
The Policeman, the cute one, approached the pair and suggested Helen go back to work and tell her boss of the crisis she was having, maybe take the rest of the day off and see if she could locate John. He promised they would do everything they could on their end. They had the address of the new apartment he just moved into and would check every few hours, if their schedule allowed, to see if they could make contact. They would let Helen know if they did.
Helen went back to the bank where she worked as a teller. Her supervisor was waiting and said she knew this must be important because Helen would never take off like that in the middle of a shift. Was there anything she could do, her boss sincerely asked? Helen repeated the entire scenario and it was agreed that she should leave for the day. Maggie was waiting in the car and suggested they go back to Maggie’s house rather than having her friend return home alone, to an empty house, with an estranged husband unaccounted for - with a shotgun. Made sense to Helen!
John had recently been seeing a new therapist. Helen had insisted on this after he had physically abused her. He needed to be treated for anger management before she would even consider reconciliation. John surprisingly went along with the plan. He had four sessions with his therapist, which he said were going wonderfully, before he told her that the Dr. would like for her to come to the next session. “Huh? Me? Why?” Helen asked. “Ok, if it will help,” she said. Well, sparing you all the psychobabble of John’s new therapist, bottom line was:John had convinced his therapist that the only thing that made him angry…was Helen. Therefore, the only logical next step was that Helen should come for therapy along with John. Gone was the “anger management” and hello “marriage counseling”. Bullshit. But, this is another story, for another time.
Helen had the phone number of said psychotherapist, as it was her insurance plan that was picking up the tab. John was unemployed. Helen left a very cryptic message with the answering service and was not surprised when the Doctor returned her call within ten minutes. Dr. Olsen agreed that John could be suicidal. He also warned that perhaps Helen should be concerned for her own safety and that of her children. John was a very disturbed man. “Oh my God,” said Helen. “Do your really think John would actually harm us?” “Under the circumstances,” said Dr. Olsen, “I wouldn’t take anything off the table.” “I don’t think he would be capable, however, it’s hard to predict these things.”
Helen picked up both her children from school that day and told them they would be spending the night at their best friends house. Maggie’s kids and Helen’s kids had all grown up together. This wouldn’t seem too odd, Helen thought, except for the fact that their dad had just moved out the day before and that it was a school night. They were more than a little apprehensive when Helen told the kids that they could also stay home from school the next day, but Helen had more important things to think of than convincing the kids that a day home together was a good idea what with the stress of the past weeks.
Helen called her supervisor at the bank to tell her she would be taking off the next day. To her surprise, Helen’s supervisor told her that she was going to suggest the same thing and, “just as a precaution” “don’t worry, Helen, only a precaution” her boss told her, “We are going to have an armed policeman at the bank door all day tomorrow.
Just in case John happened to show up looking for you.”
...to be continued