Travelers Ch. 14byMoon Glade©
Caroline and I had lunch the next day and she teasingly chastised me for returning a "totally useless birthday boy" to her. When I told her that Nigel had to appreciate what an unselfish and totally giving 'present' she had given him. She laughed and said, "There was an ulterior motive, I will soon have my 40th and I want two twenty year olds at the same time for my birthday present."
A few days later the ship pulled into port at Bayonne, New Jersey and we were told by the captain that our Mercedes would be ready for delivery in two days. Martin took us to a small Italian owned hotel called the Michelangelo in the middle of the theatre district of Manhattan and we spent the time seeing plays and visiting art museums.
It was a crisp and cold day when we picked up the car and Martin told me that he had to go to Boston first to see his attorney's before we started the drive to Seattle and we headed north into New England.
In Boston we checked into a suite in The Four Seasons overlooking The Commons and I used the hotel spa while Martin visited his lawyers. Two days later he asked me to accompany him to his attorneys and on the way up the elevator I noticed on the brass plaque a familiar design that I could not place for the top floor of the building. We got out of the elevator shy of the top floor and Martin introduced me to his attorney who asked me a lot of personal questions regarding if my parents were still alive and where they lived that I thought was just idle curiosity until he asked me for my Social Security number. When I asked why he needed that he told me that he simply needed it to do some paperwork in order to insure me to drive the car to Seattle and I gave it to him.
The next day we began our journey to Seattle and spent our first night somewhere off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The next day as we were driving Martin said to me, "Suze, if anything happens to me….that bullshit! Let's not use euphemisms here. If I die you are to contact my attorney's in Boston immediately for instructions. Can I rely on you to do that?"
It was quiet for a long time as I drove and contemplated my life without Martin to watch and watch over me. He had become a semi father figure semi lover and true friend and the thought of not sharing things with him surprised me with its impact. Finally I answered, "Of course," as I felt my eyes fighting back the beginning of tears.
We stopped that evening in the most God forsaken of places I have ever been in my life. It was some place called Kadoka or Murdo or something in the middle of South Dakota. There were no real hotels, only horrible motels, but we were both so tired that we could not drive another mile. The next morning we drove into some place called Wall and had breakfast at a big drugstore before continuing on to Rapid City.
In Rapid City we checked into a Hotel called the Howard Johnson that had nothing to do with the chain. It was downtown and old with a lot of character. Martin wanted to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse and we were advised that we should go up that afternoon as it was expected to be very cold the next day with possible snow flurries, but we were both too tired from all the driving and decided to wait until the next day. If only we had known what The Dacotah weather can do!
The next day we parked our car in the free parking area at the sculptor's studio, not to same the parking fee but because it was closer to the heads and the walkway that took you as close as you were allowed to go. Martin did not have good color when we set out to drive up to Mount Rushmore but he did not want to postpone the visit as even worse weather was expected the next day. As we approached the four presidential carvings the walkway began to have more and more steps and about half way up the last flight of stairs Martin became short of breath and had to sit down on a bench.
We rested for several minutes and then Martin said, "I don't want to alarm you and I am sorry to be such an old decrepit pain-in-the-ass, but I am having another heart attack and you need to go get help."
I immediately stood up took my coat off and wrapped it around him and started running back to the sculptor's studio where we had parked to look for help but when I arrived I realized that it was closed for the season and then had to run back up to the main entrance before I finally found a ranger to help.
When we got back to Martin he was an unhealthy grey color and it wasn't long before the paramedics arrived and put him into an ambulance. I was told that he was being taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital and to go to the admission's desk when I got there.
Less than an hour later I was told that Martin had died.
When I was asked what arrangements I wanted to make for the body I just stood there in shock and said nothing. Finally I looked up and simply said, "I am not the next of kin, I don't know who is, I have to make a phone call."
When I called Mr. Tarnhauser, Martin's attorney and told him what had happened he asked where I was staying and told me that he would FAX to me all the necessary paperwork to give me authorization to fulfill Martin's last wishes. He then said it would be better if I drove back to Boston after doing so. When he said that I hesitated and said, "But it is not my car, what if the police stop me?"
Mr. Tarnhauser paused for a minute and said, "When Martin was here he executed a living trust leaving his entire estate to you. We don't believe that anyone will contest his actions because the document is not only iron clad but he also had no next of kin. The car, the penthouse apartment in Seattle and his stock and bond portfolio are all your property now. You need to come back to Boston so we can implement transfer of title and the paper work I will FAX to you will take care of any problem."
Two days later, according to his wishes, I had Martin cremated and began the drive back to Boston with him beside me in an urn.
When I took the elevator up to the attorney's office I once again noticed the design on the brass plaque the top floor and was wondering why it looked familiar when the doors opened and I went into the attorney's office. It took two hours for me to sign everything and I was told that I would be able to handle the remaining legal transfers from Seattle.
This time the drive west was much more difficult because the weather was horrendous. Finally almost two weeks later I arrived in Seattle and drove to our duplex without even thinking of what I was doing.
When Lucinda opened the door I realized that a lot of time had gone by and that there had been no contact at all between Jeremy and me for more that six months. Lucinda did not say a word. She just held the door open for me and I walked into what had once been my home. Jeremy was sitting on the couch in a dirty tee shirt and in need of a shave with a beer in his hand watching cartoons with the TV on mute. He burped and looked up at me at the same time and sneered, "You don't live here anymore Suze; I filed for divorce two months ago on abandonment."
"Fine," I said, "I'll just get my things and be on my way."
"Sorry again Suze, but there are no things," he burped loudly and continued, "I had a garage sale and what didn't sell I gave to the Salvation Army."
I just turned and started for the door and then Jeremy said, "Hey, where is Martin? That's his Mercedes out there isn't it?"
I turned around and simply said, "Martin is dead and it's my Mercedes now."
"What do you mean it's your Mercedes now?" Jeremy questioned ignoring the news totally of Martin's death.
"He left everything to me." I said and began to cry in spite of trying not to give him the satisfaction as I walked out the door.
Three days later a cleaned up Jeremy knocked on my door and apologized for how he had behaved. He explained to me that he was drunk and told me that he would have never filed for divorce if it had not been for all the pressure that Lucinda had been putting on him. It became immediately evident to me as he admired the apartment and its furnishings that he wanted to get back together and move in with me and when he finally broached the subject I laughed and told him that once you develop a taste for foie gras and caviar you don't go back to liverwurst and beans. Jeremy stared at me for a full minute and then said, "I ought to slap the shit out of you, your nothing but a successful whore."
Before he had time to think I had building security on the phone and I told them that there was a man in my apartment that I wanted escorted off the premises and please remember his face because if the doorman ever saw him loitering in this area again he was to call the police. I put the phone down and said, "Jeremy I did remember you from the class we had together in college. I thought you weren't worth my time then and now I know you weren't worth my time. My only regret is the time I did share with you. Now you can either leave with some degree of dignity or you can be thrown out."
Two weeks later Jeremy sued me for one half of Martin's estate. When I contacted Tarnhauser he simply laughed and said that he would take care of it and not to worry, but it would take some time and expense to deal with.
As the dark wet Seattle winter seemed to close in around me I left the apartment less and less until finally as spring approached in full force I realized that I had become an almost total recluse. The law suit seemed to drag on and on. I was told that it was a totally ridiculous law suit by my attorney's, but the shyster Jeremy had hired had hopes that I would settle out of court just to make it all go away. I told Tarnhauser that I not only would not give a penny to Jeremy, but that I wanted him to pay all the legal costs and pain and suffering for bringing a frivolous law suit. Tarnhauser said that he understood, but unfortunately our legal system had a lot of ridiculousness in it that we sometimes had to suffer through so that attorney's could afford their Lexus' and BMW's.
I found myself talking to the urn with Martin's ashes on the mantle more and more and when the law suit finally was dropped I told Martin's ashes that I would now be able to leave the United States and keep my promise to him and the next day I booked a flight to Stockholm with a stop over in Boston in order to wind-up the law suit with his (our) attorneys.