4 Seasons of a Life Ch. 04bybb1212©
Chapter 4 – Winter
Author's note: This chapter is also written as a separate part of a larger story but the history is too complicated to allow comprehensive story reminders each time so please read chapters 1, 2 and 3 before this one if you want the full effect. Once again huge thanks to those who have voted and made kind remarks both publicly and privately.
For those who have waited I hope it was worth it.
Winter is bleak; it is frozen and cold,
It is then that so many things die.
The mind is still willing
We find flesh less thrilling,
As with time, our desire, passes by.
Cairns, Australia 2005.
Time is a healer. At 57 a badly broken foot takes it’s time, but I was fairly fit from a lifetime of hard physical labor. Even after David’s transport became a massive company I still made sure I got out in the yard with the guys and did a bit of the heavy stuff. Loyalty is won in many ways but in the trucking game you don’t get it sitting in the boardroom sipping chardonnay while others sweat.
I was in hospital for another week after Wendy visited and was then released to a regime of physiotherapy and daily visits to the swimming pool for low impact exercise. In this time I realized two things. The first was the company could run without me. I was fairly sure this would be the case because I always worked on the belief that as owner and general manager I should only give directions and it should be up to the bright and well paid managers I had recruited to get us there. The business was just too big for me to do everything. If a department was working well I didn’t interfere, although I made sure I knew what was going on. The other thing I realized was that I was actually not as fit as I thought. For my age I was better than average for sure but many beers had given me a belly and I ran out of puff pretty quickly at first.
During my many laps of the pool I also came to the realization that I had worked to create wealth all my life but now I had it I was not using it. I could have died in that accident and if I had I would have never used my money for me, just to make more money.
So I never went back to full time work.
I kept up my swimming and even got a fancy bicycle and became one of the bastards I had always cursed in thick traffic. My muscles hardened but I have no idea what the exhaust gasses did to my lungs. Australia did not start the change to unleaded petrol until 1986.
At work I created a shared ownership of the company. That year, as a Christmas bonus after all the work my managers and staff had done in my absence I gave them 50% of a multi million dollar empire. The managers got a good-sized chunk of the company and the share that the lowest paid employee (a part time cleaner) got was still worth about $20,000 at the time. One condition of the deal was that any sales of the ownership should only be to current employees and I had expected two high-level instant sales and retirements, but I got three. What the hell, I thought, they earned it.
The other 50% was still mine, but on my death the income would be to look after my wife, if I had one at the time, and when she passed away there were shares for my brothers families and also Mary-Ann, Wendy’s daughter, who I had not seen for nineteen years but who I remembered with great fondness. I did not allow for children as I thought there was little chance of them now and if anything did happen I could always change my will at the time.
So work was over and I went home to wonder what to do while waiting for Wendy to walk back into my life forever. I did not stay celibate waiting, my life had not prepared me for this and I did have a number of flings with some of the young and pretty gold diggers that sought me out. Those that did well were rewarded and those that did not were not.
One day an envelope arrived in the mail it contained a photo of Wendy mostly in her nurse outfit, and on the back was lipstick where she had kissed it. Nothing was written, but nothing really needed to be written did it? I do like people who remember details and act on them.
I bought a fast boat. Wendy had mentioned the idea of island hopping and I liked it. I found an ocean racer that had just been finished when the governing body changed the rules and the boat was not eligable to race. It had twin Chevy 400 cube V8’s and one had blown up because some idiot had bought the boat and tried to use it for fishing. At low speed not enough cooling water got to the motors and one fried. I had it fixed up and this thing was scary when you opened it up. It had a couple of tiny sleeping cabins and a microscopic galley, but was fully functional. The tank capacity was so large it cost more to fill the boat than one of my semis. I could go a long way without fuelling though, which was what I wanted.
I spent a fair bit of time back at the farm which was still in the family and on one walk around I stumbled across the old 1937 Chevy pickup which I was driving the day I met Wendy. Back then there was no trade in on a new car so when a farm vehicle was replaced it was just parked under a tree or next to a barn to rust in peace. The Chevy was definitely rusty, Gippsland is not a dry environment, but it seemed to be recoverable and complete so I had it carted back to a factory I owned in Box Hill, Melbourne. It wasn’t too hard, I knew a bloke who had a truck.
I decided to restore it totally and spent far more money on it than it was worth in the end, but how do you follow the advice of the expert who tells you it will be cheaper to buy a seat at the swap meet than to repair the one that is in it when that is the actual seat you lost your virginity on so many years before?
I had the seat repaired, I had the rust cut out and patch panels fitted, I looked at the rusted solid motor with an eye to restoration but the block was beyond repair so I fitted a 235 blue flame instead. The blue flame was almost identical to the old stove bolt six but they were much more reliable due to full pressure oil and a few other differences. The rest of the truck, down to the now reconditioned crash box, was still the same vehicle that Wendy and I had sheltered from the storm in, back in 1945. It all took me back to Wendy and the memories of her three visits and the three most memorable nights of my life. As well as converting the 6 volt generator to a 12 volt alternator I did add a heater, a radio cassette and an under dash air conditioner.
I had plenty of time to think of my relationship with Wendy too.
Some people say your first love is the most memorable, but in my many years of observation this is often not true. Virginity is this barrier we keep between our childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood when we are young, and we are encouraged to make sure we save it for someone special. Too often though, this makes it a trophy that others want to take and many a loss of virginity involves coercion, deception and even violence. A lot of people regret how they lost their virginity and I realize I am one of the very few people I know who would not change a single thing about the night that was first time not just for me but for Wendy too.
I loved Wendy in the appreciative puppy way after our mutual first experience in the truck. I had discovered the reality replacing the myth of sex was so much better than I expected. I had found a girl who was sensitive, understanding and more knowledgeable than me and together we had explored the joy of sex. But Wendy was gone the next day and from then she became the inspiration I needed to work on being a better lover. She ended up being the fond memory that I used as a yardstick whenever I considered a permanent relationship. Wendy’s memory stopped me marrying a few times when I was younger and I never will know if this was good or bad for me at the time, but now I have no regrets at all. I worked hard to fill the hole in my life that a wife would normally fill and my regular affairs could only partially compensate for. I wasn’t lonely but I was still usually alone.
When Wendy returned nineteen years after that magic night we were both more experienced and our lovemaking was more of a celebration than an exploration. I knew then that I wanted Wendy as a wife, but she could not stay and could not explain why she could not. She said she wanted to. I went through the mad at Wendy stage and could have destroyed our relationship entirely if I had been able to express my angry feelings at the time. I was worried about the fact that on that second visit, with Wendy’s encouragement, I had taken the virginity of Mary Ann, Wendy’s daughter. This however was not the obstacle to our being together.
To use a work analogy I then put having Wendy as an ambition, a bit like when I was driving that first Lend Lease Chevy truck I had an ambition to own a brand new truck. I made do with what I could get, and I did have some very loving ladies in my life as well as some nice second hand trucks, but Wendy was the summit of Everest I may never reach, but dreamed of.
Then Wendy returned again another nineteen years on. We had another night of passion, which felt almost like a desperate attempt by Wendy to cling to a shred of normality. I relalised that whatever she was involved in, it was big and dangerous and it was more important to her than our relationship. I was jealous of something I knew nothing about. I found out later what was involved and I still shudder to think of it. We had our night of passion, accompanied by Wendy’s first lesbian experience and Wendy’s new lady friend’s first experience with a man, me. A virgin lesbian nurse fantasy threesome, wow.
I always thought your letters were fake, but then this happened to me……….
So Wendy left again with the promise of a much faster return this time, and I set about getting my life ready for retirement, with Wendy.
I have often regretted those years we missed but then again there are so many who lose their special one too early and live the rest of their life aimlessly or making compromises they regret later so I have no real cause for complaint whatsoever. I am a lucky man.
In 1988 it was Australia’s bicentennial. The local vintage vehicle club I had joined was having a parade through the city on the Australia Day weekend and I was preparing the Chevy for the run. I was underneath it tightening the gear linkages when a woman in heels walked into the factory. I looked out and saw a very tidy pair of bare legs that went almost up to her knees before my view was cut off.
“David?” That voice, that accent.
I jumped and hit my head.
“No,” said the voice, “not Wendy, Mary Ann, can we talk?”
I panicked and slid out from under the truck.
“Wendy, is she all right?”
“Wendy is fine, David.”
“Where is she?” I asked, wondering why Mary Ann was here without Wendy.
“Let’s go and sit somewhere and I will tell you all about it.” Said Mary Ann, so we went to the kitchen and I made coffees.
Mary Ann had changed a lot. She still had her mother’s trim figure but her hair was now blonde and in the “frizz” style of the day. She was wearing a short jumpsuit type setup that showed her legs as well as being unzipped far enough at the front to confirm there was a lot more there than when I last saw her. She had a dark tan and was wearing a large pair of sunglasses that matched the chunky necklace and multiple bangles. She had rings on most fingers but not a wedding band.
“What’s first,” Mary Ann asked, obviously having seen me evaluating her, “Wendy’s story or Mary Anne’s?”
“Wendy’s ok?” I asked again.
“Wendy’s fine.” Mary Ann confirmed.
“Then let’s talk about you.” I said, not wanting to be impolite.
“First the image,” She started, “Rod, my husband wanted to marry a “real” hometown American girl. So he did.” She looked at me knowing what I was thinking. “Our wedding night was fine and Rod never suspected he wasn’t my first.” We both smiled with the memories of the morning we spent preparing her for that event. “He was very um… inexperienced and I am very glad that we did things the way we did.” Mary Ann looked at me and I said nothing, waiting for her to continue. “Once we were married I didn’t really fit in with the other “executive” wives, I was too different to the image and seen as bit of hippie because I wore the long flowing dresses and had long hair. Rod never pushed me any other way but in the seventies I decided to try to fit in more. I dyed my hair blonde and got a shorter style, and with some new clothes I looked more the part.” Mary Ann looked at me and seemed to come to a decision. “I am going to tell you something no one else knows, so please keep it to yourself.”
“Sorry, but no.” I answered.
“What?” Mary Ann was confused.
“I have spent most of my life not knowing what your mother does that is so important,” I told her, “and I have made myself a promise that when we finally do get married…”
“Married?” Mary Ann sounded surprised.
“Yes married.” I answered firmly. “When we get married I am going to keep no secrets from her, I know what it is like to wonder.”
“You two are going to get married.” Mary Ann said, mostly to herself testing out the sound of the words. “Mum never said.”
“Yes,” I answered again. “We planned it five years ago when she was here…”
“She’s been back since um, our time?” Mary Ann was obviously not up with Wendy’s social life.
“Yes, when I was in…”
“Eeek.” Mary Ann screeched.
“What the…?” I started.
“I fucked my own stepfather.” Mary Ann was horrified enough to use language that I would not have expected.
“Was it good?” I asked.
“What an awful question to…”
“Was I related in any way at the time?” My turn to interrupt.
“Was it a very long time ago?” I asked.
“Well yes but…” Mary Ann was a little less mortified.
“Did it harm you?” I asked.
“No…” She was hesitating a bit.
“Did it help you?” I asked, not waiting for her reply.
“Get over it or get out.” I said roughly.
“What?” Mary Ann was shocked with the way I was speaking to her, which was what I intended.
“I can’t change it, you can’t change it, Wendy can’t change it, and it’s done. We all agreed at the time so if you can’t handle it now go away and let Wendy and me have our life together, something we both want.” I was being as brutal as possible, trying to stop her thinking too much about the past. I was also trying to make myself as unattractive to her as possible to prevent any thought of a repeat, either on her or my part.
“Well I suppose…” Mary Ann was wavering so I totally changed the subject.
“So if you want to tell me a secret, expect it to get to Wendy too, I will not keep anything from her.” I told Mary Ann.
“Oh, um ok,” Mary Ann said quietly. “I was going to tell why I had my um breasts done.”
“You don’t have to.” I said gently.
“I know,” she said quietly, “but I have never dared tell Mum and if you do I won’t mind.”
“Fine.” There was not a lot more I could say.
“In seventy-six I found out Rod was having an affair with his secretary, Emma.” Said Mary Ann quietly.
“You don’t need to tell me this.” I said, worried she was going to regret it later.
“Actually I do.” Mary Ann said with resolve. “I have kept it inside far too long and if I can’t trust you with my darkest secret who can I trust?” She smiled. “Now let me tell you and don’t interrupt, I need to get this out.”
“Fine.” I smiled reassuringly at her and waited.
“Emma was an absolute bimbo.” Mary Ann said. “She had big blonde hair, huge tits and no brain to speak of.” Mary Ann looked at me and kept going. “She had slept with half the managers in the company and I think Rod was just next on her list, so she took the secretary job in his office. I was going past his office one night on the way to visit a friend when he was working late and thought I would drop in for a few minutes to say hi. But when I pulled in to the carpark my headlights shone into his car and they were in the back seat screwing, with the door open.”
Mary Ann sniffed away a tear and I reached over and held her hand.
“Thanks.” She said. “Anyway all I saw was Rods face looking up at me and those tits of hers shaking like they were going to come off. He didn’t even stop fucking her when they were caught in the lights.”
Another sniff and another reassuring squeeze of the hand.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Mary Ann said, “so I just put the car in reverse and backed out. I went to my friends place and got drunk and stayed there the night. When I got home the next day he was at work so I sat around wondering what I had done wrong to make him look elsewhere. I kept seeing that scene and eventually decided it must be the big tits.”
Mary Ann was struggling a bit so I got up and made a fresh coffee. When I sat down I put the cups in front of us and I held her hand again as she continued.
“I decided that if I wanted to keep him I had to get implants and made the booking with a plastic surgeon that day. When Rod got home that night we both said nothing about it, but he never asked where I was all night.” I squeezed her hand again and Mary Ann sniffed again and continued. “I didn’t tell Rod I had made the appointment but I went through with it because I was too embarrassed to back out. We never said anything but just stopped having sex, so I am sure he knew it was me in the car that night. Anyway I just said I had to spend a couple of days away with Mum when it was time to get the operation and I went and got these.” Mary Ann pushed her tits up with her hands, as if for approval, then seemed to realize who she was talking to and dropped her hands away quickly.
“Ooops, sorry.” She said with a rueful smile.
“Don’t be,” I smiled, “they are very impressive and I would not be a man if I didn’t notice.” They were a very good size and shape, certainly not Dolly Parton sized but pretty big anyway.
“While I was away,” Mary Ann continued looking and sounding very upset, “Rod and Emma were both killed in a wreck, near the romantic mountain retreat they were staying in.” She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I did this to keep Rod, and lost him while it was happening, he never ever saw them.”
Mary Ann started crying and I walked around to comfort her, she stood up and we hugged while she cried on my shoulder. We stayed like that for a while and she finally calmed down a bit.
“I’m sorry, but I have never told anyone that before.” Mary Ann finally said.
“Don’t be sorry,” I told her, “it sometimes feels good to let it out.”
“It does, and thank you.”
We hugged a bit more then I said, “Let me just finish this job, it will only be a few minutes, then you can finish your story and tell me about Wendy.”
Mary Ann nodded and I crawled back under the truck.
I finished the linkages and left Mary Ann to compose herself in the kitchen. Ten minutes later I went back.
“Thanks David.” Said Mary Ann.
“What for?” I asked.
“Listening,” she said, “and being understanding.”
“No worries, Mary Ann.” I said lightly “So what happened next?”
“There’s not a lot more,” she said, “it seems Rod had a fair financial interest in the company and the other owners wanted to buy me out but what would I do with that sort of money anyway? I just kept the stock and get a really good income for doing nothing.”
“Men?” I asked her.
“A few, but now I find it hard to trust them and when I do they just show me I shouldn’t have.” Mary Ann said.
“Women?” I asked, wondering how far her disappointments had pushed her.
“Yuck, no way,” Mary Ann looked and sounded quite disgusted, “I don’t know any like that and don’t want to.”
I wondered briefly if I should mention Wendy’s experimentation with a nurse while I was in hospital but thought I had surprised Mary Ann enough already.