Margie and the R Manbymattwatt43©
Margie Wendt looked at the charge sheet and realized that she did indeed have one more patient to work with before she could give in to her day long, no, week long, anxiety and go home to worry with Dale, her son, about the fees for his med school education.
It had been so totally on her mind lately that it was almost the whole of her mental environment.
It's just that med school was getting more and more expensive and they were only barely keeping up with it as it was. The prospect loomed for the two of them of having to go to the bank to see about a mortgage on the house to pay for it.
Margie was determined not to leave it up to Dale and his wife Susie alone. She had pledged herself to her son's education as far as he needed or wanted to go with it.
The baby, little Sylvia was one of the complications. An unexpected surprise, she was the joy of their lives but still it had meant that Susie had to take time off from work to have Sylvia and care for her initially and then the job just wasn't there anymore.
That marked the true beginning of their worries. And now it was looking like the worries were big time.
She was having a cup of tea with one of the other physical therapists, Janie Raymond, and complaining about the pressure of it. It was a topic that she'd been free to go over with Janie before.
She was in the middle of describing her worries, when she saw that her next, Foster Wayne was waiting for her. She checked the clock and said to Janie:
"Gotta go, my Foster is here for his hour."
"Such a gorgeous man," Janie said.
"Yes, he is," Margie said, casting a glance at the tall elderly man waiting for her.
(It is possibly not fair to call Foster Wayne 'elderly'. He was, indeed, in his early 60'as but that's not, by our current standards any longer considered 'elderly', is it? So, that's the last time we'll call this gentleman 'elderly'.)
Margie set her tea cup down and said: "Thanks for listening, Janie; I appreciate it. I just hate to have to go through with this mortgage thing but I will not abandon Dale and Susie in this. I've made that promise."
"You are so good," Janie said, "Someone needs to notice that and take care of you!"
Margie smiled at her friend and said: "I know but fat chance."
Margie Wendt, physical therapist at a major mid west hospital, was, at 39 about as lovely as a woman could hope or expect to be. She was compact but in absolutely excellent shape. She worked out almost daily. She was small breasted and fairly broad hipped but very, very pleasing nonetheless.
She had an outgoing personality and was fierce in her allegiance to and defense of those whom she loved. Her concern for her son's medical school education is a case in point. She had married a high school sweetheart and had Dale already at the age of 18. Of course, the sweetheart turned out to really be a meathead, which he proved in a short amount of time. Margie never had time for a man in her life after that.
Right at that particular time, Foster Wayne, her next patient, the 'not so elderly' gentleman, had heard the conversation between Margie and Janie Raymond.
As Margie used the loo, Foster casually wandered over and engaged Janie in a conversation about Margie's son and his school.
He found out that way that Dale was in medical school at the local university. He was a second year student.
At 62, Foster Wayne was in possibly the best shape of his life.He had taken to exercising ever since his mild heart attack that had occurred some sixteen years earlier. They were years that he devoted himself to a cardiac rehabilitation program and worked out, pushing himself always, ever since that time.
He was 6'1" tall and carried his 190 lbs very well. He had white hair, and had had such since his mid thirties. He also sported a white beard and mustache. He was a fairly dapper dresser. All in all, an attractive man.
His wife, a flighty, fidgety woman, had committed suicide years before even Foster's heart attack. He had no other visible family, and as an only son had inherited from his parents and using that base, his father's company, had increased that until he was worth in the billions.
He led a simple life, was not a womanizer and was a very outgoing person. He was in pt at this point as a result of a knee replacement. He had struck up an easy and good friendship with Margie Wendt, almost as soon as he was assigned to her as his therapist.
She came for him then, apologizing for being a few minutes late.
"Margie," he said, "You look all in!"
"Last of the day, Foster, sorry!" she said.
"Hey, you never have to apologize to me," he said, smiling, "We're friends, after all."
"Yes," she said, smiling back, "Friends."
She realized then and there that she really believed that, and genuinely liked this distinguished looking man.
"Well," he said next to her, "What kind of torture do you have devised for me today."
She gave him a thin smile and said: "Oh the usual."
"But Margie," he said, "What's wrong; you look so worried, so down."
"Oh, it's stuff at home," she answered, not aware that he already had information on her problem from Janie Raymond.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I shouldn't pry."
"Oh, you're not prying," Margie said, "I know that; it's just that my son's bills for medial school have me, have us, on the ropes. I've promised to help him and his wife with this and she had the baby, then she lost her job and they're having a tough time. It's just time to step up to the plate and go to the bank to see what has to be done . . ."
She trailed off then and apologized to him for unloading her grief onto him.
"Not unloading, dear! Friends help friends that way," he said.
"Thank you, Foster," she said, "You are such a caring person."
"And you're going to hurt me now?" he said grinning.
"Exactly!" she said returning the grin, "It's what I do!"
They let it go at that but Foster was already thinking ahead.
He had a meeting the next afternoon with the dean of the medical school. They had been cultivating him for a good while for a possible donation and he'd decided to do what they wanted.
He was in the office of Dr. Cherry, the Dean, who'd been in touch with him through a mutual friend.
They had some pleasant chit chat and then they got down to the business that Dr. Cherry wanted to talk to him about. They were asking for a donation of a quarter of a million dollars.
"Dr. Cherry," Foster said, "I will make that donation, and be open to more in the future but on one condition."
He smiled at the Dean who smiled in return and said: "Mr Wayne . . ."
Then Foster interrupted the Dr and said: "It's Foster, please; excuse my interruption."
"Foster, of course, thank you; but what I was going to say was that there is always a condition. We can probably live with that," the Dean said.
"Here it is," Foster went on, "You have a student, Dale Wendt."
"Yes, I know Dale; he's doing excellent work," the Dean said.
"Well, I want all of his bills sent to me; I will make you out a check now for what is owed," Foster went on.
"That's very generous, Foster," the Dean said.
"I am a friend of his Mom," Foster clarified, and went on: "She is my physical therapist for this knee replacement."
"Ah, I see," the Dean said.
"Will you do that for me?" Foster asked.
"Yes, of course," Dean Cherry said, "Am I free to tell Dale about this?"
"Yes, I won't make it a secret," Foster said, "I know that at some time I will have to be answerable to his Mom for doing this but I can handle that."
The Dean smiled and said, "I'm sure you can."
"Then we are agreed?" Foster asked.
"Yes, we are, and I'd like to thank you both for your donation to the school and also for your support of one of our students; both are very handsome gestures."
He then turned to the intercom and asked that his secretary bing in the file with Dale Wendt's material.
"This will tell us what we need to know," the Dean went on.
"And in the future, his bills will come to me?" Foster asked.
"Yes, unless he or his family object," the Dean said.
"As I said," Foster went on, "I'll deal with that."
"Fine," Dean Cherry said, and then there was a knock on the door and the secretary brought in the file. It gave them the information that they needed.
"I will have that donation ready for you tomorrow," Foster said, "I'll talk to my banker and I will have a check for all of these fees and costs for Dale Wendt."
"And you don't mind if I tell the family?" Dean Cherry asked.
"No, not at all," Foster said.
They shook hands and left it at that.
It was toward closing time at the therapy suite at the hospital. One of the technicians strolled in, on his way out the door. Margie and Janie were left there, still talking. Margie was still worrying out loud about what she was going to do.
"Hey, guys," he said, his name was Les. "Who's the rich dude who was here today?"
"Rich?" Janie asked.
"Yeah!" he answered. "There was a gigantic black Mercedes in the lot, driver and all. Mucho denaro!"
"No idea," Janie said.
"Nor do I," Margie said also. She laughed, "Maybe it's someone who's looking to shower money on us!"
All three of them enjoyed a laugh about that, and Les left for the night. Janie and Margie talked for a bit longer, not thinking any more about Les' question.
The next page in the unfolding drama came, when Margie got home. The phone rang and it was Dale on the phone.
"Mom, I have to talk to you!" he said, sounding urgent.
She tried to head him off by saying: "Dale, I will go to the bank tomorrow; the mortgage will be fine; I can manage!" (She wasn't as confident as she sounded but wouldn't let him know that.)
"No, Mom, I just had a meeting with Dean Cherry at the school and someone has paid all my fees and has indicated that they will keep doing that."
"What?" she exclaimed, "But that's crazy there must be some mistake."
"No, no mistake," Dale said, still out of breath. "Mom, do you know a Foster Wayne?"
"Foster?" she said suddenly getting a hint of what had happened.
"Yes, I do," she answered
"What do I do?" Dale said.
"Leave it up to me," she said, "Honey, I'll get to the bottom of it."
She rang off then. She thought for a while about it, and was still confused at the end of the time. She took a shower, and went to the phone.
It was 8 PM that evening, when Foster's phone rang.
"Hello," he said.
"Foster?" it was Margie's voice.
"Yes, Margie, is that you?" he asked.
"Yes, it is; Foster I have to talk to you," she said.
"Yes, I guess maybe you do," was his answer.
"Can I pick you up in a few moments and we'll go out for a drink and talk?" he asked.
She hesitated for a moment and then said: "Yes, that will be fine."
She told him where she lived and he said he'd be there in about 15 minutes.
He drove himself taking his Mercedes sports car. He had a chauffeur but had given Stan the night to take his wife out to dinner.
He pulled into the driveway of Margie's house, and she came out of the house right away. She was wearing a pleated skirt, dark colored, and a blouse.
He got out and held the door for her.
"Foster!" she said greeting him with an outstretched hand but a suspicious look on her face.
"Hi, Margie!" he said, and his obvious friendliness calmed her down immediately. She didn't know why he had that kind of effect on her but he did.
"Love your car!" she said, sliding into the sports car.
"It's my run around," he said.
"We need to talk," she said.
He held up at hand, "Can it wait until we can sit face to face and do it? I not trying to avoid anything; I just think it would be more pleasant that way."
"Of course it will," she said, sitting back and just enjoying the beauty of the lovely car.
He drove her to one of the large hotels. They went into the cocktail lounge, where he was greeted by name. They were seated in a darker corner at a round table.
"Sorry about the name," he said, "I come here now and then and they got to know me."
She only nodded.
"I don't exactly know where or how to start," Margie said.
"Let me help," he said, "You're wondering why in heaven's name I have made arrangements to pay for your son's med school bills."
She looked at him, obviously relieved that he got right to the point.
"May I answer?" he asked.
"Please, Foster," she said.
"First I need to establish one fact. We've known each other only a short time but I really have a sense that we are friends. I mean we do not only have a therapist-patient relationship. Do you agree with that?"
She thought just a bit and said: "Yes, I do."
(Her answer was based on the fact that they did take time now and again, when his therapy was done to sit and have a chat and a cup of coffee. It had become a usual thing for them over the short time involved.)
"Fine," he said, "Then there are two answers. The first is the short answer, and then the more complicated one. May I please ask that you hear both answers fully before you react?"
"Yes, certainly," she said, becoming more and more mystified.
"Okay," he went on, "First is the short answer:----and I assure you that I will only be truthful; I will not at any time with what I say be making a joke, making fun or any such things. I simply do not treat my friends with disrespect in that way."
"Thank you," she said, realizing that she did appreciate what he'd just said.
"With that in mind," he went on, "the first, short, reason is that I can."
She just looked at him a bit surprised by this answer but still giving him time.
He looked at her earnestly and said: "My longer answer is an off shoot of the first, and gives more detail."
He thought for a moment or two and then went on:
"When I say that I can, what I mean is first of all that I have the means to do so. Let me explain. When Forbes does there richest in America, for a number of years I have missed that list only by a few billion dollars. And telling the truth, I have made business decisions that would make me sure to lose a little to keep my name off of that list. I simply don't want the notoriety."
Now she was regarding him with wide eyes. He held up his hand, indicating that he was not finished.
"I am a very careful man; I do not wish to have all sorts of people hanging on me for financial reasons. But I also am a man who has a determination to help his friends, when I discover a need that a friend of mine has that I can satisfy. I make sure that I do."
He thought again then and went on: "And it is a very important thing to me, a blessing, if you will, from my friends that they let me do such things. I am open and available to my friends in such a way, by my nature and my desire."
He looked at her for a few seconds, noticing that she was giving him rapt attention.
"As for you, I heard what you said to Janie; I apologize for listening but I did hear it. I already had an appointment with Dean Cherry of the University Med School to make arrangements for a large donation that they wished from me, a quarter of a million. I determined to make one caveat with them. I told Dean Cherry that I would make the donation that they wanted but only if they would allow me to pay Dale's Medical School expenses. Of course they said 'yes'."
She had tears in her eyes at that point, and he continued:
"And I need this favor from you, Margie, I need you to allow me to be a friend to you. It's one of the ways that I am a friend, and you are giving me a blessing if you allow me to do this. It's what I ask."
He hesitated and said: "Those are the long and short reasons."
"This is going to make me cry!" she said.
"That's probably the one thing that would make me back off," he mused, "I mean, if what I did made you sad enough to make you cry."
"No, no," she said, covering his hand with hers, "I mean relief, joy, unexpected, unexpected relief! I was maybe on the verge of losing my house but was determined to see that Dale got the education that he wants. He's so talented."
"So Dean Cherry says!" Foster said.
Then he looked at her directly and said: "Please, Margie, will you please allow me to do this? It's what I'm asking."
She shook her head 'yes' and did start to cry then. He gave her his pocket handkerchief, for which she thanked him softly.
"Margie," he said, "I have no ulterior motives here; I mean, I'm not trying to buy friendship or love or any such motive. I'm simply not that kind of person. I am trying to be a friend."
"I think that I'm beginning to realize that. You are such a special man! I hardly know what to say. I'm am simply swept away here." she said, shaking her head.
"Dinner?" he asked.
"Well, no, I really haven't," she said, "So much has happened since I left work. When I got home, Dale called me and asked me if I knew Foster Wayne. Of course I was curious and said 'yes'. But then when he told me that Foster Wayne had made arrangements to pay his Med School bills, I simply had to sit down. I didn't believe it but he assured me that it was true. I told him that I'd get back to him, once I spoke to you. I guess that I was thinking that I needed to find out what you wanted for this money."
"I understand that," he said.
"I apologize for the thought!" she said softly.
He gestured with his hand and the waiter came over.
"Paul," he said pleasantly, "The young lady and I are going to dine; can you have us set up in the Paris Room?"
"Certainly, Mr Wayne," Paul said, going to do that.
"The Paris Room," she said and actually giggled---Maggie normally wasn't a giggling type of girl. "I've always wanted to eat there but realize that I would have to save my money up."
He grinned at her: "It's on me!"
"Oh, now you're spoiling me!" she said, not sure if it was a complaint or not.
"It's what I do to my friends," he said.
She smiled and said: "Lovely! The Paris Room!"
They talked over dinner about their respective lives. She told him about her no good husband, whom she married out of high school and turned out to be a womanizer and a louse.
"The only good thing that he ever did for me was Dale!" she said wistfully.
Then it was his turn. He told her of losing his wife almost 18 years ago, and how it affected his living and outlook for so many years.
"I got to a point," he explained,"Where I decided to live again and it was then that I started trying to be a blessing to my friends."
"This was lovely," she said, "And 'thank you' seems to inadequate!"
"Not to me it doesn't," he said, patting her hand.
"Tell you what," she said, "Will you come to dinner Saturday? Dale and Susie will be there with little Sylvia."
"Love to," he said, "What a lovely invitation, to meet them. If he's your son, he must be top rate!"
She grinned at him.
"Home?" he said pleasantly.
She made comments again about how much she loved his car.
"Yes," he said, "Normally I take the Benz with Stan driving; he's my chauffeur and man about everything. But tonight he had plans with his wife, so I drove myself. I normally use this, when I drive."
"It's so lovely," she said.
When they reached her home, a lovely but fairly small place, she sat for a few minutes.
"Foster," she began softly, "I have to think about all of this; it's almost like an assault on my senses."
"Yes, I realize that," he said, putting his hand on top of hers. "I do apologize for doing it the way that I did. It seemed the best."
"Yes, I'm sure," she said earnestly, "I . . .I don't know what I would have done had you just offered."
"I know that, Margie," he said. "And I in no way wanted to or wish to insult your pride."
"Yes, yes, that's clear," she said, and then, as if she'd come to a decision, she went on:
"Foster, I'd like you to get out. I need to give you a hug as the mother of Dale; it's the only 'mother' hug you'll get from me, very likely, but I do want to do that."