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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Part 8–The End?

This is the conclusion from the seven posts below. If you are just now tuning in, it’s a long story. I’m taking the rest of the week off to pack and clean in preparations of our move. So take your time, this post and the ones below aren’t going anywhere.

After the tournament, we were tired. Rather than going out with teammates to celebrate, we headed home. It took all of my inner strength to not return Mr. Lane’s call. My mind raced a mile a minute as I drove home. Passing the mall on the way, I caught myself looking for his truck. I’d become pathetic. I saw myself turning into one of those people who annoy the shit out of me. I turned the radio up loudly, opened the car window and turned off my brain while listening to my kids sing.

When I pulled into the driveway, the front door popped open and out came Mr. Lane.

“Didn’t you get my messages?”

“Yeah. I just don’t like to talk and drive. What did you want?”

I headed for the house. He stopped me by wrapping his arms around me and said we needed to talk. Still not wanting too I gave him the look. The look that told him I’d rather bathe in a cesspool than have a little chat with him at that moment.

“You’re daughter got to play on the varsity team today and she did a great job.”

He high-fived Lane 2 as she and her brother headed into the house. I looked at the outside of the place we’ve called home for more than five years and memories washed over whatever it was Mr. Lane was saying to me. It was very much like a movie where certain images came clearly to my mind, one memory after another as his voice became a jumbled slur in the distance.

A new beginning was coming our way but rather than welcoming it, I feared it. Continuing to ignore the words he spoke, I gently broke from his grip and walked into the house. I headed straight for the coffeepot, where Lane 1 was already getting a cup ready for me. He snapped me out of my thoughts long enough to appreciate my boy, my girl, and even my princess and my idiot. Reality came disguised in a French Roast. I sat at the kitchen table, took a sip and heard, “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

I looked at my old man, took another sip of coffee, and then a deep breath. “What do you want me to say, sweetheart?”

My tone sent the kids scurrying to their rooms. The sandstorm was kicking up.

“Did you hear one thing I said?”

“No. I kinda stopped listening when you blew off your daughter’s tournament to go hangout at the mall.”

“Low blow, Lois. Anyhow, last night, after you went to bed, I called Lois in Tennessee. I told her how difficult things have been, and said that Jane wanted to go to Iowa with me. She said if I took her there, she was going to run again.”

I looked around for a second and realized I hadn’t seen Jane since I got back home. “Where is she?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, babe. I took her to the mall where her aunt and uncle met up with us. She didn’t know…”

“You told her we knew where she came from, who she was…”

“I couldn’t. So I just let her aunt and uncle, ya know, accidentally run into us at the mall.”

“Where is she?”

“She is going to go live with them.”

I can’t say I wasn’t thrilled beyond words, because I was. Relief, like hemorrhoid cream to the bum, had finally come my way. My celebration was short lived because guilt swept over me. I must be a real asshole.

More than anything I’d like a happy ending for this saga, for Jane, her family and my family. Mental illness is something none of us are able to fix. We all love Jane and want her to have as normal of a life as possible. Knowing that she would be with her family who loves her, and could get the help she needed was a good thing. Mr. Lane said it was a tearful reunion and Jane seemed to “snap out of her weirdness around them.” Maybe she was playing us a little. (Again, I feel like a major asshole just thinking that.)

Her stay was short lived. Her aunt and uncle are in their 70s and have a lot of health problems. They tried to take her shopping and get her some nice clothes, which like she had done here, refused to accept them. After just two days, she told them that she needed to leave. She was getting ready to run.

Her cousin Sarah, in Oklahoma called Mr. Lane with the latest update. Her husband who works for an airline, was going to fly to Illinois and bring her back to their house. When he arrived, he found out that Jane had no identification. Flying back was not an option. He asked if she was certain she wanted to go to be with Sarah. Jane said yes. He rented a car and drove her all the way to Oklahoma. If that isn’t a strong show of love and support, I just don’t know what is. Jane is obviously loved by many.

They arrived the next day, and Jane’s cousin called me with an update. She said Jane has her own room and bathroom, both of which she stocked with clothes and toiletries, so she wouldn’t have to ask for anything. Sarah said Jane seemed excited to be there and was willing to help Sarah’s son with his school work. Jane felt needed and Sarah felt happy to have her safe again. She thanked me profusely, which again, I felt guilty about.

But after all of that, Jane played a disappearing act again. She only stayed with her cousin for two days. No one knows where she is. I received a call last night from her uncle who lives in Illinois. He was devastated.

“Lois, she must have liked you a real lot to stay over a week. God bless you for everything you have done and tried to do for her.”

I felt sick, sad, and mad at myself for letting the real me slip away in anger. The only thing I feel good about is not taking the money everyone of her family members have offered. The temptation was great, don’t get me wrong. To know that millionaires repeatedly tried to show their appreciation, and I was able to say “no thank you” means, I didn’t lose all of me.

Of course, Mr. Lane really wants to kick my ass, but that is a story for another day. Just kidding.

I wanted a happy ending. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be after all. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet again.

Have a great weekend everyone. And thank you for sticking it out with me through this journey.