Sunday, January 6
Tom and I snowboarded and skied Wilmot Mountain today with his band mates and some of their parents. We’d all joined the Snowbirds Club at the Wisconsin “mountain.” It was no mountain. I took the lift to the top and waited for Tom to ride up with his friends. Laurel, Terry’s wife, was sitting nearby strapping on her board. I skied over and told her I was divorcing JB. She looked shocked.
“I, I don’t know what to say,” she stammered.
“Yeah,” I laughed.
“I, I would have never thought he . . .”
“I’m not going to tell Terry. He likes JB. I don’t know how he’d take this.”
Terry sought JB’s advice on his and Laurel’s troubled marriage a number of times. JB had told me about it, eyes gleaming. It was the same gleeful look he got when he asked me about my mentally ill Aunt Edie. JB didn’t ask me about much, so his periodic interest in my aunt, who’d become increasingly paranoid and almost died last summer, made me uncomfortable.
Six months ago, Aunt Edie had cut off communication with my mother and Aunt Lori. She also hadn’t been in church. My mother and Aunt Lori had driven to Aunt Edie’s house. Her car was there but the house was dark and silent.
“She wouldn’t come to the door,” my mother said. “She wouldn’t let us in.”
“Call the police,” I said. “Have them break in.”
Aunt Edie believed the police were out to get her and surveilling her house.
“I’m not doing that. Edie would hate me more than ever if I did that. I can just picture the hateful look on her face if I walked into her house with the police.”
“So what! She’s sick. She needs help.”
“If that’s how she wants to be, let her,” my mother said.
I called the police. An officer told me they needed a court order to break in. I called the state’s attorney and was told they needed a written statement from Aunt Edie’s psychiatrist to issue the order. I called Aunt Edie’s psychiatrist. He said he’d write a letter. I was about to make a followup call to the psychiatrist when my mother called to say Aunt Edie’s next-door neighbor had noticed her lights hadn’t been on for days and her mail was piling up. He’d called the police. The police had broken in and found Aunt Edie hiding from them under her kitchen table. She was dehydrated and close to dead.
Laurel stood up when her boots were strapped to her board. “Terry will find out eventually, but it will hit him hard.”