Ron's Story

After the new haircut, Lori and I caught up with Shelly, Lani and Cindy. They had been fast at work. Shelly had picked out slacks and sport jackets for me to try on. Lani had picked out shirts and ties. Cindy was busy at the cologne department looking for something more modern than Old Spice.

I thought that never had anyone been pampered and cared for and loved as much as I was that day. Loaded down with packages, I said goodbye to them in the parking lot. I felt lucky to have four wonderful angels working for me in my office.

When I got home, Kevin and Andrew gave me a big hug. I asked them to come up to the upstairs bathroom. I sat them down on the counter top as I covered my face with shaving cream, picked up the razor, and started to hack away at the face I had known for the past twenty-seven of my forty-five years. As the hair fell off into the sink, the boys stared in amazement to see a face they had never seen. Andrew started to cry and said, “You are not my Daddy anymore." Needless to say, this was not the reaction I was looking for before beginning my father-sons talk. It was time to regroup. So I packed the boys into the car to get ice cream. I planned to tell them about the ski trip the three of us would go on next week, and then to make my announcement to them of what was happening between their Mom and me.

We arrived at the ice cream parlor and walked up to the marble counter. We each ordered a hot fudge sundae. As we sat down at the table, waiting for our sundaes, I started to explain to them that Mommy and Daddy both loved them very much, but that our life was going to change. Mommy and Daddy were going to get divorced. I guess the months of sleeping in separate bedrooms or just the coldness between me and Lauren had prepared them, because they did not seem all that surprised. Each of us ate our sundaes quietly and went home.

The next morning I was examining a patient in my office when I was interrupted by Lori. She asked me to please step out of the exam room because there was a dark-haired unkempt man in the waiting room, which was full of patients. Lori said that the man was demanding to see me. I heard him yelling, “I have a subpoena for the doctor. He can run, but he cannot hide from me." As I reached through the reception window to take the paper, my hands started to shake. My whole body started to shake. Finally, I could not hold back the tears.

On Friday after work, Lauren and I went to another doctor. This time I chose the psychologist. Unlike in Dr. Stanford's office, Dr. Bagdasarian's office was spacious, with a large fish tank. We did not have to wait very long before he invited us to enter his private office. His office was cluttered and a little disorganized. There were two couches at right angles to each other, with a teak cocktail table in between. There were magazines tossed on top of it. To the right of the couch was a desk that looked as messy as mine. After we met with Dr. Bagdasarian for one hour, he advised. “There is nothing wrong with either of you. You two just don’t know how to communicate with each other. Why don’t you come back and we can work on this?.” “I don’t want to work on this. I just want to get divorced,” replied Lauren.

When worldly counsel fails, it is time to seek spiritual counseling. For our third and final attempt at marriage counseling, we went to a rabbi who was recommended by my sister. He was a famous rabbi in a big synagogue in New York. Without even speaking to either of us, he took one look at Lauren and told me to give her a divorce. At this point Lauren started to cry. “Rabbi, I am destitute. He doesn’t give me any money.“ This was only the third time I had ever seen her cry, and it was the second time in a week! And she was openly lying to the rabbi. I paid all the bills, gave her house money and had just bought her a new Plymouth Grand Caravan. My heart sunk. I was truly afraid. If Lauren was capable of lying so convincingly, no one would ever believe the truth again.

As we walked out of the Rabbi's study I said to my wife, "That was the most convincing piece of street theater I have ever seen. What do you want?” She said coldly, “Give me all your money. How much cash do you have?" “I don't have any cash,” I replied, “but I'll write you a check."

For the first time, I realized that the marriage was really over. I needed to get away as soon as possible to find some way to hold on to my sanity. I closed my practice, made a quick reservation at Killington Vermont and set out for a ski trip. The last ski trip I had taken was the week before I met Lauren, twenty-four years earlier. I went to Vermont that time too. I guess I was trying to rewrite the last quarter-century of my life.

Lauren took the boys to visit their grandparents for a few days on Friday. I left Saturday morning, at 5 A.M., for Vermont. I figured I could be on the slopes by 9 o'clock, and I could get a full day of skiing. I made great time on the New York State Thruway. I was in Albany, heading towards Troy, and looking forward to this great adventure. And then something happened on Route 7 North in Vermont. The sun poured through the skylight of my Pathfinder. The radio finally came in clear and the car was filled with the sounds of Mozart. Something happened to the time. I had totally lost track of it. All my problems seemed to disappear, also. I relaxed and kept driving, looking for the exit sign to direct me to Killington Village. The next sign I saw was CANADA, 10 MILES. I had driven three hours past my exit. In the past I would have berated myself and regretted the time I had wasted. I suddenly realized that it didn't make any difference. The pain and heartburn I had been feeling for weeks was gone. I turned the car around at the next exit and headed south, back to the mountains of Vermont.

I arrived at Killington Village at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I checked into my hotel quickly and headed to the slopes. I bought a one-week lift ticket, with equipment rental, picked up my equipment, and headed out to the slopes. My snowplow turns miraculously reappeared after twenty-five years of disuse. I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was on my third run down the mountain when I took a wrong turn and found myself on a double black diamond trail, the most challenging trail, reserved for only the most expert skiers. The trail was about five feet wide and looked like a vertical drop into the lounge. I felt cold and wet and I was sure I was going to die. There was only one way down, so I tried. After one turn, I picked up so much speed that I tumbled and rolled down toward the tree.