Standing now at his grave, Kathleen thought about Scott’s game to control her. While she looked like his wife, with the expensive dresses, jewelry, and world-wide jaunts, in reality she was a financial pauper except for her own savings from the sale of her former home in California.
Kathleen owned nothing that was Scott’s. The prenuptial agreement she signed before their wedding gave sole ownership of his home, hardware business, shopping centers, and other real estate properties to him. Nothing was ever bought or owned jointly during their marriage.
She sighed, remembering the pressure Scott and his lawyer put on her that day. She was tired and wanted to be done with this legal business. Tomorrow they were boarding a plane that would take them to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they would be married the next day. She still had to pack and shop for a few more clothes.
Kathleen heard Puerto Rico was a beautiful place, with its sunny beaches, tropical rain forest, and large Spanish fortress. She thought it would be romantic to be married in the big cathedral that sits in the heart of old San Juan, but the arrangements had been time consuming and difficult to make in such a short time. Everything seemed so rushed. Now, this prenuptial agreement came out of the blue. Scott never discussed it with her before that morning.
Her hand shook a little as she signed the document. Kathleen knew she was blinded by a love for Scott that flooded over her late in life. The intensity of her feelings surprised her;
she felt as if her heart would stop if she had to spend one moment without him. On that day, she did not dare see his financial manipulation of her.
“Goddamn him anyway. He never did anything he promised, the lying son-of-a-bitch. But he sure as hell knew how to make it sound like he would!”
She bent down and rubbed her hand in the red dirt along side the grave marker as if she could reach down and touch him beneath the soil. She wanted to give up her feeling of hatred for him, but she realized as she touched the earth that she did not know how to let loose of it. It had become so much a part of her now.
Although the earth was dry, its powdery rust-colored form still stained her hand and clung under her fingernails. She tried to brush the stain away, but in doing so she accidentally rubbed her hand on the side of her white slacks, making a mark that would be difficult, if not impossible, to get out.
“It’s like it infects your soul,” she said in disgust, giving up the task.
She stood, and swept her hand across her eyes, determined not to cry; instead she smudged her face with the red dirt. Kathleen felt anger flood into her soul, as memories of the past poured pain on her unhealed wounds.
She brushed at her pants in one more desperate effort, shook her head, and walked down the steps to her car, opened the door and stood for a moment, staring at the Buckley name so prominently displayed.
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