Al Sullivanís journal
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† March 27, 1995
†I hate to repeat the old adage about how little changes in people's lives, yet the more things appear to change with Louise, the less things change. This hit home particularly hard when Sharon and I drove to Scranton last Saturday. We had missed my daughter, Ruby's birthday, for several reasons, and thought to make up for it with one of my usual surprise arrivals. I had lost Ruby's address because -- like a jerk -- I installed it into my computer hard drive just as the computer failed, and then, in buying a new computer, neglected to recover the old information. Ruby and her mother have moved so often that no single address lasts more than a year. I thought we had overcome this problem when they took up a post office box. But two years ago, they fled Homesdale for the heartland of Scranton, foiling that idea.
†But I had been to new house on my previous visit, and I knew where both Ruby and Louise worked. I feared only that Ruby had made plans to go away with her boyfriend. Louise I knew worked Saturdays. As it turned out, we found Louise right where we expected, and the phone call up to the house, produced a delightful squeal from my daughter: ``Daddy! You're here?''
†These omens seemed good to me, spelling for us a relatively uneventful visit. But alas, I've read my omens badly these last few years, always shocked when good situations turn bad. When Louise and Ruby lived in Homesdale, I rarely predicted their moods, visits always becoming least what I expected, good visits turning sour on a miss-uttered word, and bad visits evolving into close moments of friendship. Sometimes, I became the target of Louise's wrath, though over the years, she selected her enemies out of a stock of ex-lovers, who conveniently did evil deeds to her, putting her out, or spending her money, or not giving her money or gifts they promised.
†This visit lived up to fate's expectations, with gentle foreshadowing coming from Louise only when she told me her car had broken down and she walked too and from work. I offered her to pick her up later, and then went off to buy a birthday cake and deliver it, still not suspecting the disaster that lay ahead. Nor did that disaster greet us when we went in to see Ruby and her boyfriend at the house, both seemingly happy. But when we took Ruby to the mall, she began to hint at the dark things that went on between her mother and the latest fiancť, Homer.
†``He gave her an engagement ring and then told her later it wasn't really an engagement ring, just a sign of friendship,'' Ruby said. Later, after I picked up Louise, the rest of the tale came out, how Homer had been wandering away from Louise, how Homer had been going out and scoring drugs, and spending money they needed for the car and rent and food. At the house, Homer wandered in, then up the stairs, and then out again. Louise, in a quick look around, found seven small plastic bags, each the size of a dime, each formerly containing cocaine. The man supposedly gave it up over a year ago, but now had acquired the habit again, and Louise, as usual, didn't know what to do, whether to send him away, or run away herself, or try and ride this storm out the way she had so many others with so many other men. She still hadn't decided when we parted for New Jersey again, though clearly, she and Homer would part company soon, if not out of mutual agreement, then out of mutual disaster. It scares me to think that she has repeated this same scene, week after week, month after month for all the years since I was with her in 1972, never smart enough to see it coming, never wise enough to avoid trouble, always charging in with high hopes that this man, this situation would last forever.