By Del Starr, a pseudonym, all rights reserved. Posted Sept 30, 2015

Let’s Leave the Rest of the World Behind

Lookout Pass was behind her. Peter had been correct and there was no snow. Dianne was thankful for that as the miles rolled on and she pressed her way home to Portland.

It was a long trip. It would take her eleven hours without stopping, but this had been one of her more pleasant jobs and she had memories to take home with her. She thought of those now. Peter would be in Portland in just six short months. If she was in town, she would enjoy having dinner with him again. He was good company. She thought it was too bad that he didn’t live closer. They might have developed a close relationship, but Dianne was satisfied with the way things were. She had no desire to have a man permanently in her life and Peter might provide an interesting interlude once in a while.

There wasn’t really much that Dianne enjoyed more than driving and she surely was enjoying this ride home.

Made it, she thought as she wheeled the trailer into its parking slot. She lowered the landing gear and disconnected the pickup, which she would park in front of her door. She still must go to the office before she could relax for the weekend.

As she parked the pickup and locked the pickup doors, she longed to be away from suburbia and back in the country where her doors could be left unlocked and where a handshake was binding. Those places were hard to find in the world now, but Dianne kept looking.

She opened her front door just as the phone began to ring.

“Hello?”

“Dianne?” It was a male voice.

“Yes?”

“This is Peter. You made it home okay?”

Dianne was surprised. He had figured out when she should be home and cared enough to call. This was good. They had a good conversation.

The following evening he called again. “This could be habit forming,” Dianne laughed.

Peter called every evening that Dianne was home. She kept him informed as to what her schedule would be. For the next couple of weeks, she would be working in Portland and would be home every evening.

“I’ll be in Portland this weekend,” Peter promised.

Dianne hadn’t expected that. She had only left him two weeks ago.

“What happened? I thought you were not going to be here until April?”

“I have to look at some equipment out there. How about dinner?”

“I’d love it!” Dianne said.

She now looked forward to the weekend. It would be good to see Peter again. She must get some tokens for him. She bought a yellow rose and a can of Oregon Suntan Lotion. She was ready.

“Hi Dianne. I’m at my motel. Anytime you want, just stop on by and we’ll go to dinner.”

“How about 5:30? Will that work for you?”

“Sure will!”

At 5:25 Dianne stood outside Peter’s door. When he opened the door she offered both hands. In one was the yellow rose, in the other was the can of WD-40 (Oregon suntan lotion). Peter laughed and took her into his arms. He hugged her tightly and then they walked out the door to go to dinner.

Nearly every weekend now, Peter was in Portland. Dianne knew there wasn’t that much equipment that he needed to view. There must be another reason and she feared that she knew what it was.

When Peter was there they would go for drives, they would eat lunch together, and they would take walks. Dianne arranged that they take the Willamette River cruise ship on its breakfast run. It was pouring down rain that day but Peter and Dianne didn’t care. The cold rain and the warm interior of the ship caused the windows to fog over. The view wasn’t great but the company was. When they docked, a photographer was there to snap their picture. Peter bought it. It was the first one of the two together.

At Christmas, Peter came to spend the day. Dianne’s family had always made Christmas a special occasion and this year was not to be different. Brad’s girlfriend had said that the only thing she wanted for Christmas was money, and Dianne had taken her literally. She purchased a square box of tissues and took all of them out of the box. She taped quarters to a long strand of yarn; a quarter, a tissue, a quarter, a tissue until the little box was filled.

Chad had been borrowing a Nintendo from a friend. Secretly, Dianne bought a new one, returned the friend’s and set Chad’s up in its place. She filled the package it had come in with books and papers and covered it in wrapping paper. When Chad opened the box he looked blankly at each member of the family. He couldn’t figure out what this was all about, but he knew his family and he knew whatever it was… it was fun. The family laughed at his stunned look and then informed him he had been using his own new Nintendo for several days.

Stuffed toys for the little ones were tacked to the ceiling along with a piñata to break open. Christmas was a good time of the year and Peter found himself doubled over with laughter at some of the loving antics the family played on each other.

The children were happy for Dianne. They really liked Peter and hoped that more would come of the relationship. She told them in no uncertain terms that she was very happy the way she was, that Peter was only a friend and it would stay that way.

It was February and Peter had traveled the road from Montana to Portland many times. Dianne now knew how long it should take him and if he was late, she worried. Their friendship had grown stronger.

Sitting together one day Peter said, “And if we get married, you won’t be able to work your job any longer.”

Dianne stared at him. “What?”

Peter repeated himself.

Dianne stood and walked across the room. Turning back toward Peter she said, “Peter, I like you very much. I really enjoy your company but I am content the way I am and I really don’t want to get married. I hope you understand.”

Peter was silent for a moment. Then a tear rolled down his cheek. “Dianne, don’t do this to me. I love you, you know, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Dianne had known he cared but she was amazed that he seemed to care so much. “We’ll talk about it later,” she said.

That evening when she returned home she told her children what had taken place. “I really don’t want to get married.”

“Oh Mom,” Janelle cried, “he’s so nice, you really should.”

“No Janelle, I really shouldn’t. I’ve had enough and I have a good job now. I don’t want to mess up my life with another man.”

“But Mom,” Janelle continued, “You could be really happy. I think all of us want you to marry Peter.”

When Peter returned to Montana that weekend, Dianne had not given him an answer.

The following weekend Peter was back again. “Well?” he questioned.

The children and Dianne had talked all week about it and the children had convinced Dianne that she would be doing the right thing both for them and for herself if she married Peter.

“Okay Peter,” she told him, “we’ll get married.”

The wedding was set for the 12th of April but Dianne was still married to Joe. She had not wanted nor had she anticipated remarrying, so she had never obtained a divorce It kept her safe, she thought. Now she was in a rush. Oregon’s law said that one must have the divorce granted and then there would be a six month waiting period before it would be final. This was February and April was only a short two months away. Peter did not want to wait any longer. Dianne figured that he was tired of driving back and forth to Portland.

Another law that worked with the divorce law stated that if the two were in agreement as to the divorce it could be granted immediately and be final. Dianne called Joe.

Joe was in full agreement. They had not lived together for several years. He had been living with another woman. They might as well get the divorce. He would meet Dianne at the bank and have the papers notarized and she could go ahead and get the divorce.

Two days later when Dianne met him at the bank, Joe was dressed in a suit and tie. This would have impressed her in the old days, but her heart was cold toward him now. They went into the bank to sign the papers but Joe said he had no identification. He told the notary that he had an account at that bank and his signature card could be used for identification. The notary went to look for his signature card but there was none nor was there an account in Joe’s name.

“I know what it is,” Joe said. “The account is actually in my friend’s name but I am a cosigner.”

Once again the notary went to look for the signature card. When she returned she asked Joe, “Are you certain it’s at this branch?”

“Well,” Joe said, “It could be at another branch. I’m sorry. I’ll check on it.”

The papers were unsigned and Dianne knew that Joe was playing head games with her once more.

As they left the bank Joe said, “Dianne, I’m so sorry. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we go over to Denny’s and have a cup of coffee and talk about it?”

“No, thank you, Joe,” Dianne said, “I’ll be just fine and I really don’t want to talk about it.”

She now headed for downtown Portland where she would be able to purchase normal divorce papers. She would represent herself, rather than having an attorney.

She called Peter to tell him the latest events. “I’m sorry, Peter,” she pleaded, “I should have known. That’s the way Joe is. I’ll do my best to get it completed.”

Papers in hand, Dianne entered the courthouse at Oregon City. It was a smaller court and she knew that her best chance of obtaining the divorce by April would be here. She filed the papers and received a court date.

As she stood in front of the judge, he read the papers. “How long have you been married to this man?” he questioned.

“Five years, your honor,” Dianne related, “but sir, we haven’t lived together but about six months and he has been living with another woman now for about five years. Your honor, he has bothered me at my place of employment, he has harassed me, I have had to obtain restraining orders against him, and he has threatened my life.”

The judge read the papers once more. He shook his head and stamped them, wrote a note, and then handed them to Dianne.

Dianne’s heart leaped when she read the papers. “GRANTED,” they read. “FINAL DATE _________. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Her divorce would be final in two weeks. She hastened home to call Peter.

The next few weeks were a flurry of excitement. This time there would be a proper wedding and the children would be in attendance, as would Kathy, Dianne’s stepsister.

She located a small log cabin in Vancouver, Washington, an ideal place come rain or shine. She would pledge her love to Peter here in this historic building. The children liked it too.

A judge was located to perform the ceremony. The family picked out the wedding cake. Dianne purchased her wedding outfit. The necessary items for the reception were purchased. They were ready. All that needed to be done now was for Dianne to go to the beauty shop to have her hair done.

She had informed the company she was working for some time previously, and now she must say good-bye. She cared very deeply about her co-workers and hugs were shared. Her boss stated that he would never send another woman to Montana and Dianne laughed. She really hated to leave them. The office staff gave Peter and Dianne a dining set that included elegant napkin holders and napkins. It was beautiful and Dianne thanked them all for their thoughtfulness.

Peter arrived. He had rented a U-Haul trailer, and Dianne’s belongings were now packed in it. Only Chad would accompany them. The other children were now living their own lives. Brad had borrowed the money from Dianne to make a down payment on a new mobile home. All was right with the world. Peter, Dianne, and Chad made their way to Vancouver. They would stay in a motel near the little log house for that night, be married the following afternoon, and leave for Montana the next day.