While we waited for divorce papers, Marilou spent her days taking care of Robert’s house and supervising contractors on yard work and household projects. It was obvious that she had access to Robert’s funds since she had no job and almost no money of her own. We had near daily contact as Marilou was also busy moving her belongings out of our house. I also know that Marilou was in constant contact with Robert, presumably back at his former residence near Seattle.
With our daily contact, I gained a good sense of her mental state. Marilou did not act like a woman who had found her true love and soul mate. She acted schizophrenic. Her moods swung from ecstatic over our impending divorce and her chance to get back to Robert, to fits of remorse and guilt over our pending divorce bordering on sheer hysteria.
She often talked as though she was being forced into divorcing me as the only way to “make things right.” She once mentioned that she didn’t know if she would be getting married to Robert as she “never asked him” to marry her. She also stated many times she didn’t mind being his mistress; this coming from a person raised a strict Catholic in a country that has been described as practicing a “primitive Christianity.” I frequently had the thought, listening to her that some alien creature had taken over the body of the woman I knew for nearly 15 years. It was as if her entire personality was disintegrating.
I was watching a person go through a complete emotional collapse.
One thing I knew I had to do was force Marilou and Valerie to talk to each other about Robert’s abuse stories. It was as much for Valerie’s sake as it was for Marilou. I knew, from the little I’d received concerning Robert’s stories about me, that neither woman would ever be right until they knew the truth.
All I knew of Cris and Valerie’s whereabouts was that Valerie and the children were at her Mom’s house in northern Mississippi, while Cris was in a navy training school for his next assignment. It took some time, but I tracked down Valerie’s mom’s phone number. On a Saturday morning, I made a call to Valerie’s mom and received an answering machine recording. I left my message, explaining I needed for her to talk with Marilou.
Cris called me back within the hour. He congratulated me on my ability to locate them, stating he was “very impressed.” I told Cris that Marilou had returned home, and I needed for her and Valerie to talk so the truth would come out. I also explained I was thinking of filing a lawsuit against Robert, and if so might consider calling Valerie as a witness. Cris promised to talk with Valerie and have her call me.
Valerie called a few hours later. Her immediate words were that she was not willing to get involved between Marilou, Robert and me. I replied that by relaying stories about me from Robert to Beth, she already had become involved. I gave her a promise that if she willingly talked to Marilou about what happened between her and Robert, I would not call her as a witness if I decided to pursue a lawsuit.
She made me promise, several more times, not to call her as a witness if she spoke with Marilou. I promised each time, finally giving her my word as a former Senior Chief Petty Officer, the strongest promise that I could give. Valerie finally agreed. I told her Marilou was next door at Robert’s house; Valerie replied she already had the phone number and would call there directly.
I waited about 30 minutes, charged up. I attempted to call Robert’s number several time but received only a busy signal. Finally, I walked over and knocked on the back door. Marilou answered, looking as if she had seen a ghost. Her face was pale white, and she appeared in shock. She admitted she had just spoken to Valerie, and flat stated that she had told Valerie “everything that Robert said” about me was false. Then she asked me to leave.
I called back to Valerie and her mom answered. Her mom said Valerie was “outside” and not taking any calls. I just asked her to thank Valerie for me, for speaking with Marilou. I hung up and never called her or Cris again.
The next morning Marilou walked over while I was sitting on my back porch. She looked like she had been awake all night. We talked for a while, the first honest and open talk we had since she returned home. During our talk I asked what Valerie had said to her. Marilou refused to tell me, explaining she didn’t want to be responsible for what I might do to Robert.
My appointment with the divorce lawyer was scheduled for later that week. The day before the appointment, after a two week wait, the lawyer’s receptionist called telling me the appointment needed to be rescheduled as the lawyer would be in court all week. When I told Marilou I needed to reschedule, she went berserk screaming at me that I was trying to “keep us together.” The next day I returned home from work and Marilou came over announcing that she had found a lawyer and was filing the papers herself.