My Encounter with Robert Garwood, Part II

Chapter 12

The papers were done within a few days and the clock on our cooling off period began. Two days later after the filing Marilou closed up Robert’s house and flew back to Seattle. Robert paid for the flight.

I spoke with Tom McKenny on a regular basis over the next several weeks and he provided me with some interesting information. One item he told me about was a letter he received from Robert while Marilou was here in Gautier. Tom claimed that the letter appeared to be written while Robert was drunk. In the letter, Robert stated he was sorry he’d ever gotten involved with “the Charest’s.”

Our divorce was scheduled to be finalized at the end of October. Marilou knew she needed to be back in time to sign the final papers so I pretty much knew when to expect her. I assumed she would be coming back with Robert, triumphantly riding into town in his RV to finish the divorce and marry him. By the beginning of October, I realized I didn’t care, and was looking forward to being single again and moving on with my life. I even started dating again.

But less than two weeks before the divorce would become final Marilou called – the first time I had heard from her since she flew back to Seattle. She told me she would be flying back on her own, three days before the waiting period expired. She politely asked if I could pick her up at the Gulfport airport when she returned. I thought a few moments, and then agreed. I was intrigued, as if I was involved in a science experiment, as to what the game was now.

Marilou attempted to call me twice more before her arrival, and I was out of the house both times. Each time, she left a polite message on the answering machine complete with heavy sighs. Her tone was completely different than anything I had heard during her brief mid-summer visit. I was now sure that her relationship with Robert had soured during the past weeks.

Marilou arrived at the airport on time and showed real emotion when she saw me. She offered to buy me dinner on the way home as a thank you for picking her up. When we arrived in Gautier she asked if I would invite her into our house, and I agreed. Marilou came in, looked around, then spontaneously broke down and cried so hysterically she nearly collapsed. We moved to the kitchen table while she cried. When Marilou calmed herself I asked if she wanted to talk, she said “not now.” So I led her to the door, said “good night,” and moved her out.

I had given her a key to the house so she could remove her remaining belongings. The next afternoon, returning from work, I found Marilou in my kitchen preparing dinner for us. We ate and then talked. Marilou was still evasive on what had gone down between her and Robert. But her infatuation with Robert had clearly worn off. She finally asked if we could have a second chance to try and “fix” our marriage. I had expected this question and was ready for it. I had already decided that I really needed to know if our marriage was finished, that if asked I would agree to give Marilou and I one more chance.

So when Marilou asked, I agreed. I did demand that Marilou never contact Robert in any way. She made a vague non-promise on this, and then repeated her demand that I never ask anything about her and Robert. She claimed to not know when Robert was planning on returning back to Gautier.

We spoke for a few more minutes, and then she went back next door. The next day when I returned home from work I discovered Marilou had already moved almost all her belongings back into our house. This was almost everything she had previously taken next door to Robert’s house over a period of many days. Marilou also contacted her lawyer that day and put the divorce proceedings on hold. Her lawyer explained that as the waiting period was already past, all Marilou needed was a judge’s signature and our divorce would be final.

Marilou flew out to the Philippines on a Friday evening, October 27, barely two weeks later, to bring her mom home. Marilou planned on being gone only one week, a quick trip. Seeing her leave was actually a relief as the previous two weeks had been mostly tense.

The day before Marilou was due to arrive back with her mom, Robert returned home driving his RV. My heart sunk when I saw the RV. I knew that with Robert next door Marilou and I had no chance to reconcile even if Marilou really was sincere. But now I was also pretty sure Marilou had played me and that she had known all along when Robert would arrive home.

Marilou and her mom returned on schedule. Over the next several days I attempted to talk even though Marilou spent most of her time caring for her mom. But during this same time period, I knew Marilou was either sneaking over to Robert’s house during the day, or Robert was sneaking over to our house. I knew this because I could see the marks on the paths between our backyards. The evenings and weekends became more and more tense. By the end of the first week, I was dreading even going home. It became obvious that our marriage was finished. I knew I could never again trust her, and after several days realized I didn’t care.

Finally, it was over. Marilou announced on the evening of Tuesday, November 13 that she wanted to complete the divorce. I agreed, with relief. The next day, I signed the papers; Marilou contacted her lawyer and finalized the divorce Thursday November 15, 2001. The next day, Friday, she and her mom were out of the house for good.

During those three days Marilou claimed to be apartment hunting. I asked Marilou how she was planning on paying for the lease or even qualifying for an apartment without a job. She just shrugged and told me it was her problem. But I also witnessed Robert moving furniture out of his house Thursday evening which provided a pretty good idea who was going to be paying. He disappeared from the neighborhood the same day that Marilou and her mom left the house for good.

Marilou and Robert were married in a civil ceremony five days after our divorce became final. I now believe that after her mom was home, Marilou just played for time living with me while she negotiated a marriage with Robert.

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