Suzanna A. Levis
Book 1: Bobbie, the Builder
They say these things come in threes. First, my knee, and now, my wife’s lawyer pushes divorce papers my way.
It’s been six months in the making, but seeing that document right there in front of me makes it real.
I look over at my beautiful ‘wife’ who sits across from me at my lawyer’s office.
Her eyes that once looked at me with reverence and love are now cold and empty. I know what she’s trying to hide behind that seemingly cold, stony mask: guilt.
She’s the reason we’re here. I won’t place the blame on her entirely, but I’m not the one who fucked my best friend.
When I busted my knee, it was the end of my career. I was broken in more ways than one and I failed her as a partner.
Basketball was everything, and just like that, I was out. It’s been a little over a year and I still can’t work out as much as I’d like, and I sure as shit can’t run.
How was I supposed to take care of her when I couldn’t even look after myself? Luckily, Aiden, my best friend since college, stepped in to take care of my poor, neglected wife. What a bro.
Now she’s pregnant with Aiden’s baby and wants out.
I should have taken my father’s advice. He always told me to find a woman who knew how to be good company, not just a lover but a friend.
“When you both get old, the beauty fades; what’s left, Mason?” He pointed to his head. “Unless dementia takes that too, you’ll have nothing left but your head. Go for the mind. Pick a sharp and funny one, a caring one.
“Look after her noodle, nurture it, and she’ll be there to hold your hand through the shit. Oh, and make sure you like her family, because you end up marrying all of them.”
Jeanie never held my hand through the shit and her family were all materialistic narcissists. I should have known.
There I was, with my entire basketball career shattered, the one I spent twenty years building, and when it was all gone, she made it all about her.
Fuck it, I won’t take any blame.
I grab the pen and sign on every line they point to. No sense in drawing this out. I give her whatever she wanted and get the fuck out of there.
Time to go meet with my therapist Jim Beam at the closest bar.
It doesn’t take long for some pretty girl to come and start up a chat. I don’t even have to try anymore. Eight years in a marriage and I never once slept with anyone else.
It would have been easy too, just like now. Go to a bar, have a seat, and wait to be recognized. A lot’s changed since I was a kid.
The longer I sit there nursing my drink while trying to ignore the woman talking at me, the longer I realize I’m going to be alone for a long time before I find myself a quality woman.
And I will find one—they’re out there somewhere.
Until then, I guess I’ll settle for anonymous sex.
It’s times like these that memories of Angela Hicks come flooding back.
She was my crush in high school. Not the most beautiful girl on the planet, but she had it all. She was sharp and witty, fit, played on the girls’ team, and never let me get away with any shit.
She didn’t care I was captain of the guys’ basketball team and kept my feet nailed to the floor whenever my head got too big for my shoulders.
Angela was my best friend’s sister, and that made her off-limits.
I kissed her once at a graduation party, and to this day, no one’s driven me half as crazy as she did. She ran away after that, said that we shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff, or her brother would kick my ass.
Atticus never found out, though. I went off to play basketball in college, my career took off, and I never saw her again. I wonder sometimes what she might be doing, if she’s married, if she still lives in Georgia…
I lost contact with nearly everyone back home.
I chuckle at the memory of that one time she practically dunked over me; she basically used me as a springboard to get to the hoop and hollered, “Get dunked on, bitch! Suck it!” before running a victory lap around me like a maniac.
I should have married her right then and there, but what do kids know?
“What’s so funny?” asks the brunette whose name I don’t even remember. I’m sure she introduced herself.
“Angela Hicks.” I look at her dull eyes and wonder what might have happened for her to be here day drinking.
“Oh, is that your girlfriend?”
“No, I’m not that lucky.” I slide off the stool, leave a couple of bills on the bar, and leave.
I can’t go down this rabbit hole. If I start going to bars during the day like this, I might never leave.
There’s been a lot of guys that have had to face the same path before. I never want to walk in the shoes that lead to self-destruction.
It’s so easy to go to all those dark places, but I can never let myself even start to go in that direction. I’ll never get out. I know myself. I’m not strong enough.
As I make my way home, I get an idea that keeps nagging at me.
Maybe I should go home? Not home here, but home back to Georgia.
Maybe now would be a good time to reconnect with my past and figure out where to go from here.
Basketball was everything, and now that it’s no longer an option, maybe I can find a new path. A change of scenery wouldn’t be too bad, either. Everywhere I go, all I see are memories of the life I built here with Jeanie.
My dad has always been full of good advice. Maybe I should go stay with him, and he can help keep me out of trouble.
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