Did you ever write a list of qualities you wanted in a spouse? I wrote one—after I separated from my first husband. Yes, the second husband would be different. I met someone, a possible candidate. We had just started training together for our first marathon. We both worked at Pizza Hut, Inc., in Wichita, Kansas. My new running friend had just moved to Wichita from Chicago.
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Monday morning I sat at my desk, phone in hand, about to call back a stack of those lovely messages when Art popped into my office and sat down. “What’s happening Dolores?”
“Oh, you know, work. What’s going on with you?” Happy to have the distraction, I put the phone down.
Art leaned forward and looked me right in the eyes. “You want to date Arne, don’t you?”
My jaw dropped. “What?”
Art leaned back and crossed his legs. “I heard about your divorce. Arne is single and I know you guys are training together. Did you know that he has a girlfriend in Chicago?”
The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I sat back in my chair and crossed my arms. “Art, you’re a gossip! We’re just training together. My divorce isn’t even final yet.” I hoped he couldn’t see my real reaction.
Art stood up. “Oh, I keep my ears open. Talk to you later.” Art swept out of my cube.
I sat for a minute. Girlfriend in Chicago… I picked up the phone but, distracted, put it back into the receiver. What did I feel at that moment? Disappointment? I shook it off and picked up the phone for another try at those messages. Obviously Art talks to Arne enough to know that information. So why didn’t Arne talk about his girlfriend when we ran on Saturday?
I met Arne the next day after work in the fitness center for our four mile run. Cyndi and Leo joined us as we took off down Rock Road. Cyndi ran beside Arne. “Hi Arne. Nice to see you join our running group. I hear you’re training for the Wichita Marathon.”
Arne laughed. “Yeah, Pat talked me into it. How hard can it be?”
Leo chimed in. “We’ll ask you that in about four months when your long runs get over 17 miles!”
Arne and I completed our scheduled run and Cyndi and Leo continued for another couple of miles. Arne thanked me for the run and went off to the locker room. I shrugged. Obviously his intention was just to be running friends. But, still, no mention of his girlfriend in Chicago. Weird.
As the training progressed, we ran with the Pizza Hut running group a couple times a week. Arne had fit in immediately. We chatted but nothing too heavy. The training was going well so far and I felt strong. I knew that soon, our Tuesday and Thursday runs would increase to six miles and our long run would increase to 10 miles. I needed to mentally prepare for that.
Meanwhile I went on another date. I met Joe when Sharon and I went dancing. Joe loved to laugh and had his own spa cleaning business. I loved his dark hair, sparking eyes and outgoing personality. We went to a local Mexican Restaurant and enjoyed the spicy tacos and margaritas.
“Oh Dolores, beautiful senorita, you don’t seem like a bean counter.” Joe twirled me in the parking lot.
“You make me laugh!” I grabbed his arm to avoid landing face first on the pavement. We must have been a sight in the parking lot. Maybe too many margaritas? We had fun, but Joe didn’t fit my list. At the time, I didn’t appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit or that he made me laugh. He wasn’t an executive on the way up. End of story.
Finally, my court date arrived. My knees were shaking when I met Cal Dunnart in front of the court house. I opted to wear a pantsuit with a navy jacket and slacks and a white blouse—a Peat, Marwick favorite. For some reason, I wanted to look conservative in front of the judge.
We walked into the court room and sat down on the front row of several rows of wooden benches. The courtroom looked nearly empty except for the court bailiff, stenographer, and another man and woman sitting in the back row.
Carl leaned over to me. “Do you remember how to answer the questions?”
I sighed. “Yes.”
The bailiff stood up and announced Judge Reynolds. The Judge walked into the courtroom, sat down and shuffled through a stack of papers. He nodded to the bailiff who called my name. I took a deep breath and walked to the witness box and sat down. I could feel a whisper of cold air from the fan above me. Judge Reynolds’ gray hair was slicked back and his dark glasses dominated his face. He looked like he’d heard way too many cases and didn’t look forward to hearing any more. Cal stepped up to the witness box and started asking me our rehearsed questions. I answered as instructed.
“Ms. May, you may step down.” The Judge’s voice boomed.
I jumped. “Thank you.” I stepped out of the witness box, my legs still shaking.
Cal led the way out of the courtroom and I followed him down the wide hallway hearing an echo with each step we took. We didn’t speak. I stifled a sob. When we got to the steps outside of the courthouse, Cal turned to me. “That’s all there is. Your divorce is final. You’ll receive the documents from the court in the mail. Do you have any questions?”
I blinked and cleared my throat. “Can I start using my maiden name now?”
Cal held out his hand. “Yes, Ms. Dolores Lara, you can. Have a wonderful life.”
We shook hands and Cal turned and hurried away. I stood there for a minute letting the words soak in. Ms. Dolores Lara. Have a wonderful life.
* * *
Book Note: Yes! I’m pleased to report that the final re-write of the book is proceeding well. I’m hopeful to turn it over to my editor within a month. Meanwhile I’ve completed my fourth audio CD, AVOID HIRING MISTAKES—The Seven Biggest Mistakes Hiring Managers Make. All four of my CD’s will soon be available on my speaker website. www.doloreslara.com
Training Report: I am back on track from my back injury after taking a week off from running. I’m in my second month of training so I can catch up on the schedule. I ran 37 miles this week and completed a strong long run of 14 miles. Looking forward to Boston in April!