I admit it: I was a rotten husband and a lousy father.
To verify this, I have three ex-wives who’ll testify that I’m immune from heart disease because I have no heart. I have two grown children I haven’t seen in years, and I’m pretty sure they don’t miss me. I may now be a grandfather, for all I know.
I also have numerous ex-lovers, having sworn off marriage after that last divorce. One of them evicted me from the house we shared without warning. I came home and found all of my earthly possessions in boxes on the front lawn–I beat the Goodwill truck by ten minutes.
The Duchess–Lynne–was my third wife. She was in grad school when we met. She was smart, attractive, and unattainable. I think that’s why I was so determined to win her over. I hate to lose at anything. Once we were married, though, I went back to pursuing my first love: my work. I’m a photojournalist, and a damn good one. That’s not bragging–I have the awards to prove it.
So while I was off looking for that one photograph that would get me a Pulitzer, my unhappy wife was erasing me from her life. I came home to find she’d moved out. Shortly thereafter, a smug SOB showed up at my door to serve me with divorce papers. I didn’t really feel much in the way of regret until the morning of September 11, 2001. I was supposed to fly to San Francisco and get a connecting flight from there to my next assignment. Had it not been for an error made by my editor’s airhead assistant, I would have been on United Flight 93.
As I stood on the roof of my apartment building, watching the World Trade Center cease to exist, along with thousands of human lives, as I got the news of the fate of United 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, I began to think about the things Lynne had tried to tell me when we were together….