When they were 11, I brought her daughter home to Switzerland for a visit. Later, Jackie and her husband Kenny invited Ariel and me to stay in their home, which we did, even though they were out of town. I slept in their bed, drove their car, and their Golden Retriever Rusty even helped himself to the Lindt chocolate in Ariel’s suitcase.
Jackie thanked me in the acknowledgements to her memoir.
Recently, she had been going through big changes, including training to become a chaplain. And she and her husband were separated, again, so I was glad when she asked me to coffee.
At Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf we sat outside in the sun. She seemed stiff, but I had all kinds of compassion since she’d shared some about the marital troubles. She was staying, temporarily, in a little rented space. We talked some, but mostly I listened. Nothing remarkable until I was ear-slammed.
“I really don’t appreciate you setting Kenny up with another woman,” she said.
Nearly a year earlier my husband had invited his former assistant from Switzerland to California for a visit. Normally that would’ve been fine, but he hadn’t checked my calendar. During part of her visit, I was to be taking Jessamyn off to start her freshman year of college. So I asked Jill if she would host the Swiss friend for a few days. She agreed and they had a pleasant time together.
One evening Jill had organized a dinner with herself, the Swiss guest, and Jackie’s husband Kenny. Kenny was the only person in town that the visitor knew. He had done deals in Switzerland when we were there, so it made sense.
At the coffee shop Jackie bored in. “She said she would make herself available to Kenny. I just really don’t appreciate any of it.”
I practically spit out my coffee.
Maybe I did spit out my coffee.
Certainly there are things in my life that I’m less than proud of, but to be accused of something so odd, and so untrue, caught me absolutely unawares, like someone saying, “look at that purple sky”, and insisting on and on that the sky was purple.
Later I checked with the Swiss friend. “WHAT? That’s crazy. I have a boyfriend! Everyone knew that.” I wrote Jackie a note saying I was sorry she was upset, but there was clearly some miscommunication.
The coffee shop incident happened 14 years ago.
And Jackie never spoke to me again.
Part of a series…Moments.