But Dorothy didn’t move. And just then O’Hara stopped his tirade when he saw
Dorothy. His eyes widened, his mouth dropped open.
“I see you,” he said to Dorothy as if she had never been seen before.
“What are you standing there for, you are a disgrace to the world. Go downstairs
and get that trash.”
The next thing Dorothy remembers, she was being led out the front door by an
officer of the law. The last thing she heard as she was pushed through the door
onto the porch was his voice, “Go. Now, I want these garbage cans piled high.”
“Father, you can stay here,” Mary told him, her voice tremulous. She stood at
the door, watching him. “No, Father, you must go, or they will come and do
without you. Please, Father, you must go now, please.”
“I don’t know who you think you are fooling here, Mary, but I have done all
I can. I have stayed here, in this house, to do the best I can for my family.
And you have left me. I am tired and I am sick and I have been patient, but
you have left me.”
Mary was trembling and Dorothy looked away. Dorothy was so upset, she didn’t
speak a word all the way to the car. Mary had told him everything she could,
but he didn’t believe a word of it.
It was the first trip she and Dorothy ever took together, and Dorothy never
felt as if she was alone, in more ways than one. She held Mary’s hand the way
they had been all along, even when she didn’t speak. They were in and out, up
and down, until they were back in their seats at the hotel. Dorothy could
never figure out who had picked their rooms.
After the first day at their new home and after Dorothy showed him the house,
the man in the car stopped at a pharmacy and bought Dorothy a good thick
bandage for her hand to put on it.
He didn’t know any more about Dorothy and Mary, and Mary didn’t know why she
would have kept this knowledge from him. Dorothy had told it all to her, but
Dorothy had never even told Mary a thing about him until the night he was
banging on the glass door, the second night he had come to the door.
“I want to know, Mary, why you never told me?”
“I can’t tell you, Daniel, that would be a lie. You were happy, and so was I
and so was Tom, so how could I say I was happy when I wasn’t?”
“You were happy, Mary. You even cried when I had to come out here. You didn’t
want me to come, did you.”
“Of course I wanted you to come. Why would you think anything else?”
“What happened to the other girls, Mary?” He asked, his voice hard.
Dorothy looked away. Mary wouldn’t answer. Mary didn’t dare, not here in the
house, not at this house. She didn’t have to. She wouldn’t tell him either. He
would never know. He wouldn’t believe her if she did. And so she could only
look away and cry.
“I couldn’t come. I couldn’t just leave,” she cried.
“Why couldn’t you Mary?”
“It hurts too much.”
“So do bad things to people, Mary, so don’t lie to me on that.”
“I didn’t just lie, Daniel. I lied to myself. I told myself I would stand on
the porch and I would cry and I would be afraid and I would leave and then I
stayed. Why would I leave? What for? Everything was a lie, everything. Why?
I had to face my life, and then just leave. I couldn’t leave, I couldn’t. I
couldn’t lose you too. It was always you, Daniel. Always you.”
Mary could see tears in his eyes, and he reached over and grabbed a Kleenex
offtop of a box on the floor and opened it and took a big wet hunk out of it
and threw it on the floor in front of her and patted her hand while tears ran
down her face. He wiped them away with his handkerchief.
“I love you, Mary,” he said and held her hand while she began to cry. “I love
you with all my heart. I want you to know that I do. I’m sorry and I’m sorry
for what I said and what I did. I don’t have the right to blame you for
anything I did, and I hope that you will forgive me. I’m not going to say all
the things I should have said when I left this morning. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Mary looked at Dorothy, who sat still on the passenger seat, her head on her
hands. Dorothy looked away.
“I made a horrible mistake,” O’Hara said, “but I’m not going to blame you for
it. You’ve been through enough. I’m going to be a good father to the children
I have.” He hugged his wife. “I’ll do right by you and the children. I’m going
to be a good example to them and I’m going to be a good man. Will you promise
Dorothy nodded. He went to the car door and opened it and got Mary out of the
car. She was wearing Dorothy’s coat and held onto it, and she reached up as
if to help him out with her other arm, but he stepped back and she fell to the
“We’re going to go and see the children,” he said.
“I don’t want my children to see you,” Mary said.
“I know you don’t want to see me. I’m going to go into the house and take care
of the children, and then we’re going to ride in a taxi and I’m going to say
goodnight to the children.”
“Daniel, I’m sick. I can’t let you do this.”