He was pushing 50 and she was barely 35, always married with kids. He was in the association that helped addicts access treatment for heroin addiction. His passion for his cause was palpable. He wanted to open a clinic in Ft. Myers and carried around pictures of people suffering because of their addiction. He talked her into going to meetings. They met monthly somewhere in the state and helped to make clear decisions that were empathetic and caring. He didn’t like the for-profit treatment centers (his organization was non-profit) because he thought that they “sucked” money from their patients only to give it to shareholders without concern for “real” treatment.
They had friends in the state legislature and were able to get things done. In 1999, she moved away and that was that.
About a year later, she decided to return to the work of addiction medicine. It was a hard decision, but she realized it was still her purpose, even though she had walked away once. She applied and applied and applied for work. One day over the intercom at her job, she was being paged to the phone. She rushed to pick up the phone and there he was saying, “I have this job, right down the street from your new home.” She could hardly believe it.
For a long time, they were able to get things done. His power (brawn) and her brain, along with his trust in her, made their work unstoppable and progressively successful. He loved systems engineering and so did she. No task was too small to be acknowledged.
Him “You have to own that.”
Her “No I don’t, you put me in an untenable situation with a personality disordered nursing supervisor. No matter what super-human effort I made, it was going to fail under those circumstances.”
Him “I think I made the mistake of my life, I should have asked you to marry me. Is it too late?”
Her “Yes, you’re drunk again, goodbye.”
Him “You made the biggest mistake, you should have gone on that fishing trip with us.”
Him “Go see him, Marc needs you, let him know that you care.”
Him “I’ll promote you later, when there has been more time.”
Him “I have to fire her, look what she did!”
Her “She did nothing wrong, but if you want to fire her, go ahead, you have the power, so use it, but I won’t agree with you, she did nothing wrong.”
Him “I wish I could talk with you before you leave. I want to say good-by and let you know how much you have meant to me.”
Her “Ugh. Liar”
Still, she cries.
All through the “scared years” he was there. Ugly and mean, but he was there.