It was silent for fifteen minutes. Gayle listened to only Charles’ breathing and his heart beat. She felt only his chest raise and his heat pound.
“I thought I would never hear your heart beat again,” Gayle said.
“Did we part in anger?” Charles said.
“No,” Gayle said. “You said you had to drive down to the dealership one night, you got in the car, drove away, and that was the last I saw of you till now.”
“Was there stress or a business problem?” Charles asked.
“No,” Gayle said. “The businesses ran themselves. You had good people running everything. You always said you could run your business from an island in the South Pacific with nothing more than a note in a bottle.”
“I have children,” Charles said. “Are they well.”
“Missy is in med school,” and “Drake finished his law degree, and is a junior partner with Ted Abernathy’s firm.”
“Whose Abernathy?” Charles said. “He’s a friend of the family. You two were inseparable. You went of fishing tips and hiking; all sorts of things. You gave his son a job and he hired our son.”
“How did we meet?” Charles asked.
“You took over a dealership that nobody wanted,” Gayle said as she sat up. “You had ten cars on the lot, one mechanic, one salesman (you), and you needed somebody to do the paper work. I came in looking for a used car and you offered me job. Two years later you had 200 cars on the lot, 47 employees, and a child on the way.”
“We were married?” Charles said.
“Yes,” Gayle said, “and we lived in a one bedroom apartment two blocks from the dealership. Chrysler dealerships were in trouble all over the country and you were rewarded two other dealerships.”
“Where was I born?” Charles said. “Where did I come from? Do I have brothers, sisters, are my parents living?”
“You come from Los Angeles,” Gayle said. “You said your parents died when you were in the Army and you were an only child.”
“There seems to be not much of me,” Charles said.
“Have you sought help from a professional?” Gayle said.
“No,” Charles said. “I’ve lived with some fear of knowing who I really am. I thought maybe that might be worse than not knowing, but when I knew I had a family and the private detective came up with nothing bad or criminal in my life I decided to at least confront my wife.”
“I think we should get you some help,” Gayle said.
“Can we do things my way for at least a while?” Charles said.
“It would not be good to force you to do something you are not willing to do,” Gayle said.
“Perhaps we could spend some time together and just talk to me about our life together,” Charles said. “I can get a room some place.”
“You are my husband,” Gayle said. “You will stay here.”
“But I don’t feel like your husband,” Charles said.
Gayle clasp his hand between hers. “Remember the feel of my hands.”
“Yes,” Charles smiled.
“We have a enough room,” Gayle said. “If it makes you comfortable I’ll prepare one of our guest rooms.”