Who thought running for President was a good idea? Tom fell heavily into the car as that thought ran through his head over and over. His life was so simple before…
At he had gotten out of the shower and stood square in front of the full length mirror of his bathroom. Drying and looking himself over, head to toe, not much had changed in the last year. He may have gained a few pounds from all the junk food he had eaten on the campaign trail, but otherwise, he looked about the same. Truth was the extra weight was a good thing. He had been on the thin side and now looked healthier and maybe, turning a bit to examine himself further, yes, maybe even more muscular. Dare he think more handsome? Yes, quite possibly a little more handsome and obviously he had something going for him, women were always chasing him. Some just to lay with him so they could say they had, or maybe come back later and claim he fathered their child. He would never fall for any of that; he had sense and oddly for a modern day politician, he also had morals. What he did not have was a woman in his life. His long time girlfriend had walked out a few months before the decision to run had been made. They had discussed the possibility, but he couldn’t decide. She was completely neutral. He still missed her very much. Phone calls and messages didn’t get returned. He believed she had moved on.
Today was more of the same. Speeches to give, well the same speech 4 different places. Lousy food and another hotel tonight would round out the day. He would try to get someone to find out what she was up to and if she was seeing someone else. He surely had someone on staff that could discretely take care of that. Thinking, thinking and finally, Paul. Paul would be the one; he was very discrete and very good at getting info so he could find her and check on her. Tom needed to know if he was really going to have to forget how much he loved her or if maybe at some date in the future, she’d be with him again. The thought of it made him smile for a moment until reality hit and he finished his morning grooming routine.
“Morning Tom, coffee? I have some notes to go over with you when you’re ready and we have about 2 hours to get to the meeting with the whole crew. The first engagement is at 11, less than 1 hour for that one. Quick and easy, all your followers. Just pats on the back for their hard work and moving on to the
for the big gathering, mixed crowd…” Civic Center
“Bo, please stop. I haven’t even had a sip of my coffee and you are giving me a headache.” He had intentionally interrupted his manager because this endless list of the day’s activities drove him crazy before coffee. They had plenty of time for all of this in the car going to the first meet-n-greet. Bo was a good, hard working man, but he did get on Tom’s nerves with his non-stop chattering.
Bo looked over his papers and then looked at Tom, “Sorry, I just want to keep you informed. I’ll just go make some calls while you enjoy your coffee, sorry, really.” Excusing himself from the room he thought how lucky this country would be if he could get this man elected. He was a good man with a sound plan for financial health and growth and quite possibly it would work, but congress would have to be on his side and that would be up in the air until the ballots were tallied. It was a long shot, he was new and clean and very personable, but it was also his first time running for such an elite office. His history was state government and he had jumped over the House and Senate openings where he could have gained national recognition and a voting record to run on, but still, his state records were good and maybe a handsome, likable man from
Arizona could win. Bo would do everything he could to make that
happen because besides believing in Tom, he was very well compensated for being
his biggest cheerleader.
The speeches went well. The day ended just like every other day on the trail with dinner at the nearest decent and securable restaurant and then back to the hotel room alone. The only place he could hide and relax and reflect.
So far no one had found out about the life he had walked away from at age 15. So far all the kid years had remained unknown and unquestioned, but there would come a time and soon, he would have to tell his story. He had not changed his name or done any of the things he considered at the time, but now it felt right to just keep quiet until someone asked him about the first 15 years of his life. His parents were deceased and he was an only child. Everyone knew that, but no one knew about the hidden 15 years. Not even the woman he loved. She had never asked and he had never told her or anyone else. It was his for now. His own hidden years and his hidden pain. Alone in this room every night he would remember. The men who came and went. The money on the dresser. The lack of food. The school clothes given by neighbors or charities. The drugs. The booze. The bruises, his and her’s. It was a horrid 15 years and her death nearly broke him, but it also saved him. The aunt who had taken him in was on his father’s side and she did not care for his mother, but she did love this teenage boy with all her heart. He was the spitting image of his father, her brother and she adored her brother. When he went to
Viet Nam, it never occurred to her, he wouldn’t return. A sniper’s
bullet had gotten him as he drove through a small village ahead of his company.
Tom was born a month before his father died a hero in service to his country.
He was a much loved man and the wife he left behind fell to pieces both
physically and mentally. She gave her child love and cared for him as best she
could. She turned to men callers to pay for the drugs and booze she now needed
to breathe. In the end, she died suddenly in her bed. Tom had found her.
This history was hidden. Nothing he couldn’t live with, but so far it had remained his history and he knew it would be shared with the world soon enough. Tonight was one more night he could pray for her soul and send his love and his apology to her again. He had never thought he was enough. Not strong enough for her, not smart enough for her and he never loved her enough, though he clearly did. He let her down and she died. He felt such sorrow.
Tomorrow would be another long day of smiling and schmoozing with voters and Tom eased himself down on the bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep filled with dreams of the woman he hoped would be by his side in due time. Paul was on her trail and it felt like she would be with him soon. No reason, it just felt that way to Tom.
Thomas Charles Badgerton, the next President of the
Holy Cow, he could win.