This 44-part series began running in WCT Nov. 8. Readers can read all the installments to date at www.windycitymediagroup.com .
From the journal of John 'Jack' Quincy Adams, Chief Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, The White House. Code Name: One.
Part 12. The Real Laura ( cont'd )
Jack Adams, the Secret Service agent charged with assassinating President George W. Bush and being held for psychiatric evaluation, is telling about his ongoing affections for his high school sweetheart Laura Welch, who later became Laura Bush. In this scene Jack is telling the psychiatrist about the second of two fateful trips abroad with the First Lady that revealed to him just how unhappy she was.
'Your life will be calmer after The White House?' I said, trying to be reassuring.
She made a derisive sound somewhere between a laugh and a gasp. 'Jack, get real. He's already talking about foreign tours and Carlyle consulting gigs and he always talks like I'll be right there with him. Rather, right there waiting in the hotel room.'
'That's so unfair.'
'It's just life in the Bush Dynasty. For women, that is. I think Barbara's the only woman who gets to do what she wants.'
'Can't you use her tricks or whatever it is that she does to get her way?'
'You want to see me hurling glasses across the room? Kicking flowers in the garden? Clearing desks with a swipe of my hand? Does that sound like me, Jack?'
'She is a bit of a harpy,' I said, and realized I had just crossed over the line.
'My life is laid out for me.'
'There has to be a way for you to escape.'
'That's what Annie keeps telling me.'
'You're still friends with her, too?'
'Most of the time anyway.' She forced a smile. 'Let's change the subject. How are your children? I'll bet they lead a charmed life.'
'I would hardly put it that way.'
'Well, you get to see them a lot since they're close by.'
'My son is homosexual, Laura.' I had no idea why I said that; it just came out.
Laura, to my surprise, didn't flinch at all. 'Is that a problem? For you, I mean?'
'Actually, I've come to accept it—I think. And in some ways Quincy and I are closer now than ever. The problem isn't with me. It's everyone else.'
'From society you mean? People being cruel?'
'From politicians to be precise. I told you we shouldn't do this.' I stood up and set my glass on the table in a gesture of bringing our evening to a close.
'Jack, for God's sake sit down.'
I did what she told me. I was so tired of carrying this around with me I would talk to anyone.
'Now tell me about it. Tell me about Quincy.' She reached for the bottle of B&B and poured us some more.
'He's happy for one thing. That's the most important thing, I guess. He has a partner—that's what they call it these days. Sounds like a business to me, more than a…well, I guess since they can't get married, they could hardly call each other spouses. Anyway, he and his partner Jackson have adopted the most terrific kid. JJ, they call him. He's great, really fantastic. Imagine giving an unwanted child a home, a really solid, loving home. Education, toys, travel, family—all the things that he would have been deprived of otherwise.'
'That's a very unselfish thing to do,' she said.
'But now there's all this talk, this fighting about gay marriage and I hear talk about outlawing adoptions for gay couples. I mean maybe for single men that makes sense, but couples?'
'That must be difficult for them,' she said.
'It's frightening is what it is. Imagine if someone somehow said they were going to pass a law that would take your girls away from you. I mean I know that's a stretch, but….'
'But the feelings are the same, aren't they? One's feelings for one's children aren't dictated by sexual preference I suppose.'
I must have given her a look of disbelief, because then she let out a feathery little laugh and added, 'See why Mollie and Annie and I are still friends?' Then she reached over and put her hand on my arm and whispered, 'I have to stay in the closet about some things myself.' And we both laughed at that and I felt enormously better.
Follow this 44-part serialized book in Windy City Times for the next several months. See www.WindycityMediaGroup.com for past columns.