Bob was always nice to us, but I sensed something dark within him and also a sadness. It was in his eyes, the way he moved, the way he talked. He had close-cropped black hair that was seasoned with a little gray. He was probably in his late 40’s and he wore his life experience like a heavy coat of misery.
“What are you doing with the pop-up camper dad?” I was only 12 but I remember my dad cranking the lever that raised the lid and revealed the contents within. Once the beds were extended on each side the small camper could sleep 4 people comfortably.
“Well, I’mgetting it ready for Bob and Sharon, they need a place to stay for a while.” Dad responded without pausing from his task.
Our mobile home was so small that it really couldn’t accomodate a married couple. Dad ran the water hose out to the camper so they would have running water in the kitchen. I don’t remember where they bathed or went to the bathroom.
Bob worked for my dad at Grandy’s and that is where he met Sharon. Sharon was also one of my dad’s employees. She had big brown eyes that reminded me of a scared deer, large, luminous and filled with fear. She was sweet and kind and my parents encouraged the relationship that was forming between Bob and Sharon. Eventually they got married, but during their courtship I heard my mom mention a couple of times that Bob had been in prison and that he had taken two AIDS tests to make sure that he didn’t have AIDS. This was back when everyone thought AIDS was something that you could get by drinking after someone or sitting on a toilet seat and so I thought little of it.
Bob and Sharon stayed in the camper for a few weeks and eventually got their own place. Things seemed to be going well for them and then they stopped coming around so much. One day my mom got a call and it was from Sharon. Apparently Bob had been beating her up and there was a time when he tied her down to the bed and left her there while he went to work.
I remember sitting in the car, riding in the backseat of our black Ford Escort. The vinyl seets were cold and maroon. I loved the little car, but I hated maroon. “From what I know, Sharon was beaten in a previous marriage.” Mom confided in us. We were her favorite confidantes. My sisters and I listened as mom went on. “It seems as though Bob had a history of abusing women and Sharon had a history of being abused. For some reason, these kind of people are drawn to each other, it’s like predator’s can sense a weakness in someone and they are drawn to them.”
It was one of my first lessons in the depravity of human kind. I couldn’t understand how Bob could be so cruel. I imagined Sharon being tied to the bed and being afraid, alone, bereft. She had no family and very few friends and I can only imagine how she must have hated herself for falling back into the same situation.
Dad fired Bob and Sharon left him. After that I don’t know what became of them, they were just a brief, cruel chapter in a large book of pain and sorrow. I hope wherever they are today, that Sharon has found someone that is being kind to her and I hope Bob has overcome the need to abuse women.