On the Wednesday Phoebe was expecting a call from Glen, she received an air express envelope instead. Inside it were a set of keys, train tickets and itinerary, $500,000 in bearer bonds, an Oklahoma property deed with her name on it, the cell phone that he had purchased to speak exclusively to her, with this note written in Glen’s impeccable left-handed script:
You’re right, Phoe. I have been keeping something from you. You’re too perceptive. I need you to promise not to be stubborn about this.
As you asked, I sold your dad’s property and invested the money in a property I think is just right for you. Take the train and go see it. My driver will meet you and take you to the cottage. If you like it, it is already yours. If not, you will have to sell it or dispose of it as you see fit. Yours is the last legal transaction I’m handling.
These past months have been the favorite part of my life. No one would believe all we did was talk … and listen to one another. I couldn’t love you more if I wanted to, but I will always love you, that’s certain.
I have to go, Phoe, and I will not be coming back. I’m not going to bother you with the details, but I know you have that wild imagination, so let me try to quiet it by saying I do have a medical problem for which I’m going to seek help. The prognosis is not good, but I know you’d want me to examine every possible angle and to fight. Even so, I don’t expect to return because however things go, I will not be in any shape to come back.
You always made this old man feel young. You made me remember and talk about things, people, places, experiences I hadn’t remembered in years.You talked with me. You listened to me. You gave me back my life, Phoe. Let me do this thing for you now. Don’t be stubborn.
You’ll like living near the river. Crew is big there. I want you go out and row for me.
Don’t be sad, Phoebe. Just love me like you have, and remember me from time to time. I’m glad your heart overruled your head and you told me how you felt for me. If there is a way to talk to you from where I’m going, I’ll do it.
Listen for me.