Home » Nonfiction » Robert J. Woolsey » Husband In Waiting

August 15 , 2008

Husband In Waiting


My name is Kurt Hanrahan and I’m the hero of the story. The heroine is my wife, Toni. But I’ll get to her in a moment. I was born in California. My dad was an American sportswriter covering the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. My mom was on the Austrian ski team. We lived in San Francisco until my early teens when dad died. My mother, sister and I emigrated to Austria. Sis eventually returned to California and got married there. I stayed in Vienna and eventually became a political reporter for a large newspaper. Several years later I fell in love with Toni, my Girl Friday assistant—a wonderful girl with an uncanny ability to get me into trouble. With irrational, convoluted logic she even gets me to promise to keep our marriage a secret for a year. I kept living in the furnished apartment of my busybody landlady and Toni stayed with her folks. The only times that we slept together were during our trips outside Vienna. The first of these was our Christmas “honeymoon” at a romantic ski lodge in the Alps, where I wrenched my back and couldn’t even have sex with her. Our next weekend was at a posh resort in Switzerland where Toni cajoles me into playing the part of an eccentric movie director; she had the supporting role as my current “plaything.” For a couple of days I’m the darling of the jet set. While drunk I overplay my part and blow my limited bankroll. With barely enough funds to cover our bill we slink out of the place before dawn. Soon after that, Toni’s old boyfriend shows up to make waves, but our love “conquers all.” We head off for our next big adventure: a summer tour of Italy by car-Venice, Rome, and our ultimate destination, a remote hideaway on the island of Ischia, where we meet a curious group of fellow tourists, and Toni spends most of her time warding off the advances of our amorous padrone. After we leave the villa we have a slight problem with the carabinieri at the Italian-Austrian border, but nothing that my talent for stretching the truth (mastered during my marriage to Toni) couldn’t handle; we make it back to Vienna. The year of the test marriage is almost up. My boss discovers my conjugal deception; so does my straight-laced landlady, who kicks me out when she catches me and Toni in flagrante sexo, while I thought the old bag was away on a trip. The denouement finally comes when Toni introduces me to her family as her fiancé during the Christmas holidays. At our pre-wedding bash my sister, whom I hadn’t seen for years, shows up. I give my final shaky performance as the prospective husband to Toni’s relatives; we have an “encore” wedding the next day and are off to spend our real honeymoon at that same ski lodge where a wrenched back prevented me from making love a year ago.
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