Hugo’s business had taken off. He now had very lucrative and large projects at homes of DC’s politicians. Actually these projects began when Kurt worked for Hugo years ago. Kurt had brought botanical knowledge to the job and provided expert advice about what to plant and not to plant in this area. Keeping everything local and staying away from invasive species, the jobs Hugo did won praise and acclaim because the newly planted and landscaped properties received great accolades from the press and floral groups in the area. Because the politicians needed that kind of good press about their actions, Hugo’s landscaping business exploded. Now that Kurt was back, the sky was the limit and he was very happy about his plans for the summer.
At the middle school graduation, some of Kurt’s former students returned for the ceremonies and in their exchanges they discovered he was going to be working with Hugo and the landscaping business. The former students had heard of this new “landscaping” phenomenon and asked if Kurt might get them jobs for the summer because their parents were haranguing them about getting a job for the summer. Kurt was happily surprised and told them he would speak to Hugo about it. Hugo loved the idea especially as it meant he was now hiring local kids to do work locally using local plants. It was a win win win scenario.
That summer was the happiest Kurt had been in years. He even started butting heads with his mother-in-law and didn’t care about the new tension in the house, that he didn’t own or choose. Hope had gone from lover back to being a daughter, then mother, while lover was a thing of the past. He was now back in his plant realm and was rising from the ashes to regain himself. He knew his marriage was on the rocks and would soon be over since his mother-in-law made it her goal to force him out of her daughter’s life.
By the end of the summer, Kurt was back in his old apartment building but in a different apartment. The formal divorce was just a matter of time and Kurt let it unwind naturally since he couldn’t fight his mother-in-law who had more money than God. The big issue was of course, Sarah who was only three.
The landscaping business thrived and Kurt was helping design some of the most valuable property in America owned by some of the most powerful people in America. Because of this, television shows featuring the powerful owners of these homes spent a great deal of time in their yards speaking more about their property than about politics. When Kurt and Hugo came to discuss the landscaping plans for these powerful people, meetings were halted so the owners could spend time with Kurt and Hugo. Soon Kurt and Hugo had more work than they could handle. They were celebrities in their own right. There was a waiting list for their services.
Kurt quit teaching and Hugo made Kurt a full and equal partner in the business. Kurt was a made man. He could now take on his mother-in-law. He hired a lawyer and began fixing the wrongs done to him in the divorce. It wasn’t about money since Hope never cashed any of his child support checks; it was about equal custody and access to Sarah. Now Kurt not only had money, he had the support of some of the most powerful people in the world backing him. Soon he was seeing Sarah more now than he had before and in and on his own terms and in his new home, not too far from where she lived with her mom. She could ride her bike between homes if she wanted to.
Hope started looking and acting a lot more like her mom since she stopped dancing and never worked a day in her life. Hope was no longer the lithe and active woman Kurt remembered and fell in love with. She looked a decade older than he did. That sparkle was gone and she was old and tired before her time. Sarah wasn’t happy at her mom’s house and spent more time with Kurt than with Hope. Hope started drinking more and Sarah would tell Kurt about how when she came home from school her mom would be passed out in bed, so would come over to Kurt’s house and be there when Kurt came home from work to have dinner after she did her homework. The mother-in-law wasn’t around much either, as the family money making business began losing money and required her attention more and more. Sarah was spending more time at Kurt’s house and by high school lived there and visited her mom on weekends if sports didn’t interfere. Sarah played soccer, basketball, and softball. Kurt was there for her and since the business was doing so well and they had hired a cadre of workers to attend to all of the daily work. Kurt was designing the landscape jobs, Hugo who was older was working part time and a couple of former students of Hugo’s were now running the day-to-day business of the operations.
In his time off, Kurt would take Sarah on summer camping trips to the national parks and he would spend his time enjoying the fauna and the beauty of the parks. Kurt was a happy camper.
When Sarah went off to college, Kurt was alone and within a short time met a woman who would become his second wife. He met Mattie at a flower show in DC. She was representing a vendor that provided some local exotics. Her company became a supplier for Kurt’s business and before long he invited her for dinner. Mattie was spending more time at Kurt’s. They were married in the summer after Sarah’s sophomore year at college. Sarah liked Mattie and Mattie loved Sarah.
In the meantime, Hope’s parent’s business was losing money and sinking faster than the Titanic. By the time Sarah graduated, her grandparents were broke and living with Hope. Kurt ignored Hope’s appeal for help. Even Sarah shunned her mom as she began medical school in Maryland. After Hope’s dad committed suicide, she and her mother became recluses. Sarah finished medical school and became a pediatrician. Kurt’s business was thriving, as was his second marriage.
(to be continued)