I came around the desk to shake hands with him, and he pulled me into a big hug. An inch or two over six feet tall and square as a teddy bear, Ted was not quite fat because he was so intensely physically active. I pulled back to take a look at him. Now in his late thirties, he would always be boyish, with a shock of red-brown hair that seemed to fall into his eyes no matter how short it was cut.
Our last conversation had lasted over a dozen hours—the night in Kathmandu when both of our marriages died.
Ted had been married to Francesca Benedict Etheridge, a gifted mountain climber. It had looked as if she might attempt an ascent on Mount Everest. That climb fell through, and she ended up ascending my husband—as he then was. Leaving Ted to entertain me in the lobby of the Everest Vista Hotel which, incidentally being quite a distance away in Nepal, does not have a view of Mt. Everest.
I had been married to Griffin Fuller, world-renowned as a photographer, and well-known (except to his wife) as a philanderer. Teddy had been playing the part of the supportive husband of a climber, helping Francesca field media coverage, and occupying himself by gathering local color in Nepal. He had a gift for mingling with serious trekkers and climbers, who sometimes mistook him for one of their own. But his appearance was deceptive. Teddy dabbled in climbing and a variety of other sports. But in everything he did, he was always looking for a punch line.
"Josephine, I haven't seen you—well, since that infamous night. Is it still Jo Fuller or did you get divorced?"
"Yes to both questions. My maiden name was O'Toole, so I kept Griff's last name in lieu of alimony. What about you and Francesca?"
He shrugged. "It's in the works."
When I double-checked my spelling of Kathmandu I ran across the Bob Seger song on the right side bar. He spelled it the other way, but I could not resist including a link because listening to it made me so happy.