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Later, doctors determined he'd had a massive heart attack and told Tacher's children that he might not make it through the night. He survived but still suffers from serious health problems. His heart, quite literally, was broken.
Despite his health woes, Tacher continues to work at the medical office, in part to pay those terrible phone bills. His new teenage son takes up much of the rest of his time. He also visits Mora every Wednesday evening, with a thick pane of glass between them, like the way it began. As if cursed by Alexander Graham Bell, the sweethearts have to talk via the phone there, too.
The difficulties of the marriage might seem too much to bear, but Tacher has faith that it will work out. "She sees in me something that no one else has seen," he says. "She sees someone with a good heart and who is a caring person. She knows she will never be deceived by me. She knows I will never hurt her."
But will she hurt him? He knows what his former colleagues at the jail are saying. They're saying he was just desperate after his last divorce, that he's been used by Mora, that he is a fool. Tacher has even heard that some deputies believe he's "joining the cartel," and rumor has it that he plans to become a high-rolling drug dealer with Mora when she gets out.
"They only say that because they are ignorant," he says. "They don't know that what we have is very special. This is not a situation where one person is using another because of the circumstances."
He has no idea when his wife will be freed. Will her lawyer manage to get the charges dropped? Will a plea-bargain deal be made? Will Mora go all the way to trial? Will she go to prison for a year? Five years? Twenty-five years? The case consumes Tacher. "It's the air I breathe," he says with resignation. "It's not her problem. It's our problem. I'm not going to abandon my wife."
Mora just wants to get out of jail. Now. "I'm a little anxious for the finish so me and Al can start our life together with my son," she says. "I really miss Al."
The couple still plans to start over in Costa Rica, in part because whatever happens with Mora's drug case, she'll likely be deported. But now, instead of a blissful retirement, they're so broke they'll have to work. Tacher says they plan to start a home-cleaning business, because it won't cost much to start and will only require a "little elbow grease" to get off the ground.
And they'll stay together, he says, pase lo que pase.
"You think we don't have dreams? We have more dreams than anybody," he says earnestly. "We're going to save the money and buy a little piece of property and build a house. It's what we all dream about. I have nothing right now. I have my wife. I have a woman who loves me. I know she really loves me, and I know she will do anything for me.
"And I don't regret one single second of it."
Contact Bob Norman at his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org