By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The Williamses still can't believe their son married a woman after knowing her less than a month. But they didn't bother to talk him out of it. "When he makes up his mind, me, you, and all of God's children can't change it," Bill says.
Then he floats a theory on why his son married so quickly: "He's in love with being in love. The thing that he's trying to do," Bill says, "is find somebody like his mom."
Bill moves to the edge of his chair.
"I think it's part of the fact of who he is," he adds. "I don't think he could respond to the needs of women like he does had it not been for the affinity he has for his mom. I know that's the utmost, key person in his life -- his mother. And if you really get down to it, and if the psychiatrist put him on the couch, you'll find that's the reason he cannot really, really have a real strong relationship with a woman. Because there's always that image of his mom."
For a moment, Bill Williams ponders his own statement. "I'm not saying that's bad. I don't know what the answer is. Maybe after his sixth marriage..."
Eliska chuckles, then chides her husband. "That's awful. You're awful."
"The Difference Between You and Me"
"I always thought that romance was the key. Little did I know that it was just one more thing to add to the difference between you and me.
"I did all that I could. I even did the things you said I never would.
"Just for the chance to make a difference in your life.
I wasn't someone caught up in who's wrong or who's right."
(From Love After Dark...Passion Poetry by Rudy V)
Seated in a very noisy restaurant near Houston's Rice University, Rhonda McGruder-Williams is about to attack a slab of baby back ribs. She owes it to herself. She's dropped 10 pounds in the last month.
Tall and slim, McGruder-Williams is dressed fashionably in a burnt-orange blazer and brown slacks. A no-nonsense, up-front woman, she says she only has an hour but gives two. She can do that because of the flexibility of her sales position at a major pharmaceutical company.
She readily knocks out the "nice" questions about her brief marriage to Kevyn Williams.
That, she stresses, is who she married. She didn't even know who "Rudy V" was until they began their brief courtship. She definitely wasn't a fan or a groupie.
She and Kevyn met in California through a mutual friend. Their courtship lasted 29 days. On the 30th day, they got married in her neighbor's back yard. She's tired of answering the question of why she married a man she knew so little.
"Obviously, I must have just wanted to be married," she says. "At that particular time, I thought he was..."
She stops and corrects herself.
"He was the man that I wanted to marry."
They both seemed to want the same things out of life. "He said all of the right things. Our spirits connected," she says. These sentiments, interestingly, are echoed word for word by Kevyn Williams when he's asked the same question.
When she's asked another simple question -- "What kind of father is he?" -- McGruder-Williams' good cheer evaporates. She is in tears.
"He's not around Jordyn," she finally says.
Does he try to bridge the gap?
"I don't know," she says, sounding weary. "I think that she sees pictures of him. She goes over to his parents' house. She may talk to him over the phone, but in her world there's this man and there's Mom."
It's hard for McGruder-Williams to talk about this, because she vividly recalls how much her ex was looking forward to having a daughter when they got married.
"If you knew him beforehand, that was all he talked about: 'my daughter, my daughter, my daughter,'" she says.
Their marriage unraveled, McGruder-Williams says, when she took the pharmaceutical job in Houston and Williams moved to Dallas to begin his stint at KRNB. "It was stressful," she says of that time. "He knew what he wanted, but to me it was all so new."
Her husband was supportive during her pregnancy, driving down to Houston every weekend. She could never imagine that by the time her first Mother's Day rolled around, he would be asking for a divorce.
Today, she wonders whether she should have built a world around her husband, whether not doing so was her mistake. She wanted to be there on the weekends when he came home tired; she wanted to make him home-cooked meals; she wanted especially to give him an opportunity to spend time with the baby.
But somewhere along the way, dissatisfaction and disillusionment slipped in. McGruder-Williams can't say exactly when, where, or how. She just knows that her and her husband's ideas of how a marriage should work began to diverge. It was hard to live up to the ideal: Bill and Eliska.
Now, she can pinpoint the fatal event. She had missed the book signing in Dallas for Love After Dark, Williams' first volume of poetry, which, of course, is dedicated to her.