Longform

Love unlimited

Page 6 of 8

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.

She had reasons to remain in Houston that day: a longstanding commitment with her godmother, a friend's major surgery. Rhonda was torn, but she stayed.

She remembers that her husband was disappointed but seemed to understand. He did slip in a few pointed remarks, such as, "Sure wish my wife could be at my book signing."

She'd sent a basket of wine and flowers to Dallas for Kevyn's event. But afterward, he was curt with her on the phone. "At the time I didn't know," she says. "Then his mom told me how bad he was hurt. When that happened, it was a situation where he could never, ever forgive me."

McGruder-Williams still was not prepared when her husband suddenly asked for a divorce.

"We were going through some problems with the commuting, but I really, really had thought that we were getting over that hurdle," she says. "At that point, I would've done anything to save my marriage."

But he was unforgiving. His mind was made up.

It was over.


Rudy V knows how to leave an impression. He's the type of man who's confident enough to shake your hand...and hold on several seconds longer than necessary, without ever blinking an eye. Hours later, you realize that the arresting scent hanging around you is his cologne.

With Rudy V, it seems, there is sometimes a thin line between confidence and egotism. One evening, he reminisces about his aborted career as a pro football player.

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Felicia Mccarthy