It’s Me Or Your Junk—One of Us Has Got To Go!

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Woman sitting on sofa surrounded by clothes.

“No! Don’t you dare take one step into this house with that—that thing!” I screeched—and after ten years of marriage to Jared, I could really screech.

“But, hon, this time I think I’ve found something—a real antique!”

I tried not to roll my eyes. I didn’t want to mention for the tenth time that the house itself needed renovations, not more junk. It would just make me sound like a nagging spouse again. I didn’t like what I was turning into when I spent time with my husband.

Today he was trying to sneak past me with some kind of “antique”, as he called his junk. This one was leaking some kind of oil and he hadn’t even bothered to wipe off the cobwebs before he got it into the car. I could actually hear my teeth grinding.

“Calm down, Sandra,” my mother would say. “In every good marriage, you have to learn to pick your battles.”

She was right, but this was one battle that I found myself battling more and more.  We had so much stuff in our two-car garage that we hadn’t been able to park even one car in there for five years now.

And it wasn’t just the normal stuff that a family accumulates, either, like bikes and skis. There were things Jared had brought home from garage and auction sales. He also picked up any old piece of furniture that his buddies wanted to take to the dump, but somehow Jared couldn’t bear to see them destroyed, so they inevitably ended up in our house.

We now had five complete sets of living room furniture cramped in the basement, the garage, and the attic. I refused to let him replace our nice set that I’d brought a few years earlier. If I didn’t watch him like a hawk he would take our good stuff to an auction house and use the money to buy more junk.

I kind of felt like that little Dutch boy who had to hold back all the water in the dam by himself. Jared just didn’t seem to realize that our home was fast becoming a junk store. Except that in junk stores at least some of the stuff disappeared out the door occasionally.

“Sandy, it’s my only hobby,” he said. “It’s not like I spend thousands of dollars on this. Look at Mark. He likes to golf, which wouldn’t be so bad, but he likes to golf on courses all around the world.”

Mark and Brenna were our neighbors. They’d worked hard all their lives and now had enough money to retire in style.

“All right, then. Why don’t you save your hobby for when we retire?” I asked.

“One day you’ll be sorry you’re not more supportive, Sandy. One day I’ll bring something home that will be worth a lot of money!”

“In my dreams.”

Most of our arguments ended with me trying to get away from Jared and his “hobby” for awhile. I’d go up to our room and read or I’d take my new car—the first car I’d ever owned—out for a long drive in the country.

I was sure that my sweet husband had crossed the line into mental illness. This wasn’t just a case of a wife not being able to put up with her husband’s junk. I couldn’t even walk through the hallways without having to dodge things laying around. There was just no other place to put them. Couldn’t he see what was happening to us?

Some people had a rule that when they brought one more thing into their home, something else would have to go. But Jared couldn’t bear to part with anything once he got it home. I’d overheard his friends offer him good money for some of the stuff, but he’d refused.

Still, I tried to understand. This was obviously something he felt strongly about—or something he couldn’t control. But I knew that he’d gone too far the day he started piling old shelving up in the corner of our bedroom.

“Jared, what are you doing? that stuff is dirty, and who knows how many insects are in that old wood? I don’t want it in our bedroom!”

He gave me a look that meant he wasn’t listening to me. His mind was on the next sale, the next “bargain”.

It didn’t stop there. The next day when I came home from work, half our bedroom was filled with old lumber and light fixtures that he’d gotten from a demolition team that had been tearing down an old office building.

“Jared, I can’t sleep in here with this mess! Please, get rid of it.”

“It’s only temporary, Sandy, just until I can bring in that used tool shed I bought from Hal. Then I can put all this lumber in there.”

“Jared, please listen to me. This is not normal. No one lives with this—this dirty old junk in their bedroom. Nobody except us.”

garage of an abandoned house

But he either wouldn’t listen or he didn’t know how. For the first time since all this had started, I was seriously considering leaving him. The thought of that nearly broke my heart, but when was he going to see reason? I was at my wit’s end.

I would have asked his mother for advice, but that poor woman was in a world of her own. Jared was devoted to her, calling and visiting her every other day. I’d learned the truth about Millie about a year into our marriage: she was an alcoholic. She could barely live on her own in her small house. She wouldn’t be any help to me in understanding her son and his bizarre behavior. Jared’s dad had died many years ago, when he was about fifteen. The two of them had been alone since then.

My heart went out to my husband. I sat on our bed staring out at the old bricks and boards stacked up around our bed and cried. How could something so good have gone so wrong?

When I met Jared, he was a sweet and vulnerable man. His jock friends would tease him constantly about his devotion to his mom and his nerdy ways. But when we started going out, he was considerate and polite, never seeming to get angry about anything. I thought he was just too good to be true.

At that time I thought it was kind of sweet that he saved things, like his leather jacket from his eight grade school basketball team. It was just something that men did, I thought. They seemed to have a need to hang onto things that women would typically consider junk.

I was falling in love with him. When he asked me to marry him, the world just took on a fairy tale quality. All these good things just couldn’t be happening to me! I was the one who wasn’t supposed to make anything out of my life. I had an older brother and sister who were very successful professionals. As for me, I’d barely passed high school and had to work hard for everything in life.

But meeting Jared—that was like bringing magic into my life. He treated me like I was the most special person in the world. We loved each other so much in those early days. We didn’t need anyone. We’d take long walks and spend the whole day talking, stopping for a quiet picnic lunch and laughing over the antics of the ducks on the nearby lake.

As for his mom, she was polite to me but didn’t seem to be all there. Jared looked out for her, always asking if she remembered to take her medication, if she’d eaten. It was only later that I learned he knew she was an alcoholic and wouldn’t eat for days at a time unless he reminded her. He wasn’t honest with me in those days. He would only say that his mom had been sick for years, but he was vague about what sort of sickness it was.

I did find it strange that neither Jared nor his mom seemed to have a picture of his father anywhere. They never talked about him, either. Whenever I asked about what he was like, I’d get the same blank stare from them both.

Still, Jared was the man of my dreams. I knew from the start that he liked to collect things. He had almost every toy he’d ever owned—and in mint condition, too.

When we got married, I surprised him by having a special cabinet built to hold all of his toys. When he saw it, he was elated.

“Sandy, you don’t know how much this means to me,” he’d said. “Thank you, honey. I knew from the moment we met that you were the one for me.”

It was quite a collection, too. Not only did he have his own toys in it, but there were some of his father’s toys, too. Jared admitted that much to me, although I had already guessed that the old cast iron piggy banks, wind-up toys, and a small teddy bear were much older than Jared. But that was about the only thing he’d ever said about his dad to me.

At first, I was the envy of my friends. Imagine having a man so sweet that he still had his teddy bear! They envied me that I had the nicest guy in our little circle.

But I didn’t know that his innocent-looking hobby was the start of something that would tear us apart. At first, he wanted to add to his toy collection. He’d buy books on the history of some of the toys. I was proud that he had a hobby that he loved. Some of my friends’ husbands spent their money on beer and gambling, but not my Jared.

But the toy collection became an obsession. Instead of spending time with me, he spent more and more time poring over his books on toys. Then it gradually spilled over into other things; he went to shows and conferences, becoming interested in comic books, baseball cards, you name it.

We began arguing about the cost of his hobby. He told me that instead of buying new clothes for himself, he’d rather spent it on buying his valued collectibles.

There were no more long picnics by the lake. There was very little time together at all.

“Sandy, why don’t you and Jared come over to our place for supper on Saturday night?” Brenna would ask.

But I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Jared’s life was equally divided between work and his hobby. He didn’t spend any time with me anymore. We just coexisted, with me watching television or reading and Jared taking inventory of his growing collection. Every weekend was taken up with antique and collector shows and sales.

Someone suggested that I try to get involved in his hobby, too. I would have, but I suspected that this wasn’t just a pastime for Jared; it was a real obsession. I didn’t want to contribute to that, but to wean him away from it.

But it didn’t work. I was spending more time on my own. After all, by then we’d been married for several years. I couldn’t expect the first heady feelings of romance to last forever. Married people had separate hobbies and interests, after all.

But we weren’t spending any time together at all. At that time I decided to have a talk with his mom, even though I doubted it would help.

It was an eerie feeling, talking to Millie. She was polite, but I could have been anyone who’d just dropped by her place instead of her only daughter-in-law. She was forgetting things lately. Jared was worried about her and was spending more time with her when he wasn’t busy with his collections. I didn’t begrudge him the time he spent with his mom. After all, she needed him, and it had been one of the things that had made me fall in love with him in the first place.

Millie didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. She did talk a little about Jared’s dad, though. “Jared’s a good boy. His father knows that, deep down.”

I frowned. She was talking about her dead husband as though he was still alive. I was beginning to worry about her. I knew that Jared came to her place each evening to turn off the breaker switch to her stove so that she wouldn’t get up at night and try to cook something. Several times he’d walked in and found something burning on the stove.

Pretty soon Jared and I would have to talk. Should we bring her to live with us? If we did we’d have to get rid of some of his junk to make room for her and make renovations. Truthfully, I couldn’t see her living alone for much longer. The good thing was that Millie wasn’t drinking so much nowadays. Maybe she was even forgetting to do that.

In any case, I knew I was alone with my problem. In fact, his mother’s condition only made Jared worse. I hardly ever saw him now. He spent much of his time with Millie, and the rest of the time he was furiously collecting everything that he thought might be valuable in the future. From toys he’d jumped to furniture to glassware to postcards, all in the space of a few months.

But it was all still collectible items, things that other people considered to be valuable. The day he started to stack newspapers on the kitchen table, I knew that there was something really wrong.

“Sandy, these will be worth something. If we can just keep saving—”

“Jared, I’ve heard that before. We just can’t save everything for thirty years or so until it’s valuable! What do you think this house is? A museum? We have to live here, too.”

Later that week I noticed a box full of used paper cups in the hallway. This time I didn’t even bother to confront him about it.

But the old, molding lumber in our bedroom—that was the final straw.

“Jared, I want us to go for counseling. We need to talk about this obsession of yours. And we need to talk about your mom, too.”

“What about my mom, Sandy?”

“Jared, can’t you see that she’s a danger to herself living on her own?”

“No counseling, Sandy, please. We can sort out our differences by ourselves.”

“No, we can’t. You don’t seem to think you have a problem.”

“No counseling,” he repeated. “A shrink would only bring up bad memories, anyway.”

“What bad memories?” I asked, but by this time Jared had stopped talking to me.

I didn’t know where else to turn. What do you do when there’s a serious problem in your marriage and your spouse refuses to acknowledge it? How were we going to start to make it right?”

I had no choice. One day, when Jared was at work, I wrote a note and left it on his pillow. By this time I had to tiptoe over old boards with rusty nails sticking out just to get to his side of the bed. I had to leave, if only to shock him into seeing that we were in crisis.

My worst fear was that he wouldn’t even know that I was gone. I spent that first night at a hotel. I didn’t want to stay with friends and admit that my marriage was crumbling, especially when they all thought I had the ideal husband. I thought of all the times I’d been so happy that my husband didn’t fool around our stay out to all hours with his buddies. I’d thought our marriage was as solid as granite.

The second day I found myself a small bachelor apartment near my work. I called Jared to tell him that I was okay and where I was staying, but I had to leave the message on the answering machine. I realized that if I went through with the divorce, it would no longer be my business to know where my husband was.

I was abandoning him when he needed me most. But the thing was, he didn’t see that he needed my help—or anyone else’s.

I didn’t know what to do about Millie. Jared and I had both looked after her. She didn’t have anyone else in the world. Did I continue to check up on her, or would he think that I no longer had the right to do that? I didn’t know what to do.

Millie hardly ever answered her phone anymore. A few years ago we had put our number on her speed dial so it would be easier for her to call us if she needed anything. I phoned several times, but she didn’t answer. I considered going over there and giving her my new number, but I thought it was likely that Jared hadn’t told her that we’d split up.

It took a long time for me to get into a new pattern of living. Most days my mind was more on Jared than it was on work. Then I seemed to cross a line where I didn’t want to think of him at all, concentrating instead on work.

But my friends at the office knew that something was wrong. I confided in a couple of them that I’d left my husband. They took me under their wing, inviting me out after work and on weekends, which was the worst time for me. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

I finally got up the courage to go and talk to Jared a few months later. There were things I wanted to know if I should go ahead and press for divorce. Surely any judge would clearly see that we had irreconcilable differences.

“Jared? Jared, are you here?” I called out. The front door was open so I’d gone in.

What I saw nearly knocked me to the floor.

The house was spotless. There was no junk around anywhere.

I must be dreaming, I thought. I went into the kitchen and saw a man working on the kitchen counter, laying down new Arborite—something I’d been begging Jared to do for years.

“Hello,” I greeted the contractor.


He turned and smiled at me. “Hello. You must be looking for Jared. He should be right back. He said he had to take some more things to the dump.”

To the dump?” I repeated, laughing. Maybe I’d walked into the wrong house!

I went to the living room to wait, still amazed that Jared had hired someone to redo the kitchen. What was going on here?

My curiosity got the better of me. I went upstairs. The first thing I noticed was that there was no more junk blocking the way. Jared had a habit of even putting stuff on the stairs. At first he would set things down on the very edge, but soon there would be hardly enough space to put your feet. Now the stairs were clear.

The upstairs hallway was empty, too. I crossed my fingers and sighed as I went to our bedroom, now Jared’s bedroom.

The whole room had been redone. It was beautiful. I’d shared my dreams for this room a few years ago with Jared. I wanted soft, relaxing colors, and here they were. There was a sage green carpet, off-white gauzy curtains, a twig chair in one corner. And a new bed! My hands went over my mouth in shock.

What had gotten into my husband? Or was this his way of starting a new life without me?

“Do you like it?”

I whirled around to see Jared standing in the doorway.

“Troy told me you were here. So what do you think?”

I stared at him, wanting to know if there was hope for us. “Jared, what’s going on?”

There was stress in his face, stress that hadn’t been there a few months ago. Had I caused all that?

“The day you left me was the worst day of my life, Sandy,” he said softly.

The guilt rushed in. I couldn’t talk right then. He looked at me for a long moment. “It wasn’t the best night for me, either,” he said. “That night, Mom set fire to her kitchen.”

Fire raging in domestic kitchen at night

“Oh, Jared, no! Why didn’t you call me?” But then I remembered that he didn’t know where I’d gone. I didn’t call to tell him for a couple of days.

“I didn’t go to see her that night.” He didn’t have to tell me that it was because of me. “The police called me. There had been a fire.”

“How is she?”

“She was fine. She was trying to cook dinner for all of us. For some reason she thought we were going to her place for dinner. She left a pot on the stove and it boiled over and started the fire. When I got there, I couldn’t find her, Sandy. I couldn’t find her. There were cops and firefighters all over the place. Finally, a neighbor approached me. Mom had gone over there as soon as she saw all the smoke.”

“Thank God,” I said, letting out the breath I’d been holding in.

“Yes, thank God.”

“So what about the house . . . destroyed?”

“The kitchen was gutted. I decided it was as good a time as any for Mom to try out a nursing home. I found a private place for her where she has some independence, but she has supervision, too.”

“Jared, I’m sorry. So sorry. For everything.”

“I’ve had time to think since you’ve been gone, Sandy. I never really thanked you for what you’ve been doing for Mom over the years. I thought I was the one who looked after her all by myself. But I was wrong.”

“I’m just sorry that this had to happen, Jared.”

“No, don’t apologize. There’s more—much more. Sandy, remember that I was always telling you that one day one of the things I brought home would make us rich? Well, it happened.”

“It . . . did?” That explained the renovations.

“Do you remember my toy collection, especially the older toys?”

I nodded. How could I forget? When we were first married, I’d been proud of Jared’s collection—until all the craziness started.

“I hit pay dirt. Almost every one of my dad’s old toys was worth a lot of money. He had those old piggy banks, remember? And all those tin toys, some from his own father. I even had a couple of dolls from his mother. But it was the teddy bear. Remember that bear? It was worth the most.”

I looked around. I could hardly believe it. Even so, I wondered how Jared could bring himself to part with his treasured toys.

“But you loved those toys, Jared. It was the only thing you had to remember your father by.”

His face twisted in a bitter smile. “Oh, no, Sandy. You’re wrong about that. I have memories from my father. Hateful memories. Do you know what drove Mom to booze? It was him. He beat her, and when she couldn’t prevent it, he beat me, too.”

He lifted his shirt. There was an old scar on his ribs. I remembered when I’d asked him about it years ago he’d said it was a childhood injury.

“This is where he burned me, when I couldn’t recite my tables fast enough,” he said quietly, pulling down his shirt again. “That’s the truth about that.”

“Oh, Jared.” The tears were coming fast and furious. I couldn’t help it.

“There’s more, but it doesn’t matter. Mom’s got a lot more scars than me. Every day with that man was a day of terror. Thank God he left us when I was about fourteen.”

“He left? Then he might still be alive?”

“If the booze hasn’t got him by now. I don’t care, Sandy. He’s out of our lives.”

“Jared, why didn’t you ever tell me any of this before?”

“I didn’t figure you’d understand. When we started dating, I could see that you came from a nice family. You lived in a good neighborhood and your parents cared about you. I envied you, Sandy.”

I could hardly take this all in. There was so much about my husband that I didn’t know. No wonder he couldn’t talk to me about his past! And no wonder he had such a bond with his mother. The two of them had survived that misery together.

Jared told me that most of the money from his father’s toy collection went to pay for his mother’s care.

“Then how did you pay for all this?” I asked.

“We had saved for it, remember? You forgot about the account you started years ago. Then each month I’d been putting some cash aside, adding to it. It’s grown quite a lot over time.”

“But, Jared, why now? I mean, I’d left you.”

“I know, Sandy. But I wanted to get you back.”

“Jared, you didn’t have to do this to get me back. What really impressed me was the fact that all the junk is gone! How did you part with it?”

“I thought about what you’d said. Here I was, sitting alone in a house full of junk. It wasn’t an investment, it was just trash. I knew that I’d either have to get a handle on this obsession or I’d lose you for good. And I don’t want to lose you, Sandy.”

He came to me and gave me a hug. It felt so good. We just held each other tightly for a long time. I missed his scent, the way he felt in my arms. I’d missed him with my whole heart.

“The bed is empty now,” he whispered softly.

“I can see that.”

“Lots of room for . . . whatever you might have in mind.”

“Oh, I have a lot on my mind right now,” I told him.

Just then we felt another presence in the room. We looked around and saw the contractor standing in the doorway.

“I—er, just wanted to tell you that you had a phone call, Jared,” Troy said. “Some lady from the nursing home? She says to get over there right away.”

Jared and I stared at each other. Something must have happened to his mom!

“I’ll go, Sandy. You stay here.”

“Are you kidding? I’m going, too.”

It was a good thing there were no cops around, because we must have broken every speeding record getting to the home. As Jared pulled up in front I noticed that it was a very nice place. I told myself that nothing bad could happen to her in a place like that.

“I’m Jared Spencer. Someone called about my mother,” Jared told the woman at the front desk.

The receptionist said she’d page the nurse in charge. It seemed like forever until a petite woman in a uniform came out to us.

“Let’s talk in here, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer,” she said, leading us to a quiet room.

I could tell that Jared was just barely keeping control. I knew he wanted to shake the truth out of that nurse. What had happened to his mother?

“Mr. Spencer, you mother is missing,” she began.

Missing? What are you talking about?”

“She’s missing. We think she’s been gone for a couple of hours.”

“A couple of hours! Why didn’t you call me before?”

“We did, but no one answered,” the woman explained.

“I know what happened, Jared,” I said. “Troy was working on the kitchen counter, there was a lot of noise. He probably didn’t hear the phone ringing at first.”

Jared turned to the nurse. “That doesn’t matter now. Where’s my mother?”

“The police are out searching for her. Do you know where she might have gone?”

“Maybe to the old house. She might have gone there. I was having it fixed after the fire so we could sell it.”

He took me by the arm. “Come on, Sandy. I have a feeling she might have tried to get back there.”

We drove to the old house. Along the way was the river. I didn’t want to look down as we drove over the bridge. I didn’t want to think of my mother-in-law trying to cross the bridge on her own—or worse still, coming to the riverbank and trying to wade across. From what Jared was saying, she was no longer thinking clearly anymore. But when we got to Millie’s old house, there was no one there.

We went inside. The workers were almost done with the repairs to the kitchen. There was no sign of the fire anymore. We walked through the rooms, thinking that somehow she might have climbed in through a window and was hiding somewhere.

It broke my heart to think of her yearning for her old home. I knew that Jared had to put her in some kind of home, especially after I’d left him. Who would have looked after her when he was at work? She was obviously a danger to herself when she was alone.

I made a vow then. If we found her I would find a way to work this out with Jared. I didn’t want to think of her living among strangers all day long. I could cut back on my hours at work so that she could come live with us.

I didn’t know how it was all going to work out. But judging by the look on Jared’s face as he searched the house, I knew I had to try something. We were a family, the three of us.

“Honey, we’ll find her. We will,” I assured him, drawing him into my arms. I could feel his back convulse with sobs. He really loved his mother. “And when we find her, I want to bring her home with us. What would you say, having both your favorite women under the same roof?”

He nodded, but I could tell that his mind was on finding her.

“Let’s call the police. Maybe we could help in their search,” I told him.

The hardest thing to face was the night. The police kept looking on city streets then, but they didn’t look in wooded areas until dawn, when it was lighter out. We had a very long, sleepless night.

“We wanted to know how this happened. How, when she was supposed to be in a secure place, could she just walk away without anyone knowing?

“It happens,” the nursing home director told me. “Your mother-in-law didn’t look sick; she didn’t look like she had dementia. We suspect that she just walked up to a visitor and left at the same time. The other person likely had no idea that she was one of our patients.”

It seemed incredible to me that it could happen. Another family might be thinking of a lawsuit, but we just wanted Mom back. I knew that my husband wouldn’t eat or sleep until she was found.

The next day, Jared opened up to me. He told me that he loved me, and he held me so tight I wondered if I’d have bruises afterward. But I’d been waiting for this moment all of our married lives. We were close again.

“I can’t lose you again, Sandy. When we find Mom, I want to hire a companion for her. I’ll build an apartment onto the house—there’s still enough money for that. And Sandy, I want you to follow your dream, the one you’ve been holding inside ever since I met you, and even before.”

“My dream? You’re not talking about that little design business I wanted once?”

“Yes. Why not? Haven’t we got proof, right here and now, that life is too short to pack away for dreams?”

“But I don’t even know if I could do that now.”

“Just think about it, honey,” he insisted.

“All right. I’ll think about it later. After we bring Mom home.”

We talked far into the night. Neither of us could sleep, and we wanted to be right by the phone in case the police called to say they’d found her. Jared told me that he’d started counseling right after I’d left. The counselor told him that his junk addiction had something to do with his father’s abuse. It was like he hadn’t been able to let go either of his father or of the “priceless treasures” that he’d started to hoard.

Jared himself wasn’t sure how it all blended together, but he was finding that the more junk he threw away, the freer he felt. He found he could think about his father now without all the terrible emotions.

“It’s like I feel numb, almost like all of that happened to someone else. But it happened to me. I have the scars to prove it, both physical scars and emotional. But now I know that my obsession was driving you away, Sandy, and I don’t ever want to do that again. You’re the best thing in my life.”

He told me that he realized how much it must have hurt me, someone who loved interior design, to see my house go from a lovely place to a makeshift junkyard.

“I think I’m ready to be a good husband now. But you’ll have to help me. The only role model I had for a husband wasn’t the greatest,” he said.

“I’ll give you all the time you need, babe,” I said, smiling and holding his hand tightly.

Suddenly, the phone rang. I waited while Jared spoke to the police. His face lit up.

“They found her! Sandy—they found her!”

We rushed to the hospital where they’d taken my mother-in-law. I still held Jared’s hand on the drive there and when we rushed to the emergency entrance. We found her laying on one of the curtained beds.

“Mom!” Jared cried as he hugged her.

“She’s broken her hip,” the doctor told me. “We’re just calling the surgeon now to repair it. We’ll give you a few moments alone.”

Millie looked confused and pale, but other than her broken hip, she seemed to be all right. I was right about my premonition on the river: The police had found her trying to cross it. She’d fallen down the bank and was half in and half out of the water. No one knew how long she’d been there, but thank God they’d found her.

Jared blamed himself for putting her in the home; I blamed myself for not being there for him. In the end, we both agreed blame was useless. We brought her home, where she recovered from her hip surgery. When she was well enough we hired a part-time companion for her as a respite to me while I worked on my new home business of interior design. That summer she was well enough to travel, so we rented a beach cottage and had the best time of our lives.

She lived for a year and a half after her fall by the river. We had some good times, the three of us. I comforted Jared at her funeral, and by that time Millie and I had grown so close that he needed to comfort me, too.

I think about the time I left him and I wonder what would have happened if I’d gone through with the divorce. Not having Jared in my life would have been the biggest mistake I’d ever made. But these days we’re joyfully talking about growing old together.

I’m certainly looking forward to it.

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