Can I Call You?

computer instant message


One late night when Keri was up in her study working on her book, she heard an Instant Message notification and switched her screen to the Internet and saw Jack’s name and an invitation to chat. Keri thought for a minute. Face book messages and emails seemed harmless but there was something so much more personal about Instant Messages, it was almost like a phone call. Keri leaned her head in her hands and then looked up again and without really thinking it through typed back “Hi”

computer man at night

At first the conversation was formal and then slowly they started a back and forth banter asking each other a lot of do you remembers. And then Jack talked about his work and shared that he attributed all of his success for the foot in the door her father had given him all those years ago. He said he’d never even known about computers and how they were his life now. He shared how successful he was and Keri’s heart felt a tug and typed back; “He would be so proud of you.” And Jack shared about how he called when her father died and Keri typed back “Really?” I never knew!!” Jack replied, “Yeah you were married by then, and your mom answered the phone and was pretty distraught and the conversation was just short and sweet. But I got the message.” Keri sat there as her mind re-winded. So many emotions filled her at that moment. And then Keri typed. “I’ve always felt guilty about your mom.” Jack shot back, “Why?!” Keri shared how she always felt that he’d felt that she’d caused him not to go and save her, that if he went sooner, he would have found her in time. “Oh baby, he typed, I never felt that way! Years later my dad shared with me in a counseling session that mom attempted suicide seventeen times!” Keri felt a flood of emotions and a rush of relief. It was almost as if a physical weight lifted. Tears filled her eyes. She’d carried this burden for all of these years and she could finally let it go.

phone message2

Jack typed. “Can I call you?” Keri froze. And typed back. “Jack, what are we doing?” But then typed in her phone number. And then her phone rang. “Hi” Keri answered. “Hi” Jack said in a rich male voice that gave her a funny feeling. “You sound so different but the same!” Keri said. “You sound exactly the same.” He replied warmly. “I was never going to give you my phone number she said.” He smiled and said “I already had it. You forgot to erase one of your signatures in the very beginning of one of our letters to each other but then you started erasing them so I figured you’d forgotten to erase the one I saw.” She felt her face grow red. “Well yeah, I guess I needed to trust that you weren’t going to do something crazy.” He laughed.

Soon they began texting and he began calling her regularly. She never called him nor initiated any of the texts at first but she’d answer and somehow convinced herself that she was just answering him and doing anything wrong. But she knew that she was stretching boundary lines and it had all become addicting. She’d been caught off guard for this need for the attention he was giving her. Though, she knew that it would take only one more step to fall down the rabbit hole and she was holding on for dear life.


To be continued….









It’s Like A Do Over

Brynne handed the laptop to Jamie who’d remained quiet. After she read their conversation she looked concerned. She opened her mouth to say something as Keri raised her hand in protest, feeling ganged up on and said “Believe me, it is perfectly innocent. But imagine how it must feel for me to be able to get to say everything I ever wanted to after three decades!” It’s like a Do Over!” Both Brynne and Jamie looked unconvinced. When Keri returned home a few days later, she found a pretty lengthy email from Jack. It said that it was her turn now. That he knew that she had things that she wanted to say and he wanted her to be able to say anything and that this time it was all about her and THAT is why he’d found her to tell her that.

girl staring at computer screen

Keri was glad that they’d moved their conversation to email when they’d begun to get a little more personal. Though nothing out of line was ever said. She’d been very careful to remember to remove her signature with all of her contact information attached before she pushed SEND each time she’d respond to one of his emails, remembering how Jack had stalked her at the end of their relationship all those years earlier. She didn’t think that she had anything to worry about but she was just being careful.


Over the first few weeks they exchanged a few random messages still on her face book page. But eventually moved to emails mainly because she just didn’t think that everyone that viewed her page needed to read their messages. Not because they had anything to hide. They’d been keeping the messages short and sweet and pretty stiff. Though, joking here and there. His corny sense of humor  made her smile when he’d shyly kid with her about something. She tried to picture him as he typed back  and the feelings caught her off guard and confused her but she felt that she was just feeling natural curiosity and feeling the relief of forgiveness after feeling the anger for so long.


computer man looking

When Tim came home later that week, Keri told him about the contact and he didn’t seem too concerned. Keri was the jealous one. Tim had never done anything to ever cause her to be the least bit jealous but she couldn’t help it. She’d always attributed her insecurities to her experiences with Jack, and Tim jokingly said he found it flattering and ridiculous when she’d pout about “something mainly all in your head.” He’d point out. Keri knew that Tim was faithful and Tim never had a reason to ever doubt Keri because she’d always been so disgusted with cheaters. So the news about Jack’s recent contact did not seem to distress him in the least, and he didn’t mention it again and neither did Keri as she snuggled next to him and watched his favorite shows with him.

older couple snuggling

Tim’s news of another business trip made Keri groan a bit but she was used to them and ever since Brynne moved out to go to school, Keri planned as many visits down South as possible and Tim would try to join her as much as his work allowed, he always tried to make it to all of his daughter’s performances. They’d planned a trip down South to visit her that next week, she was performing in a show that following weekend at her school. Usually they’d stay in a hotel or if Tim didn’t go too, she stayed at her best friend Jamie’s house who was Keri’s confidant; they’d known each other since before Brynne was born and she was like an Aunt to her. Sometimes Brynne would also stay over and the three of them would stay up late talking and laughing all night long. “So I guess you are going to miss next Saturday night?” Keri asked. “What’s Saturday Tim asked absent mindedly as he clicked the keys on his laptop trying to read a new email that had just beeped him. He looked up and seemed to remember and said, “Oh yeah hon, sorry I guess I will.” Keri sighed. She was disappointed but excited to see her baby and looking forward to some “girl time” knowing that they’d have a good time catching up at Jamie’s.

man on laptop2

Saturday night after a successful performance, they were all lying around, eating munchies and chatting when Keri said light heartedly, “You guys are never going to believe who Friend Requested me on face book. Both Brynne and Jamie looked up and asked “who?” “Jack!” Keri answered, waiting for their shock. Brynne was the first to respond, “Jack? The guy in the journal?” She looked horrified. Before Keri had a chance to reply she asked “Does Dad knooow?” “Yes, of course your dad knows.” Keri said quickly. He’s fine with it and he trusts me. He has always known I never got closure.” Brynne jumped up and turned on her laptop that she’d brought with her. “What’s your password?” she asked as Keri typed it in, Brynne pulled up her mom’s face book page and read the recent exchange between her and Jack. Keri knew that the conversations on her Face book page were all pretty generic and mostly just catching up. They’d just talked about their families and careers. Keri knew that everything that her daughter was reading was perfectly benign. Or at least she thought. “It sure doesn’t look like he is looking for closure mom.” Brynne said looking incredulous.

girl on laptop

“Just Kids”

Dear Jack,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Wow. What a blast from the past. I am literally sitting here in disbelief that it is really you. I went on a search site years ago, (probably the one that you mentioned) and goggled a bunch of names. Yours was among them. I am sure. I’ve also wondered about you, I mean even if you were still alive. By the way, there is nothing to forgive; we were just kids back then.


And she clicked SEND. And immediately felt a sick feeling.





Why did I say that?! Keri berated herself. All of these years, she wanted the chance to really talk to Jack and tell him how much he hurt her and now she had the chance and relinquished it.

frustrated on computer


Keri let out a loud sigh and padded down the stairs to refill her coffee cup. She poured herself another cup and let the aroma envelope her. As she looked out at the gray day. It was spring and everything was green. She watched as a school bus drove by and remembered the mornings of rushing Brynne off to school and felt a familiar twinge pulling at her heart strings and rebuffed it. As she admonished herself to not go there today. She never knew that midlife crisis was really an actual thing or that an empty nest would hurt so much but for a while now, Keri felt stuck. She would not go there today she told herself and then remembered Jack and went up the stairs and found his reply waiting.

Oh my Dearest Keri,

I was so afraid you wouldn’t forgive me. I am not proud of the way I behaved back when we were kids. Or how I treated you. I have learned a lot since those days and hope that I didn’t leave you too damaged and remember the good times as well. I do.


Keri stared at the screen and noticed how quickly he’d clung to the “just kids” comment. She found it ironic that a few months earlier shortly after Brynne left for school, she began remembering the times in the journal. One morning, when Tim was on another business trip, she was in the shower and the memories came in waves, like flash backs, they hit one after another, as she began to reflect upon her life and those days of abuse she experienced from Jack, she used to believe that most of the times had been emotional and never really allowed herself to focus on the physical part of the abuse. But for some reason that morning it hit her and she collapsed crying in the shower thinking aloud. “You hurt me; you really, really hurt me!” As she recalled the physical part of the pain she cried, whispering in sobs over and over again “You hurt me.”

shower crying


The pain was still raw and so she wrote about it. Now, as she remembered that post she realized that on her face book page she shared links to her blog and wondered if when he’d been on her page looking at her pictures, he also might have seen the link to her blog. She frowned and considered everything, asking herself if she even cared. He knew it happened, what could he say? But she did care and panicked a little and it all felt a little too familiar and she said to herself; “Get a grip Keri, you don’t have to ever walk on eggshells again!”

The Friend Request

Jack? Jack! Her heart pounded. She sat still and reread the message over and over. She remembered when she used to imagine what it would be like if she ran into him. In the beginning she’d penned a few scripts in her head about how she’d tell him off. But then a few months right after they’d broken up, she and Laurie ran into him at the mall after a modeling job she’d just come from. She knew that she looked good and Jack looked so sad when they spoke. She never said any of the cruel things she’s planned. Perhaps it was because of how sad he looked, and for a split second, she felt as if she might even weaken and give up her resolve. Or maybe it was because Laurie was there and she’d come so far moving on, she stuck to her guns and remained strong as they shared a polite generic exchange, never giving him any encouragement for more, not even a hug. She turned to watch him walk away as she fought back the tears. So much emotion filled her at that moment. She wanted to run after him but she stayed stoic, wiping a tear from her cheek with her sleeve. Laurie asked “You okay?” She remembered just nodding; afraid if she tried to talk she would burst into tears. And that was the last time she’d ever seen Jack.

computer screen frustration

Now she sat in front of her lap top frozen, with her heart in her throat. She read his message over and over again. It was early in the morning. Tim was on another business trip and her daughter, now at school was four hours away. She pictured Jack at twenty two and felt like she was nineteen all over again.  Thinking,this is all so surreal. She felt her heart pounding in her ears and without even thinking, she replied;

Dear Jack,                                                                                                                                                                          

Hi yourself.                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Of course I remember you! HOW the heck are you?                                                                                                           


Dear Keri,

I am good. I’ve been attending a Men’s Mentoring Group through my church and one of the things we are supposed to do is ask for forgiveness. I immediately thought of you and have looked for you over the years. I didn’t have a last name to go by until your name just popped up in a Classmates website. I immediately looked for you and found you on Face book and saw the pictures there and knew you were the same Keri. You are still beautiful.


The next Chapters….

For all my loyal readers…. (Reading Girl especially – smile) I am sharing my next few chapters…. I’d love to hear how you feel about the transition from Keri’s journal to the third person telling it again, and your thoughts on it… I really felt that I left you guys hanging and just wanted to share!  Remember read this first:

so it makes more sense




mom readinglistening to mom reading

By the time she finished reading, the fire had died down to a flicker and two hours, maybe more had passed. Keri closed the book and looked up at Brynne “Oh mama” she cried, “It is all just so sad.” Keri overwhelmed by the moment, got up and walked over to her daughter and hugged her tight as tears filled her eyes. “I shared this with you because I want to spare you some of the pain that I experienced as a young girl, and for you to just always be aware. “NOW I understand why you wanted me to add SLOW TO ANGER to my list that you made me make.” Brynne said with genuine empathy and tears in her own eyes. Keri nodded and held the closed  journal to her chest; she didn’t have any second thoughts. She knew that sharing this with Brynne would be a memory she would carry with her forever. She prayed that this knowledge would be like a little extra tool for her, that most young girls aren’t aware of.

Keri counted the years since those journal days and sighed. Looking into the fire she said, “Time sure flies.”  “Do you know where he is now?” Brynne asked curiously. Keri shook her head. “No, “I’m not even sure if he’s still alive.”  Brynne was filled with questions. “What about Larry?” she asked. Keri realized that she was not going to get off as easy as she thought and cleared her throat to continue. “We ended up dating for a while,” “YOU DID?! Brynne looked surprised and Keri laughed, “Yeah, he even asked me to marry him.” Brynne’s eyes grew wide. “Reeeeally?”  “Yeah, but I don’t even know why I went out with him. I kind of knew it was wrong but I was so hurt just how quickly Jack seemed to move on and well, Larry really was very good-looking.” she chuckled and then continued more seriously, “but then, he knew it and I never loved him, so I said no.” She said it so matter of factly  that it almost seemed as if she was realizing it all for the first time.  “I don’t think that I really ever got over Jack. I just let my hurt turn into anger and have pretty much stayed angry with him all of these years later. I never really let anyone back into my heart for a long time.”  Keri smiled at her daughter. She looked dumbfounded at meeting this side of her mom and wanted to know everything. “I dated for over a year or so and then I met your dad and that was that.”

Waaaaait a minute.” Brynne demanded, motioning for her mom to sit back down, Keri sighed inwardly realizing that Brynne was not going to let her off the hook that fast and had many more questions. So with much filtering, Keri shared what came after Jack and in-between her dad which was a time that entailed a lot of things she did due to her broken heart, things that she was not very proud of. And that was how Keri told her daughter about Jack. It had been time. Tim already knew about him. He knew about Keri’s walls and what happened and that her first relationship was behind a lot of their issues. But he was very patient with her. When they’d first met, it was evident that Keri had been very hurt and did not trust easily. Their marriage had its issues but it was solid for the most part and Tim offered that one trait that Keri deemed so important; he was slow to anger.

“Okay Keri said, lets finish up with the boxes in the attic.” Brynne followed her mom up the stairs as they began sorting and throwing out things. Keri continued to answer her daughter’s questions as they worked together, and made a big dent clearing  everything out that day.


attic office emptybook casescomputercomputer2

Keri’s writing studio was finished and she loved it up there. The wood floors were rich and off set the wall to wall built-in bookcases that lined both sides of the room and reminded Keri of her Grandma’s craftsman style house in Seattle.  On one side of the room there was a beautiful little window seat where she could take her laptop and write. The view was most inspiring there. At the front of the house,  they’d built-in  a craftsman style desk and drawers overlooking the little window on the opposite side of the room. It all turned out just the way she’d imagined. Tim worked on it a lot as time allowed, but just like her father,  he traveled a lot for his job and Keri grew impatient over how long it was taking to complete. “I have a book that I need to write, and I really want to start it and finish it up in my study.” She’d pressed and so he hired Brian, a contractor to finish some of the details.

For a while, Brian and Tim worked together with Keri to create the charm she envisioned. Even the stairs that led up to the attic were recreated exactly the way she’d imagined with the brown and white steps she remembered from her grandma’s house . Several months after all of the construction was complete, Tim surprised Keri with a fireplace that she’d seen on-line and thought that he’d forgotten about. One night in bed, when Tim was working on his laptop, Keri urged him to go to that page with the photo of the exact fireplace she’d chosen. She knew it exceeded the budget they’d set aside for the studio but told him that “Someday waaay down the line she’d love to have one just like it.” Never dreaming she’d get it so soon.

Tim  installed  it a year later while she was in LA visiting Brynne for her birthday.  She squealed with delight and hugged her husband’s neck, feeling very spoiled. She loved to turn it on in the mornings with a mug of coffee and write her blog and or work on her book.  Brynne had been away at school for a little over a year and the house just seemed so empty. She wished Tim didn’t have to be away so often but she tried to be a good sport about it and understand and was growing more and more used to being alone. Her studio was her refuge. When she wrote, she didn’t feel so lonely. One day as she took a break from writing, she checked her blog comments and then wandered over to her Face book page and found a message from a name that caused her to choke as she sipped on her coffee. The message was short and generic. Keri set her mug down still sputtering and held her breath as she read;

Hi Keri,                                                                                                  

I’ve been looking for you for a long time. It looks as if you are well. I am glad to see that you are still writing… I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, but I’ve wanted to find you for a while now. I look forward to your reply,







Dear Readers Thank you for Following! Please find me at:


Dear “Readers”

You know who you are when I say that I feel that you have become more than readers but… “forever friends” through this excercise of sharing my journals. I have watched those of you read and comment throughout this project and I am forever grateful. I GET how time consuming it is to stick with something like this and I hope to someday figure out a way to pay you all back!

This idea was brought to life by my talented and published author friend Debbie: who has mentored me through it all as she has published one book and in the throws of introducing another! Thank you Deb!!! Whether you want the credit or not! It was very therapeutic and hopefully it has given me some good material for my own book with a whole different twist that I probably wouldn’t have thought of without your suggestion!

writing just hand view

If you have been following me through the 70+ entries I have made here I will never be able to tell you how full my heart is that you faithfully have gone on this daily journey with me, chronicling my journal entries. My purpose for this blog was to allow those who ask…. “Why did you stay?” A peek into the convoluted and raw emotions that someone going through abuse feels. Though the question may be rhetorical and you never expected a response. THIS account is as much of an explanation as I might hope to give. It is not just one thing. It is a bundle of things that cause those of us who have been abused to remain with our abusers and give second chance after second chance. It is not to berate someone for staying but to climb into their situation with them and to help them feel not so alone.

If you are just finding this blog, you might want to go back to the very beginning to find the story of Keri and Jack to understand. It has taken me a little over a half a year to get it written. It is written for all to see how subtley we can lose pieces of ourselves trying to save someone else.

It is also hopefully a wake up call for those who might see themselves still in their own relationships, still giving second chances. My story is not over. My abuser came back years later to find me and ask for forgiveness. I need to still figure out a way to sensitively share that part of my story. It is a crazy web we weave…. in the choices we make. Even later in life. We can excuse our youth as being inexperienced and innocent as we dumbly give our power away. But I was blindsided that this person still had power over me to almost throw away everything I’d built one more time.

Abuse is all relative. We never really get over the past. But we can be empowered by the lessons we learn and even be glad for the mistakes we make if they cause us to grow.

Love you all,



PS: I will return here from time to time to write the poetry I need for my book. When I write it on my other blog. People get confused and think that it is something I am going through NOW. Kind of another reason I created this blog. I needed a place to go to still find the pain and write about it. A place where people who know me here would understand. But to not confuse people in my current blog. So I “WILL” be back to write the poetry that I will include in my book so don’t unfollow me just yet!



quote about moving on


praying man B&w

I am lost in your shadow

as I bathe in your tears.

You can’t have me now

so stop following me here!

future past present signs

I won’t be charmed

by your pleas and your sighs.

For my tears have cleared

the sight in my eyes.

You captured my heart

like  birds who fly into their cages.

bird cage

your words were like whispers

upon old folded pages.

folded page A

Your love haunted me

until I finally gave in,

But it was too late for us,

for… we began at the end.

Keri London


#61 I’m NOT Mowing Your Lawn Anymore!

Dear Journal,

I guess I am in what you might call melancholy mode. I really want to try to document this because I always seem to go back. I almost softened one last time when Jack made me come and pick up something he was going to throw out if I didn’t come and get it. I knew that it was his way of seeing me again but I went anyway. And I didn’t bother mentioning that I was going over there to anyone.  I was glad to see that no-one was home next door when I arrived. I mean there was no danger of us getting back together NOW that I have told everyone why we broke up. He really made it kind of hard not to involve other people since we had a huge party planned on the night I left or actually the night he KICKED me out. And I am tired of protecting him so I just told everyone the truth. “I am tired of the abuse.”


When I walked in and saw all the boxes, I have to admit that it took my breath away. I mean, it was like seeing all of our dreams taped up in boxes. They were the same boxes that we used to move in, still with my writing on each one and it made me pretty sad. He begged me to take my ring back. He said that even if we weren’t together, he couldn’t stand having it. I told him I couldn’t either and so he said he would throw it in the ocean and so I took it. We sat down on the bed and he tried to kiss me and asked for one more time just for old time’s sake. He said that he knew it was over but he needed me and to just give him this one last time. He looked so sad. And in a weak moment my mind went blank and I couldn’t think and relented. I am not sure what I was thinking. I guess I was not! I’m sorry but even though I really do know that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, it is just so hard to let go. That is until he started talking and ruined the moment.

making love 70s pic

I am not sure how it came up but he told me that he’d called an old girlfriend and that she said that he needed to go back to Keri because all he did was talk about me. I remembered how he talked a lot about Maddie when we were first together and all of a sudden I thought : I AM NOT DOING THIS! And I pushed him off of me and jumped up. I think that he was thinking that he was telling me something that would help his case, that I should be happy that he was so in love with me that he couldn’t even stop talking about me when he was out on a date! But how stupid! He was OUT on a date!!!! That totally broke the mood when I found out. What did he want me to say?? “Ooooh how sweet?!”  Even if we were broken up, I have to admit it made me jealous that he was already calling girls. Though, I didn’t tell him that Larry called me a few times. He has. Of course, I didn’t go out with him or call him back! He keeps calling though.

walking out the door

I guess that I am really glad that he told me. It made me realize that his heart is in a different place than mine. Maybe I was playing house like he accused me of doing so many times. But I  realized that day that we clearly wanted different things. I am not sure why he even gave me a ring or gave me that beautiful speech when he did. Or why he made me believe in all the dreams we talked about. When we first broke up, I went back and forth to hating him and then feeling sorry for him and trying to forgive him because of his childhood. I still believe that he was the kid with the story no one would believe. And I really did want to give him a better “rest of his life” thinking that I could fix everything I really believed that I could, or at least try to. I remembered promising him forever and that I would NEVER leave. But you can’t force loyalty on someone who just doesn’t appreciate it or can barely grasp the concept of real love. And after the last fight, I didn’t want to die trying anymore because I knew that it was just a matter or time when he might really hurt more than just my heart and my pride.  That last day when I walked down the pathway and out the gate. I wasn’t crying anymore. I’m not sure what I thought but I remember thinking… “He really needs to mow the lawn.”



Dear Journal,

When Jack and I broke up, I thought I was going to stop needing you. But I think I need you more than ever now. I want to remember everything so I don’t slip  and go back to my old ways and give in one more time. Just because I still really want to believe in all of his promises. He has not stopped trying to talk to me. I am so tired of finding him at my work or outside of my neighborhood.

So much has happened. I did go back. But not the way that you might think. I went back to get my things when I knew Jack would not be home. I told him that I was going to come and pick up my stuff when he would be at work and would leave my key. He told me to keep it and I told him I that I had no reason to keep it and really didn’t want it. I got there and tried to get everything fast. I knew he was at work and he promised not to show up. But I never know with him. All of my stuff was neatly piled in the living room waiting for me. I could still  picture it all over the lawn and it helped me to stay strong and not feel sad. Though…  It was a strange hollow feeling knowing that it would be the last time that I would ever be using “my key” to walk through that door again.

screen door

When I was walking back from the last trip, Jess called out from his screen door and he and Louise came out on their porch and called me over,  I went through their gate and they hugged me really tight. I sat on their porch with them and they told me that they knew everything. I wondered if Jack told them and then I realized that they’d heard and I was embarrassed. So embarrassed. I told them about Switzer and they looked sorry for me and then told me that they would be glad to adopt him. I looked up and asked “Really?” Oh, I was so happy, I started crying and began telling them the whole story. I’d never told anyone everything. Even recently,  just bits and pieces. But I sat there and shared about the time on the sailboat and the time we went soaring and well, I guess they witnessed the New Year’s scene firsthand. They were so great. They told me that they were proud of me and how strong I was. They told me that they were “my” friends and anything that they could do, they would. I gave them  my parent’s  phone number since they only had the one from next door. Louise told me that I could still house sit  since Jack was leaving. I guess looked pretty surprised when they told me that he was moving out.

I guess that I looked a little taken aback finding out that he was moving out. I am not sure why I cared. But I did. They were very apologetic, though obviously thought that I knew. “That was not a great way for you to find out.” Louise said. But I said it was okay and asked what they knew.  They told me that the little house was already rented out or that actually our Landlord’s daughter was moving in.  Jess said that the other day Jack told him that he was moving to Cerritos for a new job offer. I thought that was weird since Buena Park,  is right next to Cerritos and was hoping that he wasn’t moving to be near my work.  But I didn’t mention anything. I guess I still wanted to believe that he wouldn’t do anything that crazy. I told them that I’d  be over to bring Switzer by later that afternoon before Jack got home from work and they said Mopsy would be happy to have the company.

As I stood at the front door I looked back and surveyed the little house that once held so many dreams and now just  held so many memories for me.  I slipped my ring out of my pocket and left it on the table in the entry way along with the key and noticed a small box sitting by the door where all my stuff had been. It was a little set aside so I almost missed it.  It held all of Annie’s letters, I thought Jack threw them away in a fit of rage. But he hadn’t. They were all neatly placed in the box with the ribbon carefully re-tied around them. I picked them up and walked out the door.