The Last Thing He Told Me

3.2 Everyone Should Take Inventory


Here’s what I know.
At night, before he went to sleep, Owen did two things. He turned on his left
side and then he leaned into me, wrapping his arm around my chest. He would
fall asleep that way—with his face against my back, his hand on my heart. He
was peaceful.
He went for a run every morning to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and
back home.
He would live on Pad Thai, given the choice.
He never took o􀏦 his wedding ring even to shower.
He kept the windows open in the car. Ninety degrees or nine degrees.
He talked about going ice 􀏯shing on Lake Washington every winter. He never
He couldn’t turn o􀏦 a movie, no matter how awful, until he’d made it to the
He thought champagne was overrated.
He thought thunderstorms were underrated.
He was secretly afraid of heights.
He only drove a stick shift. He extolled the virtues of only driving a stick
shift. He was ignored.
He loved taking his daughter to the ballet in San Francisco.
He loved taking his daughter on hikes in Sonoma County.
He loved taking his daughter for breakfast. He never ate breakfast.
He could make a ten-layer chocolate cake from scratch.
He could make some mean coconut curry.
He had a ten-year-old La Marzocco espresso machine that was still sitting in
its box.
And he was married once before. He was married to a woman whose father
defended bad men—even if he thought it was a little simplistic to call them bad
men, even if he thought it was incomplete. He accepted his father-in-law’s work
because he was married to this man’s daughter and that’s who Owen was. Owen
accepted his father-in-law out of need, out of love, and maybe out of fear.
Though he wouldn’t have named it as fear. He would have named it, incorrectly,
as loyalty.
Here’s what else I know. When Owen lost his wife, it all changed. Every single
thing changed.
Something broke open in him. And he became angry. He became angry with
his wife’s family, with her father, with himself. He was angry about what he’d
allowed himself to turn a blind eye to—in the name of love, in the name of
loyalty. Which is part of the reason why he left.
The other reason is that he needed to get Bailey away from that life. It was
primal and it was urgent. Keeping Bailey anywhere near his wife’s family felt like
the greatest risk of all.
Knowing all that, here’s what I may never know. If he’ll forgive me for what I
feel like I have to risk now.

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