I felt awful for Jack. He wants to be a working chef so badly he can taste it. He doesn't want the bus boy jobs, or the short order cook in the diner jobs, or the jobs as demeaning as being a mechanical man in a department store, although that one did pay him well. I can tell his ego is really starting to suffer and it's beginning to break my heart. All I ever wanted for Jack was to be happy and to be able to do what he loved.

Chrissy leaving to go back home has been a crushing blow to both of our lives. Her mother has become terminally ill and I certainly don't fault Chrissy for wanting to be close to her family. I feel sorry for her, but she's being as upbeat as ever when I have the chance to speak with her. As much as it would seem like I had to take care of her, she was a pleasure. Her dizziness never failed to make me laugh, if not a little flabbergasted. I miss talking to her at night before bed and having someone there to fall asleep with. Going to bed alone most nights lately has been hard.

Life feels hard. With Chrissy's absence and Jack's struggle to find and keep a job, it's double the pressure on me to make sure everything is taken care of. I've been paying at least three-quarters of the rent and all the utilities by myself. Seemingly whatever money Jack makes ends up being food money. I find myself going without sometimes just to make sure we can have the basic necessities. My survival instincts have been on high alert and I'm exhausted from it.

But, you do what you have to. I pull myself off the couch and decide to get myself a snack. I grab some cheese out of the fridge and pull some crackers out of the cupboard. The cutting board and butcher knife were still in the dish drainer. God, I have gotten lazy about putting things away. I got so distracted as I was preparing my snack that I sliced my finger with the knife.

"Goddamn it!" I screamed. I watched as blood started to pour from my finger and that was when I started to cry. Then I heard a door open and realized Jack was home. He had gone to the grocery store so I knew he would come into the kitchen to find me crying. I didn't care at this point.

"Janet, I…"

He dropped the bags on the table the minute he saw me. I always did my best not to cry in front of him but I was hurt and tired. I felt like he should know at this point. He came over to me and I showed him my injured finger. He silently led me to the sink, turned the hot water on, and let my finger sit under the faucet. I watched as he went over to the silverware drawer which also doubled as a first aid kit. Life with an aspiring chef for you. He gently rubbed an antiseptic on the wound and covered it up with a band aid. I cried again when he kissed my bandaged finger.

"You're not just crying over your finger, are you?"


"It's everything, isn't it?"


"Life has been hard, lately."

"I know."

"You know what makes this life a little less hard?"


"I can still come home and see you."

I fell silent. That was the sweetest thing he had ever said to me. I could only cry more. He pulled me into a hug and held me tight.

"You're okay, honey," he told me. "I got you."