Ted had always treated Patty as if she was his “managing editor” because she took care of all the things he couldn’t be bothered with. When she left, at first it was unclear if he was distraught over the loss of his “right hand man” or his wife.
He had retreated from the circle for the most part. He declined invitations and ignored phone calls. He still went to work but when he came home, he sat on his back porch and drank beer.
Rick and Paul tried to be supportive but Ted didn’t share much with them. They couldn’t offer a lot in the way of comfort other than just being there if he needed to talk.
When Patty first left, Paul asked Ted if he had any indication. Ted said “not a clue,” then looked at Paul and said “did you?” Paul shook his head and said “Lisa told me she had stopped playing cards with them but I didn’t read anything into it.”
Every few days, Ted would ask Lisa and Julie the same questions. “Have you seen her? Have you talked to her?” Their answer was always the same. “No.”
Ted begged them to let him know if they did. Lisa quipped “why?” He said “because I miss her.”
Lisa couldn’t hide her anger when she said “you didn’t pay any attention to her when she was here and now that she’s gone, you suddenly miss her? Maybe you should have taken better care of her when she was still here.” She was surprised when she thought what she saw was true anguish in Teds’ face but she had no sympathy for him.
One night Ted called Charlotte. When she answered the phone, he said “I guess you’ve heard.” Charlotte said “yes.” He asked her if she had talked to her. Charlotte said “what makes you think I have talked to her, Ted?”
He said “I don’t know. I guess maybe I was hoping. Charlotte, she’s the love of my life.”
Charlotte said “she’s the love of your life? When did you discover that…after she left?” He said “I’ve always loved her.” Charlotte responded with a snide “right. I know all about your love.” Ted said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Charlotte angrily said “I know what you did.” Ted was silent for a few seconds and then stammered when he asked “what do you mean?” Charlotte said “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID! Do you have any idea what that did to her? Did you ever talk to her about it? Did you ever even think about it?
After a long pause, he said “no.”
“No! Of course you didn’t because all you have ever thought about was yourself” yelled Charlotte. She said “Ted, it’s three o’clock in the morning here. I have to go. Please don’t call me again” and hung up without saying goodbye.
Ted had been raised a Catholic but had long ago abandoned his faith. Out of desperation, he called Father O’Brien and asked if he could see him. Father O’Brien said “do you wish to make a confession, my son?” Ted said “no. I just want to talk.”
He met with Father O’Brien and asked him to pray with him. He asked him to pray for Patty.
“I need you to pray that she’ll come back to me” said Ted.
Father O’Brien took Teds’ hand and said “it is true that God answers all of our prayers but sometimes, the answer is no. She is not coming back to you, my son. You have to let her go and move on.”
Ted couldn’t control his tears when he said “I just can’t Father. I just can’t.” Father O’Brien said “you have to.”
A few weeks later, Ted decided to implore Sister Mary to act on his behalf. He had known her his entire life. She still called him “Teddy.” She listened to his pleas but her response was no different from that of Father O’Briens.’
She said “I can see your pain Teddy but you have to let her go. She’s not coming back to you. God will help you through this but you have to let her go.”
Ted went back home and found himself sitting on Pattys’ side of the bed. For some reason, he opened the drawer of her nightstand. Inside, he saw her diary. He picked it up and held it for a minute.
In the before time, he would have never invaded her privacy, nor would she have invaded his.
He didn’t think it really mattered now though, so he opened it and began to read.