The dawning winter brought little joy for the Ficus clan. Once again Andrew gave himself over to the deadly rake and spent untold hours in service to the pile.
When he wasn't raking he was working. Until the day the news came in the mail that he'd earned his Magic 80 and he could retire. On his last day at work, he hobbled to his car, keenly aware that this was a major change in his life. Perhaps it was time to make other... changes... in his life.
Through the next four months his craving for the rake waxed and waned. Kath became his greatest supporter. She brought him to his first RA meeting and watched him take the pledge with hope shining in her eyes. It was very hard at first.
And even after distancing himself from the park with its temptations Andrew still wrestled with his yearnings.
But that night by the water got him thinking. How liberating it would be to relax and let go of his fears; surrounded on all sides by the buoyant comfort of the ocean. He started small with the hot tub Pam bought him to celebrate his retirement.
Early one morning, in the bracing chill of late spring, Andrew pulled on his bathing cap and threw himself into the ocean with wild, delighted abandon. Such freedom! Such a thrill!
And in the Fall, Andrew hires the kid next door to rake the lawn now.