Another lonely evening, another plate of cold noodles. There were times Howie felt as if his life was one big miserable Groundhog Day. And he didn't like it.
As usual, his friends kept him in the loop concerning Lucia and her continuing outrages. In the past, Howie would have sighed and let the waves of their combined bitterness wash continually over him. This time, he made a decision.
It started with finding a new place to live. It was all based on 'out of sight, out of mind'. Lucia lived just across the street, which made it easy for her to continue her relentless attack on him. Here, in a different part of the neighbourhood, he felt she'd lose interest.
Howie also started working out again. This helped him deal with the long days and even longer nights. Soon the phone calls changed in tone as well, as Howie's friends began to tell him of new developments in Lucia's life.
Lucia, it turned out, needed a man. It didn't matter whom it was, either. Vinnie, a techie down the road, had begun to take an interest in her not long after the big bust-up. Turns out love had struck again for Lucia. Howie wished them all the best.
With Lucia's newfound romance she stopped calling Howie and left him to raise Madison. Sure, she sent the occasional birthday gift to her daughter and the occasional cheque but as far as she was concerned, that girl was all Howie's. Today was Madison's 13th birthday. Teenhood awaits!