I gradulally rein in my emotions, taking slow, even breaths as John tells me about his trip—the flight over the Rockies, the turbulence over the prairies, the obnoxious jokes bantered around in the cock-pit. I make the required noises, the “Uh-hums” and the “Yeahs” and the “Ohs” that he wants to hear. The normalness of the conversation is soothing. He goes places, I listen to his stories, and live my life through his excitement. He longs for time with the kids, sitting at home, and I long for the excitement of new places and unknown skies.
“I gotta go,” he says after a few minutes more. “Meeting the crew for a debrief at seven.”
“Okay,” I say, and the panic starts to rise again.
“I’ll call you tomorrow if I get a chance, ‘kay?”
“Love you,” he says.
“Love you too…” I reply, and then he hangs up.
I put the phone on the cradle slowly, the familiar emptiness expanding within me. I’m a thousand miles away in his hotel room, and I’m right here on this slowly disappearing mound of laundry. I shouldn’t really miss him yet, he’s only been gone a few hours, but I miss what he is to me. He’s safety and warmth, and someone to talk to. He’s a raft in a windswept sea of insanity. He’s normal and happy and calm and silly and all of the things that make life bearable. I miss that.
I’m still staring at the phone when it rings again.
Have a great Monday!