I wake up early to watch him go, this ordinary world has become the nagging wife. How strange the insistent beeping of the alarm clock sounds so similar to an early morning phone call, “Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?”, it says and I want nothing more than to hang up on it.
I watch him roll out of bed, walking down to the shower to wash my scent from his skin and I follow. For a moment I imagine slipping inside the hard heat of the water. How much my want exceeds his need, how my body aches to keep him here… and idle fingers trace the lines on the door panel from practiced recollection of the way the water rolls down between the creases of muscle and bone. I step away and the loss steps with me.
I collect his things instead. Things that will follow him where I cannot go. Things that will sit beside him in the places so forbidden to me. Things that I’ve pieced so delicately back together. It’s habitual, this particular part of the morning, knowing what is his need before my own. The jacket, the cigarettes, the keys, phone and ever last those three meals of the day tied together in a plastic bag. They only seem to remind me of how long he will be gone and the remembrance makes me hate her. How she looms over our moments dangling security on a fine thread by the silent tick-tock of time.
In the end it no longer matters… only him in this paused good-bye where his kisses slip past my chapped lips and into that hollow hole. He fills me with promised desires of when he can sneak away after she sleeps for those brief hours and he will find me here waiting, every fiber of my want laying across the soft red sheets pulling him in, drawing him to the center of all the longing he has left me with. I let him go. I let him go. I let me let him.
(Authors note: If you happen to not get the subtle euphemism, the “wife” is work. This wasn’t written about another woman’s husband. It was written when my husband had two full time jobs and we never saw each other. I was thinking about it today while I watched him go. Sometimes as the door shuts all I can hear is, “I let him go. I let him go. I let me let him.” It’s hard being a Homemaker.)