I will admit I have been a little scattered lately. Crazy busy at work. But that’s neither here nor there at this point. I mean what possible excuse could I have for not even noticing he was gone from the bed, for God’s sake? It never would have happened in our old bed out at the cabin, where we always woke up in the morning in a tangle of arms and legs and sleepy kisses.
Yes, I do kind of blame the new mattress! It’s one of those miracle foam things that guarantee you’ll never disturb your sleeping partner. Disturb? We hardly ever even touched in that king sized monstrosity. We got the king sized bed to go with the king sized bedroom and the king sized house.
The last time I remember seeing him was Sunday afternoon. At least I think I saw him then. I know I got up early on Monday and went straight into my fancy new dressing room to get ready for work. It has acres of space for my clothes, long trifold mirrors just like at the boutiques, plus a gorgeous attached bathroom with a shower and a whirlpool tub. The one thing I truly enjoy about this house, it’s just a few steps from my side of that big bed. Jim has a bathroom of his own on the other side of the room. No more standing next to each other jockeying for space at the medicine cabinet mirror while he’s shaving and I’m trying to put on makeup.
I have a little home office on the other side of my bathroom. I went out through there on Monday morning and straight out the door to work. If I thought about it at all, I would have figured Jim was sleeping a little bit later. But I didn’t think about it.
Monday is always an awful day at the store. That night I was so exhausted I fell asleep before nine o’clock and if I wondered where Jim was, I didn’t wonder very long. Jim works late at least once a week and it’s not always the same night. He covers for his deputies whenever somebody needs off, or when something big is going on and they need extra. I gave up trying to keep track long ago.
Tuesday was just like Monday. I got up, showered, dressed, and was out the door before seven. It was another hectic day. I kept meaning to call Jim, but something always happened and I never got around to it. I called him after I ate supper by myself and watched an hour of “Two-and-a-half-Men” reruns.
He picked up on the first ring. “Hello, Rosie. Are you missing me tonight?” Hearing the sexy rumble of his voice, suddenly, I was missing him.
“Sure am. What time will you be home?”
He didn’t say anything for so long, I thought we might have lost our connection. When he spoke again, his tone was different, flat, all the sexy fun gone out of it.
“What time? Why do you ask that?”
“I was just thinking about going to bed early, wondering if I ought to wait up for you.”
Another long pause. ”No. Don’t wait up.”
We’ve been married a good while and I have sense enough to recognize when Jim’s fuse is lit and sizzling toward an explosion, but I still bumbled on ahead without thinking.
“Okay. Wake me up when you get home, then?”
” No? Why not?”
“Rose. I. Left. You. Two days ago. And you don’t even know I’m gone.” His voice a was tight and clipped, the explosion under the surface, barely controlled.
He hung up. No big banging slam, just a tiny, final sounding, click.
I dialed again, but I got voice mail. “If this is an emergency, dial 911…..’
It feels like an emergency. But I don’t need an ambulance. The house isn’t on fire. And I’ve already talked to the sheriff.
Now I’m sitting very still, listening to the pounding of my heart, my ragged breath.
Maybe I do need an ambulance. I sure do feel sick.