“Honestly, it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. ”
The sound of his voice droned on but she didn’t hear very many of the words after these. Leaving her had been one of the best decisions of his life? She was floored. Intellectually she understood that he was referring to accepting the job offer nearly eight hundred miles away from her but that didn’t change how she felt. How could he continue speaking? Did he not see how he was tearing all the band aids from her nearly healed heart? The very same heart she could feel pulling itself up through her throat as if it wished to dive to its destruction from her lips to the cold concrete beneath her feet. She swallowed as she tried to focus on his words.
“So having said all that, what do you say? How about it?”
Before she could admit that she hadn’t heard a single word he’d said the sun beamed across his face as if asking that she stop to really look at him. The smile that had crept onto his face fascinated her. It always had. With no forethought on her part, she found that she was smiling right back at him. This is how he always got to her. Every time.
“So?” He asked again.
As she shook herself out of her reverie she finally looked down at his hands. She was speechless and knew she should have been paying attention to his words. Tears filled her eyes with complete disregard for her mascara. Her heart ran back into her chest and fell to her feet. As she looked at his smile she understood that there was only answer that would keep that look on his face.
“Yes,” she replied.
Something was off. She could feel it as soon as she closed the door behind her. It was in the silence that hung heavily throughout the house. In the central air current that didn’t really cool her. In the hum of the appliances that seemed to be waiting on something with her. She tried to ignore it as she kicked off her shoes in the front hall. The feeling couldn’t be shaken as easily as she had her shoes. She couldn’t help but look down at the space where her shoes were. What was wrong here? Something was knocking at a door somewhere in her mind. She shook her head. It was fine. She was fine.
She wasn’t sure if that was the truth or she was lying to herself. This was ongoing conversation that seemed to be repeated daily. Whichever it was she was determined to continue to tell herself that until she no longer wondered.
A short while later, Lacey, lay on her couch watching scripted reality shows and trying not to think. These shows made the task easier. Slowly an uneasy rest overtook her.
The sound of the front door slamming shut jarred her out of her slumber. Rushing off the couch to the front door and she finally admitted to herself what had been missing. There he was in all his splendor. With his broad shoulders, his crooked smile and kind eyes. She ran into her husband’s arms.
“Hey, babe. I’m home.”
Looking down at his shoes next to hers on the hall floor and after all the time he’d been on the road it all clicked into place. It wasn’t the house that mattered. It wasn’t any one thing that added up to what had been missing. It was him. It was always him.
“Yes,” she whispered, “I’m home.”