A Watched Phone Never Boils (Hiatus, Part III)

I went to sleep on Sunday, May 16th thinking that I would see my husband – for the first time in more than four months – in less than 24 hours. That I managed to get any sleep at all was only because of the breakneck pace I’d set for myself cleaning, cooking, baking and shopping to keep my mind off of his arrival.

Monday, May 17th, 6:30 a.m.

I woke up and looked at the clock: still too early to get up.

7:00 a.m.

I bounced out of bed and my heart skipped a few beats when I thought, T will be home today! I made my way into the kitchen for some breakfast.

8:00 a.m.

I sat down at my computer and logged into my work account. I needed to tie up some loose ends before leaving for my two weeks of pure, concentrated happiness, spent entirely with my estranged husband.

I had planned to go into work and leave from there for the airport, but I had visions of sweating my make-up off before my first morning meeting and spilling my lunch all over the white capris I had planned to wear. My hair would frizz itself into a frenzy and I would look every inch the wreck I felt.

I was much more comfortable waiting out my mania at home where only the cats and dog would have to deal with my nervous energy. After all, I didn’t think I could get away with squealing, “Daddy is coming home today!” and pouncing on one of my coworkers for a hug every half hour.

10:00 a.m.

Still furiously trying to tie up loose ends at work.

T’s flight was due into Atlanta in the morning. Once he arrived and checked in at the USO, he would call me to let me know the time of his flight home. I had expected the call by 9:00 or 9:30. It hadn’t come yet, but I was still convinced that he would be home early to mid-afternoon.

If I didn’t get away from the computer soon, I might not have time to shower and make myself beautiful. Trust me when I say that this is not the work of a few minutes. To keep T waiting at the airport even one single millisecond was unthinkable. Equally unacceptable was the thought of showing up not looking my best.

I typed faster.

12:00 p.m.

Finished! I finally reached a stopping place and logged off…but still no phone call.

Maybe he didn’t have time to charge his phone before catching his flight out of Atlanta? That meant he would call me when he’d already landed! I had to be ready to go. We had fifteen days together and I wasn’t going to waste any of it.

1:30 p.m.

Showered. Had a few bites of lunch.

No phone call.

Checked my email.

No email.

Paced around. Those few bites were now tossing around in my stomach like a schooner in a storm.

Okay, the phone can ring any second…

7:30 p.m.

I have no recollection of the six hours between 1:30 and 7:30. I don’t remember what I did or how I made it through. I just remember that by 7:30 I had fully expected to be sitting at a cozy little table across from my husband, drinking a Mai Tai and waiting for our golden triangles of crispy-fried tofu, while tracing the seam of his jeans with my foot, and basking in an afterglow more intoxicating than the cocktail I was sipping…

I had not planned for dinner for one and I refused to mess up my immaculate kitchen by cooking.

I think I settled for eggs and flopped down sullenly in front of an episode of M*A*S*H.

9:30 p.m.

My stomach was in knots. My head was throbbing. I was tired. I was cranky. And I was sitting at my computer checking the internet for news of international plane crashes.

I jumped twelve feet when the shrill ring of my cell phone pierced the fog of my lethargy.

To be continued…

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