Rebecca washes an extra load of clothes Sunday. She has to make sure certain clothes are clean for her husband’s work trip. He only owns three pairs of blue jeans without holes and a few decent sets of thermals. He also prefers his blue hoodie and black Under Armour hoodie. Every so often, for his job as an Auto Technician, he goes on trips to earn new certifications.
She packs his bag, puts it by the front door for him to carry out to his car, and puts a set of clothes in the bathroom for him to take a shower before he leaves. He leaves the night before since classes are between three and six hours away and start at eight in the morning.
When the time comes, she gathers the kids. After giving them hugs and kisses, and telling them goodbye, he assures them he will be back in a few days. They scamper off to play and watch cartoons, but Rebecca holds onto him as long as she can. Taking in his scent, studying his bone structure, and putting his smile into a file in her minds memory storage.
It feels like a part of her soul is being ripped from her as he drives down the dark back road. Tears soak her face as her breaths shorten. She watches until his tail-lights vanish over the hill.
She turns around and makes the kids the epicenter of her attention. They watch cartoons, snuggle on the couch and eat dinner. After dinner, at eight, she puts them to bed.
Preferring her mind doesn’t torment her, she finds something to do, an attempt to distract her from missing him and paranoid thoughts. She tries to watch television, read a book and a magazine, listens to music, and checks social media. All attempts are futile.
She paces the house as tears freefall. With vast alacrity thoughts of his detriment play in her mind like vivid scenes shot differently in a film. A car runs him off the road into a ditch, him falling asleep on the interstate and crashing into a poll, and him getting flattened by semi trucks. Him sitting on the side of the road out of fuel, waiting hopelessly for help with his hazard lights on, but when someone does stop they rob him and leave him for dead. She hates when her anxiety goes into full gear making every unlikely horrific possibility picture clear.
The thought of being without him terrifies her. She loves him. She needs him. The kids need their Dad. They love him and would miss him. She feels guilty for this thought, but what would she do financially? Could she find a well-paying job?
Her mind stops at the sound of music blasting from her phone on the kitchen counter. She runs to it. It’s his ringtone.
“Hey, Babe, I made it.”
She falls asleep after hearing his voice, an assurance he is alive and safe.