It’s Sunday morning. Her side of the bed is cold. I roll over not to find a warm kiss, but a cold snoot and wet lick from the dog. He’s always there awaiting affection. I roll over and groan, staring at the ceiling. The house is quiet and the only reason to get up is to feed the dogs. I haven’t seen her in the morning for days. Today she’s on day two of a weekend bike ride; 120 miles total. I’m vaguely aware of her presence anymore as she kisses me on the forehead each morning on her way out the door. She’s up and gone before I begin to move. Likewise she’s often asleep before I come to bed. We live together, raise our kids together, but strangely don’t see each other anymore. I didn’t get married for this.
By contrast my co-worker has been married 8 years. He’s irritatingly happy as he shares how he and his wife spent all weekend sitting in bed eating junk food and watching movies. They talk to each other on the phone like newlyweds using words like “snookums” and “huggybear”. Despite having no kids, they plan “date nights” once a week. It’s been two months since I had a date night. I resent him.
My wife and I are very happy together. There’s no problem we can’t face. We don’t need to talk, we know what the other is thinking. A passing comment like “the bathroom drain is slow” is all I need to have it repaired by the weekend. We focus on our two boys and trying to balance the demands of professional life with providing them with the attention and affection they crave. They go to bed each evening and we go our separate ways, alternating between exercise and working in the office. We talked last Wednesday as we folded clothes together since they had set in the dryer for 4 days and she was tired of me digging dirty clothes out of the hamper for the boys to wear. We laid out the plans for this weekend as we once again pass each other in the night. It’s the second weekend in a row we haven’t seen each other.
She called to tell me she was okay last night. It was good to hear her voice. She was trying to have fun, but I could feel through the phone that she wanted to be home. She just wants to be held. I encouraged her. It’s her personal space and she needs that. I told her I missed her. She misses me too. The hug goodbye yesterday morning was long, like saying goodbye to a lover as they board their plane. You don’t want to let go, but you must. Your heart aches and a piece of you goes with them. We’ll make time soon. We’ll be stronger because of this. We’ll love each other and appreciate each other more as a result.