So Paul is on standby, waiting to get home and I am on standby, waiting for him to call to come get him. His absence was difficult enough to handle. But now, with the possibility of his coming tantalizing me to distraction, it is more than I can take. I am beside myself. I look around for things to do, I do them only half-aware, I check my phone to make sure I didn’t miss anything, I stare at it blankly when it has no message, and then I sigh deeply with disappointment. When will the interminable waiting end?

It is here that routines or procedures save us. I look at my Fly Lady morning routine. Get up and get dressed to my shoes. Ten to fifteen minutes are passed in relative equanimity. Make my bed. Five minutes. Swish and swipe the bathroom. Five more minutes pass. 15 minutes of exercise. Take a load of laundry down and start it. Five minutes. Empty the dishwasher. Five minutes. Begin breakfast and then my morning is off and running and soon an hour goes by.

But alas, when the breakfast dishes are done and I’m left with a few moments to myself, I flop on the couch in disgust at myself so utterly wrapped up in a man, so overly focused, so unable to exert myself in any direction.

Get a life,

I tell myself. If only I knew how many hours there were to pass, I would be better off. Operate like he’s not coming until Wednesday.  That doesn’t work either. I can’t trick myself. He might come today. He might come tomorrow. Oh! When will he come? If

Absence makes the heart grow fonder,

then I could not be anymore fond of my husband as now. The girls and I have been wearing his T-shirts to bed so we can smell him. We talk about him but that just makes us sad. We miss his eyes that crinkle when he laughs, his storytelling at the table, his imitations, his expressive eyebrows, his exaggerated caricatures of the people he sees. His face has been fading in my mind and the pictures don’t capture his soul that fills him up. I want to sit near him.

We all are doing the same things. Trying to pass the time. We play. We work. We walk around, listlessly, bored. When will he come?

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