It was already Friday night, but for some reason, I still didn't feel prepared for tomorrow. The house was clean, the meal was prepped, the kids were already at my parent’s house for the weekend, yet I anxiously paced the family room floor in anticipation.
The buzzing from my phone caught me off-guard as I daydreamed about how tomorrow was going to go. I yanked it out of my pocket, not sure who or what I was expecting to find. Could it be that his flight was changed? Could it be that he was asked to stay longer? Why was I so worried?
Thankfully, it was only a text message from my best friend.
“Is he home yet?” Susan texted me.
“Not until tomorrow,” I responded.
“How long has it been?” she asked. I didn’t mind telling the story over again. It was a constant reminder of how precious our time is on this earth.
“Eight months. I know it doesn’t sound long but it seems like forever ago he left.”
“Well, it’ll be nice to get back to normal,” was her response.
Normal. I almost couldn’t remember what normal looked like in our household. I didn’t mind holding down the fort these past eight months. Our daughters were 5 and 8 and kept me pretty busy on a daily basis. With gymnastics and soccer, both girls kept me distracted from Jacob being away for as long as he had been. We had found a good routine and I have to say, it was working very well. They helped with chores and in return we’d grab ice cream as a treat for a job well done.
We made Jacob’s absence as fun as we possibly could. The girls and I wrote letters every week and sent them to Jacob along with a survival kit with goodies and homemade trinkets. Facetime was a nightly occurrence, at least up until last month.
Last month Jacob had seemed to have gone off-grid. There were no phone calls, no Facetime, no letters in return. I received random emails here and there, just letting me know he was alright, but it wasn’t the same as hearing his voice. I could tell the girls were feeling it as well.
Last month things had gone from bad to worse in Japan, leaving Jacob to do most of the work for the company by himself. We suffered for the company’s gain, but I tried to remind myself it was only for a few months. He would be home soon. Everyday was one day closer to him coming home. I held onto that thought which usually helped me sleep a little easier each night.
A loud crash of thunder woke me from a somewhat peaceful sleep later that evening. Daggers of lightning lit up the sky as the rain fell steadily outside the bedroom window. I reached for my phone to check the time even though it really didn’t matter. I was now completely awake, and at the dark hour of 3:30am, I could feel the anxiety once again creeping through my veins.
Turning on the television downstairs, I methodically surfed the channels until I came across a brainless black and white program that would hopefully distract me from all of the thoughts flooding through my mind.
Thoughts of Jacob of course. I missed him terribly, yet I had enjoyed the time alone without him. The conflict within my heart was exhausting because I had found myself enjoying our long-distance relationship. It made me feel almost youthful again.
Now he was going to be coming home. Meals would not be as kid-friendly, I would have to go back to sharing our queen sized bed, and having nightly dance parties with the girls would have to be limited.
Jacob had a stressful job and I respected that, but it had become fun and relaxing doing my own thing these past few months. It was going to take some time to readjust our schedules once again.
As I watched John Wayne shoot yet another man off his horse, I realized there was no one coming down the stairs to check on me. No one to ask me if I was alright. No one to lay on the couch with me until I fell asleep. Jacob did all that for me. No questions asked.
I missed the cozy nights of cuddling up to a romantic movie he really didn’t want to watch but did so for my benefit. I missed the date nights where we would go out to dinner and ask each other random questions about life. I missed his scent as we danced in the kitchen while dinner was cooking.
At some point, I must have dozed back off because the faint honking of a horn woke me. I fumbled for my phone to check the time. Seven o’clock already. Jacob was due home any minute. I threw off the blanket, not bothering to fold it up neatly, and ran to the front window.
I gasped at the sight of the cab parked in our driveway. He was already here. Jacob was home and I was a mess. This wasn’t my plan at all. I wanted him to come home to a clean house, a put together wife, and now everything was a mess. Still in my jammies, I debated running upstairs and throwing on decent clothes but found myself running towards the door instead. Everything I had worried about yesterday, the house, the kids, the food - all went out the door as I swung it open and stepped onto the porch.
The rain from last night was still coming down but I didn’t care. I ran out to the driveway where Jacob was just tipping the cabby. The smile on my face was so wide that my cheeks started to hurt.
Jacob turned to me, his grin was more than I could take. I threw myself into his arms and we held each other as if there was nothing in this world that could separate us. I stepped back, only to take in his handsome features.
We stood there, hand in hand, rain gently falling all around us but we didn’t care. We were finally together, where we belonged.