"It's been a long, long time"

Submitted into Contest #112 in response to: End your story with a character standing in the rain.... view prompt


Romance American Happy

“Are you coming tonight?” Thomas pulled his heavy grey coat on and looked at his wife as he neared the door to their house. Alison, his wife, moved towards him. The dark circles were accentuated under her eyes by her long black hair. Her body lacked the muscle it had once had from college sports. Though not unhealthy, she seemed smaller and more fragile. This stood out in her state of sleeplessness from working a late shift at the hospital. Her work often led to her being isolated at home, due to the natural introvert having picked the career of a physician.

Thomas had found himself being the more extroverted in the marriage despite his absence from where their home was rooted. His work often took him away from home, he missed his family, he missed her. She bore the brunt of the connection with both of their families. Driving their kids to see grandparents, attending school meetings, making babysitting arrangements due to work. 

“I don’t know, I’m pretty exhausted. It’s been a long day”, she rubs the back of her neck. Her hair swings behind her back from the front of her shoulder. Her black turtleneck stretches around her clavicle and torso, the sleeves accentuate her long arms as her jeans show her brawny legs. Her smile is brief but looks nonchalant at the idea of going out.

Thomas, still yearning for her, made a secondary plea. “Well, I wish you would. I feel like it’s been forever since we’ve seen each other.” Her eyes go from glazed sleepiness to a warm spark. Whether it came off as an invitation or a guilt trip, she was pulled by the fact that he wanted her to be there. It was not only charming and attractive but a wholesome draw that called to earlier years in their relationship when they were young. Though much of the early infatuation and passion had dissipated since time had passed, and life had become busy, their companionship was embers that would allow that fire to burn. There was a subtle intimacy in a spouse wanting your company, an undeniable reminder of the bond they had sworn. For they both knew, a soulmate is not predestined, but a choice made at the altar and throughout life. A decision to not only take highs and lows but to withstand monotonous everyday life. 

These thoughts caused an emotional build like a steady crackle of a fire. Her smile brims with genuine adoration for the man in front of her. “It has, I’ve missed you.” She feels both lucky and wise in her choice of partner. Finding a soulmate was not the sexy and danger-filled allure of the television, but rather the warm comfort of having a place to return, and a person who sees you. 

“If you miss me, you should come with me. I want to spend time with you.” He approaches her and slips his fingers into hers with a gentle grasp, his forehead pressed against hers in silence. It’s a quiet moment in each other's presence that is rarely had. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder but makes it more appreciative of the one who is gone. You learn the implications of their presence, whether they be good or bad. Then, in moments such as these, you realize you’ve wanted nothing more than to know they are safe and near you. 

“How late do you plan on staying?” Alison backs away, crossing her arms. It reminds Thomas of her body language when they were young. She was always slightly guarded, withdrawn, even a little cool at times. In recent years though, she had come past that, but the stance was always a reminder of who she was in those early days. A somehow brutal and warm reminder of the first time he saw her. Each step he had tried to take towards her at first was twisted and reprimanded in a strenuous dance until she had changed, or maybe he had? At that point though, the resistance of their affections for one another was let go, and something greater had begun to arise out of gentle respect and shared values.

 Thomas goes to put a scarf and hat on. While both were orderly, he had taken the hand of being more relaxed as well. “Only until ten o’clock. I’m pretty tired myself”, he turns his back, making his way towards the door. He knows she’ll be fine on her own, he’ll be fine on his own, but it would still be better if they were together. Independence is a wonderful thing, it is a virtue. In the case of the unimaginable, being able to take care of yourself is a gift. Still, union due to choice is also a brilliant thing, each had its time but now it was time for the latter. 

“Hold on, I’ll come with you.” Her feet pad the ground as she runs to the closet to pick up a jacket and come to him. He smiles with warmth in her direction, and her sharp eyes become lax while looking into his. It had been a long, long time. He leans in to kiss her and smiles, somehow beyond their own abilities distance had not separated them.

“Finally”, Thomas holds the door open for her. The jacket falls over her figure that is framed in elegance. “It’s been ages since I’ve got to actually go somewhere with my wife.” As he smiles she mimics it and gives him a warm chuckle. All he can think about is the same look from their wedding day. They were both instructional compasses for one another, pointing to the North as a reminder that no matter the time and distance, they were to keep the promise they made before God.

Alison was brimming with the joy and steadiness that only came with maturity and growth. The companionate love she had for Thomas was a welcome warmth after a long day with patients. “You know, I’d say the same thing. The military borrows my husband far too much, and I miss him dearly even when I’m busy.” Thomas snickered, closing the door behind his wife. 

As they stepped outside, it downed rain, and Thomas struggled to open the umbrella. His fight with the object only further elicits the laughter from Alison that is a result of love and endearment in the face of humility. 

Love is to be patient with one another and to avoid carrying envious tendencies in the face of life’s luxuries. Love would advise them to be humble, as their trials had often reminded them that they would eventually have to accept being humbled. To avoid feeding into pride and anger had only served to keep their relationship alive. This was a truth that they had learned to accept, and delight in. 

Thomas was happy to have convinced his wife into going out, even in the cold rain, he loved her and had missed her dearly. Alison was happy to have someone who wanted to take her to a nice outing after being fatigued by the rush of a double shift at a hospital. The two walked down the street with their umbrella, into the night, thankful to have a faithful companion.

September 20, 2021 00:56

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