Last night it was nearly 8 pm and Bill hadn't called to say he was on his way home yet. 90% of me just sighed a heavy sigh and was prepared to face another evening of putting the kids to bed by myself.
But 10% of me was convinced he was dead.
I tried to imagine the police informing me that my husband had been killed in a car accident, and thought I was in a perfect mood to receive such news. I thought I was so tired, mentally and physically, that I'd surely be able to call my sister and hold things together, on auto-pilot, until she could get to me. And then I would probably need some drugs.
Do all women plan their possible reactions to the possible news that their husband is dead? My mom once told me she does/did. My sister does. Maybe it's a unique genetic thing?
This morning I told Bill about it.
"Michelle, I'd have had to die in the parking lot. I call you as soon as I'm backing out of my parking space."
"It could happen. Perhaps it was the one night you were distracted or decided to run an errand before calling me."
Silly, huh. He laughs. But this is the same man who was worried to death about me last month. A neighbor was hosting a hen party. She would be moving soon and needed some help finishing up some open bottles so she wouldn't have to pack them.
It was an act of charity to attend. My parting words at 9 pm:
"Oh, I don't want to go...I'd rather stay here with you. I'll be back in an hour."
Two hours later, he left our sleeping children alone in the house (shocking!) to walk over to the alleyway a half block away. From there he could see the neighbor's house on the next block and hear us "cackling" as he called it ("clucking," I think, being a hen party). He decided that he was being ridiculous, that there was no way I was lying dead in the road in this ultra-safe neighborhood (military post, folks) with streets and alleys lit up so brightly that the street-facing windows glow with the light of a pre-dawn morn all night long.
Another hour and a half later, I returned home and he tried to be mad at me for causing him such worry, but then he decided that a few margaritas make me quite amusing. I guess it brought back the old days when we dated in college, and I would on rare occasions have a few sips of wine and get a bit tipsy.
(That's my child-friendly version of life in college. I'm practicing for when the kids are older. How'd I do?)
Many months ago, Bill told me he was pondering our old age and couldn't decide who he wanted to die first: Him, so that he'd never have to suffer a day without me, or Me, so that he could spare me living without him. Yes, he's still quite the romantic. I find these thoughts very sweet. This morning, after last night's contemplation of his early demise, I informed him:
"I've decided. I want to die before you. I've suffered enough days and nights without you already."
He laughed. We agreed that we'd rather just die at the same time, despite the immense grief it would cause our offspring. They'll get over it.
Earlier this week, Bill sent me an email from work with this picture attached. Here are his words:
I was sitting here looking at the picture I have on my wallpaper and thinking about us and how great life is and great it will be to grow old with you and be with you through retirement. I figured I would sit down and write a few lines to express how much I love you. You are so wonderful and thoughtful. I love you.
This picture is now my wallpaper too. I really hope, God willing, that I get to grow old with this man.