Not long ago, his absence was what filled every minute of my day. I was forced to fight through obstacles of memories and incompleteness with each daily task, whether great or small. And with each obstacle there were promises made, promises to never go to sleep angry, never waste a minute arguing, never question his authority, never cut him with my words. When he got back home, I would take advantage of every moment given. The emptiness of him not being there was painful enough, but the regrets of taking him for granted, now that was what suffocated me at night when I would lay down to sleep, and when I woke for the day.
Only two short weeks later, his presence is no longer new. The shyness and over-pardoning that newness brought forth, is wearing off like the scent of a cheap perfume. As I wash the dishes I see him sweep from the corner of my eye, I want so badly to grab the broom from his hands and show him how to get under the fridge and stove, and up under the cabinets. We have had two weeks of falling asleep in each other’s arms, intertwined one to another, paying no mind to the pins and needles being jabbed in our limbs, hell-bent on not moving indefinitely. And when awake, oh the acts of love that have filled our days, living up to my many promises and I’m sure, his too. I, hanging up the dreaded wet towel left on the side of the bed instead of honoring it with an argument, for it has been one of my most coveted annoyances; he, replacing his short fuses and dominance with patience and gentleness, and I have made sure he knew I noticed with my no “no-s” behind shut doors. But now, the fact that there is dirt about to be left on the floor is threatening to take me back to the place I swore not to go, the place of ungratefulness, the place where I seize to honor and he seizes to be my head.
The interconnection that had been buried among the seven months of his absence lives among our yesterdays, and he sees me now, reads me like a familiar book and I him. Our seventeen long years of marriage birthed beautiful gems such as oneness, and I feed from this oneness as a babe to his mother’s breast. Being someone that felt much like an alien for the part of my life not being with him, does go far to honor such a rear gem as this. My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness to have all my fears put to sleep once more, fears that he would not love me as he did before he left, that loving completely and generously would be a bygone, that we would have met the end of our love story. Yes, as wild and off the top as they are, these are my secret fears, each and every time he leaves. They are only hushed by his lustful gaze my way in midday, his obscured “need-to-have” grabs here and there, and his “I love you”s. When he is gone, I do not have this to hush my fears to sleep, and they wake, and they play, within my thoughts, like ill-mannered toddlers that never quiet.
He is home now, and he is not sweeping correctly, and I am struggling. The newness has been replaced with normalcy and I fight to not become complacent. Surprisingly, it is not the promises I made, nor my love for him, not even the pain of missing him that keeps my tongue tamed when voicing annoyances, it is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit within me when I feel myself rise like a tide, ready to burst through the shoreline of demarcation, reminding me, simply, he is here. He’s not gone. He’s not in danger. He is here and it… it is just dirt.