Early morning baby blues shot across the sky and peaked behind our bedroom curtain. I was awoken by the caress of his lips on my forehead. It had been two days. Two painfully sleepless nights since he’d last been home.
I don’t think he intended to wake me. Perhaps he was hoping to grab a few things and leave without a trace. He turned to close the door and I did the best I could to smooth away the wild pixie bed head. He looked exhausted. Like he hadn’t slept in days. We locked sad, tired eyes.
I studied his gaze, trying to find some ounce of hope that he was here because he wanted to be. Because he missed us. because he was ready to come back home.
I desperately wanted him to kick off his shoes and crawl into bed. To embrace me, tell me how warm I felt compared to the crisp morning air. To softly kiss my shoulder and whisper that he loved me, so I could whisper back, “I love you more” before he drifted off to sleep– Just like we did every morning when he came home from a long graveyard shift.
I tried to find this hope in his eyes, but he broke our gaze. My eyes continued to follow him as he walked over to the closet and began pulling out his clothes.
“Do you or Nathan need anything?” He stopped for a moment to look at me . Just you. I voiced it twice. Once in my heart, not wanting to sound needy and then again out loud because in that moment of vulnerability, I didn’t care if I did.
but he didn’t say anything. He just kept packing.
I did all I knew to do. I prayed. I continuously prayed that God would move in his heart to make him stay. After a few minutes, I scooted out of bed carefully, making sure not to wake Nathan who was sleep next me. My husband continued reaching and folding. Reaching and folding. I questioned if I should hug him or if I should break into the deafening silence with words of hope. I felt to do both. He smelled like cigarettes but we both reeked of sadness and confusion.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“I love you to”
“and I know you’ve been through hard things, things I couldn’t possibly understand. I know you’re confused and overwhelmed. but I want you to know that I stand by you and with you. and I’m willing to fight. I’m up for this fight.” I stopped to take a breath, to give him a chance to say something. but he kept quiet. I said more things, that I’ve since forgotten but I know that I still mean them. And even if he too has forgotten those words, I hope the sincerity of them still echo somewhere in his heart.
I knew in that moment there wasn’t much more I could say. Nothing I could do to convince him of my loyalty, my faithfulness,my hope in our marriage. All that was left was prayer. So I prayed again and reluctantly released my embrace.
He left the room and I prayed even harder. When he returned he kicked off his shoes, tumbled in to bed and drifted off to sleep.
Hours later he kissed us and left for work. And he took everything he had packed with him.