He’s getting ready to go. What can I send along? I pull a frozen loaf of homemade bread from the freezer. It’s all I’ve got.

He’s standing inside the door, packed bag in hand. I’ve found a lighter for him to take in case they need to use candles while stranded along the road somewhere. I’ve found some prescription painkillers for him because his neck and shoulders are in such bad shape that he sure as hell shouldn’t be driving for six or more hours; he’ll be seized up good and proper by the time they get there.

You’ve got your pyjama pants? I ask. It wouldn’t do to get a chill in the night.

He’s got all he needs and, as always when we part for any length of time, we seem to have trouble with the idea of not seeing each other for a few days. I step into his arms and we hold each other close. I say “Come back to me safe and sound. I love you.”

“I love you too,” he tells me, then is gone.

***

Last night, I slept in our bed for the first time since November. Oh my! What I have been missing. The little twin in the office is a bumpy board in comparison.

I had to make the bed first; the top sheet was all bunched up on one side, the duvet and over-blanket in disarray. The sheets haven’t been changed since November, and I stopped making the bed after several weeks of not sleeping in it. My dresser is still in the room and my clothes are in the closet, and so on, so I have never stopped going in there, and I prefer to look at a made bed. It’s a feng shui thing as well as an esthetic preference, as well as the simple fact that I felt I was doing Fella a kindness by making the bed — an easy spreading and smoothing of the covers — so that it would be an appealing place for him to crawl into at night (I can be extremely pissed off at you, but will still kill you with kindness). I had to take myself in hand in order to leave the bed unmade; I still have the urge to fix it, even though I don’t sleep in it anymore.

It would also be a kindness to change the sheets for him, but I haven’t allowed myself to do it. It’s not my job to look after him, particularly when he not only doesn’t appreciate it but insists there are no benefits to him of my presence in our home, and so if he wants to sleep in the same sheets for the rest of his life — well, not my problem! Except that I’m going to sleep there again tonight, and dammit, I’m changing the sheets first.

You may wonder why I moved out of the master bedroom instead of kicking him out. Usually it’s the husband who ends up in the doghouse, isn’t it? Two reasons: he’s stubborn and will only go when he feels he’s done something wrong (come home late and drunk, for instance, which thankfully isn’t frequent; otherwise he insists it’s his bedroom), and he really feels he is above reproach and does not need to meet me halfway; and he has difficulties with his back and needs a decent bed, while I’m more flexible. It was just easier for me to sleep in the office than to try to shift him; I can’t be bothered with the territorial struggle.

But one night back in the queen-size and I awake in the morning to find myself considering moving back into it for good. Soft! Oh my. But no; I guess it’s time to bite the bullet and purchase a better mattress for the twin bed.

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