Not Even A Mouse


The clock above the television ticks contentedly, harmonizing with the hum of the refrigerator as I perch on the couch.  It is completely silent.

The cold glow of the television is frozen across from me.  Through the blinds before the patio doors I see glimpses of lights.  The clear Christmas lights that we strung around the fence last December, and then left up because of how they sparkle and glimmer in the night sky.  The lights of the other houses in our division.  I wonder if people pass by on the road or sidewalk outside, and see our house lit up through the cheery red curtains above the kitchen sink.  When I step outside at night, no matter how much I love the cooler air, and the peacefulness that permeates even the busy outskirts of Honolulu, I feel a tiny anxiousness when I see pleasantly lit houses.  I want to be home.  In our little house.  With the quiet clock ticking, and the refrigerator humming.  I want to be curled up on the couch against my Superman, laughing with him as we watch our favorite shows over and over again.

So now, as I look out at the night, I think I shouldn’t feel so wistful.  I am home.  Yet the seat beside me on the couch is empty, and the man who belongs with me here is gone again, somewhere on a boat in the vast, dark ocean.  The missing comes back to me like a flood, but I turn away.

I sit up straighter.  I close the blinds to the patio.  I look at the picture on my phone and smile.  Us.  On a beach.  Kissing over our daughter’s soft, sleepy head.  This too will pass.  The couch won’t always be lonely.  The house won’t always be quiet.

In fact, if I were to tip-toe upstairs there would be sounds.  Tiny baby breaths. Hiccups.  The rustlings of my daughter as she, yet again, pushes the blanket away from her bare little toes.

In a few hours she will be awake, giving me her widest, most dimpled smile and tangling her plump little arms through my hair as I pick her up in my still-sleepy haze.

I write a quick note to my Superman. I’m thinking about you.  I love you.

The clock is still ticking.  The refrigerator is still humming.  The Christmas lights on the porch are still on.  I smile a little and curl up again in my corner of the couch.  I write.

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