I haven’t seen my husband in weeks. His schedule has been horrible lately; he’s been pulling twelve and thirteen hour shifts. That’s not including the time it takes him to drive to and from his job site, which is another hour and a half to two hours each way. By the time he gets home at night, I’m already in bed, and he’s gone before the sun rises. His boss has a strict no cell phone policy, so he can’t really call me during the day. I bought him a Bluetooth headset last Christmas so we could talk while he was driving, but it stopped working a month ago.
I know it’s not his fault, but I miss him. Sometimes I’ll feel him climb into bed and wrap his arms around me, and I fall asleep knowing I’m safe in his arms. He’s gone when I wake up, but he always leaves the porch light on so I know he was home. This morning I heard him getting ready for work. I woke up to find him standing over me, gently brushing stray hairs off my forehead. The lights were off, so all I could see was his silhouette. He leaned over and kissed me on the temple.
“I love you,” I said.
He responded with another kiss on my neck. “Soon,” he whispered. I knew what he meant. Soon his work schedule would be back to normal, then we could spend real time together again. Then he was gone, and I quickly fell asleep.
When I woke up I had a text from him. It read, “Good morning beautiful. Can’t wait for tonight!” I grinned at it. He had always been so sweet. I sent a heart back to him, and started to get ready for work. The day passed normally. I received a few texts from my husband, most said the said thing: “I’m excited for tonight!” I was getting excited, too. Maybe he was getting off early and we could actually have dinner together. I made it through the day and headed home, a grin on my face.
I was making dinner when I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was probably a solicitor or something, so I opened it to tell them I’m not interested. Instead of a salesman or a Girl Scout, I came face to face with a tall, stern looking police officer.
“Good evening Ma’am, are you Mrs. Norrington?”
“Yes. How can I help you, officer?”
He flashed his badge at me. “I’m officer Markus. May I come in? It’s about your husband.”
My heart began to beat faster, thumping against my ribs. “My husband? Of course, come in!” I stepped aside and he took off his hat as he entered. “Is there a problem?”
“Is there somewhere we can sit?”
I ushered him into the living room. The TV was still on, showing a rerun of Modern Family. I switched it off and sat down in one of the armchairs. Officer Markus sat across from me.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this,” he started, as I struggled to breathe. “We found your husband’s car, abandoned on the side of highway 95.”
My hand, shaking violently, fluttered up to cover my mouth. Highway 95 was the one my husband took to work everyday. “He – he wasn’t inside?” I asked, my voice muffled against my hand.
“No, ma’am. We found him lying about a quarter of a mile away. His keys, wallet and cell phone were missing. I’m very sorry, but he’s dead.”
Everything went dark, and I heard myself talking as if from far away. “What? No. How?”
“We’re not sure yet,” Officer Markus said. “He’s being transported to the coroner now. But ma’am, why is it you never reported him missing?”
“Missing? Why would I? I saw him just this morning, barely twelve hours ago!”
What he said next made my blood run cold. I’m still trying to process the information. It doesn’t make any sense.
“Ma’am,” he said, in a tone usually reserved for elderly relatives. “Your husband has been dead for three weeks.”