Out of the Blue

You arrive home to an empty house as you usually do. You change from office clothes into more comfortable clothing for the evening. In the kitchen, you take the leftover chicken tetrazzini from the fridge and put it in the oven to warm, then cut the vegetables for steaming. You put the rice on to cook.

You expect me to walk through the door on schedule at 6:30 after the short walk from the commuter train station: I haven’t phoned to say otherwise.

You glance at the clock. It’s 6:40. I’m not here.

You phone me on my cell but I don’t answer. You think I’ve let the battery die as I’ve done many times before. I haven’t.

At 7:00, you call my parents to see if I’ve stopped in to see them, which I sometimes do. There’s no answer. You leave a message. You take the rice off the stove, steam the vegetables and eat dinner.

You’ve never been particularly observant. You never saw the spreading chasm between us. Later tonight when you prepare for bed, you’ll find that two of the suitcases are gone.

I won’t be back.

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