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When are you coming home?

A text message I never received an answer to. I only wanted to know so I could prepare accordingly. It was his birthday; I wanted to surprise him. I had it all planned out. He would come home, I’d welcome him with kisses, listen to his day. Then we’d go somewhere nice. One of those fancy places that charge a huge chunk of change for a small serving of food. Then we’d go to his favorite park, stroll for an hour or so. Go home. Maybe have some fun if he was up to it. A nice night.

After an hour, I assumed he was busy with work. After two, I grew antsy. He was normally good about responding. Three hours rolled around. I occupied myself with laundry. Then it was time for him to be off. No call or text. Even when he went somewhere with his buddies, he always let me know. I gave him another hour.

Nothing.

I tried calling him. It only took him twenty minutes to get home. And that was with traffic. The phone rang and rang until the voicemail answered. I left a cheery message. Maybe there was a wreck. Another thirty minutes passed. Where was he? My worst fear crossed my mind. Was he cheating on me? I couldn’t subside the feeling. He had to be cheating on me. It was his birthday. He would do what he wanted. That had to be why he was ignoring me. I left another voicemail. Told him I was worried that I hadn’t heard back from him. Told him I loved him.

The only woman he talked about besides me was my friend Carla. Who was conveniently single. Oh, that good-for-nothing, two-timing…. I calmed myself. There was no proof he was with Carla. Not yet. I quickly put on my shoes and grabbed my keys. I’d go to her house. If he wasn’t there, she could comfort me, give me advice. If he was there…I wasn’t thinking about that scenario. His phone had to be dead. There. That settled it. But I was still going to Carla’s. I opened the front door.

The tree in front of our house was so beautiful. It stood tall and strong, tested by many winds. The bark was rather smooth. Leaves full and vibrant green. It was one of the most magnificant trees I had seen. But something was different this time. Something was…off. Then I realized.

My husband dangled from a branch, hung by emergency jumper cables he kept in his car. My keys fell to the concrete porch. I couldn’t think. Couldn’t breathe. Faint sirens blared from somewhere in the distance. There may have been neighbors yelling. I couldn’t tell. Somehow, my feet took me to him. His lifeless eyes drilled into my soul. Judging me from another life. All I could muster was why. What would drive him to such lengths? Swallowing, I noticed a piece of paper in his left hand. I took it. The sound of the unfolding deafening everything. On it were six simple words:

You never gave me a home.

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