Ben was away on business for the last 2 days and made it home last night just in time for dinner with everybody. It’s not news to anyone that we’re together all the time, literally 24 hours a day, and when he leaves and I stay behind, I’m always surprised by how restless I feel. I walked into Lee’s for lunch and was asked 3 times, “Where’s Ben?”
In the grocery store by myself, I go unnoticed. There’s no conversation unless I see someone I know. With him beside me, there’s no mistaking us–the giant with the beard and the short haired girl with the TV stuff. Alone, I’m anonymous. I kind of like that. Until I get home, and there’s no one to walk with, or eat with, or talk to. No one to bring in the heavy dog food from the car. No one to help me put away clean dishes. I realize how very dependent I am on him, sharing the load of our life together and all its minutiae. My family calls and we eat together, maybe watch TV, but I still feel out of sorts.
When he walked through the door of the conference room during the meeting last night, my heart skipped a beat and I couldn’t stop the impulse to run to him, arms outstretched for a hug, happy as a child. He wrapped me up in his arms, in flannel and the faint smell of his cologne mingled with gasoline from riding in the ’62 with the windows down for 9 hours. I felt like he was home and I was home and the clock had been righted, the battery replaced, the wind in my sails. I know it’s not good to miss someone so dearly. It’s dangerous. It opens a person up to the potential for crippling loss someday. We know that, but we can’t help it.
Tonight we were riding home from a dinner in Hattiesburg listening to his barely-functioning iPhone which has only 15 songs in its library: all Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson. What Are You Listening To? began to play and he reached across the armrest for my hand.
We sang it with the volume up all the way.