I have mentioned what he does before. Yet, it does not matter how many times he comes home late or gets called back out, when he leaves wearing a bulletproof vest, I feel that same feeling every time.
So I stay busy.
I mop the floor that I mopped earlier today. I find the old, cold mop water that I left in a bucket pushed to the corner that I forgot to dump out, wring my hands over that flithy mop and just clean. And clean. And find remnants under the table from the supper that he missed. I scrub the counters and finally dump out that twice used gray water down the drain.
And I sweat.
Our air conditioner is out, so the fan is only circulating warm air, which is okay by me because I am cold natured anyway. I find the wool blanket he left on the couch, and cover up. Even though I am sweating, I am chilly. His suit pants from court are thrown haphazardly over the couch, and I scoop to pick them up and hang up his belt so he can easily find it.
Laundry. That is what I will do.
So I hang his clean shirts with the sheriff’s office emblem embroidered on the side, running my hands over the raised letters of his name, smiling in jealousy that his name is always spelled correctly. I grab his old sweatshirt from police academy–a favorite of mine–and pull it over the dress I am wearing from earlier. If he were home right now, he would comment on how weird I look, with my wavy hair drawn away from my face in a messy ponytail, glasses with smudges from my fingerprints, and the sweatshirt/dress combo would have him burst into laughter. Then he would kiss me and tell me how beautiful he thinks I am, while politely suggesting I never wear this out in public for my own reputation’s sake.
Just stay busy.
Write, write, and write some more. Try not to think about a few months ago when someone called him after midnight, with threatening words and knowledge of his absence and arrival time home. They knew he was gone. They knew when he came home. They know where we live. Do they know he is gone tonight?
Check the locks. Bolted.
Brush and floss, change clothes, charge my phone, pray. When he leaves wearing a bulletproof vest, I feel that same feeling every time.