It’s 0830 here. I still use military time because it makes sense. It’s one of the only things I can hold on to that I can apply to the real world and not look crazy.
I’ve been awake since 0600, after falling asleep at 0300. Simple math says I got 300 sleep, which would sound like a lot. Simple logic says 3 hours is not enough.
It’s still quiet. My 2 year old woke up an hour and a half so. I got him a glass of strawberry milk, but when I brought it back to him, he was sleeping again. He woke up just enough to steal my spot on the bed when I went to get him a drink. I kissed that little punk on the forehead.
I saw her, sleeping peacefully. The past few days have been rough for her. I wanted to kiss her on the forehead, too, but I didn’t know how she’d respond if she happened to wake up. I just wanted her to know that everything will be okay.
She probably knows I love her, but I’m still afraid to show it.
The buzzing of the mini-fridge has my attention. We used to keep alcohol in there so we could both have a drink at night and ease the tensions of the day. Those days are few and far between, now. Instead, the buzzing is a reminder of how much the electric company charges per kilowatt-hour.
I already know how the rest of my day is going to play out. I’ll jump in the shower, at which time all three of my boys will wake up. The baby will lay there until I’m done, but I’ll put on Netflix just in case he gets bored. The other two will probably start fighting over the Xbox. I’ll make them breakfast. Maybe pancakes. Probably just oatmeal.
She’ll wake up in a couple of hours. She never gets enough sleep because her mind races when she lies down. She’ll say she’s hungry, and I’ll make her something unusual for breakfast. Last time, it was spinach and mozzarella ravioli.
I’ll steal looks from her throughout the day like she’s my middle school crush. She’ll be on her phone, searching for outside stimuli to keep her mind from playing tricks on her. I’ll make up a reason to go into the bedroom when she’s getting dressed for work. The baby is usually my wingman in that respect, since he loves doing somersaults on our bed.
Sometimes she catches on and will act modest. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to take in all of her immense beauty. I want to take away her pain. I want to hold her tight and tell her everything is going to be fine.
I remember the times she used to do that for me, and those feelings keep me going.
She’ll leave for work, and I’ll worry. I know she’ll talk to other guys, beyond the responsibilities of her job. It hurts, but it’s my fault. I made her afraid to talk to me about anything years ago. I’m not the same person I was back then, but she still feels that pain.
While she’s at work, I’ll play constant mediator between my two older boys. I might get some homework done. The baby will want fruit snacks and to play with his lightsabers all day. I’ll try to text her while she’s at work. She’ll reply when it’s not too busy. Everyone knows she always replies to her ex-husband, and a lot of them are confused by that.
Her text tone for me is the Imperial March from Star Wars, and she says she walks with an imposing authority when it plays so her customers get a kick out of it.
After dinner, the boys will eventually wind down, and it’s often the baby’s idea to go to bed. It’s usually around 2100, but he might stay up a little later since it’s Saturday. He’ll get his bath, the other two will fight unsupervised while I’m giving him a bath, and then I’ll send them to bed with no TV. I’ll inevitably cave and we’ll all watch the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super with subtitles.
When the older boys go to sleep, I’ll watch The Real Ghostbusters until the baby falls asleep. Once he’s out for the night, my mind thinks it’s fair game.
I’ll probably cry for an hour or two. Sometimes it’s because the day was so hard. Sometimes they’re joyous tears because I made it through the day without a single terrible thought.
Lately, it’s been remorse.
I need it. I have to feel the pain I caused her. I want to know the life I stole from her. It may be more rope around my neck, but she’s always been there for me to loosen it, even if she doesn’t realize it. I’ve always been able to count on her saving my life.
I’ll lay in bed, mostly paralyzed until she comes home from work. When I hear her keys at the front door, I know I’ll be okay, because I’ll wake up next to her.
Rinse and repeat.