He has been gone a week already. The days pass by like molasses. I hate these absences. One more week and he'll be home, back where he belongs. I find things to occupy my time, hoping to make it move more swiftly. I pull tenacious weeds out from between the patio bricks, venting my frustration at this job of his that can call him away at the drop of a hat. I scrub at the mildew that darkens the grout between the bathroom tiles. I do anything to keep myself from dwelling on the fact that HE is not here. Of course it doesn't work. He pervades the atmosphere of our home.

I hear his voice when I dress for work in the mornings. "Take your time darlin". I roll the hose up slower, feeling his gaze upon me. He's not there, but I feel him just the same. When I can lay my hands on a computer, I see his grin in the emails we fire back and forth sporadically during the work day. Emails filled with innuendo and barely contained need sprinkled with "Quit playing around and get the damn thing fixed so you can come home". I wash the car and see his impish eyes in the face of our son before he turns the hose on me, just like his dad. And, I sense him when I tuck the kids into bed and read them their bedtime story. "No, read it like Daddy" So I read it slow, letting the words sink into the dramatic pauses, feeling his hand on my shoulder. Then, I kiss them once for me and once for him.

It is the nights that are the hardest. His worn clothes are still heaped on the floor by his side of the bed. I'm not ready to wash those yet. I undress in the moonlight then slip his Buffalo Bills T-shirt over my head, breathing him in deeply as the soft cotton laced with his lingering scent brushes past my nose. I slide his shorts up over my hips, feeling his hands resting there around my waist. I feel closer to him with his fabrics hugging me-snug, comforting, intimate and more. His scent envelops me, a connection between both our skins. It hums with his electricity.

I climb into bed and see his pillow empty beside me-again. This time I scoot over to his side, my head where his head usually lies, my body in the mattress indentation his frame should be occupying, filling the void with "us". Perhaps tonight I'll be able to sleep.