The alarm is insistent
She shuts it with a slap
And turns around to snuggle in his arms
Rudely jolted into wakefulness by his absence
Reality hits like cold water
She is wide awake and lonesome
Loneliness seeps into her bones, making her shiver
He is far, far away
Navigating his vessel into the falling dusk
With only water for company as he keeps vigil.
As she prepares the kids’ breakfast
She wonders, “Is he missing me?”
Of course he is,
He had called last night
Like he does every night
Never to say this but she knows to decipher his pauses
That he misses her and the kids.
He worries how she will manage in his absence
Forgetting that she works
Like a well-oiled automaton when he is not around
School, sports, music classes, bank, groceries and job
Has been doing it for years now
Everything is taken care of.
She misses him sitting across her as she has morning tea
Fighting over who would read the newspaper first,
Which now lies neglected in a corner.
She misses him in the kitchen
Wrapping his arms around her as she bent over the stove
She misses him in the evenings playing boisterously with the kids.
But most of all she misses him in the nights
When his presence made her feel safe and secure
And she could sleep like a baby.
Now she double checks all the doors and locks
And wakes up with a start every now and then.
It is not easy but at least she has the kids and is at home
She worries for him sailing on high seas
Into storms and bad weather
She can feel his frayed nerves
as at busy ports he deals with authorities, owners and the crew
She wishes she could wipe away the frown from his brow
As he steers through pirate infested areas
Or melt away his tiredness
as he keeps a vigilant watch on stormy nights.
It is hard but she draws solace from the fact that
In a month’s time he will be home
Hair more salt than pepper
Face more weather beaten than before
Worry lines etched deeper on the forehead
But the smile as radiant as ever more.