He had been so proud of her that first day, watching her pick out the perfect outfit and making up a packed lunch for her, hearing the shake of nerves in her voice and sending a text message at lunchtime just to make sure all was well. He was the one who believed all along that she could do the job, who encouraged her to apply, who told her to reach to the moon.
He remembered those first few months when she would hurry home and they’d cook some dinner and spend the evening together. He loved those moments, something precious to look forward to at the end of his own long day.
Then she started spending time with her colleagues, coming home later, not eating with him. For a while he had been glad that she had friends, something and someone outside of the narrow confines of home but it had become a niggle. He still wasn’t sure how he felt exactly, maybe there were words that he wasn’t prepared to admit to, things like ‘lonely’ and ‘abandoned’, maybe even jealous. He hadn’t been jealous; he knew that. But now? He mentally pieced together the jigsaw and realised how her attitude had changed completely. It wasn’t just how much time that she was spending outside the house but how she was so eager to leave, how she didn’t seem interested in what he had done that day or how he felt. Then there was the whole thing with her mobile. He wasn’t allowed near it, snapped at for passing it over when it sounded, suspected of always looking over her shoulder when she texted. She’d withdraw and take a call, reply to a text message. He was hurt, he admitted. But not jealous, she had promised him that it was only work friends. He had to believe in her still. Thinking otherwise would itself be a betrayal.
There was no telling anymore what time she’d come home but he always made dinner ready, hoping. He missed the evenings that they used to spend together, chatting or watching something on the television. He missed her. Something had changed in her but he didn’t know what, not yet.
She had told him that she needed space. Space for what? Bemused, he’d agreed all the same, letting her go and do her own thing with people he’d never even got to meet. At the weekends when they had always planned to something particular together, they used to have so many shared interests, she was always going out now with these friends, leaving him behind.
It was nearly time, the earliest that he could expect her. He sighed, feeling heavy in his heart, unformed and unbidden questions rising for which there were no answers.
He wheeled himself up to the window where he could see the road, see her coming. He would ask her how her day had been but expect no conversation. Whenever she did come home.
I haven’t written any fiction for so long, you’ve got to have the right ‘head’ on but this story has been whirling through my cobwebs lately and this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt gave me the encouragement to share, all I had to do was fit in the phrase ‘to the moon’ and aim for 500 words. 495, I must be getting better at this word count business!
Apologies to my subscribers for another double dose today!