I Guess That Makes Me Lucky

I woke yesterday with an element of trepidation. The usual sounds were making their way through the cracks of the bedroom window; the faint hint of a bird in a tree, cars on the main road at the end of the street, all dulled by the sound of air-conditioning. It was the sound of G’s fingers tapping on the iPad which had me too scared to look. I’d been here before, I knew if I opened my eyes and realised I had it wrong, if I was to discover that I thought he was there when he wasn’t – I knew how that disappointment felt. Anything to avoid the sudden pang of unnecessary loneliness. Slowly I moved my leg across to his side of the bed. My toe hit the side of his calf, my eyes immediately popped open.

“You’re still here!”

Shirtless and engrossed in the newspaper, he sat up in bed supported by pillows.

“The car doesn’t come to pick me up for 45 minutes”.

“What time is it?” I was still in a fog, perhaps a result of the thirteen, 14 year old girls from the birthday party the evening before.

“It’s 5 – I better get in the shower” he said with resignation.

The fourth little traveller arrived at the door, hair sticking up at all angles, squinting at the light coming in through the window. I lifted the blanket, motioned for him to jump in.

All too quickly G was dressed, his suitcases at the door, he made his way to my side of the bed, a kiss “see you on Friday”.

“Dad! I need a hug. I’ll miss you” said a little voice from under the doona.

I thought again of something a girlfriend at home once told me. “You’re so lucky to miss him, I’d love a chance to miss my husband.” How funny it had sounded, how much we’d giggled.

We made our way through the day. Menu plans for the week, shopping for groceries, arguments over technology. A text came through “arrived at the hotel”. We ate dinner, looked at the pictures of Lake Geneva, wondered what he was eating.

This morning I heard the cars, the birds, the air-conditioning. No iPad.

We opened presents, I cooked her favourite breakfast, the phone rang.

“Thanks Dad! Shall I open the iPad so we can FaceTime?”

They huddled. I stood at the frying pan while he showed them the scenery, they carried the iPad over for me to see. It was beautiful, the lake, the mountain capped with snow, he stood outside to provide a full panoramic shot. I could hear the birds in the trees.

When he returned back to his bed the second little traveller fired off the questions. “What did you eat for dinner last night?” “Is your bed comfortable?”

He grinned, rested back against his pillows, talked of pork chops and grated potatoes.

As I carried the eggs to the table, I looked at him sitting up in bed, 24 hours later, the same time zone, so very far away. We do this all the time, wake up in different countries.

I miss him. I guess that makes me lucky.

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