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1. I wonder if he’ll come home before the milk expires. It’s the one thing he asks for, and almost always the only thing I forget to pick up at the store. Repressed abandonment issues rear their ugly heads with no regard for timing. Once, actually twice, I backed out of our driveway in Chicago, and crashed into his car. It’s not my fault, I protested (twice), you’re never here. I can still hear the crunch of metal as it folded into itself. The rhythm of destruction.

2. Our seasonal separation filled me with fear before it even happened. I think psychologists call it projection. I call it destructive thinking. We were both looking forward to his visit this weekend. We skirted on the fringe of annoyance for much of it. I didn’t listen to him, he seemed mildly repelled by my constant requests for affection. The cynic in me sees this as proof that our marriage is doomed. It’s over. Every separate journey we have taken has trampled on our love. We can’t withstand the wreckage. Our love has expired like the milk that waits patiently in the fridge for his return.

3. We don’t like physical separation, though our souls clearly contracted for it long before we came to this earth. I try to lean into our flame, the one that burns no matter where we are, but my human interrupts my intention with dark, disjointed, catastrophic thoughts.

4. Thank God for lifelong friends. They balance my fears. They set my sail straight. They save my marriage with their reasonable advice. They save me from myself with their straight talk. They remind me that our history is rich, we have overcome monstrous obstacles, our convoluted love is twisted at times but never torn. We can withstand the chill of separation because our love is flaming hot. Thank God for voices that are outside my head. Thank God for ears that hear and hearts that listen.

5. Sun streams through the windows, warming the fur babies that bask in its warmth. Tom made this place a home by dressing its walls with art this weekend. He left a legacy of love within our cozy nest. I will do my part to prepare home, heart and soul for his imminent return. Thoughts become things. I vow to stay positive and hopeful, with an unwavering belief in the power of our connection. There is much love within these four walls. Much love.

DIARY OF A HOTEL WIFE

Barbara Anne Klein

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