Watching time is like agony.
Four days, 9 hours and 42 minutes. That's how long it has been since I saw him. A lengthy interval in our lives, not one I care to experience too often.
I struggle to stay focused on the clock on the wall; but my eyes are tired. I feel as though I haven't slept properly for four days. No warmth coming from his body, no hand reaching out for mine in the dark. No quiet murmurs or docile snoring sounds that mark his content sleep patterns. It has been so quiet; I hate being able to hear myself breathe.
I look around the room, he is everywhere. His winter coat is hanging on the hook by the front door; he didn't need it where he was going. His woolly hat sat upon the top hook, poking out as if catching someone by surprise. His heavy boots were sitting next to mine in the entrance hall, probably still damp from our walk a few days ago when we laughed and giggled as we jumped into puddles like a couple of five year olds.
I clicked the play button on the CD player and 'our' song emanated from the speakers, instantly making me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I could almost feel him dancing in my arms as he had done many times before. I couldn't wait to do that again. I hummed along and moved to the fireplace. I looked at his serene features beaming out from the frame, captivating my every thought. He held his infant daughter with such care, such pride. Our teenage son leaned over his shoulder, a smile so wide it could never be contained. I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful picture. How lucky I am, this is my family.
A tiny spider moves across the frame that holds our wedding picture. I watch as it weaves in and out of the ornate framing, never stopping to take in its surroundings. It didn't see what I saw; two people so in love they could hardly believe this was happening for them, to be getting married. The confetti-filled chapel, the smiling and loving faces of our friends and family. Such joy -- I doubt I'll ever feel that happy again. How could I, it was my perfect day.
I stoked the fire and a shiver crept up my spine. This is what it must feel like to be alone, to wait for love. I'm glad my wait is nearly over. My love was going to come bounding through that door any tick of the clock now and I know my heart is going to miss a beat, as it always does when I see him... whether it has been almost five days or five hours. My heart is always full when he's around.
I check myself in the mirror hanging to the right. Pale blue shirt -- his favourite, just the top three buttons open. Having a good hair day, although he says I have good hair that never has a bad day. I smile at his sense of fun. He would tug at his own hair, wanting it to sit a certain way but of course it won't. He playfully pulls at mine and sniggers when it falls back into place, resenting me for having what he calls 'perfect man hair'. I take my glasses off. I want him to see my eyes when he walks through that door, with nothing hiding or shielding my love from his glance.
I spy the wine chilling on ice on the bench and I remember that I have to turn the oven on soon; otherwise my welcome home dinner won't be ready in time. I recall with a generous smile how Hunter helped me make a cheese and fruit platter earlier and how we got tangled in the cling wrap trying to cover it. It eventually made it into the fridge. Our son happily took off for his friend's house, offering me the chance to welcome home my beloved alone. He would 'catch him tomorrow'. He sensed how much I missed him, how important it was for me to have him home.
I check that damn clock again, 10 minutes had passed.
I look to the table I have set specially. The flowers are standing tall and fresh. Carnations. Roses seem more appropriate for the romance I long for, but carnations are his favourite. This is about him. I shift a crystal glass a quarter turn to the left and then back a quarter turn. Perfect.
I sit on the arm of the sofa; no point actually sitting on the sofa -- he will be home any minute now. Why didn't I pick him up from the airport? This agony would be over by now. No, he said it made more sense to get a cab, less hassles all round.
Was the clock working, had it stopped? Wishful thinking on my part I presumed. My heartbeat was quickening and my hands were becoming clammy. Was I becoming ill? No, just nervous. Nervous with anticipation and excitement and an overwhelming sense of expectation. God, I felt like a teenager on Prom Night, waiting for the date to turn up and queasy because they are three minutes late.
The key turns in the lock; I hear it from all the way over on the sofa arm. I jumped up, my stomach filling with a thousand butterflies, perhaps more. I am half way to the door when it springs open and in he steps. In one motion, the suitcase leaves one hand and his keys fly from the other to land on the hall stand and a huge smile fills his face, bigger and more gorgeous than I could imagine.
He is in my arms and no words have yet been spoken. I feel his cold face on mine and his scent fills my nostrils and I feel his body against mine. My essence if full again. My fingers hold the back of his neck gently as his face turns to mine and I suck in much needed air as my mouth closes over his. I am giddy from the momentary lack of breathing and that inevitable skipping of a heartbeat or two.
His lips are cold but oh so soft. He tastes more delicious than strawberries on a summer's day and I can't kiss him enough to satisfy the wanting inside. I part his lips with my impatient tongue, wanting more, needing more. He lets me in and he moans from within, showing me he has missed this too. The voracious need of being one with him was all consuming. I began to peel off his clothes. He helps. His jacket falls to the floor and I am unbuttoning his shirt. My mouth finds his chest; my tongue finds his precious skin. His hands are all through my hair. He is tugging at my shirt, undoing the rest of the buttons and slipping it off over my shoulders as my fingers dig deep into his flesh. I can't hold him strongly enough; I don't want to hurt him but I never want to let go either.
A solicitous growl leaves my body and I ache for him to fulfil the void that my body has been experiencing for the past four days. We take it to the floor. There is no time for comfort or ease. It has to be this way. My body is on top of his and my mouth crushes his, milking every sensuous drop of moisture from his eager mouth and I plunge my tongue back in. I feel him growing beneath me. I press myself against his enriched swelling and I sweep my own encumbrance across his, showing him the same passion.
We are entangled, pulling at each other's pants. Denim is freeing itself from our bodies and our hands are not stopping until the hindrance is gone. We roll as one and he is now on top of me. I see his beautiful dark eyes clearly for the first time since he emerged through the door and "Oh God" escapes through my trembling lips. He smiles and I think I just fell in love all over again. He slowly lowers his face, taking my bottom lip with his teeth ever so gently and he caresses it, slowly and masterfully. His smaller body fits against mine like a well-worn glove and I feel so honest in my thoughts; so pure. I know that love is within our bounds and it cannot be taken from us. Not then. Not ever.
He slides skilfully down my torso, kissing portions of my body as he goes; paying particular attention to my hardening nipples. My hands caress his milky soft back and then his shoulders as he goes further down, almost out of my reach. I feel his warm breath against me and the giddiness returns. I hear the tearing of the foil wrapper and I know that bliss is not far off. One kiss and my head is swimming. He engulfs me and the room spins. My head is swirling with orgasmic rhythm; my breathing is laboured, but keeping in time with the spirited attention that he is paying me below.
My body jerks and arches up and I hear him groaning but it sounds as though he is a million miles away; I have to get back to the present. There is no time to be absent with my lust, not now. I fall back into my body and without taking time to live the euphoria that has erupted within me, I take him up in my embrace and he is hard against the floor. His soulful eyes are looking at me, burning into my flesh, wanting me as much, if not more, than I want him.
Sheathes are added to the mix and my tongue trails down his abdomen. I feel him shudder beneath my touch. I lift his leg and his eyes widen for me, now it is his turn for anticipation. I just look down into his eyes for a few long moments, remembering how much I had longed for this moment over the past days; needing to have him, to feel him, to touch him, to love him. His velvety eyes glisten as I enter his pleasure domain and I now take the time for him to experience his euphoria.
In, out, in, out -- each lunge a little deeper. I close my eyes, just wanting to feel with every fibre the ecstasy of that moment. The welcome tightness, holding me, inviting me to go deeper, to explore all possibilities. I open my eyes now, wanting to see the joy on his face, to see him live the exhilaration. There is joy there, but there is more... there is love, there is a willingness to strip bare his soul and take me in, to let me have his body and soul for that momentary span of time. His fingers are encircled around the appendage that would soon join us in the elation and would explode between us. We are both grunting; emitting primal, guttural sounds as discord bounces off the surfaces around us, uproar of emotion releasing its full strength against anything solid it hits.
We lay with our arms draped over one another; not able to move just yet, not wanting to move just yet. Breathing is returning to normal but heads are still swirling in the afterglow that passion brought us.
With very quiet assurance I tell my husband "I missed you so much Michael."
He touches my face with his fingertips and tells me "I love you Ben."
End of "A Lengthy Interval"