She sat curled up on the sofa, with a pilled afghan resting in her lap alongside her folded hands. She was staring blankly at the evening news, seeing the perfectly coifed brunette anchorwoman describe product recalls and touching dog rescues -- seeing but not really watching anything other than the obstinate yellow digits in the corner of the screen broadcasting the late hour.
She traced a figure-eight intently on the knee of her pajama pants. A torturous thought rain through her head like the star of Mousehunt: "You're wasting your night with staying awake when you know he's not coming home." The tension in her neck fixated on the television screen, insisting that this was insomnia, not worry. That she was killing time, not waiting.
But while there was still that chance she could not let it go. If there was only a moment, she would not let it slip by. She swallowed hard at the late-night infomercials and yawned in fidgety contentment. Because she was content, and she would continue to be even if she stayed up all night.
She blinked sleepily and there he was next to her, his tie only recently loosed and his keys still lightly clutched in his road-worn palm, his head propped up by the couch cushions, dozing with honest exhaustion. She wrapped her arms around her knees and watched him sleep. "Thank you God for even this." He was here, he was home, if only for a moment, and over this she would not let her heart hurt.
Her eyes closed involuntarily for just a moment, and when they opened again it was morning and he was gone. A hot pot of coffee in the maker, a hurried note tacked to the refrigerator. "Hey J, take suit to the cleaner? see you Friday, don't wait up. love, W." She tucked the note into a nondescript shoe box in her desk, the one labeled, "I love you, too."