Keith called. He was calling from what must have been a land line, so I could actually hear his voice pretty well. He sounded terrible, but at first he was all business so I was afraid to ask him what was wrong. Finally I did and apparently he's had a really bad day and couldn't talk about it.
I don't know if it was the phone connection; maybe he's sounded like this before and I hadn't caught it? But it broke my heart. He sounded so much older than he really is. He's only twenty nine. His voice held the exhaustion and fortitude of someone much, much older.
I was literally wracking my brains to think of something to cheer him up when I thought of the utility bill. He has installed all energy star efficient appliances in the house, including the air conditioner and the heater, so he's always excited to see how low the bill is and this month it was the lowest in a long time-the heater has been off for weeks now.
"Guess what, Sweetie!" I exclaimed, leaping up from my perch on the stairs and going to the cluttered bill counter. "The utility bill came in! It was only XX amount!" I waved it around in the air as though he could see it.
And oh, thank God, he laughed. It was a tired laugh, but genuine for all that. "That's pretty good, you little kitten," he said.
And then I thought of how crazy with excitement Abby had gone when she came across Toby the cat in the cat carrier. Toby was on his way to the vet, poor guy. Abby thought that having the cat contained in a small carrier was the absolute best thing in life ever. Her body literally went all rigid with focus. It was as though she had cornered a prize duck, all on her own.
I explained this to Keith and this time he actually really did laugh and then he let out his breath in a long rush. I could hear the stress draining from his body. But all day today I have been wandering around, worried about him. And feeling vaguely guilty that I am so happy and have such a good life.
Even though I know good and well that Keith loves to think of me enjoying our house and if he knows that I am happy and contented that it goes a long way toward him feeling the same. I just wish there were something else I could do. I just want him home so I can actually hold him in my arms and give him a thousand kisses and feed him.