Work, Work, Work

“You’re going where?”  I asked R, incredulous, on the phone.

We’d been in our house two weeks now.  R’s parents had come down to help us move in, thank goodness, since R was working so much.  He had hit the ground running, working ten and eleven hour days right from the start.  It hadn’t been that noticeable when he’d been here alone.  Even in the hotel, where I wasn’t cooking or cleaning, it hadn’t been that much of a big deal.  But now that we were in the house, and I was exhausted from alternately painting, unpacking and still nursing my baby every three hours, his hours away from home were a tad more of an issue for me.  His parents had just left, and I struggled to help Z with his homework every afternoon and find some way to get a dinner on the table every evening.  I had hoped when I would see him leave the house before 7 that he would be able to arrive home by 5:30 or so, but no dice.  The twenty five minute long commute to our house on the edges of suburbia meant I hardly ever saw him before 6 or 6:30 most evenings.

“Japan,” R responded to my question.

“That seems awfully soon after you getting this job, to have such a big trip.  How long will you be gone?”

“Ten days.”

“TEN days?!”  I shouted into the phone.    I could hear Melinda stirring in her stroller, where I had taken to putting her down for quick naps, rather than walk all the way upstairs to her crib.  “Ten days, really?”

“Really.  Please don’t yell at me.  It’s not like I’m doing this on purpose just to irritate you.  I have to go.  I can’t be the guy who isn’t a team player here.  I’m still trying to prove my worth here.  I have to do everything they say and ask for more.”

“I know, and I get that, it’s just…well, I was on my own all that time in Oklahoma with the baby and Z, and now that I’m here, it kind of still feels that way because you’re gone so much.  And now you won’t even be here at night, for ten days.”   Was this what our new life was going to be like, I wondered in the silence that followed my statement.  I remembered watching my sister when her children were babies; her husband worked lots of late nights, and I marveled that sometimes she was just as much of a single mother as I had been.  I had told R repeatedly that I did not want to live that way when our children came along.  And somehow, here we were.

“What do you want me to tell you?  I’m sorry?  This is my job now.  It’s not like I’m going to enjoy having to leave you guys, either.”

“Well, you at least get to go to a cool place and enjoy a full night’s sleep,” I replied, bitterness oozing from every word.  “Wait, ten days?  When do you get back?”

“June 3, why?”

I laughed.  “Because Rick is coming to Cincinnati on June 4.  So sleep on the plane buddy, because after ten days of doing this all by myself, I will have earned the day off.”

R snorted on the other end of the phone; he wasn’t pleased.  Well, I thought, too damn bad.


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