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June 25 • She's Gone...

Day 717

I lost her. Last night I lost my wife. It was awful.

Oh, I found her — in less than an hour — but my response to having her disappear for fifty-one minutes at 11:00 o'clock in the darkness was terrifying. It was more traumatic than it should have been, and I'm still exploring why.

I hear her leave the house to walk the dog, and ten or fifteen minutes later, I realize that I haven't heard her come back in. I look out front and out back and upstairs and behind the shoes in her clothes closet. I try calling her on her phone, and I hear it ring on the end table next to where I'd been sitting. Eventually, I think I might be able to find her via her Apple Watch, and sure enough, there she is, nearly a half-mile away in the middle of fifty acres of green space between ours and the next neighborhood. I scramble to get my shoes on so I can run to her.

While I'm fumbling around, I imagine that our little dog ran off, and my bride is chasing her. Or maybe our pup had been kidnapped by a coyote, and my wife was sitting in that field holding what was left of our fur baby and sobbing into the next year. I start pinging her watch remotely, so she will know I am looking for her and coming to the rescue.

I fight the feeling that she has finally had enough of me, that she has a secret partner helping her escape the enshadowing of my issues in the dead of night, and she is gone. Forever.

I am running out the door when my phone rings. It is my 87-year-old neighbors.

"We've kidnapped your wife and are holding your dog for ransom."

I'm sure they thought that was funny.

Through the miracle of the limited accuracy of tracking down this iteration of the Apple Watch, she was not in the killing fields; she was sitting 50 feet away in a comfy chair chatting with the elderly. Our puppy had run into their briefly open door, and an unexpected visit ensued. Her pinging watch had gotten her attention, and when she realized she did not have her phone, she had the old gentleman make the proxy call for her. I joined them for another hour of a weird slumber party gossip gab, and we headed for home sometime after midnight. I was still shaking when we went to bed.

That's a long story for no more of a moral or punchline than I've been able to produce at this point. All I'm getting from this so far is a reminder of how fragile I still am, and how much I do not want to be without her, even though I am still attracted (tempted) to isolation.

Maybe that's enough. At least for today.



Wonder this time where she's gone,

wonder if she's gone to stay

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone

and this house just ain't no home

anytime she goes away.

–Bill Withers, “Ain't No Sunshine”


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