When I woke up this morning I was alone in bed.
I wasn’t surprised. Tom usually gets out of bed around six. (If you’re wondering why he’s home it’s because he works the following schedule: two days on three days off three days on two days off….it’s really less complicated than it sounds.)
I assumed Tom was downstairs. I usually find him in front of the computer playing his Company of Heroes game. Most of the time he just grunts out a hello because he’s so busy concentrating on his pixilated soldier that’s racing across the screen. I don’t take offense. I don’t like speaking the second I wake up. I have to drink a glass of water and get a bite to eat before I can converse properly. Before that I sort of mumble answers out.
When I got downstairs my eyes immediately swiveled to the computer—but Tom wasn’t there.
I figured he had to be in the kitchen. He obviously wasn’t in the living room. The television wasn’t blaring Spongebob.
But he wasn’t in the kitchen. Or the dining room. Or the laundry room.
He wasn’t upstairs because I would have seen him.
“Tom! If you’re trying to scare me it’s not funny!”
I even opened a cupboard and peeked in. Not that he can even fit in a cupboard. But you never know with him. He’ll contort his body into anything if he knows the outcome will be worth it.
He wasn’t in the cupboard. But a bunch of pots and pans crammed in there were and one dropped on my foot.
This put me in a foul mood. With a throbbing foot I limped around the house shouting Tom’s name. I threw open the closet and went, “A-ha!” expecting to find him in there, about to pop up and scare the crap out of me.
He loves to make me jump. Admittedly, I startle easily. A sudden noise can make me yelp and I practically go into convulsions when I go into one of those haunted houses they have set up at Halloween. I probably shouldn’t even go in them. But I love the thrill. Of course my heart is usually beating at an unhealthy rate by the end of it but no matter, so long as I sit for a few seconds afterwards I’m all better.
Tom never tires of making me scream. In fact, just the other day he leaped out of the bathroom when I came upstairs and I yelled at the top of my lungs and he hunched over with laughter saying, “This never gets old! Even after knowing you for over ten years this never gets old!”
I’m glad I amuse him. And really, being startled doesn’t bother me. I’m used to it by now.
The only time it does bother me is when I first wake up. Which was why I was shouting like a complete nutter around the house for Tom.
“Mommy! Daddy’s truck is still in the driveway,” Tommy pointed out.
I peeked out the window. He was right. So that meant Tom had to be here. Maybe he was outside. Maybe he decided to finally put together that ball toy. Yes! That’s what he had to be doing. I picked up Natalie and rushed to the garage.
“How nice of you to put together—” I began. But then my eyes rested on the unopened box that contained the toy. He wasn’t there.
“Where Daddy go?” Natalie asked, lifting her hands up and shrugging her shoulders.
“I have no idea,” I admitted. I spotted my neighbor outside watering his glass. Maybe he had seen Tom. Maybe Tom had decided to go for a walk! Maybe he was on another health kick. You see, once every few months Tom suddenly decides that he wants to exercise and eat right. It can get quite annoying, actually. Because suddenly he’s going through our cabinets and lecturing me about buying Little Debbie snacks when just the week before he had downed nearly an entire box of Swiss Rolls. But I’ve gotten used to it. Now I know to just nod my head and say, “Mmmhmm, Tom, that sounds great, Tom,” at the appropriate moments because I know it’ll all blow over in a few days when he realizes that exercising every day actually takes WORK and when he remembers that drinking water all day is boring. Then everything will return to as it was and he’ll be moaning that he’s out of Swiss Rolls and could I pick up some more the next time I’m out?
“Have you seen Tom?” I called out to my neighbor who looked up with a start. He’s not used to seeing me out so early. I usually stumble out around noon and let the kids run around the driveway.
“Nope,” he replied.
Weird. Where could he be?
What if he ran off with a buxom blond who thinks Britney Spears is cool and who screams whenever Rob Pattinson appears on screen? Oh no! I can’t let my kids have a stepmother like that! I’ve finally gotten them to shriek in horror whenever they see Rob Pattinson because they think he’s an evil troll! (I think it would be hilarious if we ever came across Rob and all these women are screeching and throwing themselves at him and my family is all, “AHHHHHHHHH! TROLL!” in horror.)
Then I realized that he couldn’t have run off with someone else because he’s an awful liar. When he tells a fib he refuses to look you in the eye and gets this huge grin on his face.
What if he was…abducted?
I really need to give the alien shows a rest, I know. But suppose the aliens TOOK HIM because they are also confused as to how he can throw his dirty socks on the floor when there is a perfectly good laundry basket nearby?
I was in the middle of eating my breakfast and mulling this over when the front door opened and closed.
“Hi there,” Tom said when he spotted me like nothing was amiss. He was dressed in his uniform and he calmly took his wallet out of his pocket and set it on the counter.
“Where have you been?” I shrieked, rushing over to him. “Are you okay?”
Tom looked at me as though I were wearing panties on my head. “I’m fine. Are YOU okay?” he asked pointedly.
“I’ve just been wondering where you were! Your truck is here and you were no where to be found so I thought you had been ADBUCTED!” I said dramatically.
Tom rolled his eyes. “You need to stop watching those shows. Really. I just walked over to the Change of Command ceremony. The building is right behind our house and it didn’t make sense to walk.”
Oh. He had mentioned a Change of Command ceremony but I assumed he’d drive.
“So you’re okay?” I pressed.
“Just peachy,” Tom said in a mocking tone as he started to take off his boots. He spotted the Twinkie I was eating. “You know, those really aren’t good for you...”
Oh no. The exercise kick.
Here we go again...