Before I left for work this morning, I eased into the still-dark bedroom to give JB a kiss. He hates when I unnecessarily wake him in the morning, but hates it more if I leave without saying goodbye. I've found that life with JB often involves the careful weighing of evils with the challenge of correctly guessing the lesser among them.
As I wished him a wonderful day, he reminded me that he has to work today and I'll be on my own for dinner tonight. As a flight attendant, JB usually works for three or four days at a time.
I used to make more of an effort to keep track of JB's work schedule. Despite my best efforts, my attention sometimes wanders when he talks about his job, which leads to the shame of, "I told you I swapped my next-week's Dublin for this weekend's Stuttgart then got a move-up to tomorrow's Milan... were you even listening?"
Several years ago I tried to address this by attaching a magnetic dry-erase calendar to the refrigerator so that we might collaboratively track updates to his fluctuating work schedule. This immediately backfired when all it accomplished was to raise his suspicions that I was looking forward to his trips and planning my life's enjoyment to coincide with his absence.
So I've learned it's best just to passively pay as much attention as possible when he talks about his schedule without ever appearing too interested. Then expressing the perfect titer of genuine disappointment when he tells me he'll be flying.
That's why this morning I said, "Aww, that's right, I forgot you said you were flying today." I kissed him again and with my lips still pressed against his forehead I added, "I'm gonna miss you, my love."
"It's okay," he said as he re-fluffed his pillow and rolled onto his side, "it's only a domestic trip."
As I locked the front door and walked toward the car, I caught myself smiling about what JB just said. It's cute and endearingly naïve of him to think that the amount I miss him is in any way a function of the distance between us.
I hadn't even pulled out of the driveway.