Bing came home today. Flight came in around noon, so I took the day off to meet it.
I wish I could say that we rushed breathless into each other's arms.
Her first words to me: "Couldn't you get closer to the curb?"
Apparently, my parking skills are still not too hot.
Well, THAT set the stage beautifully.
We brushed lips hello.
She looked almost gray with exhaustion. I tried to be understanding. Not only did she have jet lag, but she had been on an airplane for almost 20 hours.
I immediately did the wrong thing. I asked her if she missed Africa.
She looked at me, incredulous.
"Well, um...NO!" she said, a bit unkindly, I thought.
"It is beautiful in many ways, Maria. I think I mentioned that to you in all of my emails, but the poverty is just...jesus. It is heartbreaking. These people live in conditions that you can't even imagine. Americans have no right to complain about anything ever."
I was shamed into silence. I had been crabby about the recent heat wave on the prairie. My garden was slurping up water like crazy, I couldn't give it enough. I would come in from weeding dripping with sweat and sheer crabbiness. But, I came in to air conditioning. I came in to plentiful food and clean water.
I closed my mouth. We were silent the rest of the way home.
She dumped all of her bags all over the floor when she came in, stating that she was going to take a shower and go to bed. To wake her in a few hours please.
I stood looking at the mess all over my floor. Bags everywhere. Duffel bags full of dirty clothes. I walked into our bedroom and gathered up all of the candles that I had set up to be lighted for our homecoming love fest. Later. This could wait.
How thoughtless of me.
Of course she would need sleep. What had I been thinking?
I heard the water shut off in the shower and pulled back the covers on the clean mahogany sheets. She came in naked, toweling her hair and then stopped and looked at the bed.
"Brown reminds me of Africa. The sheets on our beds were always brown," she said. "I'm going to sleep in the guest room. Later, you." She pulled a clean tee shirt out of her drawer and walked down the hall. And then came back. I smiled, waiting for my kiss.
"It is really cold in here," she complained. "Can you please turn the air conditioning to a better range? Have you had it on this way all summer? What has the electric bill been like? Jesus...." she wandered off before I could answer.
I didn't go in to tell her to have a good sleep. Instead, I clunked downstairs and stood gazing at the mess of her belongings all over my clean house. I leaned down to start unpacking her dirty clothes bag.
She called down the steps, "Please just leave everything alone. I'll unpack after I've slept and I have everything exactly where I want it for now."
I gave her the finger, knowing that she couldn't see.
Tomorrow is another day.
I glanced outside at the white heat of the day. The temps were already in the mid 90's and it wasn't even late afternoon yet. The humidity was in the 70's. Ick. I'd wait to garden when it was twilight. Or no. Maybe I'd wait until tomorrow. The Teen Choice Awards were on tonight and Lee DeWyze was up for an award.
If Lee DeWyze was my partner, I'll bet he would have noticed that I had on my new sun dress with the tiny green flowers. He'd see me at the airport and smile and say, "You look GORGEOUS!" He wouldn't comment on my faulty parking.
If Lee DeWyze was my partner, we would be spending the afternoon in bed, getting to know each other's bodies again. He'd like all those candles and tell me how pretty I looked in the candlelight.
If Lee DeWyze was my partner, he wouldn't leave his filthy bags all over my clean floors. He'd just know how sloppiness bothered me.
I smiled. Lee DeWyze is twenty something. He would not be partnered with a 52 year old woman. I should just stick to listening to his music.
No. My partner is Bing and it is what it is. Flawed and imperfect. Me with too many expectations and she with too much fatigue to notice if I had on a burlap bag or a dress.
I settled on the sofa and opened my book.
Welcome home, Bing.