ILLUMINATION
Published in

ILLUMINATION

How to Be a Stay-at-Home Husband

And get decent marks

Photo by Racim Amr on Unsplash

“Who is this?”

“Excuse me I am calling to speak with Miss Smith.”

“Mrs. Smith is currently at work. May I ask who is calling?”

“No, I’ll call back later.”

“She won’t be available until I know who you are.”

“And who are you, exactly?”

“I’m her husband.”

“Ah, the writer.”

“So you know me? You must be a fan.”

“I’m more a fan of your wife.”

“I’ll let her know, John.”

“Excuse me?”

“John Waverton. 1643 7th Street. Works in shipping & receiving at the building my wife manages as CEO. Who I am seeing has unusual interests in porn. At work. Same guy likes to snoop around and make crank calls to private numbers.”

“Who the fuck are you, really?”

“I’m the gatekeeper.” I said. “Now it’s your move.”

“Please just don’t say anything to my boss. I need this job.”

“Why did you call to speak with my wife, John?”

“Just to hear her voice.”

“Well you can hear it on YouTube.” I said, and ended the call.

I sent all of this over to the endless pile of admirer clips that my wife and I share after she comes home from work.

She comes home late most nights. Works a lot. Always on the phone. Answering questions. Speaking with investors. I make sure that her dinner is good and ready when she comes home. Every night. I shower and make myself neat. I smell nice, offering her a warm hug even though she’s in a hurry, I hold her there, teasing her.

“Olden, I really have to go!”

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere without giving da boss a kiss.”

“I have to pee!”

“Oops, sorry. Go ahead.”

“Thank you!”

She rushes off, uses the bathroom, and runs upstairs before I can catch her again. She throws on her pajamas, washes off her makeup, brushes her teeth, and by the time she’s downstairs she’s transformed into the woman I remember — the one I met so many years ago. Breathing deep. Calm.

She walks over, takes my hand, stands me up, and walks me over to the couch. She removes her slippers, and snuggles up beside me.

“I’m just in the mood to stay here with you right now. By the way, thank you for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Any calls?”

“Only one, unfortunately.”

“You really have to be nicer to folks in the beginning, so they reveal more truth. Everyone’s just too afraid to call nowadays. Several of these pranksters have already left the company on their own accord.”

“I just feel like people shouldn’t have the right to harass you, you know? There are lots of weirdos out there. Willing to say or do anything just to be noticed for five seconds. It’s sad actually. I’ve been writing a lot about it.”

“What do you think is going on?”

“Honestly? I think men miss being with women and this is a way of men poorly communicating it.”

“Do you miss me?”

“All the fucking time.”

Then kiss me.”

There is a way she looks at me when I know our lips are going to touch. Her eyelashes point down, she offers a playful smile. For me, in these moments there is an excitement that has always been there. It’s never gone away.

I touch her face and feel her skin. My hands are strong and calloused. I may be battle-hardened, but I’m capable of surprising her with my touch to this day. She breathes in, and slides back, draping her neck over the couch.

And the rest, is for us.

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