My phone rang early that morning before the dawn was fully awake. I had finally dozed off just as the sky was turning light grey, but I jolted awake at the sound of the phone on the pillow beside me. It was my husband. My heart leaped thinking he was safe, but then he began to talk, "I just wanted to phone you before I did this, and I will phone you as soon as I am done." My half asleep mind puzzled that one through, while an alert part of me remembered to tell him to make sure he did phone right away, and then to add on, "hey, I love you". Then he hung up.
I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock. Noticed the time.
Then I stretched out in bed and stared out the window at the sky. And prayed. I was so glad he phoned. He had known I was worried, and now all I had to do was wait about half an hour or so, and answer the phone again. Then we would smile and go on with life.
And as the minutes ticked by, my tummy tensed inside me. I watched the clock for every minute's change. I barely breathed. Twenty minutes in, I picked up the phone and made a quick call to one of the groups I had phoned the night before... pray! right now! And hung up, not wanting to miss that phone call.
An hour passed. Two hours.
Dread settled in my tummy. Something had gone wrong. Seriously wrong. It would never take this long.
I sat in bed still not daring to move, not able to wrap my head around what needed to be done. Stunned. My kids had begun to wake up and the house was full of the normal morning sounds. It was a school holiday, so there was no rush for anyone to be going anywhere. They got into fights, played games, and made themselves breakfast.
I sat staring at the clock with all my attention not in the house full of busy life, but over there... to where I could not see... but knew something was very wrong.
I didn't dare cry. Not then. Not yet. I had to survive. I had to think. I had to figure out how to walk out of my room and face our kids. How to make the horrible unknown something we could handle together.
I sat stunned, not wanting this to be my life. Hoping the phone would just ring and a laughing voice would tell me he had just forgotten to phone - he had once... telling myself I would kill him if he had! But I knew he would not forget. He knew how worried I had been. He had promised he would phone.
I had made him promise in our skype chat how he would go about doing what he did - made him promise me that they would not do it together. I told him how to do it.... but as the phone remained silent, I worried. Something had gone wrong. If he had done what I said, I should be getting a phone call from one of those men.
But my phone stayed silent. And my heart began to stand still. Tears pooled, panic threatened... but the sound of four voices giggling and laughing called me to get up and face the day.
But how do you face a day that you don't know where your husband is or if he is alive or hurt or what?