Several times a year he would go off for three or four days to fish or play golf with his friends. On the first day of his absence she would tell herself how much fun it would be to order Thai food and bring it home and eat it in bed while watching something on TV that he would never watch. She would try to convince herself of how much she would be able to accomplish now that he was “out from under her feet” for a few days. The first day was always busy and sometimes she actually did eat Phad Thai while propped up in bed, but the ensuing days and nights would wear her down. Days were not so bad. She could play bridge or clean out kitchen cabinets or take her elderly mother to lunch at the local cafeteria, or even spend time alone, reading or doing needlework. Nights were a different matter. Their bed was like a vast empty desert when he was away. She tried mussing his side and stuffing a body pillow under the covers so she could imagine he were there. She tried leaving his side untouched, sleeping on the very edge of her side and pretending she was on a tiny cot in another room. She drank wine and late night television, though she really didn’t like it. She would turn out the light and try to do the breathing exercises she once learned. She would roll from side to side, restless, fitful. Cranky, she would re-light her bedside lamp and examine her watch to find that only 20 or 30 minutes had passed. Another glass of wine just might take the edge off her anxiety, just might warm that cold spot where he was supposed to be. She would tell herself that he would be home in two days, then she would have the horrifying thought that one day he would go away and never return. After all, he was 14 years her senior and time was moving forward and he had already reached his sixtieth birthday. That’s when she would grab the remote control and quickly touch the “on” button. She would be up at dawn, having slept very little, and thus went her days and nights when he was away.