The weather managed to overshadow the doubts that weighed us down, and Ben's plane finally got out before lunch.
I only had to buy an extra fifteen minutes of parking time after sitting in the lot alone in his truck sobbing after he left. Then I wiped the mascara off my chin and gave a mighty sniff and drove myself home in the blizzard we're having to a house that now most certainly does seem less full, less warm and less content than it did only a few short hours ago when the howling wind woke us up and Ben pulled me under him for one final chance to make it count before we had to kiss each other's skin goodbye for a while.
The kids and I circled his return date on the calendar and will mark off days as they end until we reach that magic one in March when he comes home tired and happy and worn out and ready for a vacation. Hopefully when he comes back it will be with the same desires he took with him, rolled tightly and packed in amongst his notebooks and his clothes.
This is a good break. A perfect opportunity to see what happens now, when we're apart. To see if everything means as much, to see if we still have the same feelings after a few weeks of distractions and life alone. To see if parting on good terms, on the best terms leaves our hearts as fond and barren as they did when we'd fight to the death. We're cautiously optimistic and optimistically cautious for once.
And for once, I hope the time flies.