Ad Absentia
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At first he was everything.

We went to the same university but never even heard of each other while we were there. While I was studying English he was studying Quantum Mechanics. While I was partying and drinking he was making headlines and winning awards. While I was sweating over a thesis he was overseas pioneering research. Korea, Switzerland, Singapore. Hartford, New Haven, Danbury.

Dark hair. In the sun it looked like a swirled cup of rich coffee. Green eyes. With enough radiance to pierce across a room into mine. The first time we touched I wanted to trace around his entire body with my finger. I wanted to remember him.

Then came the interview and the job offer. Of course he took it. It paid more than enough to send our kid through college.

Our kid. Our daughter. I was 6 months pregnant when he left for his first day. From the very start he told me he couldn’t tell me anything about the job. All he could describe it as was something “right up his alley.” Some days he would come home in high spirits. One of those days he told me he was doing “God’s work” and “making the world better for all.”

One night he came home drunk and locked himself in the bedroom until morning. Another night I found him sitting naked in the center of our living room with all the furniture pushed against the walls.

He had hidden everything that was sharp in our house. I found the knives, scissors, and other kitchen utensils stashed underneath the porch the next morning.

This pattern repeated itself until he began to be absent for days. “I can’t tell you,” he would say. “But trust me, it’s for the best.”

The tipping point was when I started having contractions. 3 months, gone by in the blink of an eye. I told myself that there would be no way he would miss the birth of his own daughter, but then he vanished for 2 weeks.

That morning I put myself in front of the door. I hid his car keys and his briefcase. I was ready to fight for the truth, and all I got was “I work for the State Department.”

Growing up, everyone’s parents worked for the “State Department.” CIA or NSA I thought, putting himself on the line for our family and our country.

Bullshit. State Department my ass. Since when does the State Department need a scientist in a lab coat to be gone for weeks at a time for work? To be so secretive that the ones closest to him don’t even have an inkling of what he does during the day.

I let him go. I loved him.

That night in bed he told me that one day he might not return.

“Don’t try to look for me. Don’t try to find out what happened to me. It’ll all be taken care of.”

I received his lab coat in the mail yesterday with no address to return it to.

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