Jenny looked at the clock again. It was after eleven, and Ted had said he would be home at ten. She felt a mixture of anger and anxiety. He was probably talking after the meeting, had forgotten the time, and hadn’t started home when he had planned. It was a fifty-mile drive, though, and things did happen on busy highways. Oh, why didn’t he come?
Jenny felt a pang of remorse at the way things had been when Ted had left at six. The rush of trying to get him off in time and get the family through a meal had seemed to put her on edge. She had been sharp and a less loving wife than she should have been. She didn’t like it when Ted and she parted with negative feelings between them. She supposed that every woman had these feelings while waiting after such a parting.
It’s eleven-thirty—where can he be? I guess it would be foolish for me to call the hospital or the highway patrol, she thought.
In her mind Jenny could see her whole life with Ted. She went to the “What would I do if’s.” She thought of how life without her husband would be, of how he loved the children, of how their world was centered on “When Daddy comes home.” Her sympathy went out to those who had to face life alone.
At midnight Jenny was waxing the kitchen floor, trying to make time go faster and forget how frightened she felt. Hearing a car, she rushed to the window as she had done so many times that evening, only to find it was another false alarm.
The phone rang, and Jenny hurried to pick it up—but it was a wrong number. Just as she hung up the phone she heard the doorbell. She was near panic as she went to the door. “Who’s there?” she called.
Joy and relief flooded through her as she heard her husband’s familiar voice. “It’s me. I forgot my key.”
She opened the door and threw her arms around his neck, sobbing, “I love you.”
He looked surprised and said, “I had two flat tires and couldn’t phone. I really thought you’d be angry when I was so late.”
Jenny just clung to him, thankful she had a second chance.