She’d been away for more than two weeks now. The man rarely came home. When he did, the house could feel his pain and his loneliness. He was scared for the woman and even more scared for himself. The hospital smell lingered on his clothes and in his hair. Some nights he was too tired to shower it away before he fell into bed for a few hours of restless sleep.
Their children came from far away to be with them. The man was glad they were there. He’d thought they would be in the way at first, but that hadn’t proven to be true. The house welcomed them, sheltered them protectively. They were worried about her, too, but they had hope and strength to share. They believed with all their hearts that she would recover.
And recover she did. Rehabilitation was a slow process, but she improved day after day. The man would come home at night, happily anticipating that day in the near future when she would come home with him. He could picture her walking through the door, sitting in her spot on the sofa, watering the plants that he’d forgotten all about while she’d been sick. She’d fuss at him for that, and that was just fine with him. “The house needs you,” he’d say in response. She’d smile as he would lean forward to kiss her cheek. “But I need you more."