I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. There is very little actual evidence, just one weird little thing that almost totally escaped my notice until a few minutes ago.
The woodpile is neat and tidy.
I know that’s an odd statement, so let me explain. I bought some firewood for the colder months of the year, and still have very small amount inside the house. This had been sitting on the floor next to the fireplace, a bit haphazardly but not in any sort of disarray, for a couple of months now. I know this to be the case because every time I clean the house I end up having to sweep around it. That’s right: I sweep around it, but do not move the logs, even though it’s maybe only 5-6 pounds of actual weight, tops. Since our dog sheds — a lot — there’s always a ton of dog hair accumulated around the firewood that I have to clean up.
So I’m walking through the living room, and notice out of the corner of my eye that the woodpile is indeed neat and tidy. I did not leave it that way. It is very neatly stacked into a very compact pile just next to the fireplace. To my memory, it did not look like this yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. It didn’t even look like that last week. The logical explanation would be that my wife tidied that up when she moved out nearly a week and a half ago, but I have cleaned house since then and did not notice the tidied-up woodpile at all.
But there it is tonight, in all its neat and tidy glory. I suspect she stopped by the house some time this afternoon or early evening after her (ostensible) road trip to see her dog. She has not spent any time with the dog since the day she moved out, other than perhaps a couple of hours last Wednesday. Now, my wife loves this dog, and since this crisis erupted last October I have joked (half seriously) that she love the dog more than she loves me. In a way, that’s kind of true.
Once I discovered this tiny detail, the tidy woodpile, I looked around the house for other evidence that she might have been here. I checked her closet, since she had left a couple of pairs of shoes here. The shoes were still there. I checked her office, since I’d left some mail and other things on her piano. Those things were all still there. I looked in all the other rooms and could see no other evidence of her presence aside from the tidied-up woodpile.
This is an interesting phase we have entered these past couple of months. We had a joint counseling session in February, and after that she began actively to withdraw from me. I saw her less and less in February, and then in March things really deteriorated in that respect. She moved out toward the end of that month and told me she did not want me to know her whereabouts. I haven’t seen her for 12 days, and haven’t really been able to reach out in the ways in which I’ve been accustomed to reaching out. I used to be able to give on a daily basis when she was here, and even when she initially “moved out” I still could give quite frequently. Today I sent my first gift by mail. It should arrive tomorrow at the home of the friends with whom she has been staying. I’ll probably get a bit of push back on that, e.g. “I don’t want you to send me stuff there.” But there we are. I have little contact with the woman who has been my wife of 7 years, and with whom I had promised to spend the rest of my life. I do honor my promises, and so, even if she is not physically here, I will do my best to sustain my connection with her until such time as she does return.