We go out of town to attend conferences to develop ourselves professionally

Our husbands don’t do well on their own.

The first day, sure. They are giddy and free. They strut around the house not wearing any pants. They leave their socks balled up on the rug. 

And the second day, too. Making nachos for dinner, again. Belching and passing gas and patting their full stomachs in profile in front of the hallway mirror. 

By the third day in the afternoon, their voices are raised and tense. “I’ve developed a rash on my arm,” they say, “and I can’t find where you put the cream.”

We tell them where it is on the second shelf, behind the aspirin. We are lonely without them and we tell them this, too. 

On the fourth day, in the morning, the slightest hint of irritation. “Where did you put the receipt?” they ask. “For what?” we ask as we rush toward the conference hotel. 

“For the thing, that thing that I bought, you know for the thing. Don’t act,” they say, “like you do not know.”

Before they hang up they mumble sorry. They say: We are fine and we miss you and don’t worry about us. 

But we do. 

In the mornings, rising from the empty bed. We reach for them but they are not there. We scan the rooms for men who look like them, for the wild dark hair or the gray green eyes or the dimpled smile. Or the scar on the forehead, just about the left eyebrow, there. Right there. 

Beautiful man, right there. 

On the way home, we will drive fast. We will think about running up the wide porch steps even before we take our bags from the trunks of our cars. 

We will leave the car running and the bags in the trunk and they will open our front doors for us, smiling their dimpled smiles. Their arms outstretched. Their voices low and sweet. And they will hold us close and they will kiss the tops of our heads and we will know, once again, that we are home.