I found out what Kate was doing the next morning. I awoke well rested to find that my darling wife hadn't been in bed with me all along. I frowned, reaching out to stroke the spot next to me. I had hoped that us living together would give us more alone time, but we both were very busy. I didn't know a lot about Kate's job, she had just gotten it after all, but I wondered if she would be working nights.
I rubbed Kate's empty spot for a moment longer before getting up and starting my daily duties. I should have noticed as soon as I walked into the kitchen that something was different, but I had gotten a full night's rest and sleeping that long made me a bit bleary eyed.
Morning as usual. Nothing different, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
So there I was, just going about my day. I fixed myself some delicious waffles and cleaned the counters a bit. It was only after an hour or so of busing myself that I finally saw it. The television set.
We were poor. Yes, we both had jobs. Yes, I was rapidly climbing the career ladder. Yes, the Military paid Kate well.
But yes- our toliet was in our kitchen. Where we eat. If we had money to splurge on anything at all, I would have taken the more sanitary route and purchased an area to use the facilities.
There was no way we could afford a television, especially that expensive. Even with our savings, what little there was of it, there was no possible way. Yet there it was, staring back at me.
Where did it come from?
I couldn't imagine Kate hiding some vast fortune from me, but I'm sure it didn't just get up and walk itself into our home. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, still there.
I quickly turned and did a quick survey of the home. We were not only suddenly in possession of a television I've never seen before, but also a lamp and some wall sconces. How-?
Kate. It had to be. She had to have the missing piece of the puzzle that I didn't have. Unfortunately, Kate was nowhere to be found.
I looked. Believe you me, I looked everywhere for that woman. I looked outside, I looked inside. Nothing. I glanced into the yard of both of my neighbors, and still nothing- though I did find out the Altos had moved out.
I took a walk to the park across from our house and looked for a bit there. While I did find a plant to harvest, I didn't find Kate.
Kate still didn't show up after I made a small garden for my plants and had lunch. The hours were ticking by.
I decided to check in town. I took a cab instead of running the whole way. I figured I would need my energy to find my M.I.A wife.
Once again, I checked everywhere- or, as much ground as I could cover before I was running out of time. Dejected, I decided to stop by the bookstore and replace the cookbook I had lost ages ago. I also bought two more. They were less skill oriented and more aimed at preparing specific dishes. It was still useful information, and even though we had very little funds I was happy to hand some over to get the new books.
Money for knowledge. Not a bad deal at all.
It was coming out of the bookstore that I finally found what I had been looking for all along. It wasn't a what, though, it was a who. Kate.
And what she was doing made me stop in my tracks and nearly drop my new purchases.
Who the hell is he?
I didn't panic. I wanted to panic, but I didn't. I took a few deep breaths, and walked away. I told myself I would talk to her later, and to let her be.
It was hard to stop myself from jumping from conclusions, but the whole thing could be harmless. She went down to the public pool for a swim and spotted a friend. What I had witnessed was just a harmless conversation between two people catching up. Maybe she was talking about me.
How much she loved me and couldn't wait to get home to me. Maybe it was nothing at all.
With that mind set, I left the center of town. I went to work- throwing myself into my cooking and making dishes taste in ways I never thought possible. I schmoozed my boss, talking over my worrying thoughts. I met new coworkers and took it easy.
Before I went home, I sat on a bench and got through both my books. I read them cover to cover, even though each sentence looked like “Kate was with another man.” I forced myself to absorb the words for what they really were and not what I imagined them to be.
Then- I went home. I was dreading it all day, going home and having to talk to Kate. The last thing I wanted was confrontation. We hadn't even been married that long and issues were already coming up.
I hated just thinking about it, but I knew I couldn't put it off forever.
I stepped in the door and saw Kate sitting at our dinning table, watching tv. Suddenly my mind forgot about what's-his-name and focused on the earlier issue. The television, and how it had poofed into our home.
“Kate...” I began slowly, wanting to choose my words carefully. “Where did this come from?”
I finished my question by gesturing at the t.v. She was watching.
Kate looked away from me and frowned. “Murphy, last night I picked up some things for our new place...”
She sighed. “I stole them. I can bring them back, if you don't like them. I wanted us to have nice things.”
Her head tilted up towards me and I watched her lower lip quiver. "Sometimes I can't help it. It's an urge I can't fight! I'm sorry!"
The way she looked at me melted my heart. “It's okay.” I told her. “We can get through whatever problem you have together.”
I pulled her up and hugged her tight. We could manage.
After a few more hugs and kisses, the issues forgotten, we made our way to make our marriage official.
And we made it official over