"You don't die from a broken heart,
you only wish you did."
He disappeared a little over a year ago. He kissed me goodbye and left the house and simply did not come back. Since then, there has not been one word from him. Not a phone call, not a letter.
We've been married 31 years. He has a natural foods-type grocery store in the city, and a small recycling center, too. Thanks to his management team, I've been able to keep them going, so I still have income. We have two children, a boy and a girl, both grown with families of their own. They keep me strong. They are what I live for. Our youngest grandson, Ryder, looks just like his grandpa. Sometimes that makes me cry.
When I reported him missing, the sheriff's department came out to the house. A couple of detectives questioned me while their CSI people went through every room. They searched his clothing, his personal items. "Did he take anything with him?" they wanted to know.
No, he didn't, I tell them. Except my heart, of course.
I can't sleep. I sit on the front porch in our old glider, thinking I'll see him come out of the woods where he has always loved to wander. Or maybe he'll be in the garden patch, preparing the soil for a new planting. Sometimes, my daughter drives over to see how I'm doing and she finds me out there, just sitting in his old bathrobe, and she takes me into the house and puts me to bed, staying with me until I go to sleep.
Once, the sheriff's department made a statement that he had 'vanished without a trace'. For weeks after that I was bombarded with calls from magazines like The Enquirer and The Star, asking foolish questions about kidnapping and whether or not my husband believed in extra-terrestrial life. His disappearance was featured on Most Bizarre on TV. Ridiculous stories appeared online, suggesting he'd been the victim of alien abduction. There were spurious quotations in them attributed to me. My lawyer is seeing to that, now.
My family and friends tell me it's time for me to move on. My lawyer says I can do a couple of things: I can wait, and then have him declared legally dead after seven years, and be able to collect his life insurance; I can also divorce him on the grounds of abandonment.
I don't want a divorce, though. I love him. I have since the first time I saw him. Besides, he told me this would happen one day. That he would only be here, conducting experiments and passing on his genetic information, for a few of 'our' years.
He said it would only be a matter of time before our species destroyed itself. He's seen it countless times over the centuries. I asked him how old he was, but he told me I couldn't possibly understand the concept of his age, and not to worry about it, so I haven't.
He'll be back to pick up our children and grandchildren before society breaks down completely. They all know. They have always known.
I am, he told me, too fragile physiologically for the trip, and would die of old age long before arrival at a hospitable planet. But my genes, he said, have added to the strength of his own kind, and our children and grandchildren will become part of a race that will perhaps return to repopulate the earth when the time comes.
In the meantime, my son, thanks to his dad, is marketing technology that composts waste more effectively, turning the byproducts into fertilizer and fuel. My daughter works in cancer research, developing gene therapy for tumor eradication. She has also patented a water recycling method that uses solar energy and works faster than any means heretofore seen on the planet.
I would love to hold him one last time. As I sit here in our old glider, I wonder which of the stars I see is the sun that warms him now. I wonder how many other wives and families he has on other spheres. I wonder what he really looks like.