5 months. 14 days. 6 hours. 12 minutes.
That’s how long since the last time I’ve seen her face.
Narrow nose, kissed by the sun, as evident by the freckles that cover it like stars do the sky.
Short hair, curls so tight they move as one entity when she walks, skips, dances.
Dark eyes. Kind. Watchful. Wonderful. How lucky I felt when they landed on me.
Her naturally red lips, plump and constantly coated with a new shade lipstick. Always naturally curled up, ready to explode in laughter. Kisses in the morning, kisses in the evening.
Some men dream about those lips. I still do.
5 months. 14 days. 6 hours. 24 minutes.
It’s harder to think of those lips that way, now. No. My last memory, the only memory, they turn down, they frown. They open to let harsh words spill out. They team up with her arms that shove me, push me so hard for a moment I slam back into the wall and I can’t breathe. Those lips don’t laugh then.
5 months. 14 days. 6 hours. 29 minutes.
My hands shook, my hands still shake when I think of her. Her turning away, the long floral skirt she was wearing turning with her. She yanked the door open and let the storm in. The sounds of thunder crashing all around us, engulfing us. Naomi. Naomi, wait. Don’t go away. Don’t leave.
5 months. 14 days. 6 hours. 33 minutes.
That night we were both soaking, running through the woods. I was screaming her name, she was screaming to let her be. But I couldn’t let her be.
I know we fight, I screamed. Raindrops filled my mouth. I spit. But I love you. I love you.
I want a new life, she called back to me. She was a drowned rat. She was helpless. Her curls sprawled onto her face, spread down her forehead and into her once kind eyes.
But her voice was clear. Those words hit me. Cut right through me. I want a new life.
I reached out. I grabbed. I pulled. Too hard. But maybe not hard enough. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m like this.
The rain was washing the red away. The darkness of the night and the storm made it all hard to see. In the morning it would be gone, right? All of it? Will be normal, like it was? Naomi would curl up in the crook of my arm and nuzzle my face with hers, and I’ll kiss each individual freckle, right?
5 months. 14 days. 6 hours. 45 minutes.
The door to the white room clicks open and I jump. I anticipate his coming but still, I jump.
“Mr. Robinson, we’re sorry to pull you back into this investigation,” Detective James says, adjusting the glasses that rest on the end of his nose. I have known him since we were classmates in elementary school. I want to call him Benji like I did then, but I know that’s a bad idea. I should just keep my mouth shut. I chew on the inside of my cheek.
He looks at me carefully. Adjusts the glasses again. “There’s just been some new things to consider. Some discoveries out in the woods by your house.” Detective James cocks his head and pauses. I don’t move. I can’t move.
“Mr. Robinson, how long has it been again since your wife has been missing?”
I look at my hands. They shake.
“5 months, 14 days, 6 hours, 45 minutes.”