The red LED display on my clock radio read 2:25 AM when Veronica got out of bed and disappeared. I kept waiting for the toilet to flush and for her to return to bed. It was hard for me to sleep with her not there.
“Honey?” I asked. “Is everything OK?” No answer.
Finally starting to worry, I got out of bed and put on my sweats and started to search. She wasn’t in the bathroom. She wasn’t downstairs. There were no footsteps in the snow. Her car was missing, but so were her clothes and her toiletries and every trace that she had ever existed. I grabbed my phone.
“Mary” I asked her sister “Is Veronica there?”
“Who is this?” she asked. Explaining that I was Frank, her brother-in-law, did little to clarify and she hung up on me after calling me some choice words. The odd thing was her parting comment. “I don’t have a sister.”
I looked for her parents’ phone number in my phone but it wasn’t there anymore. I called my best friend Barry to ask… what? What could I possibly ask him? “Did you come to my wedding? Did I marry a girl named Veronica?” No matter what his answers were, he would think I was nuts. Heck, I was beginning to wonder myself. I hung up before he answered.
Everywhere I looked, Veronica was missing. On the mortgage to our (my?) house. In our phone book listing. In the pictures of our vacation to the Bahamas. In the coming days my friends and co-workers commented on my wedding band and wondered when the confirmed bachelor had tied the knot without telling them. I ended up taking it off and looking for a therapist.
In our first session, she wanted to talk about my childhood and relationship with my parents and everything but my missing wife. Well, to say she was missing was kind of an understatement. My non-existent wife, maybe. I tried to steer the conversation there and she kept steering it back to my past. Three sessions later I was $600 poorer and no richer in understanding. I didn’t go back.
The first months were difficult. I wasn’t sure if I should date. Then I wasn’t sure if I could list ‘single’ on E-harmony. Then I wasn’t sure how to answer the questions about my past relationships. Eventually, I gave up on dating.
The red LED display on my clock radio read 2:45 AM when Veronica returned to bed. “Honey?” I asked.
“Yes?” she replied.
“Please don’t leave me again.” I requested.
She chuckled and snuggled up to my back. For the first time in a year, I slept soundly.