I know it's only a matter of time.
Before this month is over, my husband of 16 years is going to leave me.
Already his thoughts are turning to another. I know I cannot compete, so I do not try. I must let him go.
All I can do is hope he returns at a decent hour.
And when he comes home the evidence will be all over him.
The stains on his collar.
The scent on his clothes.
The mud on his shoes.
And the smile on his face.
I will know exactly where he has been and with whom. And if I want to see him, I will have to follow him there.
Yes, my husband will leave me. Not for another woman, but for greener pastures.
And clay redder than my hair.
My husband is a high school baseball coach. And the season officially begins in nine days.
And while he will be in his heaven, spending countless hours on his field and in his locker room, my daughter and I will become afterthoughts.
Oh, I'm not really complaining.
This is his 10th season since our marriage. And he's in his ninth year at his second school. So I'm used to it. And with me being, until recently, a high school sports writer, our lives have always revolved around a ballpark somewhere.
So I know what's coming.
Soon our house will become Grand Central -- a gathering spot for coaches and players and parents and fans.
All nights will become sleepless -- either because of the last game, or the next one.
All conversations will be about baseball -- the players he loves and those that drive him crazy, the games won and lost, and who's next.
About his team -- what it has and what it's missing.
And the weather -- will it rain this week or not?
And Lora Leigh and I will follow him (if it's not 25 degrees outside) to as many games as we can.
She will moan and groan about going, but then she will be happy to eat everything they give her in the concessions stand. And she will connect with the other coaches' kids or she will disappear to some little corner so she can read a book.
Meanwhile, I will sit in my chair next to the dugout -- right next to the chair that has remained empty since his father died -- and try to be invisible. I will dole out cash for my kid to spend at the concessions stand and eat sunflower seeds until my mouth bleeds because I'm so nervous.
And I will think to myself how handsome I think he is in his uniform and I will try to ignore the people who think he's an idiot because he had his runner try to steal home. And I will hope he does not blow his blood pressure while arguing with the ump.
And she and I both will hope his team wins, because we're supposed to and because we don't like it when he comes home grumpy.
Sometimes he will come home happy, thrilled with victories over teams no one expected him to beat.
Sometimes he will come home angry, wondering how he managed to lose.
And he will toss and turn in our bed, lying awake all night wondering if he could have, should have, done something different -- started another pitcher, or taken the ball from him sooner, or if he should have tried to steal home.
And I will be there, wishing he'd just go to sleep already but happy that he's home at all.
I know what's coming.
Already he's happier. Giddy over a day spent watching a scrimmage two hours away, his stomach filled with the first of hundreds of Wendy's hamburgers.
And already I am here waiting for him.
My name is Lori and I am a baseball widow.