My husband is a naval test pilot. He wants to be an astronaut, so he attends several conferences and training sessions every year. Yesterday, after being gone for several weeks, he returned home…different.
His eyes were darker, the iris almost black where it used to be a bright summer green. Four times I’ve found him standing in doorways, perfectly still, staring into nothing. Last night was the worst, it was terrifying. He got up out of bed around 11 and walked across the room. At first I thought he was heading to the bathroom or kitchen, but the bedroom door never opened. I turned over, flipped on the light and screamed. He was standing in the corner of the room closest to me, facing the wall. His eyes were squeezed shut and he was muttering. Hands in fists and swaying. I didn’t want to, but I approached him slowly, carefully and reached out.
He turned, faster than I’ve seen anyone move and griped my shoulders. The bones in his hand felt like they were digging into me and he shook me, hard. Screaming into my face; “Where am I? What’s going on?” before his eyes rolled up and he collapsed onto the floor. No matter how much I shook him, he wouldn’t wake up. I snatched up my cell phone and dialed 911.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“My husband…he collapsed…please send help…you have to help us please.”
“Someone will be there shortly.” Then the line disconnected.
I stared at the phone trying to figure out what’s going on. They didn’t even ask for my name or address. I heard the doorbell and ran to open it. A man in a dark suit pulled me aside as two paramedics rush through the door.
The two men return almost immediately, shaking their heads.
“We’re too late,” one says as they carried their bags back out to the waiting ambulance.
The man in the suit walked me to my bedroom doorway and turns, “He was in here?”
I pushed past him and saw an empty room. “I don’t understand, he was just, he was just here. On the floor.” I knelt down and touched the floor where Tom was lying, it still felt warm.
“Ma’am, we’ve been watching your house since the reports started coming in. Your husband and his team were lost during a mission. They’ve been missing over a week. But you’re the 3rd person to report their husband coming home, then later disappearing. Did he say anything?”