Something was wrong with my wife. And it was making me worried.
When I arrived home (after a twelve hour flight), she literally crushed me in a hug and cried into my shoulder, telling me how much she missed me.
That might not sound unusual, but I'd been leaving town like this for four years of our marriage. So, when I get back, she usually kisses me and we have a nice session in the bedroom once I've wound down with a drink, but not this time.
She just stood there saying over and over how she didn't want me to ever leave again.
When I asked her what happened, she said, nothing, just that she missed me.
It didn't make sense.
And then when we did have sex, she attacked me. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but...it was so unlike her.
And when I whispered how much I loved her, she looked as if she was about to cry.
After a few days, she seemed to get back to her usual self. We even talked in the morning on her day off and she told me all about the silly things the kids had been doing.
When I asked her about Pax and Luci, she said she didn't know then changed the subject.
The worst, though, was I'd find her crying to herself. Sometimes she'd be over in the corner of the kitchen and I'd come up to her and ask what's the matter. She'd say, "Nothing."
After a few more days, I thought she was fine but then one morning, it happened again.
In my dream, I heard someone crying.
When I woke up, I realized it wasn't a dream. Winter sat next to me, shoulders shaking. I could see tears dripping onto her silk nightgown, making dark spots.
"Winter? Hey, Angel...what's wrong?" I stroked her hair and caressed her back.
She turned toward me, wiping her eyes. But didn't answer.
Rubbing her cheek, I pleaded, "Baby, you've got to tell me what's the matter. I can see it's killing you. Why won't you open up? I'm your husband. I can help you with whatever it is." I figured it had to be something in her job. Maybe she felt like she failed in saving a patient. I knew that had happened before.
But instead of telling me, all she did was shake her head and whisper through tears, "There's nothing wrong. I'm just emotional."
That was a lie, but what could I do? I mean, I couldn't force her to tell me.
Cuddling close, she fell back asleep in my arms.
But I didn't get any rest. My heart ached for her. I decided she needed to get some counseling if things didn't change soon. She was in some sort of deep depression.
I'd told the band I needed a few months off this time, hoping to make sure Winter would be okay by herself again. I didn't want to come home to a ball of tears like what had just happened. They understood. I could only hope that would be enough time for her to get back to normal.
Then slowly, week by week, it seemed as if her depression had lessened until I felt she was finally her smiling self again. Pax had been pestering me to go on that fishing trip, and I accepted. I'd worried about leaving Winter again, even for a few days, but she assured me she was fine with it.
"I mean, it's not like I'm going to slit my wrists, Jackson," she said, laughing. We now joke about her little "nervous episode" as she called it. In the back of my mind, I still wasn't sure, but everything seemed to be okay anyway.
"I'll come straight home on Sunday morning to help out with the kids," I promised.
Then I kissed her cheek. She gave me a cute slap on the ass and said I'd better.
Once Pax arrived, Winter's face grew pensive and she left the kitchen without even saying hi to him. I wondered if they had a fight at work. It was weird.
"Are you all set, dude?" Pax asked. "I cannot wait to get out of the smog and into the crisp clean air."
"Yeah...got all my reels and I bought some new lures, too."
I wasn't really looking forward to leaving my family. I had been away so much and with Winter's recent behavior, my whole body screamed at me to stay, but Pax was looking forward to it. I knew he wanted to talk about his marriage. He indicated that on our last phone call.