My wife fought January’s gift of cold by easing down into a steamy bath this morning. My eyes still closed, I heard her sigh with relief as she slipped into bubble-filled lavender water hot enough to leave her red as a beet but her skin smooth and supple after a long, soothing soak.

As she won the war of comfort, I battled waking. Sleep was an elusive mistress last night. 3:24 laughed back at me the last time I eyed the clock. No, it’s not what you think. My mind worked overtime. Thought spawned thought, and despite my best efforts, I could not shut it down. No off-switch for the thinker.

Raised voices, a volley of accusations, an argument floated into frame. Was that this morning or just remnants of a dream?

The engine fired up. No, not yet. Damn it. Once the engine runs, it moves.

I surrendered. Groggy, limbs aching and eyes burning from lack of sleep, I sighed, turned over and threw back the covers, and grabbed my phone off the nightstand.

As I read email propped up in our bed, my daughter walked in and handed me a sheet of red construction paper with scotch tape slapped on the top. My son’s roller coaster handwriting warned me of something but I couldn’t make it out. I popped up and headed to the gray light streaming in through the master bath windows.

I held up the paper and read:

HeyIve-proboly-gone-by

“Matt’s runaway,” my daughter said.

My wife stared wide-eyed at me looking for answers. I shook my head affirmatively and handed her the note.

Bath water swished behind me as I dashed out of the room and down the hallway.

“Matt?”

Only an echo replied.

I ducked in the downstairs guest bedroom. Nothing. I scrambled to the kitchen. Nothing. Sliding down the hardwoods in socks, I reached the end of the hallway that opened up to the living room, formal dining and entry way. I scanned the rooms. Nothing moved.

As I turned to run up the front stairway, movement from the long vertical windows framing either side of the front door caught my eye. I turned and saw an elbow in black plodding up the front walk.

I opened the front door and our 12-year-old son, a backpack slung over his heavy black coat, looked back at me.

“I needed to clear my head,” Matt exhaled, his breath dancing in the distance between us before vanishing.

LoveMonkey-Original

That’s enough for tonight.  Tomorrow’s another light.  From one sojourner to another, all the best.