When Julianne came back home after three months of work on board “The Norwegian Cruise", she found nothing but a pale, fragile silhouette staring at her, moving from left to right in a trembling swing, result of the Scotch and hash she could notice he'd been abusing of. He was always too careful with his stuff but by the way it was all carelessly spilled over the wooden table, she could tell something was more than wrong.
His bony face creeped her out, his smile was gone, and all she could notice was a pair of black hollow eyes glowing with some sort of curiosity… or fever… or hangover, she wasn’t sure.
“Only three months.” she muttered.
Julianne stood static at the front door, trapped in that empty face, trying to find reasons for her love not to fade away. She felt a weird butterfly sensation in her stomach, not the kind of funny butterflies she felt when amused, but some kind of cold empty pain instead, the same she always felt when things made her nervous. However, she wasn’t nervous. She was antsy. For the first time in eight years she started to notice where she was really standing. Suddenly, it all looked chaotic and stale. Had it always been that way?
She didn’t know exactly what to do. She hesitated for a moment, and leaving the luggage at the front door, she walked slowly towards him. He stopped swinging abruptly but continued to follow her movements only with his eyes. As she came closer, he blinked twice as if he suddenly realised who she was. His thin lips drew a smile in his face.
“I’m finally home.” she said.
“Finally,” he repeated. “Long time… long time no seeing ya.”
“Three months is not that long.” she excused "I can see a lot has been going on around here.” she said inspecting the place.
“Naw. The usual stuff… ya’ know…” he said looking over the place without any interest or surprise.
His face revealed the tiredness of waiting. The bags under his eyes showed the endless nights of restless sleep. The once youthful face began to show thin wrinkled lines, the once lively freckles started to fade away. Was time really that cruel on some creatures? Was the distance and loneliness eating him away?