For almost all my married life I have waited for those words. At the beginning of our marriage, in late nineties, Sean called once from whichever country he was traveling to, if he could, to let me know he had arrived. After that phone call, I did not hear from him till he came home. We moved to India soon after and he traveled to Taliban controlled Afghanistan. He made calls home via satellite phones sometimes to let me know he was safe. Now I think back and wonder how I managed my anxiety then. He was at Colombo airport trying to fly out to Delhi because baby Sahana was very sick and I asked him to come home. He was at the airport when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam group or LTTE tried to blow up the airport. He and a young Srilankan woman with a small baby escaped the airport together and hid while bullets flew. Next morning I woke up to my landline ringing. “Have you landed in Delhi?” I asked. He hadn’t. He was having breakfast in Colombo at the home of the woman whom he took back to her family in the middle of the night. Her family was very grateful. The woman was flying out to Rome with her baby to join her husband but the rebel group destroyed Colombo airport. Sean was stuck in Srilanka. I met her when I went to Srilanka with Sean. She said “Your husband stayed with me and my baby the whole time. I don’t know what I would have done without his help.” When 9/11 happened Sean was in Bangladesh.
With cell phones, it became easier to communicate when he traveled. He texted “Arrived safely in _____”. And with that message safely tucked in my mind, I went about taking care of home and children. Now we have whatsapp. “I have arrived safely in…” message has transferred to our group chat in whatsapp so the two children can see that he is safe. Sean tries his best to just drop in a line whenever he can but sometimes he can’t connect to the network or whatever and that line takes time to appear. I still go about my life but I wait for that line all day.
These days, however, I know things are well when I get his Wordle results in the whatsapp group. Everyday, even when he is traveling, he diligently shares his successful Worldle completion. Followed by “I have arrived safely in….” Wordle results of my husband when he is in a faraway country gives me peace of mind. We, indeed, have come a long way.