Adjectives such as ‘lost’, ‘mislaid’, ‘misplaced’ and ‘nowhere to be found’ are alternatives for the word ‘missing’.  But a missing husband is hardly the same as a lost fiver, a mislaid purse, a misplaced birthday card or a phone nowhere to be found!

Such a train of thought was never a consideration before it happened, never had it entered into my head, never had reason to.  But when it did, the floodgates opened.  A thought process now drenched with nothing but anger and discontent. 

Initially the eruption of emotions all fresh, energetically ready to get to work prompted an exhausting and never-ending circle of searching; mentally and physically.  The never-ending probing kicked in, analysing everything that all take me back to only one question; Why?

Why did you leave?

Why did you just disappear into the usual crowd of commuters; the sea of familiar faces all catching the 6.25am train from Paddington Station to Oxford?  Why did you get off at Slough that morning?

Why, when there are millions of CCTV cameras tracking our every movement could yours not be tracked? 

In Slough alone, there are 90 cameras, all accessible in a state of the art room saturated with technology.  You did not appear on any of them and still continue not to, that’s if you are still in Slough?  But why Slough? 

The only possible connection, which may not mean anything is when I looked through your limited editions of the works of Charles Dickens, rifling through each and every book and page for a potential clue, a note, a letter, just something, anything!  Although there was nothing I concluded he too conducted a secret life in Slough.  But why would you want to keep secrets from me? 

I am after all your wife, even though only officially in the eyes of the law for the past 364 days.  264 days of which I have been on my own, since you left. 

Tomorrow will be our anniversary; the first anniversary to mark the day we wed, the day we swore to one another we would be there for each other, no matter what!  We were in it together, for the long haul and yet now I sit here by myself, still wondering how and why things didn’t go to plan? Life is now so different, more so than I could have ever imagined! 

I can only hope and pray wherever you are, you will remember and come home to mark the occasion.  We will carry on together as planned for many more to come. 

But I have an odd feeling deep inside telling me I will never see you again.  Its eating away at me, at my hope, draining my positivity and at times it takes away my sanity.  Only you can put a stop to it and I constantly wonder, will you?

That day began as all the others before it with absolutely no reason to think it would change so drastically and end unfinished, like all the days since.

I clearly remember it, having relieved it every day since; us laughing together, racing each other to see who would get to the bathroom first, injecting fun and excitement into our daily routine to get ready for work. 

As I worked nearby only having to commute by tube, there was never any requirement for me to even be up at the same time as you.  But I wanted to!

I loved waking at the same time as you.  Sometimes before you, where I would just stare at your beautiful face fast asleep, until the alarm broke the spell and your eyes would open and your mouth immediately turn into a smile. 

I can still see your face when I close my eyes, although at times I need to concentrate more to ensure every detail is in place before I am fully satisfied ‘you’ have been captured in my mind’s eye.

It was fun to rise with you, talk with you, laugh at you and make you breakfast.  I would observe you whilst you would munch on your toast and tease you about always having marmite; nothing else would be good enough to awaken your taste buds, put a spring in your step and send you on your way.

I remember waving you from the front room window, just like I always had done every day since the very first day we moved into our 2-bedroom flat in Westbourne Park.  A room now only resembling something from a crime investigation scene; noticeboards are now in place, all with collages of any possible sightings of you, along with every piece of publicity I have managed to generate, all stuck up from various local and national newspapers and magazines.

As we are located on the 6th floor, I would be able to see you walk out from the estate and in the direction of the train station right up until you disappeared around the corner.  Although you were just a dot on the landscape, I knew it was you.  You would always wave at that point knowing somewhere in the distance I would be waving back and smiling. 

You made me smile and happy.  You made me feel as though I was invincible through the love you injected into me and my life.  Happiness would ooze out of every pore, annoyingly so to others, as the girls at the office would throw their arms into the air and exclaim Tina Turner style ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ each day on arrival when they could see I was once again all chipper and ready to take on whatever challenges were waiting in the wings.  It had always been that way since you arrived in my world.

Looking back, I didn’t have a care, I had you and everything was alright! In fact, it was better than alright, it was fantastic, fabulous, wonderful and all the words to describe a perfect union.  That’s what we were and that’s what we had! 

We had only been together for nine months when we got married on that bitterly cold day in mid-December.  It was a small affaire, only close friends and family.  My only relative, a brother, who lives in Australia was absent which meant my side of the registry office was sparse.  However, in hindsight, yours was not much better! 

There was Amanda, my best friend from school, always ferociously loyal throughout the years during even the most difficult times where our relationship has been tested to the full.  It would have been so easy to lose touch, instead the bond between us has grown and continues to do so.  I don’t really know what I would have done without her after you went. 

Jasmine, looking radiant was there.  She was the only one who remembered the confetti, giving me a silver horse shoe as a symbol of good luck.  Having worked together for years, we know each other inside out, the good and the bad.  She never complained even when put on the spot given the role of photographer, instead she took on the task in high spirits, not having the first clue of how to use your Nikon. 

To everyone’s surprise including hers, she produced the most amazing images successfully capturing the intensity of our love, each frame oozing happiness from every angle. 

Your family couldn’t make it, so just a few colleagues from work attended along with your boss.  I secretly felt this could have been a risky decision, especially as you had only just been promoted, but you were happy to invite him and his wife, and so they joined our happy party to share in our special time. 

No one from your past was present, even though you spoke about people so fondly and regularly.  At the time I didn’t question why.  Why should I have?  I was madly in love, blinded by you. 

We had both wanted to get married as soon as we could, and went ahead blown along by our romantic whirlwind, not really thinking about the logistics of it all or considering that perhaps we should have waited to ensure everyone could be included for such a special day and our life changing event.

The whole wedding was done on a shoe string.  I wore a gorgeous two-piece cream creation purchased in the sale of our local department store.  You rented a suit for the day and looked very dashing as though you were something out of ‘Great Expectations!’ 

Everything was done on the cheap!   Instead of a reception, we went for a curry at our regular haunt where the Manager Raj gave us a massive discount to help keep the costs down and also keep our custom, in the knowledge we would continue to come every Friday night for our regular fix of our favourite dish of chicken tikka masala with the much looked forward to pints of kingfisher to wash it all down.

After you went, I continued to go to the ‘Star of Indian’ in the hope you would walk through the doors and sit at our table to join me.  Initially, I would order for two, until the doggy bag Raj would prepare and present me with became too painful to look at, let alone want to take with me.

I finally stopped going about three months ago.  It wasn’t the food or the ambience, as throughout everything Raj has been an absolute brick!  He, as you would imagine is now like one of the family.  Always genuinely concerned he asks about you.  He still has your photograph on the back of all his takeaway menus in the hope someone may have information and come forward after they have enjoyed their Indian feast.

The reason I cannot continue to dine alone every Friday at our favourite restaurant is due to the looks I receive.  Looks of pity and sorrow from the other diners, who no doubt have read about you, seen the papers, noticed the appeals and in turn recognised me.  Their expressions always become morphed into the same; one that appears to be asking why? 

As time has gone on and you have stayed away, the moods and sympathies have altered; people are questioning what I did to make you leave? What really happened for a newlywed man to run away, disappear into the yonder and leave his bride desolate and broken? 

I now feel as though I am not only being questioned, but blamed.  No smoke without fire!  I can hear all the whispers; ‘surely she must have known! He was a good-looking chap, why would he stay?  Did she really think he would stay with her?’  I have heard all those cruel things being said. 

So now on a Friday, you will find me at home.  If you came back, even to just the corner where I last saw you, you will see me at the window just looking out, still looking for you or for a sign that one day you will come back. 

The police needed to ask me if I was having an affair?  An affair?   Me?  Little did they appreciate it had taken me all those years to find you.  Why would I cheat and risk everything we had for a meaningless affair?  But only you know better than anyone that I am not a woman designed to have an affair, never have been, never will be.  After all I am married!  I am a married woman who does take her vows seriously, abides by them, lives by them is guided by the meaning of them.  Remember, I only got married, as I knew I was ready, knew you and only you were the one for me! 

If only your moral compass and beliefs were the same you would still be here!  I really cannot answer truthfully when they continue to repeatedly ask me the same question of your intentions and possible plans.  I could at first, but now I am struggling, as to be honest I am now doubting you. 

It is strange to feel it would have been easier to discover if you were and are having an affair, and you have simply run off into the sunset with some stunning blonde!  Together the two of you are skipping merrily around Slough or the surrounding areas so loved up you totally forgot to call to tell me allowing me to move on, not that it wouldn’t have hurt! 

But, instead I fear the reality surrounding your disappearance is much more sinister and as much as it breaks my heart in two; you my love are lying somewhere in a ditch or a wood dead, covered and crawling with maggots.  This is the vision now engraved in my mind that gives me night terrors from which I wake drenched in sweat, unable to get such morbid and morose images from my head.  At the same time, I desperately try to convince myself this is not the case and against all odds you are still alive!

But if you are still alive, why would you not contact me and put me out of this perpetual misery? 

I am no longer the person you knew!  My eyes no longer shine from their hollows in my face, my mouth has turned down and with each passing day I wonder if I will ever smile again?

I have been reduced to becoming an online stalker.  Google has become my best friend who keeps me company in the wee small hours when I am unable to sleep, whilst I plug away with different keywords, typing in everything I can think of relating to you.

By doing so, I have found out things I never knew and with every piece of information I discover, another few gaps appear in my quest to gain the crucial missing details to be able to complete my dossier on you.

Just by searching your name and job brought up your location and this in turn led me to find some historical facts and confirm where you were born and raised.  It is odd they are different from what you told me.  I was able to locate the school you attended, and I have even have managed to contact some people you went to school with.  Sadly, none remembered you with any fondness and some refused to talk!

Keywords allowed me access into your social media world of different networks and accounts.

At first, I couldn’t find you on Facebook, but then why would I when I was looking for you and not someone with a different name?  Only through sheer exhaustion, one night I entered your name incorrectly into the robust search engine offered by Facebook feeling at the end of my tether, frustrated I could find everyone, but you.   Using the wrong sequence, I typed your middle name first, and suddenly your image popped up allowing me to browse at leisure through the photo results of a person I recognised, but someone who I was beginning to realise perhaps I didn’t know as well as I first thought.

I stumbled across a free people search enabling me to look up your relatives using the information I had gained to try to hunt them down.  Perhaps they will be the key able to answer all or some of my ever-growing bank of questions about who you really are and where you may have gone.

But for the time being all my obtained leads have gone cold.  Messages have been left, emails sent and letters written, all resulting in more waiting.  However, waiting is all I seem to do and will be something I continue to do until I find the answers that will steer me to you or until you come back.

You just slipped away unnoticed.  I have entered your image into apps constantly crawl the web, adding it to their indexes of billions of images, recycling it in the hope it locates defunct social media profiles and in its search will come across what I need to locate you.

You do not use your bank account, so I cannot understand how you are surviving; have you taken a cash in hand job? are you existing on the breadline? or is the stunning blonde you are skipping with keeping you fed and watered? 

Your passport lies on the side; it expires soon, so I know you aren’t lounging on a beach or exploring any of the faraway places on the imaginary wish list we created together.  Your phone cannot be located, even though at times I would accuse you of perhaps supergluing your fingers to it as your time was consumed by texting. 

Like me, you no longer have a job to return to.  The very polite letter explaining why is sitting in the drawer waiting for you.  I had to resign.  It wasn’t fair or right to not have a consequence to the amount of time off I needed and took.  Anyway, I couldn’t concentrate, my focus was and still is solely on you.  I am obsessed.  Each and every day is spent looking for you or for clues.  The police are still looking, but I no longer get the communication I used to, it’s now on a need to know basis, as every stone has been unturned in their opinion. 

Your card is written sitting with the present I got you for our Anniversary.  As an extra surprise, I have managed to finally get your image and details onto milk cartons, so as of tomorrow thousands of supermarkets will be stocking their shelves with your face, your beaming smile, your handsome good looks and your image to raise awareness and make the public stop and think if you have crossed their path.

Don’t be fooled that I am coping!  The best Anniversary present of all in preference of seeing you on a carton would be just to have you sitting opposite me once again munching on your toast and marmite and telling me you love me! 

Please come home as you and not the stranger you have become!