y'all remember a separate peace? i read it in tenth grade, and it was one of the few compulsory novels in high school that i truly loved. i assume that it's so ubiquitous at this point that i'm not even gonna say spoiler alert, but one of the main characters dies of an embolism during surgery to set a broken leg. a piece of marrow dislodges and stops his heart. that's a really apt analogy for the new grief process of the post-detente divorce. every time i turn around, a new piece of sadness breaks off and strikes me, rendering me completely defenseless. see also: this entire weekend.
see, last night, the man and i had an argument. nothing terrifically serious on its face - we were discussing the legitimacy of the NCAA. but this argument lasted the entire length of the uconn-kentucky game. no exaggeration; we didn't wrap it up and say sorry until the horn sounded and uconn advanced. it was a fun debate at first, but i found myself getting more and more worked up. there were a couple of things that struck me as hurtful. first, the man said at one point, tell me why i don't get it. tell me why i'm stupid. i lost my mind. hey, stop. i did NOT say you were stupid. i wouldn't ever say that. secondly, he said, that was a ridiculous, if not dumb, point. um, what?
so i called him on it. dumb? what the hell? he said, what? i say dumb things all the time. YOU'RE not dumb. you're brilliant. that's why it's so surprising that you'd say it that way. i guess that makes sense. not thrilled with the word choice, but okay. now let's move on to the whole tell me why i'm stupid thing. i did NOT call you stupid. of course you didn't. i know you don't think that. i was talking about myself. i felt stupid because i didn't understand. yeah, those are loaded words. i don't use them in situations like this. and as i said that to him, i felt my eyes welling up with tears. i stopped talking. you okay? no, not really. it hit me in that moment that, when these debates would happen in the old life, when the word dumb came out, he meant it. when the word bitch came out, same thing. the enormity of the brokenness of our interactions slapped me full across the face. to look the man in the eye, to see his concern, his sincerity, and to realize how scarred i was by the patterns of the past was a tough thing to face. he opened his arms to me, and as i laid my head against his chest and felt him kiss my forehead, i once again told myself that things were different, new, better.
then, a few minutes ago, actually, another sliver of grief came free. he went out tonight on a business dinner. cool; an evening in, painting my nails and watching baseball. all i need is some provision for my own dinner, and that's totally fine. (not like he keeps food in his home. not his style.) but a two-hour meeting that was well into hour four had my dander up, to say the least about it. my temper was getting piqued. hmph. bet he forgot. he'll be here eventually; it's his house. but looks like i got brushed off. 'course, that's exactly when he calls to ask what i want for dinner, and to tell me he'll be home soon. and it hit me like a ton of bricks. i am so used to the man in my life letting me down and disappointing me. it's almost what i've come to expect. y'all have read my hosannas to the heavens about the nice things he does for me. he's heard this too, and he always responds with the same thing: i do what i can. he almost seems surprised that i'm so grateful for him. well, i'm grateful because a) i don't expect reliability and b) i'm way more used to having to yell at someone than to thank someone.
this is a process, the man said as he wiped the tears away last night. but every day, it's going to get a little bit better. he's right. as i realize where i was hurt, what was broken, i can start to fix it. the pieces that break off won't kill me. they'll hurt as they come loose, but the more that come free, the closer i'll be to putting this whole, ugly mess 100% behind me. and believe me, that cannot happen fast enough.
Letter 70: Be Louder
4 weeks ago