All day is rains. The light on our town is blue and as limpid and secret filled as the down bed of a teenage girl. I remember twenty four. I remember young. I feel Mr. Curry's mouth over mine, the kissing penetrating the light, the day, the night, the lonely solonely childhood left hanging on our fingers and heads like cobwebs we walked through to find one another. I remember hours of alone together inside this light and this rain and the entire world shuddered on the top of choppy water and wewerenotalone and we were drunk and slow and in love. These are our roots. The hours, days, months, even years before we had to pay dues, when we were still inside the rain.
Lately I have moments where I miss that thing we were so impotently, so swiftly and so painfully that it arrives in a physical, chemical blow: in the second brain, they call it, in our guts, where our immune system and our hormones churn. Complications, the doctors say with their mouth so very still despite the words, we were almost there but there were complications. Baby complications. Hospitalization. Money. Moving. Teenagers. And now; January complications.
I want the bedroom to still. I want my sons to move quietly and my daughter to stop talking and asking and claiming and my baby to stop begging for breast every half hour and I want to lay on the mattress and feel adored and adoring. I want the mean slow freeze of January to release my husband. January is hard for him. Which makes it hard for me. I watch his angry, frustrated face, tired of being exhausted and struggling against himself. Sometimes I want to throw something at him, at his arm, where it would hurt but not kill, hard enough to make him furious, to break the ice and bring the entire river to a boil and release us from winter. During a quietly furious ten minute argument I am horrified to find myself thinking I hate you I hate you I hate you. I want to run away. I want to say something so final and so hurtful we could never recover from it. I want to so badly my arms are trembling. I am resentful and furious and cannot stop the potent adjectives hammering my brain: stupid miserable fucked up I think of how happy I have been alone, before. How easy it is to make your own happiness alone. It all feels so forever.
I trace my finger over our baby's face. It's been one month, I say in a whisper to myself. One month. I am confused. Why does one hard month feel completely unacceptable and undoable? Then I am ashamed. Why can't I wait just a fucking MINUTE? Why do I have to be so demanding, so greedy with happiness? But pain and struggle and distance makes me feel like a failure. Like our marriage is a failure. If this is all true, then what about the other 11 months, before this one? What were they? Just pretend, just play acting, just rehearsing before the big reveal, the truth?
No. I think about the famous divorces now, crawling over the computer screen like a virus. The Katy Perry, Russel Brandt. Heidi Klum and Seal and their four children, like our four children. From celebrating their anniversary every year with a spectacular, blowout celebration of passionate love, to divorce. In between, four children, years of a life. I watch them implode on msn.com one by one and drink my coffee with a stern face. What do we expect when we get married? I ask myself. That it fails us so soon. That we let go so quickly. When there is not abuse or chronic abject neglect, when the problems are so human, so late night dishes and dirty floors and crying babies and insecurities and relinquished dreams and mental illness and the messes and faults we collect along the way as we try to raise families: addictions, secrets, desires, impulses both repressed and explored.
My husband sweeps the kitchen floor with a face so exhausted and shoulders so bent he could be Robert Parker's protagonist: world weary and eagle eyed and fighting demons inside. He reaches out and touches our daughter's head as she toddles by and I suddenly see him as he is so often: lit from within with his quiet way of loving, eyes connecting, shoulders straight and strong from manual labor, and I am suddenly gripped with a ferocious loyalty and panic that I could ever, even in my unasked for thoughts, consider hating or leaving this man who is only fighting his own demons along side me, a thing I agreed to do when we took hands on the beach in La Jolla nine years ago. Without seeing I feel a collection of our years together take its place where my anger and frustration at his disease was just a moment ago and again I am simply a wife longing for her husband, instead of one bent on destruction. It's just so hard sometimes. It's just so hard sometimes. Because it's not just about him and his demons- of course not. It's me. It's my own. And when he is struggling like this, I have to struggle too, because it is the nature of my faults and anxiety that I react to this with chronic anxiety, with a knotted stomach, with loss of appetite, with almost zero patience for how he is like this; he doesn't think the same. I want to talk to him, not this stupid disease. Can I have my husband back now?- a thought, a million times a day.
I have no illusions of perfection or forever. I know we could lose our marriage. In our best moments I am most afraid of the specter of divorce: when I am so in love and so enthralled that I cannot imagine life on this planet without him. In our worst moments, like now, something wounded, angry and afraid inside of me wants to label us with every rotten branch down the tree. I want our marriage to be wonderful, and when it's not, I want our problems to be acceptable, things you can joke about over lunch at work Haha he's such an ass, he wouldn't watch the baby while I worked out, not Sometimes we get mentally fucked up and one of us can barely do family life and goes through the motions while the other one tries to wait it out.
Patrick Swayze's wife just wrote a memoir of her marriage; she says they separated once, and had hard, rough patches in their long marriage. But he's still my fairy tale, she says.
I lean forward into silence. I lean into patience, humility, forgiveness, a life outside my marriage, my parenting, my writing. I wait quietly for him to come back to me. I work my resentments like tight muscles. I try to be better.