I have a confession to make. Perhaps a couple. First, like Bernadette, in Where’d You Go Bernadette?, I have dreamed about disappearing on my family. This fantasy has occurred more frequently in the past nine months, as there have been long stretches where everyone is inhabiting our home and the space that was mostly mine is gone; taken over by home offices and school workspaces. But even before the pandemic, I dreamed of exotic places, far away, where I was free to be alone: reading, drinking wine, eating ice cream, and ordering my life to my slightly OCD, perfectionist standards.
But the reality is while I crave some alone time and more order, I don’t really want to exist by myself. In fact, I really want a more intimate connection and to be seen. This brings me to my second confession. I know my husband loves me. But it has been years since he has been able to show it.
“Did you notice anything different?” I ask. Knowing that I am setting myself up for disappointment but hoping anyway.
“You have on a new sweater.”
“No. This is 10 years old.”
“You changed your glasses.” He guesses continuing to look at his phone.
“Really?!” I exclaim. “I changed glasses a month ago.” Not wanting to prolong my own upsetedness I simply say.
“I spent three hours today getting color and a cut.”
“Oh. Ya. Your hair looks nice.”
And those conversations, and other things, means that I am that woman, and my marriage is that marriage. With a story on BA50 that has gotten over 4000 views.
Marriage is complicated. For most of our marriage, my husband travelled. He would be gone for weeks at a time. There is a very funny story about me not realizing he was home and telling his work colleague, who called at three in the morning, that he was away. Hanging up there was a voice next to me that asked who called. Half asleep, I had completely forgotten he was home that night. He received a lot of guff for that.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated 29 years of marriage. And as much as I want him out of the house and back to the office, I think some of this time together has been good for us. My husband is more aware of what is happening with our son, who is struggling with anxiety and depression. Previously, the responsibility would have been all mine. Now my husband steps up and what he says, and how he says it, has more resonance. In those moments, there is a connection that transcends the annoyance and anger. I often want him to change and mature and figure out his shit. Despite everything, I am grateful that I am married to a smart, caring person.
“Your feet are like blocks of ice.” My husband grumbles.
“I know. Imagine how cold they feel to me.”
But my reply falls on deaf ears, as he is already back asleep. I shift slightly to find another warm spot on his backside for my icicle-like feet, adjust my pillow, and close my eyes.
If this wasn’t love, what is?