We’ve been here before. I do something. I don’t do something. It is whatever shiny nugget he pans out in his sieve. It’s all his. It’s all he needs. He takes that little stone into his clenched fist and he seethes, “Eureka.”
What comes next is hate. Projected onto me. He decides that I need to learn a lesson. He doles out the threats like they are playing cards. He stacks his chips against me and then dares me to call his bluff.
If you say one more word, I won’t talk to you until Friday.
If you say one more word, I will stay somewhere else for the week.
One more word? Two weeks.
Just one more? Three weeks.
Four weeks it is!
I ask myself, “Why say anything? Why feed into it?” Then another voice, smaller and pleading. She calls out to me, “Help!” I make the choice to listen to her. My inner Spirit.
This is ridiculous.
Don’t threaten me.
STOP threatening me.
THIS IS EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL.
I am deeply sad. I am deeply hurt. I used to feel his pain more than mine. “He doesn’t understand what he does. He needs help. He needs to heal his past hurt if he will have a fulfilling life.” I found compassion and love and gave it all to him. When I heard the words, I’m sorry. It was enough for me. I was happy and hopeful and went back to living our life that was feeling cozy and comfortable. We were building our dreams from the ground up and I liked it. These little hiccups would be dealt with and eventually we would emerge intact. That is what I believed.
I still see the happiness of our life all around me. In the oddest moments. Opening the oven door and pulling out my English muffin instead of a cake for him. Hearing him tap away at his computer. Flush the toilet. His shirt. Scent. I stand brushing my teeth and it feels normal. I feel him next to me at his sink, gargling a tune with his mouthwash. Standing next to my Spirit I see that life as it is, whole, undisturbed. But it does not set me into a tailspin of pain and longing. I turn my head to look at Her and not the empty sink next to me. We finish up and climb into bed alone. Hearing him creaking in the guest bed, I think, “Huh. He should be here.” But then I just turn over and leave that thought on his side of the bed and go to sleep.
I’m floating through this parallel life right now just observing. I feel like a slick and shiny version of myself. No emotions stick to me. They slide right off with barely noticeable impact. Like when I come out of the ocean and don’t dry myself with a towel but just let my skin glisten. Pretty soon, I know the heat of the sun is going to start prickling on my skin. I know that my shield will be dried away and I’ll be left vulnerable to what is all around me. I’ll have to “figure out.” “Make decisions.” But not now. I’m tending to my spirit. She needs me to nourish her. So I pull myself out of the deep waters to sit with her on this boat with a glass bottom. Side by side, we watch the landscape of my present pass underneath of us. Emotions like detritus float in and out of our view. We point at them as they pass. We forget them almost instantly. All of it stays there, removed, swirling and churning beneath the glass. Hand in hand we glide over it, for the time being, unaffected.