i remember

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we walked the pier on a summer evening.  & as we sat down on a bench, he told me all the things i needed to do.  try harder.  get out more.  volunteer for something.

he said other things that i don’t remember.  i stared at the water in front of us.  then at my hands as i tried not to cry.  he hadn’t heard a word i had said in forever.  he had walked out of the room once as i was crying & saying i was getting sicker & didn’t know why.

now he was fixing things.  & there was no reason for me to talk anymore.  he looked satisfied & happy.  i don’t think he even noticed that i was silent & distant.

after his dad died, he grew more distant & angry.  it took me awhile to realize the anger was directed at me.  one night, he told me about his latest work idea.  it had many flaws but i said nothing, other than noting that it would entail him being not around at all as my health continued to decline.

he was angry i was not cheerleading his idea.  i told him in the end he must choose the path that held his heart.  he told me to stop with the buddhist bullshit.

then he recited a litany of all the things lacking – me not wanting to go out to parties or hear live music or …..any number of things that people do.  that all i did was take these walks or go to the park or visit his family.   i started to answer & explain & then stopped.

that night i took off my wedding ring.  he never noticed.  he chose the job.

within months, after walking out on yet another doctor who told me to take up running & do high intensity aerobics (i asked him if he had not heard the part about the days i could not get up from the couch.), in the throes of increased marital conflict & trauma, on the heels of failed marital counseling & inconceivable behavior, i collapsed severe with the disease i had only recently figured out that i had.

i was frightened out of my mind.  he paused in the kitchen on his way to a party & said, “this changes nothing.”

it changed everything.

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