Walking A Path, Alone Together

My best friend constantly reminds me to be careful what I say when I’m angry. As she says, when we’re angry, we often say things we don’t mean, and we don’t necessarily know how much damage those words can do. Lately, I’ve had a real lesson in just such a thing.

Several weeks ago, Ron said he wanted a divorce. He also said a lot of other things that were extremely hurtful, although he didn’t mean to be hurtful, he was merely being honest. That’s the problem. I realize he was just being honest…he actually meant the things that he said. It wasn’t a tirade against me, or anything like that. Ron is never puposely mean. But he had a lot of bottled up resentment, and said some really awful, generalized things: “I never wanted to blah blah blah;” “I never should have blah blah blah;” “I’ve wanted to blah blah blah since blah blah blah.”

After a few days of cooling off, we agreed that we would give our marriage another ten months, and then decide in January what he wants to do. He wants to be divorced before our tenth anniversary, so he won’t have to pay alimony. I can understand that. Meanwhile, we would pay off debts and see a marriage counselor. If nothing else, we would both be able to walk away guilt free, say we tried, and we’d be in a better financial position. I used to joke about it, and didn’t realize exactly how true it was, when I would say that for us, it wasn’t, “’til death do us part,” but it was more, “’til no debt do us part,” meaning that where other people stay together because of the kids, we’ve stayed together because of our finances. Gallows humor, to be sure;  I just didn’t realize exactly how accurate it was.

We did go together to see my therapist, but she recommended we go see someone who doesn’t know either of us, rather than Ron possibly feeling like we’re colluding against him. I understand and agree, although I truly detest having to go through my entire past one more time. Crappy childhood? Check. Failed marriages? Check. Children hate me? Check. Emotionally unstable? Check, check, check.

Of course, that’s all standard, so I’m not surprised by it. I’m grateful my meds are fabulously keeping me in a zero state. I’m not sad or upset. I’m also not happy. On a scale of -10 to +10, I’m exactly at zero. It’s good, because it means I’m less likely to try to off myself again. It’s bad because it means I feel pretty apathetic about everything. However, none of that is what’s really bothering me.

What’s really bothering me is that I can’t look at my husband without hearing all the things he said about me, our marriage, his feelings. I lie awake on the sofa night after night, day after day, and the words play through my head like some kind of pathetic liturgy, over and over. When we’re talking, there’s a secondary soundtrack that only I can hear, whispering, “I never wanted, I never should have, I never, I never, I never…” Sometimes I’m looking straight at him while he’s talking to me, and I have no idea what he’s saying, because all I hear is, “I never, I never, I never…”

For the first week or so, I was absolutely adamant that we were going to work things out. The second week and I was pretty sure. The third week and I thought maybe. Now, I have no idea. I finally managed to get an appointment with our first choice marriage counselor for tomorrow. Thank goodness for cancellation lists. Part of why we chose her is because she is close to both our house and Ron’s office, so if she calls with a cancellation, we can be there in five minutes.

Fortunately, the situation isn’t completely untenable. There’s no abuse, no one has cheated, we don’t argue. Ron still makes dinner and does the laundry. He still calls when he leaves work, and asks what we need from the store. When Aubrey is home, she and I still watch tv shows. If Aub’s at work, I sit here on the sofa and listen to music, or sleep, write, read, crochet, or work on photos. Ron studies for his CPA exam in the living room or bedroom until 10pm, then goes to bed. I stay on the sofa.

Superficially, nothing has changed, other than I now brush my teeth and go back to the sofa, instead of brushing my teeth and going to bed. Superficially. It’s the deep, bitter, festering, unseen, but unable to be unheard words that have changed everything for me. The sound of them drone over everything else, until my world is just a constant gray hum. I do want to work on this, or at least, I think I do. Maybe I just thought I did. I do have a strong sense of committment, but part of me wonders if I am just being stubborn, refusing to face reality. Lately, as I lie on the sofa smothered in apathy, I wonder exactly what it is I’m supposed to be fighting for if he “never, never, never…” I know there are efforts I could put forth on my part; I know most of what the marriage counselor will say. The problem is that every time I think about all that effort, all I hear is, “I never, never, never…”

It hit me one day, while I was laying here, that I have forgotten what it feels like to be loved in the way that most women think of as love. I don’t remember what it’s like to fall asleep wrapped in someone’s arms, or have them come up behind me, put their arms around me and tell me that my hair smells good. I don’t remember when was the last time I was snuggled on a couch while listening to the rain, or music, or nothing at all. I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation that had nothing to do with the kids, the house, the dogs, the cars, the bills. Hell, I can hardly remember what a real conversation is. I cannot remember what it feels like to be with someone who wants to be with me. More than anything, I cannot remember a time when everything wasn’t my fault.

So what do we do now? I guess we wait. We wait for the marriage counseling, wait for our debts to drop, wait for next January to turn to next February, wait for…what? I don’t know.

“The nights are long and cold and scary…can we live through February? I think Christmas was a long red glare, shot up like a warning. We gave presents without cards, and then the snow, and then the snow came. We were always out shoveling. We drop to sleep exhausted, and we wake up, and it’s snowing.”

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She Floats Through The Air With The Greatest of Ease

I didn’t realize how long it has been since I’ve posted, nor how long it has been since I’ve even been on WordPress, period. I’ve had a problem with my meds and my fatigue, so not only have I not had any energy to write, it’s not like I have a whole lot to write about. However, I usually write about Aubrey anyway, and I promised my best friend I would write something just for her, because she’s “bored and needs something interesting to read.” I’m not so sure I’m qualified, but there is quite a bit of Aubrey news…

When Aubrey discovered that she was about to be unemployed (her old place went out of business), everyone started throwing ideas at her. For ages, her brother has been telling her to apply at a popular place downtown that boasts it is the only place in town with wine aerialists. I told her it would be a great place to apply, but to think of other places, too, because that place surely wasn’t going to have an opening. However, she became totally fixated on this one job in this one place. She was bound and determined to get hired, so of her own accord, she took the classes required to get a food handler’s license and a state license required for anyone who serves alcohol. She even paid for it herself.

I became somewhat irritated, because I am old school when it comes to finding a job…back in the day, I applied at 20 places, interviewed at three or four, then took the best one. Aubrey wasn’t doing that; she was seriously fixated. While the rest of us shook our heads and complained that she was completely delusional, especially since she had no idea if they were even hiring, Aubrey did not care. When I argued the point about her not knowing if they were hiring, she called and asked…and yes, they were. That’s when I stopped saying she was insane; I knew there were very few girls who fit her exact body type who are also not afraid of heights and who have a dance or gymnastics background. Ron still shook his head, but I told him that if she got an interview, she would get the job.

So on a Friday evening, she sent in her application online with the intention of following up with a phone call after a few days. She never got the chance. They called her the next morning for an interview that afternoon, then hired her on the spot. When they told her the hourly rate and asked if that was okay, she was able to contain herself and just nod. They pay WAAAAAY above minimum wage, and there isn’t a lot of turnover for this position. Officially she is a hostess, but all of the hostesses take turns going up on the rigging and “fly” for 45 minute periods. This is very similiar to the rigging used by Cirque du Soleil…which was confirmed when the entire cast of one of the shows came in for dinner.

The rigging was developed by a place in Chicago called the Chicago Fly House. They rig pretty much anything and everything in and around Chicago. They are also the ones responsible for training the “Wine Angels” for this company. So no, Aubrey has not yet been allowed to fly, or even practice. For liability reasons, she has to be trained and certified before they will let her near the harness. She kept asking around to see how often they come down, and it turns out they wait until there are at least two newbies that need training. When Aubrey found out, she came home and posted a note on facebook for her 500 friends to see, asking if there was anyone else interested in working there. She is beyond determined, especially after working there for a couple of weeks and seeing what the different Angels do when they fly. Considering she has paid to be in similiar harnesses, I think she would pay them to let her work there.

Next Friday, she’ll get her first paycheck. She is beyond ecstatic, as every day when she punches out, her time card receipt shows her cumulative hours for the pay period. Every day, she does the math and gets dollar signs where her eyes are supposed to be. This will be the largest paycheck she has ever earned. She has some grand plans, but now I know better than to tell her she’s delusional. I’ve always said that Aubrey is stubborn and determined, and doesn’t let anything stop her. This is typical Aubrey. Well, typical “old” Aubrey…before she was broken. This is my fearless rock climber, tree climber, shimmy up a rope in a matter of seconds Aubrey. She is glorious in her confidence in a way that she hasn’t been in a very long time.

When we went shopping for her uniform (which is a black suit, including a blazer), she had a tough time finding anything to fit. Although Ron and I agreed to front some of the money, she didn’t want to blow a fortune on a suit from Ann Taylor, and honestly, I’m not even sure they are small enough. Aub is so tiny, sometimes even a size O petite is too big. We ended up buying her girls size 14 pants, a boy’s size 12 blazer, and a boys size small button down shirt. After we came home, victorious in our venture to find something in less than five shopping hours, she went in her room to try it all on together. A few minutes later, she steps out, twirls around and quotes Will Smith from Men In Black; “You know the difference between you and me? I make THIS look GOOD!” I think it’s pretty safe to say she looks amazing in her uniform, and she knows it. Aubrey can stop traffic when she wants…it’s just rare for her to want.

After two months with Karen, getting a job on her own on the spot, and finally realizing that her looks can be a huge advantage in our shallow society, she is just about over Isaac. We’ve talked about it, since her job is the kind of expensive, somewhat pretentious place that his family likes to frequent. She says she’ll be fine, and I know she will. I also know she will bribe whoever is in the wine room to let her take their place. The Wine Angels are all over YouTube, and I believe there are only nine restaurants in the US that have them; where Aub works and a few Radisson Hotels. Now I’m just hoping she doesn’t decide to run off and join the circus!

Aubrey in uniform