Thursday, November 16, 2006

The First Twenty-Four Hours

He said he needed to go to another meeting. I try so damn hard to be optimistic regardless of my conditioned state of skepticism. I say to myself, "yeah, sure he goes more than half an hour early. Doesn't he? Hmmm, when was the last time he did that. I can't recall." The hour and a half went by and then another 15 minutes. That familiar feeling of being a slave to the need for control kicked me in the stomach. I called. Twice. "I'll be there in five minutes." I restrained the racing thoughts that questioned his honesty. Fifteen more minutes went by. I picked up the phone two more times until I allowed the phone to send the call. No answer. Again, I send the call. No answer. Again. No answer. This is the process of confirmation we go through. I call over and over until I'm satisfied that he will not answer until he runs out of money.
I am crushed, but I do not cry anymore. There is really no relief, in fact, it weakens my fortitude. I cry when I think that I need to cry - especially if it has been a while.
It is after midnight. I just wrote a blog entry to simply fill in the day, but it was 5 minutes too late to get in for November 15. My home is cold and I simply do not want to wash my face and take my meds before I lay down. I don't really want to sleep.
I am standing in the cramped bathroom staring at my face while I grab the Lamictal out of the cabinet. My eyes are glossy and red. My face has bright blemishes on my right cheek. My hair is a mess. I hear the key slip into the lock. I stand perfectly still and hold my breath. I want so badly to scream and curse; to threaten and belittle; to manipulate and destroy. I turn to see his small face with pupils nearly covering every bit of green in his eyes. My first words comment on the obviousness of his state of inebriation. Then, the next usual question. "How much did you spend." He only had $40, so it shortened his evening.
His odor surrounds him - cheap liquor and sweat. I try to ignore him - to act as though it is really not a big deal. It is though. It is always a big deal. Then I feel pity. I have lived this before and I have seen this need for destruction. If only he could see the person I see in him. How sharp, charming, and deeply considerate he is. How, when people meet him, they instantly know he has a soft heart and a whip for a mind.
I sit with him for hours. I fall into the need for passive aggressive relief. He faces it stoically - feeling he deserves much more than I throw at him. A few minutes later I feel guilty ... it is much like scolding a child after they admit defeat and give a genuine apology. It is needless and simply an inappropriate way to displace anger.
I will not sleep. I peak out the blinds and watch him smoke cigarettes on our front porch. His breath and exhalations of smoke create a cloud in front of his face. The symbolism is frightening.
I turn to see the green light illuminating the side of the bed; it is after 2 a.m. I drift to sleep, but wake periodically to feel his back next to mine. Good. He is still here.
I cannot wake up. Instead, I throw on my college sweatshirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a worn Adidas ball cap. Not exactly business casual. I am exhausted and want everyone to know it. I dressed this way on purpose - let them know that I am in pain. I snap at my boss and I can see the frustration wash over her face. My uncle spies at me from across the room - he knows something is terribly wrong.
She asks what is wrong. "He fell off the wagon again." She replies in almost an angry tone, commenting shortly then muzzling herself and turning her focus back to the paperwork in front of her.
They both leave for a regional meeting. I call my mom and cry. Cry for the exhaustion and cry for the numbness I feel in my veins. Ironic, I know. My co-worker closes the door for me.
I feel so relieved and begin an upbeat conversation with the other girl. It is the day before my 24th birthday. I go home and shower, trying to begin the day over. There is dinner and then gifts. Now, it is 24 hours later. He lays beside me, his head in a book and I cringe over the thought of the next 24 hours.

No comments: