Saturday, 21 March 2009

Dénouement

Apologies to those of you wondering where I've been. The last few days have been spent in introspection and making up after the relationship quake of last week. It has taken me a few days to fully appreciate the gravity of what happened and organise my thoughts once more.

For almost forty eight hours after my wife stopped talking to me, I was literally speechless, stuck for words, call it what you will. My normal glib eloquence had taken on a negative value. I was rendered mute by her refusal to speak; and genuinely thought that our marriage, the bedrock of my existence, was about to shatter and cascade around my ears like shards of broken glass. Mrs S was mad at me, that much was pretty self evident, but I just could not voice how low that had laid my heart. For the first time in many years I was genuinely terrified. Like a Deer mesmerised by the approaching headlights of a truck my leaden emotional feet would not stir to sidestep the oncoming juggernaut. I genuinely thought it was all over between us, and where would that have left us both? Adrift in a still-strange land with no one to turn to. I saw myself dragging my feet back to the UK with my metaphorical tail between my legs to an unforgiving family, no job, or prospect of gainful employment in the near term. Our dog having to be given to the uncertain hands of the SPCA (Not PETA, I'd rather kill him quickly myself than let him fall into their clutches). Everything we've worked for so hard for in fragments around our feet, followed by the echoing emptiness of our remaining lives.

Early Thursday morning I found myself staring haplessly out of our kitchen window. Hands thrust into jeans pockets and jammed in petrified introspection when I heard Mrs S say bluntly from behind me; "I don't want to be in a relationship where no one talks."
"But you stopped talking to me." I said plaintively, turning to face her. "You ignored every little gesture, every little olive branch I put your way."
"Some Olive branches." She said derisively, eyes lined with red. I was thunderstruck.
"Every time I asked you anything, you hardly answered." I complained.
"Maybe you need better olive branches."
"I don't get it." I said. My Dog slunk off to his box and put his paws over both ears. At this precise juncture I would have given the world to have joined him.
"You told me to sod off!" She was openly crying now. Tears running like a river in full spate. What?
"I did no such thing." My heart was in my mouth, and it didn't taste very nice. "I never said anything like that!" At this point my throat was tight and my eyes were beginning to fill. I was in complete comprehension failure. Where was this coming from? For fucks sake I love this woman like no one else and she was telling me she didn't want to have me around any more? Had I been suffering from a heart condition I swear the shock of the accusation would have killed me right there.
"Don't you lie to me Sticker!" She railed. "I only wanted to know what you were up to and you told me to shut up!"
"What?" I gaped. "Oh Jesus." Was that it?
"Jesus yourself."
"I didn't mean it like that." I replied plaintively. "But you did ask me the same thing three times like you thought I was lying to you."
"I only wanted to know."
"Yeah but..."
"But nothing! Don't you dare treat me as if I don't exist!"
"What?" The ground was giving way under my feet and I was powerless to stop it happening. "I never meant to. You stopped talking to me."
"Right!" She snapped.
"I've been stuck for words these past two days trying to think how to fix what went wrong, but I can't." I responded.
"You?! Lost for words?" Each syllable felt poisoned at the tip.
"You see me naked." Was my weak rejoinder.
"Well I don't feel so good about it myself."
"I don't know what to say."
"How about sorry?" She snapped, tearfully.
"If I was going to be sincere about it, yes." My major fault is that I am, at least with my dearest one, 100% honest. "An apology is no good unless I really mean it." This much seemed to strike a chord, but as I was hanging on to the last shreds of my self control, I wasn't paying that much attention.
"Well if you can't say sorry."
"You wouldn't respond to anything I said."
"So is that it?" The hopelessness in her tearful voice tripped one of my last fully functional neurons.
"I don't want to lose you. Not over this." I couldn't help myself. Somewhere within me a dam broke and all my careful defences were swept before the flood, all my mental armour crumbled like the rusty fake it was and I began to cry like I haven't cried since I was very young. Mrs S wrapped her arms around me and we both wept for my failure of intelligence.

Despite having faced down angry people waving fists under my nose, had any number of close shaves of the physical variety, and even on two particular occasions had loaded firearms brandished in my face. Despite pain that has literally stopped me in my tracks from various injuries, I have never let more than a few drops of moisture leak from my eyes. Now there I was, sobbing like a bairn because my wife was mad at me.

Thinking about it; Mrs S is my one weak spot, my emotional Achilles heel. I would cheerfully walk barefoot through all ten circles of Hell for her and never breathe a word of complaint. For this woman I would happily take a bullet, smiling as I did so. I don't think I could bear it if she and I were permanently parted.

"Now look at me." I sniffed away tears, mad at myself for being so weak.
"Look at us both." She sniffed and kissed me on my neck.
"I haven't cried like this since I was a boy." I let her go and grabbed a tissue, passing one back to her. "Look what you do to me."
"Well at least we're talking." She sniffed, and noisily blew her nose.
"I never meant to stop."
"Didn't feel like it." For the moment, our storm seemed to have passed. "But you told me to shut up."
"I didn't mean it like that. I just felt you were pushing me into a corner and I had no way out, so I bit."
"You shouldn't have."
"Well I did, and I'm sorry it happened." I said. That seemed to lower the emotional temperature somewhat and I gave her a deep hug. She hugged me back just as fiercely. We stood like that for a while.

"You know, I didn't mean you to shut up. I just wanted a little space. You shouldn't take me so seriously." I said at length.
"Yes, but you don't like it when people take the mickey."
"Them, no. You can do it all you want." I replied. She brightened a little and gave me a playful slap on the arm. I gave her another hug. "I still love you, you know." It may sound lame, but I still mean every word. "Couldn't live without you." I held her as close as I could.
"I couldn't live without you." She buried her head in my chest, still wet face leaving a large damp stain on my shirt front.

We hugged a little longer until a plaintive whine from nearby broke our mini reverie.
"Haven't you fed the dog?" She asked me. Dog was sitting there, head on one side, just staring at us in affronted canine disbelief. He wanted his breakfast, and wasn't about to take no for an answer. Bugger the human kitchen sink drama.
"Haven't had much time in the last ten minutes." I gave her a real smile. Our mutual good humour seemed to have seeped back. I hugged my (much) better half again and we disengaged.

"Come on, trouble." I said to my dog, and he bounced after me as I picked up his dog food and decanted the mornings rations into his food bowl. Mrs S finished getting ready for work. Back to normal.

Postscript: Since Thursday Mrs S and I have been making up with one another. My good lady and I are back on the same wavelength once more, and happier with each other than for several months by my counting. The small affections are once more common and we are communicating properly, fooling around like teenagers when the mood takes us. For my part I will heed this warning, and take good care to ensure I never put my most cherished possession, our relationship, in such peril again.

2 comments:

Scoakat said...

I'm glad all is well, Bill. There's nothing to be ashamed of here. Hell, I know I've had my share. Amazing, the little things that get to them that we men hardly notice at the time. Sigh, I wouldn't trade her for the world, though, either.

Bill Sticker said...

Emotional catharsis; sometimes necessary, rarely pleasant. The post is as close to word for word as I can recall.

Serves me right for not being my usual observant self.

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