His face went white as I threw the roses across the room, barely missing the picture window. And then the look was gone — replaced by his controlled executive pokerface. The vase shattered into pieces as the water streamed down the freshly painted walls. How appropriate. My life was in pieces too.
He’d come home early that Friday afternoon. We were leaving town for a romantic weekend and I was so excited. He’d been working and on the road for the past months since we moved to California for his new job. I never thought he’d get home from the office this early. I was thrilled when he walked through the door. I did matter to him after all. We mattered!
But as he handed me the roses, I saw his face with the “you’re not gonna like this” look. I knew that look: tentative yet oh-so-resolved. I didn’t matter, after all.
He hugged me close as I asked what was up. He knew I knew. We’d been here too many times. “I’m sorry baby, but I have to fly to Japan tonight. There’s an emergency with the new partner and they want me there ASAP. I’ll make it up to you, I swear.”
He didn’t get any farther. I was wrapped in his arms and then I was roaring — the rage pouring out in guttural, primal wails. Like a wounded, cornered animal. The Madwoman had taken control.
I pulled away from him as he tried to hold me, pounding against his chest until he let go. Whispering my name, pledging his love. We both knew what was next, there was no stopping it now. His arms dropped to his sides, resigned.
I turned and hurled the roses at his head. He ducked and they flew past to hit the wall. Missing enraged my demon even more. I roared, said anything and everything that I knew would hurt him.
He stared at me with those sad puppy dog eyes, the look he used to get his way. It usually worked on me. Today it only fueled my rage. I moved toward him, fists banging the counter, told him to go to his precious company.
His eyes showed his pain…and his fear. He was afraid of me. He was double my size, and he was afraid. As I moved closer he stepped back, shook his head.
“I can’t take this any longer BB. I love you, you’re my world. But this business is important to me too, and I have to go now. I’m going to pack now. Then I’m leaving. The car is picking me up. I’ll be back next Tuesday. We’ll talk when I get home. But I can’t do this anymore. You’re killing both of us.” And then he calmly turned on his heel and walked away.
All of the rage sucked out of me. I was suddenly alone, terrified, powerless. I was destroying my life and I couldn’t stop myself. I could only face the aftermath — the hollow, empty, overwhelmed and oh-so-worthless side — beyond the rage.
I slumped to my knees, curled up in the corner of the kitchen and sobbed, praying to God to just let me die. I couldn’t face my life anymore, not like this. I heard him go upstairs, the muffled steps as he packed. Heard him come down the steps and into my office, knew he was checking last minute emails on my laptop. Always the CEO, no matter that our world was falling apart. He came back to the kitchen, stopped in the doorway. I heard him sigh when he saw me on the floor. He paused, said my name.
I couldn’t stop the wracking sobs. The dark, overwhelmed place had consumed me. I couldn’t find my way back alone. I needed him, his gentle touch. But I couldn’t even lift my head. I was broken.
He didn’t come to me. He was in his controlled place, compartmentalized, distant. He paused, said a soft “I do love you,” turned and left.
As the door closed, I knew I couldn’t take it anymore either.
“Shadow on Wall” irene gr @ flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
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