Thursday, 1 March 2012

You're there but you're not

I used to wait for the divorce. I used to ache for it; for the day when you finally left. I reasoned then, that without you here we could finally get to know one another. The logic seemed irrational to everyone else. But they didn't see what I did; they didn't feel what I felt.

Most days that was nothing.

When my friend's parents got divorced, they went on outings to the park and the circus and all the other kinds of places that kids go to have fun; all the other clich├ęs. They had hour long phone calls every night and enquiries of their days at school and a genuine interest in who they were as people, a concern for who they were going to be. And even though it wasn't perfect, I wanted all of that too. 

Perfection's a myth anyway.

No one understood my longing. Everyone thought we had it all. From the outside we looked the picture of happiness, whatever that is. Just like the couple along the road; the way they held hands walking up the hill and kissed each other goodbye at the front porch. They looked so happy and content and their love was one to aim for. No one knew that he would pummel fists into her flesh where none could see. No one knew that she would drink a bottle of vodka before he returned home. We never knew what went on behind their closed doors until he flung her through them, along with a suitcase of clothes; until their problems lay bleeding in the street, surrounded by shards of glass and splintered wood and clothes fluttering in the breeze with the distant wail of sirens.

Behind our doors, you were there; sitting in your chair. You always sit in the chair; the one with the groove of your backside and two elbow-sized dents in each armrest. There's an extra cut of carpet under foot because you've worn away the underneath with your shoes. Everyone else leaves theirs at the door. But not you. You stomp and tread your rebellion into every soft surface until it's harden from the repeated knocks.

It used to annoy me, watching you sit there, within my reach, engulfed by an unwavering silence of expectation. I'm still waiting for the things you'll never say and the stuff you'll never do; the moments we'll never have. At least I know where to find you. That's what they say. That's the bright side; the silver lining of this ominous lingering cloud. But there's always an unpleasantness waiting for a storm to break; a tight coil of tension unbearable and uncomfortable the longer we wait for release.

Some days I've never wished for rain so much.

But for the most part, I'm used to it now; that thick tense drought that hangs like a weight around my neck, slowing my responses and my movements and my ability to truly care. As stifling as it seems I don't think I'd know how to breathe without it. 

Not that you would know that. You should, because you're there; in your chair. You always have been. The divorce never came and you never left and we never did get to know one another.

And it still amazes me after all these years that proximity and closeness are two very different things. I always assumed that you can't have one without the other. But we are the exception, you and me. We may coexist in the same space, in the same house, we may breathe the same air, but our time-lines never meet, our paths never cross. Sometimes I might approach that line, I might waver along it but the wall is built too strong, too high. Just like some rocks aren't supposed to be moved, some walls aren't built to be broken.

So I understand. I get it; you're there. You always have been. But I still don't know how I feel about that.


  1. hi lou!
    For whatever reason, when reading your blog, I think most of us feel this is true and autobiographical. The line between truth and fiction is not clear, and maybe that is on purpose.

    I hope that if this is your reality, that your writing is part of the healing process. I am reluctant to ask whether this is true, partly because as a reader, there is something good about the mystery. It's not that I don't care about you. I hope to bits that this isn't true. I also feel you should have the right to not tell us whether this is true or not.

    Also, if this is true, I had a very similar family situation. Not the bleeding in the street part, but the incredible gulf of silence part. In the end though, my parents changed 180 degrees and we are close now. So...there can be happy endings, eventually.

    Anyway, thank you for such writing, regardless of truth. It doesn't matter (except that we would all want you to feel okay). Such writing as pure writing is important, if not for the writer but for us readers.


    1. Kitty, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this. I thought this post would have people not knowing quite what to say.

      Let's just say this is something that needed to be written because it can't ever be said out loud. That probably answers your reluctant question! It is sad but it's also okay. I'm okay. But sometimes you have these fleeting reminders and feelings about a certain situation that you just need to get out.

      I always write what I know on this blog but you are right; there is a very fine line between truth and fiction and sometimes I cross it and sometimes I don't define it because where's the fun in that?

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Always appreciated! :)

  2. It's one thing to confuse Kitty, and another thing to confuse me. I sometimes forget that I only know you from afar. Someone I admire once said, "Never seek clarity at the expense of poetry." Good line, I think. And, from you, a tasty piece of writing.

  3. This reminds me of "A River Runs Through It" which touched a cord so profound that it made me cry. So much unsaid things are hurting people in silence.

  4. Oh this was so sad and poignant that you actually made me cry and that never happens ever. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with something like this and i hope you don't let it effect you in later life. That would be the real tradgedy.

  5. Wow, this cut deep. I feel your pain so much. I hope you're ok. Please keep writing, i've missed your posts.

  6. I'm sorry you feel shut out from your husband's life. Men are different, for them, just being together is enough, or doing things together. Women like to talk. That's the Venus and Mars of it all.

    In a way, this kind of reminds me of the Simon and Garfunkel song, Dangling Conversation.My hope however is that an intervention occurs where you both come to realize how much you mean to each other, and you both reach a point of peace and happiness in your marriage.

  7. This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.

  8. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.


Go on. It's free...