Last night, I think it was, he spoke it into being. From his mouth the numbered days floated and mounded into actuality. We are already on the next countdown, already going over the packing list.
The time has flown by since his plane touched down in closure of a deployment and I'm sure that it will only speed up as the next departure date gets closer. The really horrible part of this, beyond separation and limited communication, is that these are the days that have our future hinged on them. Maybe I'm the only one of us who recognizes that or who shudders at the magnitude of what may come next. In something close to two months we will have the answers that once excited me and are now only terrifying. Even after my attempts to see both possibilities of our futures colliding and tearing apart, after trying to pry myself away from the marriage track, I am a wreck inside. Everything separate from his career is a variable, and even that is in its own right up in the air. By Christmas we will be some different form of us either more or less a duet.
I feel like every second holds me right on the edge of losing my composure. I feel a lot like I cannot breathe. In my world of logic, it would make sense to have a plan A & B, but in his that trumps mine, we are waiting to make rash decisions off the cuff, a perfect time for sabotage. I only hope that isn't what it comes to. I only hope we find the perfect fit for all of us and all of everything, and that all of the paralyzing fears we hold are somehow pacified.
What I am trying to tell you is this: in my own way, I love you. And you can trust me, mostly. I won't lead, wouldn't lead, haven't led you wrong. It would be bad form. But please know that if I do lead you wrong, I once thought it was right.
- Monson, Neck Deep, Appendix
I used to think that what I wanted was to be like you (or the many of you who are military wives). But really, I was an artist first and "they" say, "be true to yourself." I am a left-winged liberal. I don't believe in war. I would lend my crossed legs to a cause in need of silent protest. I try only to buy organic produce. There isn't much of me that fits the bill anyway. And there is the almost palpable barrier--a man in crisis. I don't think he reads this garbage anymore, so I am feeling a little less censored. That isn't even half of it. Maybe he thinks that The Lonely Sound was abandoned or he doesn't care anymore. In his own way, he loves me.
In my own way, I love you.
Lately I imagine the trajectory of a bullet. I imagine the spatter patterns it might cause on a wall or some other wayward surface. Brain matter, other parts. It doesn't matter. I play out the motions only in my head, and I'm only telling this because I'm tired of pussyfooting around the idea of self. I don't care if you like me. I should never have cared. And the truth, if there is such a thing, is that it may not be in the cards for me to "be" one of "you" army wives. Because life is a force to be reckoned with. It will happen according to or not at all resembling the outcome I reach for. We are born alone. We die alone. I write alone. I am beginning to believe that he wants to be alone, a man as Island.
(I am trying to disassociate myself.)
I am beginning to dream of the Anywhere I could move, the Anything I could do, all the dreams and ideals that dreamers and idealists conjure. I was, after all, an artist first, and then somehow his and somehow this.
I thought for the first time tonight that I could be okay married to creativity, the lonesome but not lonely eccentric. I thought that I could move in a couple of months for him, indulging the have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too element of whatever the fuck is going on here, but I won't. I need more satisfaction than that. I don't think I was ever meant to be the understudy, the shadow lurker. Some hours do belong solely to me.
And maybe I am the "married" type, and he is the one who isn't. Well, there isn't anything I can do to change him.
There isn't anything I can do to change him...but I was always honest. I always aimed for the LONG TERM.
Perhaps though, it's me? I always run. I'm kind of preparing to run now, peeling back the layers of happy-family-visions and the imagined faces of our unborn children, a fusion of more than individuals.
I feel like I am losing and because I don't care about winning per se (and he does), I think I am more privy to, or likely to examine the behavior of dissolution. We are fuzzy at the edges.
I am trying to read Brenda Miller's Season of the Body but it is proving difficult. Her focus is on the end of a relationship with Keith, who also makes an appearance in Blessing of the Animals in a beautiful essay called "A Different Person." It is so painful to imagine us parting ways. So unbelievably painful. I have harnessed so much in this Man, this ourness of life, a river fed by us as tributaries. And now what?
I am my own captain. (though not quoted, per request.)
I am not challenging the "who" manning the wheel. I am sure as shit my own captain.
I tell her...about the trivial things I took for proof of permanence--the coffee brought to bed in the mornings, the bicycle rides in the afternoons, the ritual games of backgammon after dinner. I tell her how we slept, his hand falling naturally on the back of my thigh, the gravity of that hand as I fell asleep, holding my body with a single touch.
-Brenda Miller, "Needlepoint," Season of the Body
There is a rotten kind of sickness in the center--deep and sunken behind the cleavage point of my ribcage. It is fear in a deadly form, untamed. These things packed tightly together into some semblance of weight have every possibility to be nothing more than "trivial things I took for proof of permanence."
I read this passage sitting in the sand when everything in the world should have felt right. It was like a punch to the gut. Somedays every minute feels that way.
I have no idea where this is going. I have no idea what the eleventh hour holds. And just six weeks ago I had never been more certain of anything...
in all my life.
I am frantic-groping for pieces that once held faith together.