I am sure that some of my failing memory has to do with the ways in which I was voluntarily applying the numb.
You know, the numb.* Finding ways to ignore the growing badness.
The numb: It's not so bad. David and I have good days, too. As much as there are moments related to dry-wall and uncomfortable footwear, there are moments of peace. Of hope. Of light at the end of the tunnel. You know, spring. Maybe David will land an amazing job and I will get pregnant and we’ll regain momentum. Maybe I will find that voice and start writing something real. Maybe Mom really is just tired. Maybe this is just a rough patch.
The numb was going to Home Depot with my mother-in-law and coming home and believing that it was just me and my bad attitude making the weekend hard. It was dealing with my angst by carefully recreating the day and deciding the real reason I was upset was because David didn’t serve as a great enough buffer between me and his parents. And then drinking wine and explaining to Dave how he had failed to keep me happy. Again.
The numb was telling myself that my mother would be FINE because she had to be. Period. Fine. And after getting off the phone with my mom who hadn’t left her bed in two weeks, I’d go watch TV. Or eat. Or log on to the computer to play some stupid game.
*Today, I might call “the numb” “denial,” but that’s hindsight. Now I can say “denial” because I know how it turned out. But then, I didn’t know. Then, it was just numbing the bad feelings, wishing they would go away, and believing they would.
* * * * * *
I was online playing a stupid trivia game when I met him.
Oh? Did you not see that coming? Yes, well.
I played trivia in a chat room on and off for several years, and one day, this guy was playing and he was good at it and we started chatting privately and it changed my life forever.
Yep, just like that. So simple. I met someone who told me about his life and oh, how that life rested upon greener grass. His mere existence made me feel like...like "getting out" was possible.
But don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I wanted him instead of David. I wanted him instead of me.
Of course I found myself attracted to Marcus -- that's how these stories go, right? But God. I wanted to BE him every bit as much as I imagined being WITH him.
Suddenly, clear as day, a man I didn’t know had everything I knew I wanted. All so poetic.
[In the version of my life where this is a novel, we would call Marcus a device. Deus ex Marcus-ina. Heh.]
He was European and had resided in several different countries. He spoke four languages. He loved travel. He had a graduate degree. He was brilliant about worldly things – politics and novels and film and cuisine. He was a go-getter and he was social and he was always out doing something or going somewhere or meeting people. Always off to a bar or club. Or a trip around the globe.
His world wasn’t so small as the county he grew up in.
And for the time being, he was living in San Francisco.
* * * * * * *
How could it be that that’s what I wanted?
How could travel and worldliness and singledom and bar-hopping and clubbing and San Francisco-ing be what I longed for?
Hadn’t I wanted a marriage? A house? A family? Wasn’t I in love with my husband?
Greener grass isn’t the same thing as being in love, Kiki. Being bored isn’t the same thing as not being in love. You love your husband. You worked hard to get here. There is no way to go from here to there. It doesn’t work like that. You can dream about it but you do not have the strength to do it and you know it. There are no guarantees over there. You think you can just give all this up? And then what? This man, this Marcus whom you’ve never met? He’s just going to take you away from it all, is he? Save you? You can’t even save you from yourself.
Don't be ridiculous. This is what you signed up for. It’s all going to be okay. You are just being irrational because of the stress of your mom and the house and the money and the unemployment and the potential baby. What if you are pregnant? You just have pregnancy cold feet. You know you want a baby.
I did want a baby. But what if I can't have one? What if after all this I can't actually conceive? Then what? What if you can't even do that right?
I was scared. I wanted to run from everything. San Francisco sounded like a damn good destination.
Every day I spoke with Marcus – and I cannot remember how often it was; once a day? A couple emails a week? A few IM sessions? Stolen phone moments? How many? Not many. I don’t remember, but the contact was minimal – was a day I thought about how different my life could be. How different I WANTED my life to be. And my husband.
* * * * * *
My fuse with David got as short as it could get. All the winter tensions were worsened by my new infatuation and I was never, ever happy with anything. I got distant.
I see in movies how cheating spouses behave and that’s what I was doing. I was irrational and moody and scared and distant and angry. Because of some guy I’d never met and barely spoke to. (Well, sort of. Sort of not because of him at all.)
And my mom wasn’t ever getting out of bed anymore. She had no energy because she still couldn’t really digest anything. We needed answers we just weren’t getting.
She was going to see another expert. Maybe I should go, too.
Maybe I should take some time to sort out just what the fuck I think I’m thinking, even.
David, I want some time. I need some time. I need to take a couple weeks. Two weeks. I will go to New Hampshire and take the dog and spend time with my mom and think about us and why it is we’ve been having such a rough time.
Or something. I don’t know what I said exactly. I know he was devastated. I seemed serious, like I could actually be contemplating a real separation.
And you want to know the truth? I wasn’t. I couldn't. I didn't have it in me.