I just had a painful memory. They keep coming back to me, all these moments from the tender first year of my marriage.
I was in the bathroom, crying quietly. That was in what I like to think of as the "before time." I'd still try to cry quietly, like a good wife. I didn't want him to know I was upset. I didn't want him to know I was unhappy. I knew he was unhappy, and I didn't want to make it worse with my bothersome crying. (Now, though, I'll wail like a child, like a toddler in the grocery store, with the same persistence: HEAR ME! I'M HURTING! LISTEN! LOOK! EVERYONE!)
But it was the before time, and he was very tired. He was so often Very Tired. He'd been nodding on the bed for hours, and it was the only day we had together. I'd finagled my work schedule so that I could have Wednesday afternoons off, and those few hours of daylight that we had to spend together were precious to me. At this point, other than the Wednesday afternoons and evenings that I guarded with the jealousy of a mother bear, we rarely saw one another before midnight.
So I was sad that he was sleeping through our precious Wednesday. I was crying, in the bathroom, with the door closed. Suddenly he crashed through the door, with the hazy eyes and slurred speech that I now recognize as being deeply opiated, and asked me if I'd been calling for help. He said he'd heard me calling him, asking for help. And then he noticed I'd been crying.
And I felt this wash of affection: he'd thought I needed help. He was coming to help me because he thought I needed help. What a wonderful husband, to give help when it's needed! What a fabulous man I had, to rise from the bed when he was Very Tired, and to come to me!
I told him that no, I did not need help, and that he should go back to bed and sleep more if he was tired. And I went and lay next to him, in my own opiate-like love stupor, thinking of how lucky I was.
It takes so little to please us codependents. Look! My husband goes to work! He'll come and help me if I'm saying, "Help!" Wow! I'm so lucky to be in a relationship with a human!
I was thinking tonight of leaving, and I know I'm not ready. The physical withdrawal of his presence from me is unbearable, still. It's not done. The place inside me that is where my love resides is still pouring itself out at him. I don't know when it will be done. I don't know if it ever will be done...but I think it will, eventually. I can tell by the way I cry now. It's hollow. The sound is different. The tears feel hotter, less profuse.
It's funny, though, because I'm sure that a part of me was crying, loudly, for help from him.