"How do you spell 'yesterday'?" he asks me while typing.
I spell it out for him. I'm reading, pleasantly absorbed and pleased to be lying next to him. I spent the evening working on some writing I needed to do while intermittently chatting with online friends, and he cleaned the house to make it nice for Vowels to visit us tomorrow. I've been fretting about being able to get everything done and feeling overwhelmed. It's resulted in us fighting a bit, but it's settling into something like normalcy now.
"How do you spell 'committed'?"
My hackles raise. I want to know what he's writing about. I want to know who he's writing to. I want to read over his shoulder.
See, him and the internet frighten me. He manipulates folks, sells things that aren't his, lies, creates entanglements...does all the same things he does in person, really--all the things all the addicts of the world do--but it freaks me out a bit more when it's online. I can't see it or know about it. I can't imagine, like I like to do, that I'm able to prepare myself for whatever shitstorm he's brewing.
I spell it out for him, "C-o-m-m-i-t-t-e-d."
I'm learning, too, that there really is no preparing for the hurt that's coming. I can try to figure out what will be next, what will hurt most, to batten my hatches against all future pain and suffering. Usually, though, I just end up wasting good time thinking about all the bad stuff that's coming and not enjoying what's before me--what moment of sweetness, solace, serenity I can garner from this chaotic world.
I was thinking about all of this, trying really hard to stay out of his head, trying really hard not to concoct sentences or email compositions using these words, trying not to predict what dire consequences might come from his use of the words "yesterday" and "commitment" all together in the same email...and then he said:
"What about 'jeopardized'?"
"OK, who the hell are you apologizing to? What have you done?" I ask, absolutely unable to control it any more. All the possible sentences start flooding my head:
Yesterday, I committed a felony and jeopardized my freedom.
Yesterday, I was committed to my wife, but today, I've jeopardized my marriage by talking to you, internet ho.
Yesterday I told a huge lie to get money from you, Person X, but today, I went to a really good meeting, and I am committed to being a better man, and I'm sorry I jeopardized our relationship with my wild lies and endless thievery.
After he gave me a crazy look, I remembered the inner monologue I'd been having right before my little "relapse." I sighed and returned his crazy look, and told him that maybe he should use spell check.
The beauty of these moments for me, though, is how quickly I recuperate now. I fell asleep and woke up in his arms, satisfied to be where I was and with him. I'm ok. He's doing his thing, and that's ok, too. I'm learning to set my boundaries and to let him know when he's crossing them. We're growing. That's good.