I was young and thought I’d be married forever. This was the dream.
“Storms never last, do they baby?”
Jessi and Waylon singing with each other, to each other, love in their eyes.
(You are tall and handsome in your western shirt and boots. We’re at a marriage conference weekend, I can’t stare into your eyes when we’re told to. I don’t understand it yet, but I squirm, laugh, look away. There is no sense of emotional safety with you. Even in these first few years of marriage there is so much i don’t understand about the heat and ice of your moods. I grew up with that, so it seems “normal.”)
“Bad times all pass with the wind…”
(We’re sitting at opposite ends of the family room couch. It’s in the final years of our marriage. I’m turned toward you and explaining–again–how my fibromyalgia body reacts when you rage at me and belittle me. That it flares in full-body fiery aching and brain-fog, rendering me incapable of functioning for weeks. I’m telling you–again–that you need to find a better way to deal with your stress than offloading it on me. This conversation is ongoing, rant after rant after rant. My bad–I repeat the same explanation to you time after time even though nothing changes.)
“Your hand in mine stills the thunder…”
(Your hand. The hand that slapped our daughter, punched our son. Shoved another daughter up against the wall scaring her so badly she peed her pants. I had to be reminded of these events because i have a special sort of amnesia borne of trauma. These things happened. And I did not protect my children from being terrorized. I believed the lies you fed me that I was overreacting due to my chaotic childhood. Any lie heard often enough has made its way deep into my psyche. I’ve worked hard to make peace with the truth that i failed to protect my children. To make peace with them. They forgive me. They’re amazing.)
“You make the sun want to shine.”
(We are standing in the dappled sunlight of the backyard I’ve worked to make an oasis. You are expelling angry words through gritted teeth like bullets from a gun, hands at your sides clenched tightly into fists. I am thinking My God–does he not care what the neighbors hear him saying to me? Bellowing that I’m unsupportive, selfish, uncaring? Seeing someone else when I go walk the dog to get away from the shouting? When I try to go to the bedroom or bathroom to get some peace, you follow me and keep berating me. My heart bleeds into my chest with pain. Later those neighbors take your side, giving me the side-eye and a cool hello when I come to pick up my stuff. Invite you to dinner. You always were a good storyteller.)
“Storms never last do they baby
Bad times all pass with the wind
Your hand in mine stills the thunder
You make the sun want to shine”