Just when I need you all so damn much.
I’m soldiering on as best I can, taking care of the children, the house, bills, work.
Mother’s off her meds again; she slips away further each time.
I don’t know what keeps you in Europe – it isn’t the business, that much I know. It must be the family you’re avoiding.
I can’t hate you; I can’t love you.
I want to hold you like before, when we pressed tight, pulled each other down and tumbled on the bed, pausing only after an hour or three of kisses,Â scented honey dripping from still-steaming toastÂ – dewy, hot, spent.
Michael needs you, someone who’ll read the box scores and tell him the roster; Anne needsÂ you – someone who’ll play prince to her princess.
Their daily games turn to howling at night; they want to call you, but you’re six hours ahead.
I miss you, I don’t miss you.
I miss not you, but the you I thought you were.
From the get-go, I thought you were a man for all time, not this waffling, yo-yo kind of love.
This makes my anxiety screech as in a psycho-movie murder scene; you’re murdering my soul.
I’ve turned completely cold, to you, to myself, to all.
Mother slips away, I can hear it on the phone; she tells me she’s in Mexico looking for lost children. I know she believes this fiction, but it is her mind that has led her astray.
She draws a long breath between pulls off her cigarette; last month, she’d quit, this month she’s on the Pall-Malls again. It’s her life, her soul, pell-mell, willy-nilly, will he, won’t he, loves me, loves me not.
It’s like your love. You love me, love me not. You said a thousand moons ago you’d love me forever, that you weren’t a surfing love: hey, it was real but gotta move on.
You were more together than all that, you said.Â Now you tell me you gotta go with your heart. If only your heart knew what it wants. You admit that you are torn.
I have ceased to care about your heart. I have all our hearts here to care about.
I’m soldiering on here, as best I can. Up late writing stories for the magazine.
Morning comes, too bleary eyed for contacts; oh, the horn-rims are geeky, but I don’t care, for me it’s faded jeans and your old shirt, sandals and a claw for my long, messy hair.
Morning comes and I have the feel of you wrapped in your old shirt; your scent stings my nostrils, reminds me of what we once had.Â Damn you.
I take the children to the tot-stop, let them run free. I run them like dogs, till they pant, breathless, wagging. They sink into the back seat, like peanut butter into bread. A moment of solitude.
I know something’s up. Something’s always been up, with you; this pull away from the marriage, away from me; it’s your yo-yo, your psyche, your issues; they have nothing to do with me.
It’s a woman, it’s a man, it’s neither or both; it doesn’t matter. It’s business, it’s sports, it’s your dark soul; it’s none of it, it’s all of it.
It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same -Â a crying infidelity, this difficulty you have of expressing your feelings.
You write, you paint, you play guitar; I do the same, or would, had I time between children.Â I soldier on here.
Mother slips away further each year; eventually, she’ll go to a home before her time.
You people are all out of whack with yourselves.
You run on the treadmill like a bloody hamster on his wheel; he runs because he knows nothing else.
I see reflections on glass-walled skyscrapers as people pass by; their reflections are a step behind their personage, as if they are out of synch with their own step.
I’m out of synch with whom I want to be. You’re out of synch with, well, I don’t know.
I see a reflection in the mirror; it’s not who I want to be. It’s not who I am.
I must adjust my soul-image.
Damn this life, damn your life, damn this business that keeps you from us; I want my youth back, I want our life back.
My moment’s solitude is over.
The sun is up, the baby is awake; she cries for you. Michael is tearing up the house, so wound up is he, his head’s not on straight.
Mother’s off her meds, just when I need her most.
You’re all off your meds, you’re all so far away from me, just when I need you all so damn much.
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Copyright Â© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Kathryn Esplin-Oleski. All rights reserved.
This isÂ in the fictional series on marriage and family.
This has been revised since it was previously posted.