flying upside down
March 02, 2005
[Almost three and a half years ago]
He hadn’t been home the night before – but what else was new? I don’t know why he decided to show up for the counseling session that morning. He hadn’t wanted to go ever before. He didn’t see why he had to be there when I was the problem.
We sat in the waiting room, the silence broken only by infant Raphael’s coos from the car seat on the floor between us. I was used to this angry silence from him, so I was surprised when he spoke in a low, even voice.
“Today’s gonna be a hard day for you.”
He shook his head and stared at his shoes.
“Why?” I pushed gently. Don’t make him mad.
“There’s…he looked past me out the window, “there’s someone else.”
“Like…a woman?” I said stupidly.
“Yup.” He nodded grimly, eyes fixed on a point somewhere beyond me.
I found myself on my feet, and the room went dark.
A book I’m currently reading illustrates that sort of disconnect between reality and belief with this story: a pilot was flying an exhibition and got confused in his turns and rolls. He was flying upside down without realizing it and when he made what he thought was an ascent, he slammed into the ground.
The darkness seeped away slowly and I stood there, blinking frantically. I was sweating, shaking. I didn’t know where to put my hands. He leaned down to smile at Raphael, sending him into a leg-churning, grinning spasm of joy. I took the handle of the car seat and spun it around.
“Don’t even look at him,” I spit. He shrugged and sat back, arms crossed.
“Do you love her?” My voice was shrill in my ears and I winced.
“I don’t know.” He turned and swept me with a disdainful look. “I can stand her.”
Those eyes, so dark brown that you couldn’t easily see where the pupil ended and the iris began, were the eyes I looked to for comfort for years. Now when they looked at me it was with disgust. Yet, conditioned as I was to believe those eyes, I turned to him and drank it in.
Life goes on. But after that moment, when reality struck, I find I have trouble believing things that should seem obvious sometimes. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to the people around me, who haven’t earned my bewildered mistrust.
It’s not fair to me, standing in my self-imposed prison, hands over my eyes, waiting to slam into the ground again.
That’s no damn way to fly.
It is so disconcerting to me that someone who once seemed so normal could become so seemingly possessed by so many demons. And so unfair that you all had to suffer because of him.
Posted by: JohnH | March 02, 2005 at 08:41 AM
And having survived one slamming into the ground, it's very difficult to get in another plane.
You shouldn't be able to reach this deep into my psyche, Kira....but I love you for it.
Posted by: Amy | March 02, 2005 at 09:51 AM
It's hard too, when you've got older kids in the plane with you, and you have to worry about their parachutes too. As Maya Angelou says, "when someone shows you who they are, believe them." You have your eyes wide open my dear. You can spot a defective altimeter a mile away. From all indications, this is a solid plane you've got, right?
Posted by: Sheryl | March 02, 2005 at 11:20 AM
This reads like something big happened today that is too fresh to share. I hope you are ok. A stranger is sending you good thoughts; take them.
Posted by: Denise | March 02, 2005 at 03:39 PM
Not to roll out the 'been there. got the t-shirt' tripe... because I haven't been in your shoes at all. But I have been in my own plane as it slammed down and my vow was to never ignore red flags again. And I haven't. But that doesn't mean you don't try to soar. That doesn't mean you don't try fly. You know you. Just keep your eyes open and fly. You will make the right decisions.
Posted by: Heather McCutcheon | March 03, 2005 at 11:18 AM