[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.