Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











Oh, co-dependency, you raging, monstrous bitch, you. I try and try to shake you off, and just when I think I’ve mustered the strength to resist you, you clutch my guts in your clammy claws and cling.

I tried to bite my tongue. I tried to wait until morning, to let the ooky feelings slowly ebb away, work themselves out in dreams. I really did try.

She came in at 3:30 this morning. No sense in stirring the pot then. No sense losing sleep when we both needed to be up at 8:30 to see the kids off to their Dad’s house. Let it go, I breathed to myself, a mantra meant to calm that panic welling up inside. Let it GO! I screamed in my head, a battle cry against the irrational.

I went to bed at midnight. She’d gone out with friends. A good thing, she needs to spend more time with them, she needs to spend more time without me. A good thing. I was ok with the concept.

When she’d left, though, I’d just finished putting the kids to bed. It’d been a difficult bedtime. The littlest was still popping up to tell me “just one more thing. I love you and I want to spend the whole day with you.” Sweet words, yes, and I hear them so often it’s begun to make me cringe.

And she left. After mentioning to me that she’d gotten to spend the day with everyone else but me. We got to hang out for a little bit earlier in the day, much earlier. But for hours, my brother and the kids had her all to themselves while I cleaned the house and puttered about. She had told my brother she’d go hang out with him downstairs for a bit. When I was done with the kids, she asked me to join her because she missed me, she wanted to cuddle.

I said no, I needed to stay upstairs because I didn’t think the kids were completely settled in. I’d rather put them back to bed already upstairs than have to run up and down stairs for an hour.

Half an hour later, she came up and got ready to go. Cuddled me for ten minutes, while I tried to be happy for her.

“This is going to be hard for you, tonight,” she observed.

I tried to play it off. “What are you talking about? I don’t know what you mean.”

She gave me a Look.

“It is going to be hard for me. It’s good for us, though. I’m trying to keep positive. I keep thinking about how little time we got today, and how little time we’ll get in the next three days because of the hours I’m working–”

“Oh, baby, please don’t,” she interrupted. “I told you yesterday I was going out and you said it was ok!”

“It is ok, I want you to go out. I’m just being honest – it is going to be hard for me.”

She called me later on when she was out for linguistic advice. Her friend was writing something and needed a synonym for “irritation.” I came up with “annoyance,” “vexation,” and “pet peeve.” And that was the end of the phone call.

After hanging up, I felt strangely wounded and… well… vexed. It felt like a pity call, a call she made out of guilt for leaving me at home. Like she made up an excuse to call me and see if I was still pouting. I hadn’t been until then, but then those clingy, clammy claws commenced to clutching again. Ugh.

Then at midnight, we spoke again. I asked when she anticipated being home – not really needing to hear a specific time, but wanting to know when to expect her. She said an hour, hour and a half.

“Ok,” I replied.”

“Why do you sound so… ehhh… about that?”

“I’m not.” A bald-faced lie, but I didn’t have any reason to be “ehh,” so I kept my mouth shut on that front.

“You don’t sound happy…”

“Well, am I supposed to? Am I supposed to feel one way or the other?” I tried to laugh it off.

“Oh, you hurt my head.”

She reads me so well. It doesn’t matter what form of communication – in person, on the phone, text – she knows when I’m bubbling over with conflicting feelings. She doesn’t always realize that I’m struggling with myself and not with her, and often, she’ll give me what she thinks I want (which is what the codependent part of me often does want) just to avoid a fight. When then ends up leading to – guess? A fight!

Last night she didn’t do that. She stayed out. I’m glad she did. She needs to be with friends more.

And instead of coming home at 1:00, 1:30, like she’d said, she walked in at 3:30. Let it go, just be glad she’s home. My mantra. Go back to sleep, it’ll be better to talk about in the morning.

She sat on the bed. “You’d be proud of me tonight. I played hero. I jump-started a car not once or twice, but five times tonight.”

Let it go, it’s cool, it’s fine, I silently told myself as my mouth spontaneously opened to declare, “Once? A hero, yeah. Maybe twice. Five times? That’s just stupid.” Oh my god, you didn’t. Go back to sleep, Let It Go.

She didn’t seem to notice my bitchiness, and kept going on about the night, how the folks should have listened to her in the first place, how they ended up going to Wal-Mart to get a new battery, and then my cauldron bubbled over.

Wait till morning. Let this shit go! NOT NOW. “So that’s why you’re just coming home now?”

I half listened to her excuses – that’s my department – to be flaky and then justify and come up with excuses. I don’t remember any of them. I tried to make myself go back to sleep.

Then she said, “I sat in the parking lot for the last hour, eating cheeseburgers.”

I sat up. “Why the fuck did you do that?”

“I knew I’d be in trouble.”

You dumb bitch. “You do realize you just made everything much harder for yourself than it had to be?” Also my department. WTF is going on here? “I was prepared for you to come in at 2:00, or even 2:30. I know you. If you’d walked in at 2:30, I might have grumbled for a second or given you a little bit of a hard time, but I would have let it go!”

“I knew I’d be in trouble. I knew you’d be mad.” She sounded so small. “I knew you’d be mad, and I just couldn’t handle it then. I couldn’t deal with it.”

Ugh. “You know, I’m not mad because you’re a bad person who did a bad thing. I’m mad because I love you and I worry about you and … if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t get mad!”

Silence.

“Now you’re getting mad,” I sighed.

“No, I’m not,” she answered. “I’m really not.” Then she kissed me, surprisingly sweetly. “I love you. I think we should get some sleep.” She rolled over and wrapped my arm around her the way she does.

I was out pretty quickly. I thought it would be ok in the morning. But this morning, as I rushed around the house, getting the kids ready for their Dad’s house, and she slept so soundly, I felt resentment.

I’ve been trying to figure out what that resentment is. It’s why I write, to puzzle this shit out.

She can go wherever she wants, do whatever she wants, and whenever she wants. She doesn’t have any obligation to me or the kids. And that’s the way it should be right now. I chose to settle down young and have my babies young. And, while it wasn’t necessarily the wrong choice or a bad choice, it was a choice that created more challenges for me.

As a result of that choice, I became a single mom of two kids. I parented on my own when I was still married, and nothing really changed after we separated. Now that I’m with her, I have to find this weird balance of knowing that I don’t have to do everything all by myself anymore, and not expecting too much from her because, let’s face it – they’re not her kids, and our relationship is still in diapers.

So… do I really resent myself for complicating my own life? I’m so very good at it. I’ve noticed all the things she did last night that set me on edge are mirrors of the things I do. I’m the one that makes things harder on myself, I’m the one who avoids, I’m the one who forgets to call or stays out too late, I’m the one who plays “hero” the same way five times when the third time should be different.

Last night, she was me, and it really upset me.

She was my reflection, and I didn’t like what I’d seen.



et cetera