There’s a Coldplay song, I don’t know the title, but the refrain goes, ‘. . . no one said it was easy . . .’
This is a waiter blog. Last post I went against general custom and I wrote about my personal life. And I’m gonna do it again.
On Monday (yesterday) the wife came to start the serious packing for her official permanent move-out. She’s signed a lease and had June 1st as move-in day. I’m off all day Monday, so I planned to be around to help her as much as necessary.
It was hard. It was sad. Really sad. I mostly just followed her around as she grabbed stuff and put it into boxes. You know, we were collaborating on the splitting of the assets. Waiters don’t have assets like Turbo Porsches and Silver Goblets and Renoir paintings. We were dividing up things we had accrued together.
It crossed the emotional line when she walked into the spare bedroom – which she used as pretty much her dressing room, what with appropriating that room’s closet as her main storage. We were just generally chatting about stuff. It was the usual casual banter of two people who are completely comfortable with each other.
I was in the hallway, she in the spare bedroom. She walked out and said, ‘I’m getting sad,’ and walked downstairs.
All of a sudden the grief and the loss hit me again. Downstairs, she was having trouble holding back the tears. I told her I was sorry. Sympathizing, not apologizing.
The night ended with a couple of drinks and sharing mac ‘n cheese. She left and there were boxes of stuff filling the living and dining rooms. Later I cleaned out my nightstand, as she would be taking the bedroom set the next day.
Today (I’m writing this Tuesday, June 01, 2010) was even worse. I worked a closing shift at lunch. When I got up, the wife was already at work doing more packing in anticipation of her movers being available at one p.m. We did some more talking like before. The grief was in the air like rainforest humidity. At one point she said she was very upset, that she was trying not to cry.
I left at 11:30 and waved to her as I pulled away. I felt heavy and dreadful.
I had one of my worst days, moneywise, at Michael’s. Which went hand-in-hand with desolate boredom as there were two full hours to fritter away after all tables were gone, side work completed (including the dinner opener’s side work, just to be a nice guy), and checkout cashed. I went and got my phone from the car and watched it obsessively for texts or emails that would distract me from my thoughts. I even logged into Facebook. Ouch.
When I got home, it was about an hour before she returned with her moving guys from their most recent run. As there were moving guys on the job, I again didn’t really have to do anything, despite trying and asking. They just grabbed boxes and loaded them. There were continuing discussions between the wife and I about what she could take (anything she wanted, as far as I was concerned) and what she’d leave for me. She eventually said she couldn’t stand it anymore and was just going to quit where she was. There was plenty left to decide about and move, but she didn’t have anything left in her psychic bank. ‘I’ve been crying off and on all day. I’m just totally wrung out now. I just want to go home, set up the bed, take a bath, and fall asleep.’
When they were loaded up, it was time for her to go. I came over to hug her. ‘I’m not going that far,’ she said, pointing out a hug was maybe overkill for the situation.
‘I know, but it’s just so sad,’ I said.
‘I know,’ she said as we hugged. We parted and she looked at me. ‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’ And we both broke into tears.
She left, the door shut behind her, and I started wailing.
The splitting up of the ‘stuff,’ at least as we did it, was just as significant as the ‘regular’ splitting up. We created this house together. It was the figure of our dreams and aspirations. One of them. She took a framed print, and I recalled the day she came home with that picture after a day touring yard sales. She decided to leave me the stoneware, and I remembered us picking out the pattern at Macy’s after we got engaged. I looked at the present emptiness of the house and remembered all the talking and plotting and visualizing we put into filling it up the way we wanted. And now that was gone.
A couple weaves a new fabric when they create their life together. When that ends, you can’t unravel the threads without a tremendous feeling of loss for that wonderful creation it once comprised.
The wife’s admissions the last couple days about how upset she was, how she was sad. This is the most heartbreaking thing. It marks a sharp divergence from historical emotional posture. Anger, irritation, sullenness, resentment – these are emotions she was comfortable showing. But true vulnerability, such as I’ve seen the last few days, was not a luxury she could afford herself. To see her like this now touches me deeply, and it also stirs deep regret that we could never find that level of comfort while we were together. Not to say it’s comfortable to be sad and in pain, but comfortable enough to reveal yourself that way to your spouse. It was so fucking sad to see her that way. I just feel that this kind of emotional candor from her would have helped keep our marriage together when it was truly possible to be saved.
It’s one of those things. People have different levels of urgency . . . I don’t know. I just really don’t know what to make of it . . .
And then, as I wrote this, my roommate got home and started talking to me about it. She’s friends with both myself and the wife. And I told her my sadness, and I had to stop because I was choked up, and I started again, and my eyes were teary, etc. And eventually, as I said things, and she heard me and chimed in, I started feeling better. The sadness is still out there, but my mind cleared somewhat.
So let’s end on that lesson, folks. If you’re upset, feeling down, confused, sad – talk to someone about it. It’s the best medicine there is. Just pick a good listener who loves you, tell the whole truth, and listen back. It works really well.