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wherever you go

You spend the first 20-odd years of your life learning how to live it responsibly. You spend the next 10 years practicing. You're doing pretty good, you think, even after you bring a child into this world just 3 days before the Attack on the Twin Towers. You live in a comfortable home, you have a decent if not perfectly fairy-tale relationship with the man you married, and your child presents to you a new sun around which your planet orbits.

You find your job doesn't mesh well with this new planetary alignment. Where you were once single-minded you become divided and the conflict makes you uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that you make a mess of leaving your old job and fall half-assed into a new one. That's OK, though, because your child has become your everything. This new job, while it doesn't pay much, keeps you close to him at his preschool. As he ages and moves into the public school system this job allows you to work during the hours your child is in kindergarten. And first grade. And second grade. And now, third. You like this job. It's rewarding. It still doesn't pay well.

Meanwhile, the man you married has been knocked completely out of his orbit by an unfortunate and ill-timed dismissal from his job. His planet wanders into an asteroid belt and his navigational system fails utterly. And there he floats, adrift and bereft, and you powerless to help him, though you try. And try again. You present rational arguments to get him back on track. You present irrational arguments. You make somewhat idle threats. Eventually, you give up.

For 30-odd years you've lived your life as expected. You've done what you're supposed to do. You have a marriage, a job, a house, a dog and two cats, a kid, health insurance, a retirement fund. You've followed the formula but it doesn't add up to happiness. You trust that eventually it will. When it's Christmastime you consent to drive across three states to visit your sister-in-law and her family. Before you leave you throw a small fit because there really isn't any money for this trip. There really isn't any money to pay the bills.

You allow yourself to be soothed. You allow yourself to acquiesce to a $3000 cash advance on a credit card because the man you married assures you that the closure of a real estate deal is imminent. As soon as the deal closes you'll pay off the credit card. It's alright. It's the first advance you take. You take another. And another. It's alright.

Despite the fact that you know it's most definitely not alright, you've already given up. Where you never did before you now begin to trust Hope. And Hope's insidious tendrils tangle slowly 'round til you are held powerless in her grasp, trapped by trust. Lying there with your eyes closed you look back on this life that you've built carefully, following the rules, doing what's expected of you, trusting the man you married, and you see that the formula has failed you. You see no way out by following the rules. You welcome the wash of desperation, feel its saltwater sting slip the bonds of Hope, dissolving the formulaic rules that held you, slowly transforming your perception. The rules have let you down. Time to break the rules. Time to reset them.

But the man you married? He's still off his orbit. He still trusts Hope. He has convinced himself that the industrious application of the rules will soon yield up the happiness jackpot. He has deflected your arguments and idle threats in the past; he continues to do so. He turned a blind eye to your drowning in desperation. He still doesn't see you. He doesn't see that you've weathered the fall and you've risen again to your feet with your eyes fixed on a different horizon. He doesn't see you are about to release the tether.

You will spend the next 10 years of your life rebuilding.

Comments

Gnightgirl said…
I love you.
Tom S said…
Whatever you decide I hope it turns out right for you. Good luck.

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wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

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