“I ask for very little, you know. I mean…”
“Little? LITTLE?” he spat.
“I am NOT done!!”
“No, you are. I am. We’re done. Bloody done.” He threw the pillow at the bed and stormed out of our bedroom.
He was joking. Had to be. It was over something stupid.. incredibly stupid. And it always was. I think this time it was over him not telling me that he wouldn’t be home for dinner.
I held back a flood of tears and crept out to see if the baby had woken up. She hadn’t. I was amazed. By her beauty and fragility, yet some unnerving invisible strength which allowed her to sleep through our worst fights. I had a feeling she was going to be just like her father. My baby. The only thing I could ever call my own.
I ran out of the room before the sobbing began, not wanting to wake her. After all, I would have to rock her back to sleep. Her father had left. God knows for how long.
I make him sound like a monster. He’s not. He’s just… insensitive? And I wondered if he was right, if I expected too much from him, as a man, as a husband, as a father. Most of all as a husband. Because he was a good enough father.
A little time, a little love, maybe a compliment here and there. He wasn’t like some other husbands who constantly compare the wife to his beloved mother, or a cheating, disease-carrying bastard. He wasn’t hiding a second family behind closed doors, he wasn’t a miser or a workaholic. But he was insensitive. Like he never saw me. Never noticed the extra talcum powder I put just before he was due home, or the trouble I took over getting back into shape after having Tina. He never noticed how glad I was to see him when he came home, or how all I wanted when I was sick, was just to be held. By him.
I wondered how long it would take before he figured it out. I lifetime felt too long. It felt like all I could see in my future was a black cloud, with bright multi-coloured toys here and there, where Tina would be lying.
I sighed and went to wash my face. I needed to get some sleep before facing the black cloud of the next day, and the villain in my stories – an insensitive husband. Sounds downright evil, doesn’t it?
I looked at the picture of my parents on their 5th wedding anniversary. There was tissue all around me, my nose was stuffed, my eyes were so puffy that I could barely see. I was exhausted. It felt like my whole world was a lie. Which was ridiculous. I was 22 and an adult and so many of my friends’ parents had split up or were living lies.
But for my mother to suddenly walk out after 24 years of marriage, a few months shy of their fucking 25th anniversary.. I was trying to wrap my brains around it. My aunt, her younger sister, halped put a few things in perspective. Which left me wondering why she didn’t leave when I was a baby. Why she put up with it at all. My boring clod of a father who never noticed her beauty, how she adored him.
I tried putting myself in her shoes. They seemed painful. I wondered how I never noticed in all those years. And how he never noticed. My stupid father. And my poor mother, for wasting 25 of her most beautiful years.
I started crying again.