The warmth of the chocolate brown shade warms me; gives me something to look forward to when I come home. Nothing else makes me feel or enjoy. The material comforts give spark to an otherwise blank canvas of pain.
I turn when he enters, his mood foul and unforgiving. Why do I stay? Is it the financial stability, the fear of waking up in the middle of the night alone?
I can’t answer a question I already know the answer to. I repeat these questions daily and the silence that follows is my denial. Repeating the answers would make it tangible and real. It would paint me as weak and unbalanced. It would condemn me and ridicule me as a person of less determination than others surrounding me.
Others I have pointed fingers at and criticized for the same reasons.
I turn to face him and smile, hoping to relieve the tension invading the room. It adds weight to my sorrow, sinking it to the bottom of my roiling stomach.
He stalks into the bedroom and slams the door.
The feeling of hopelessness burns up into my throat, making me wish I had something to drink, preferably of the alcoholic type. I know many who turn to this type of medication. It isn’t much different then popping a couple of Xanax. It’s society bullshit if you ask me. A drug is a drug is a drug whether you snort, drink or smoke it.
Alcohol, among others, just happens to be legal. It’s okay to stand in a crowded room of people slobbering and falling all over each other, the music blaring right along with their loud ramblings. It’s great if you are one of them. Everything is just peachy king if you are. The struggles hung around your neck become weightless and your mind is dulled from the constant discussion of crap. Instead, you talk about things that don’t really make a difference and dreams you know probably won’t come true. The buzz helps you believe. It whispers pure little lies into your ear and your fizzled brain opens up like an innocent flower to the sting of a bee.
I stop my pity parade and notice the drops I’ve allowed to mar the floors. Quickly, I sponge them clean and sigh with regret. Glancing at the newly painted wall, I smile. I smile because I love the look. I love the entire change. I envy the ease with which I can change certain things and not others. If only a stroke of a brush was all it took. The body was easy to cover. Large amounts of color could be used and applied effortlessly. You could dissuade yourself into believing it was easy. Until you come to the edge where the wall meets the ceiling. Your arm stretches painfully to reach it because you are too stubborn to ask for the help of the ladder only a few feet away. After a couple of attempts, you realize help is not a bad thing. Climbing up is not hard. The edges are a pain in the ass but persistence wins out and you patiently complete the task. You’ve already started so you have no choice but to finish. I compare the experience to my life. It’s amazing how similar a drastic change would be. Some of it would be achieved with minimal effort while the other may be more of a struggle to acclimate to and conquer.
I stand back and feel proud. Part of me wants to throw what’s left of the paint against the other walls. It’s a mix of relief and helplessness due to a situation that can’t be fixed.
Why do we continue creating chaos then covering it with pretty walls and material gratification? It’s almost as if the inanimate things could ever hide the ugliness that exists all around us.
News flash: It doesn’t.
It’s much like concealing a wall that hasn’t been sanded and finished smoothly. At first, the paint brightens and hides the imperfects but given time, they always come through to stare you in the face and scream their existence. They always resurface. If what’s underneath isn’t fixed, what’s used to cover is only temporary.
I hear the shower and brace for the dismissal. Within minutes, I am cleaning the mess and still glancing at my work. It’s a comforting color yet dark and abysmal. I still like it. I wonder if I am projecting my grief on this wall. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so pretty anymore. I stand back again and tilt my head. Pushing the couch against it, I feel more at ease. The couch is a light color and offsets the dark.
I jump when a door slams and keys click in his hands. He’s leaving and I couldn’t be happier. Sticking around under the same roof with these feelings is volatile. We both know this. It’s funny how good we know it. I busy myself with picking up as he breezes by, his cologne stinging my nose. Sometimes I wonder why he puts it on to the point where it’s so obvious.
I hear the ice machine going as he prepares a drink. I fucking hate the sound of it. It only announces the misery to come. A happy drink time results in babysitting but a bad drink time is miserable.
That pretty much sums it up. Do I deserve to be left in this state? What I did was voice my opinion. Does it push his buttons? Definitely.
But I happen to have a tolerance up to a certain point and then I blow.
At least there is a tolerance. I can’t say the same for him. That side of the column has a big fat “zero” in it.
Notice I am also pointing out my flaws: The button pressing.
I happen to do it continuously and I’m good at it.
These thoughts continue as I watch him go, hoping he is safe even if I want to pull his hair out by the root. Deep down I still care.
The house is quiet and I long for a hot shower. After everything is in its place, I move into the bathroom and revel in my gorgeous shower which doesn’t mean jack shit when I’m alone.
I know I am contradicting myself. Yay—he’s gone and crap—I’m alone.
It’s the vicious circle of a doomed relationship.
I fall asleep on the recliner and wake only when I hear the key in the door.
He stumbles in and I wonder if he drove in that condition. Once he reaches the bedroom, I know it’s going to be night night for him.
I sigh in relief. The arguing isn’t for me tonight.
Once I hear the snoring, I peek outside and don’t see his truck. Hopefully, a ride or a taxi got him here. I never know.
The sun hits my face and I move, realizing I am still on the recliner. My phone is buzzing and I scroll through my messages. The door to my room opens and I brace for the fight.
He wonders over to the pantry and the ice machine starts going. I know it’s the Pepsi after a rough night.
I glance back at him and he is staring at me.
“Do you want to go eat somewhere?” he asks as if nothing has happened and all is good in our world.
I take a minute to answer because this will determine how the rest of my weekend will go. Outside, the day is beautiful, the weather perfect. My stomach rumbles and I realize I’m hungry.
“Let me get ready,” I answer feeling a twinge of defeat because I am enabling the behavior once again. I shelve the argument of how fucked up what he did was for another day and walk past him.
He grabs my arms and pulls me into his warmth. My eyes water because I know the cycle and I also know this isn’t the end but my arms find their way around his neck because they need to. This is his way of waving the white flag. Somewhere deep inside, I hear the tiny voice telling me to handle things differently next time.
But the hard truth is. It won’t make a difference in the long run.
The Hard Truth by Mina J. Moore