I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And after this past winter, I can tell you, it’s raining shoes. Reacting as I have been programmed to on that day in 1957 when my father did not come home, I continue playing my role in a never-ending loop.
A grey glaze coats this day in nearly-mid April, with tree buds still embryonic, the forsythia seemingly stillborn–all of spring in a severe case of arrested development. Winter held on so mercilessly, in so many ways.
Elements of a perfect storm for classic Nordic depression had been pounding since the holidays on the increasingly frail infrastructure of the man I share my life with. Long dormant, long ignored genes reached from psychic depths with a strength his once youthful body (and mind) could counter. But somehow the playing field had changed–the sands of chemical balance had shifted under him and this stoic, sensitive, loving man finally admitted that he now needed help. (And his equally stoic, sensitive, and loving partner had to admit that she was not enough).
A Kafkaesque pursuit of treatment and miscellaneous cause and effect ensued. I will spare the details partly because they are as convoluted as the bureaucratic red tape encountered and largely because I don’t want to relive it.
In any case, we survived. I do mean we. And I so believe in happy endings. However…
He is never late. He can be counted on to change the oil in my car, to prune tall branches, to kiss my forehead every morning when he wakes hours before I do, and most especially, to share happily and completely our evenings together, with no need for any more than my company. (Although there is always a stack of books he will find himself buried in before retiring).
I expected to hear the back door close behind him at 4:30, at the end of his long, physically hard work week as a carpenter. The prospect of a simple dinner of salad and a fresh loaf of ciabatta would be all that was required to celebrate TGIF…no Happy Hour, just home and happy.
Two hours later, I had relived every loss in my life, had gone fetal on the sofa with a phone in my hand, ear cocked to the street and the police car that would drive up with terrible, life-altering news.
At 6:35, I heard the door close. Relief and anger flooded me, tandem emotions that almost always cohabitate. He lay down and told me he was missing his sister, who had died in a tragic car accident six years ago to the day. (Those damn shoes…they’re out there, hanging over all of us).
But he was okay. And after a few minutes, or more, so was I.
So am I.