Friday, April 25, 2014

What you don't see….

The early morning light creeps through the slats in the blinds. Tinged petal pink and innocent, it reflects nothing of the darkness it endured in the hours prior. My body is awash with relief that another night has passed and another day is underway. I can see the sleeping form of my oldest, still breathing steadily in slumber under mounds of covers and pillows. I smile at our night curled next to each other, lending comfort back and forth like a brush to comb out our emotional tangles.

I stretch quietly beside her and marvel at the refreshment having her weight on her father's side of the bed lent me. As I watch the light creep into my room, stretching its yellowing fingers along the ceiling, bringing brightness and energy, I am reminded that there is so much that no one sees in my life.

Padding to the kitchen, rinsing the coffee pot in ritualistic steps, I realize much of my life is hidden, sheltered, isolated. No one sees the long nights, the television playing well into the morning hours to drown out strange sounds, the sudden way I can awaken and sit bolt upright in bed. No one sees the kink in my neck, the knot in my hip, the drag in my gait because I cannot sleep when he is gone. No one sees the tears of frustration I have dropped off the end of my nose because timing was off and there was no momentary break to hear his voice, read his words, feel his love.

I sip at my mug and recall the thank-yous, the compliments of my support, and I smirk to myself. I return those honest and genuine sentiments with a forced smile and an easy "of course," but in my heart I am jealous, envious, seething. I want to scream at them, "Do not thank me!" I want to cry, "I get no choice…" But I don't, I only smile and nod. It is vastly inappropriate to be so territorial, I tell myself. I shouldn't covet, I chide, but therein lies the rub.

Like a child learning to socialize and share their toys, I must continually give more, not just of myself, but of him also. Like that same toddler, I peer sideways as they take him off, reveling in his talents and his gifts and I want desperately to yank him back. I want to tell them, no - I changed my mind… I will give you anything else, but not him. I know it isn't possible. I know it isn't fair.

I realize in my thoughts I have drained my mug and I wander back to the pot, once more. The ebony liquid swirls against the cream and crystalline sugar and becomes a shade of warm caramel. It's transformation sparks me…From black and bitter, adding the milk and the sugar I create something I can enjoy. If I want to stand beside a man with so many dreams and desires, I have to be willing to drink my cup without resentment. I don't like black coffee, so I add sweetness and light to make it more palatable. My life is the same. I cannot live in a world of isolation and bitter loneliness, so I add to it the sweetness of friends, the bright light of social interactions. It is a constant battle to push outside my comfort zone into the illuminated world around me, to resist the pull of my own darkened heart waiting sullenly for his return.

So much of me is hidden, deep in the folds of sleepless nights and broken hearts, and like the moon I will shine forth the face I want seen, but she is there, that jealous one. She is there slinking in the darkness and only by adding the tiny flicker of a friendly candle can I keep her at bay. Always, always, she is there…in what you don't see.
Photo credit Creative Commons