Open and Honest – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV – Part V – Part VI – Part VII
I keep telling myself it’ll only be five days. Five days of fun with friends, of visiting with family, of bachelor party and Boston.
Despite all the wonderful people and times, every spare moment is spent thinking of her.
I send a postcard, carefully picking out a vintage print. I plot surprises for my return, think about things we could do together, events to which she’d like to go. I work on being even more the person she makes me want to be.
On the day of my return, she offers to pick me up from the airport. It’s unexpected. The distance between her and the airport isn’t small. This isn’t a favor I’d ask of a friend. I could bus it and then get a ride. That would be reasonable, but all the way is outside the bounds of good taste. Yet here she is offering. And I don’t want to say no.
My flights are delayed. Over and over, the timing gets worse. I’m racked with guilt, as the airline fails to tell me the changes until the last moment, and I can only hope to relay them.
She’s tired and sore when she picks me up. We cancel the concert we were going to catch in Denver on the way back. We crawl into bed, sleeping immediately. There’s no making up for lost time. There will be time enough for that later.
The next day, her world crumbles.
Plans she was making seem untenable after she finds out her debts are greater than she wanted. She closes herself. She cries. I try to cheer her up.
It’s an odd sensation, realizing that when I’m with her none of our combined problems seem insurmountable. I know I can’t solve her problems. I know her and I know she’s capable. I can make it more bearable, more pleasant; I can be supportive and make things easier if only she’ll let me. My problems I can handle. They don’t even worry me when she’s at my side. Hers worry me more than I want to show, if only for their effect on her.
“I want you to be happy. I like when you’re happy,” I want to tell her. “What can I do to make you happy?” I want to ask.
But I don’t.
I reach out gently, probing, hoping I can breach the sudden wall. She schedules herself hellishly for a week. She makes good money. I watch as she disconnects from the world. All that exists is work, commute, sleep, eat.
My life is no simpler. I’m starting a new job. I’m moving, without a car. I’m in my own little hell, ripped from the peaceful fun of post-ski season haze. I take loads via bus. It’s painful and difficult. I tap friends to help in little ways or bigger ways. Several come through. I make a concerted effort not to ask her for help, not to heap my problems on her own.
I don’t worry about it. I don’t stress it. I’m too busy to bother. I’m too worried about her to worry about myself.
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