Thursday, March 7, 2013
The only real sound I could discern was the whir of the overhead fan. Then there were the crashing noises of the never ending jumble of words racing nonsensically through my head. They played out the scenes from just hours before. I tried mightily to get them to slow to a tolerable simmer, but they would not not obey my pleadings and came to a full, rolling, boil. In my spirit I could still feel his eyes upon me from earlier in the night.
The evening began as any other, he on his side of the bed and I was on mine. He was watching TV while I was going over the inventory of my new business venture. I was counting charms, lockets and chains, and forming a list for the night's order. My back was to him as I worked, but I could sense his eyes upon me. I could feel the intensity of of his stare as he watched me and wondered.
I turned to face him and his blue eyes, reddened by the proceeding sleepless nights and non stop business of work, were looking back deeply into mine. I could sense his heart was heavy, and his soul still burdened by the misunderstandings, and harsh words, spoken out of frustration, anger, and spite, from days before.
I asked him what he was thinking as he continued to stare, even though I already knew, and he followed the usual script and said simply one word, "nothing." I gave him a smile, and ran my hand along the firm muscles in his arm. When I reached his hands I felt his fingernails, so soft, smooth and comforting for some reason unknown.
I had my list to guide me through my ordering so I turned away once more, reached for my laptop and began to place orders that had come in. As I typed, he protectively put his rugged hand, weathered from many years in the hot Texas sun, across my waist.
While typing, I continued to feel his eyes upon me and once again felt the heaviness of his spirit. Again, I turned my head and looked back into his eyes. Already knowing the answer, I once more asked what was on his mind, and once again he declined to answer. But I knew.
I knew he was feeling distant from me, from us as a couple. I think the sleepless nights from the pain of arthritis and a knee that needs to be replaced, also factored into the loneliness he was experiencing. When he manages the building of homes or remodels, his pain level is almost non existent, but he had been working physically for the last few weeks helping our crew frame a new project.
That's one thing about him I can't get him to stop. He refuses to step back and allow others to do most of the physical work. He's involved physically, and mentally, from the very inception of a project to its completion. He wants to make sure the quality he demands is up to his level of perfection.
Even though I knew the exhaustion and pain he was experiencing was part of what I was seeing, I also knew our relationship was the majority of what was weighing on him. Stress has been visiting our home all too frequently, from clients that run short of funds, to the illnesses of our children, to the day to day strain of life and trying to run a business in this economy.
He feels alone, and to some extent he's correct. I try to help with his pain, but there's really nothing I can do but offer support and Tylenol. He wants, he needs, more. He needs to know that I'm standing beside him, that he's important to me, and he is, extremely so.
I realized, as I looked back into his eyes, that he wants more of my companionship, more of my time. I've been so busy trying to get finances to work, and consumed with trying to get this other business off the ground, that I think I've lost him in the shuffle of the chaos of my own day to day life.
We were planning to get away for our 25th anniversary in April, but suddenly realized that we had other commitments and could not take the time off. We were looking forward to time alone, with no children, no cell phones, and no internet, just us, but it's not to be. We can always do it in May, but that's not when our actual 25th anniversary falls, so, it's just not the same.
What he was looking for, while he gazed at me, was that "spark" that was there from the beginning that somehow, in day to day life, got lost along the way. It got lost between special needs children, grandchildren, ridiculous family squabbles, and business, to name just a few. I need to make it my mission to do my best to help bring it back, to make him understand that I am here, he's not alone.
He needs to understand the he's first, and as the head of the household, is to be the most respected. He's confessed, although will not admit it, that he's feeling alienated by all of his children, and by me. I need to make sure that I, at least, do my part to calm his spirit and allow him to "really" know that I am beside him, and I always will be.
Now, perhaps, the noise will have left my head and I can put away my laptop, close my eyes and sleep. Tomorrow is a new start, with new priorities and new goals that will hopefully lift the heaviness from his spirit.