Thursday, November 10, 2005


From your spot on the bed, you thanked me for being with you. You told me I'm great, then drew me into your arms with a gentle tug on my hand. "Thanks for being with me when I'm in this shit mood...For trying to get me out of it." I pulled back to face you and tucked my damp hair behind my ear. I bowed my head and uttered a shy "You're welcome." You folded me into your arms and kissed the fresh makeup on my forehead.

But surely you must know how much I wanted to be there for you, how much more I would do for you. You must know that my limits aren't even close to being reached - that my capacity to give to or for you is far from maximized. You must know that I want to make you happy, to take care of you. So I made sure we were stocked with cigarettes and booze and food, so that we didn't have to leave the house if we didn't want to. I wanted to keep your mind off of your problems, to keep you happy. Your smile, or a moment when I looked at you and knew that you weren't thinking of work, was my reward.

You came into the bank and told me that what you'd like to do is just pack up and disappear. That you would, if not for me. I felt like you just validated everything I've been feeling. You held my hand over a Manila folder on my desk, traced the curve of my fingers with your own, and said it. I wanted to leap across my desk and kiss you.

You brought me coffee at work the next day, dressed in your suit and tie, ready to hit the road for work. You kissed me on the sidewalk in front of the bank. The kiss was long, full-on and unashamed, as cars crawled by on their way to the stoplight. You tucked a stray hair behind my ear and told me you'd call me when you got there. You wrapped me up in your arms and told me to be good. You were still smiling. We shared another long kiss and you held my hands in yours. "I love you, sexy," you said, just before you turned to leave. I pulled you back for a last kiss, poured "I love you, too" into your mouth. I saw in your face that you were happy, and I felt successful, like I'd had a part in that.

You called me last night, from an hour away, your voice hard with worry and frustration. Your long weekend had lifted your spirits, but a day back at work and reality rears its ugly head and it's as if you've been kicked in the stomach. You explained to me again why your situation upsets you so, and I sat on the other end of the line, plucking my eyebrows; silent. My own frustration nipped at my heels. I didn't know what to say, what to do, so I searched for errant hairs in my handheld mirror. Pluck. Pluck. You had me on speaker phone while you drove, our conversation made awkward by the strange delay your phone forced on us. My jokes weren't funny, fell flat because of the few seconds of silence between the buildup and the punchline. Pluck. I couldn't offer any solace, I couldn't offer any solution. So I let you go on, telling me again why you're in such a mood, why you don't think you'll get out of it anytime soon. I just need to get out of this job, out of this country, you said, dismay seeping through the words you spoke . Oh, was all I could say. Silence. You offered a blanket apology for your gloom. Yeah, I know, I replied, my voice soft. Pluck. I felt the tears behind my eyes, threatening to spill out all over me.

I don't know what to do for you. I don't know what to say. I watch you perseverate and I want so badly to make it stop. I want desperately to make you feel better, to see you happy, but words catch in my throat, my arms fall at my sides and I'm left with nothing. What do you want? I'll do anything for you, give anything to make you happy, but I don't know what to offer. I've listened, I've told you it will be okay, I asked questions, I tried to help. I've been right next to you, I've suggested space. I made you laugh, I tried to pretend nothing was wrong, I tried to indulge you. And when you're facing me, when your skin is barely inches from my own, my tactics are successful and I feel triumphant. But with nothing but my voice to present to you in your time of need, I feel incapable. Powerless.


kate said...

okay, now i'm just confused. is everything all right with you guys?

Laurie said...

Yes, Kate, everything's fine. He's just frustrated about work, and I'm frustrated that there's nothing I can do to make it better.

But, regardless of his less-than-bubbly persona of late, everything is going along famously. I still feel lucky to have him, and am still over the moon for the guy...

Which is probably why it's so tough to see him going through something and not being able to help.

portuguesa nova said...

Wanna get out of the country=Teach English in Japan!! You can go together if you do the JET Program. It is a one year contract. You make good money doing it.

Popeye said...

Guys won't always say it, and we're all a little different, but just being held and listened to (even if we're not actually using any words) matters a whole hell of a lot, more than we frequently know how to say. You're doing great.

kate said...

Good. I'm glad. Because for a minute there I thought that maybe his unhappiness with his work situation was spilling over into your relationship and muddying things up.