For the past two weeks, my life partner has barely spoken to me. Works been really busy for us both, we carpool everyday and the rides have been more and more silent. I try to carry the conversation, but I’m really tired and he just simply isn’t saying much back if anything at all. Usually the rides are full of lighthearted chatter, plans for dinner or just us talking through work challenges to clear our heads. But not lately, lately we seem to have lost this. I’ve been nervous and confused and a bit frustrated. I wasn’t sure what was going on and assumed it was work, but two weeks is too long.
On Monday, my partner put his arm around me while we slept. He was sound asleep I was not. I couldn’t sleep. He grabbed my shoulder again and again and then almost leapt clean off the bed. I held his arm, gently speaking to him in the same way you quiet a newborn and told him everything was OK. He doesn’t know this. I did this every night for months at one point but it is thankfully rare now.
I woke up at midnight with a migraine and food poisoning. I was frustrated and had to go to work, alone, in the rain and didn’t say much as I felt awful. Then while on the train alone, sad and frustrated and so so mad at myself as every year on this day we end up in a fight. And I felt awful and selfish this is his day, why do I always get mad at him on this day when I should just be thankful that I have him.
Then I realized that even though he won’t acknowledge it for two weeks he’s been dreading the phone call from his friends mom or the lack of it, when she calls or doesn’t call to tell him how much she misses her son. And dreading thinking about that time I found him in a bar after the guy that saved his life was shot in the head in Afghanistan. Or maybe he’s thinking of how we sat on the couch while he cancelled his flights for the funeral since the family didn’t have it due to protesters. Or maybe in the rarest of moments he is thinking of the explosion, or the shooting, or just the haunt of death.
So today he’ll spend the day with a friend not acknowledging any of this and tomorrow we will start again back to being the couple that we have always been. And next year I’ll try to remember this. Next year maybe it will weigh on us less, remembering that any day we exist is a great day. And while the wounds both physical and mental will exist and pose challenges for us forever we are still so incredibly lucky to be here.