I spent my sundown on the seawall, emphatically sad that my friend is staying in his unhappy relationship simply on the power of inertia. He makes me question everything about every charming couple I see walk by. Are they really happy, are they ringing out joy like cathedral bells when they’re alone as well or are they really sleeping through life because it feels safer than dropping away from security into the chance that I think needs to be taken?
Sometimes we speak on messenger, when he is at work, when I am away. He typed once, “I do not love her anymore” and I sighed, a sound like mourning, and wondered when he would be brave enough to shape those words out loud. To her, to the world. Either motion would be a step forward. I am helping. I know I am helping, though we no longer kiss. There were issues with trust. I was not allowed to take his picture.
If we spend time together and speak of these things, I begin to watch smiles and look for loneliness instead of happiness, frustration instead of joy. My eyes search for that vulnerable feeling of being alone. People who are staying for the children, people who are staying because they’ve been there too long. Broken couples obsessed with a fear of the future.
It’s so many people. I’m distressed. I want to reach out and take them away to a new standing in the world, place them in soft arms that only want to offer a warm place away from the hurt. Reach out to press into their faces an impression of control, remind them that there are many, not just one. I want to take their bodies and strip them, take words as knives to carve away the initial impression of despair and etch instead enough confidence that they remember that they are beautiful.
I find it unsettling how many marriages I know are crumbling quietly into infidelity. Trying to believe in the ideals of marriage in my world feels like trying to climb barbed wire. My relationships used to be stones, solid things that would last forever that I could hold in my mind as pale and sharp and true as my own flesh. They used to be referred to as marriages. Now they read to me like stories, tiny encapsulated things written on my heart in fading inks, not made to last but to be washed away with bloody time.
I swear, Bill’s babe must have been born by now, though no letter has come to say.