Maybe we’ve progressed to one step forward, one step back. Still, I don’t find this a particularly satisfying way to conduct a marriage.
We live in peace most of the time. But that seems to be as good as it’s going to get. Just when I start to think that maybe there will be something more…maybe we will rebuild our love for each other, or even begin construction on a new love that makes sense for who we are now…the whole rickety foundation of burnt bridges and thrown stones shifts and collapses. And we are right back to living in peace. As good as it gets.
We don’t have those knock-down drag-outs that had become our custom at the height of our entrepreneurial trial by fire. Mostly because I won’t engage. I can’t fight like that anymore. And when I see one of those coming, I drop everything and back away tout de suite. I’m becoming expert at speeding away from the scene of the potential crime. In reverse.
But I hate going backward. I hate not being able to gain any forward momentum. I hate not being able to pick a spot somewhere beyond We’re-Not-Yelling-at-Each-Other-Anymore and say, “This is where my marriage is today.”
Too much damage was done during those café years. I have managed to leave the experience behind me, for the most part. I can’t say I’ve made peace with it. It’s more like I’ve simply cut it out of my life. I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and kept walking without looking back. Mostly because it’s too painful to look back. But partly because I see those five years as a gigantic black hole in my life. I’m sure I learned something from the whole thing, but I’m still—after three years—afraid to examine it all too closely. Afraid I’ll get sucked back into that negative vortex in which I existed for most of that time.
The one thing I have not been able to put behind me, not been able to dust off, is the damage to my marriage. It’s the one relationship tainted by my colossal crash and burn from which I have not been able to walk away. I live with it every day. I can’t say I’ve tried like hell to fix it. But I have worked as hard as I can to hold it together, to keep it from blowing up in our faces. I keep thinking if I hold it together long enough, the fuse will burn out and there will no longer be any danger of an explosion.
On days like this, I understand that time has not yet arrived…