I went for a run tonight. Lizards scattered as I ran past a sprinkler-puddle. I guess they were thirsty. I took some pictures of the cute houses around my neighborhood. None of these are Jake’s house. If he saw me snapping a pic of his house he might think I’m a stalker. I thought maybe I would see him but I didn’t. I had my hair up in a ponytail and my little shorts on too. Oh well.
I think I have been over-reacting about the Autism thing. Zoe probably is fine. I made her a doctor appointment anyway though…just incase. Her Summer Camp/ Montessori School Teacher, Miss Jada told me yesterday that I should get Zoe “evaluated”. That was a great conversation. I cried. But now I am feeling better today. We are going to have a good holiday and I’m making a picnic.
Jake was out there on his hammock again this morning. He has been out there every morning for the past few days, right at 8am when I take Zoe to camp. I know college kids are typically not morning people. It wasn’t’ that long ago that I was in college. Zoe didn’t actually have camp this morning but I went out in the car to get milk from the grocery store, and there he was, leg dangling over the side. Doesn’t he know there is no summer camp on the 4th of July? Or maybe this whole hammock-front lawn business is not for my benefit. Maybe he actually does like to sit out there on display in his front yard, reading his textbooks at 8am. I didn’t stop to talk to him. I feel kind of bad about that since he sits up in his hammock and looks at me when I drive by. After talking to him last week under the street lamp I feel almost obligated to stop, but I’m so nervous to do that. I never think I look cute enough. I think about him a lot during the day though. When I am putting the boring laundry away and dancing to music, I think about what I will say next time I talk to him. I also think about my family, and how much they mean to me and how I can’t mess things up. I made a marriage vow that I fully intended to keep only 3 years ago. I mean, I guess I broke it but I still love Chris. I think I do. I don’t think he likes me very much these days though.
I miss how much fun we used to have. In California it was like a slumber party every night and we would laugh, and then the next day we’d drive way out to Point Reyes National Seashore on the fault line and look over the cliffs for whales in the mist. He seems to have given up on me. I’m not trying very hard now either, especially now that I have someone else filling my thoughts.
We are going to see the fireworks on campus tonight. We didn’t go last year because Zoe was so little and she doesn’t like loud noises. I ordered some sound-cancelling headphones for her, so if she keeps them on it might be a fun family outing. I am putting together a lovely picnic this afternoon, new red and white gingham picnic blanket and all. I made some of these for our living room, for when our friends come over before we head over to the fireworks. It is going to be a good day.
I mostly just hung out with Zoe as the fireworks exploded all around our heads. She did well with the noise-cancelling headphones on and sat in my lap and played with my phone.
Since the show was on campus there were a lot of students there and I found myself scanning the place for Jake. I thought I saw him a few times from the back, then the side. But it wasn’t him. I slurped on watermelon and munched on a cheese and tomato sandwich that I shared with Zoe and we simply sat quietly on the new red and white gingham cloth. Chris had a really good time talking with his friends. His bandmates were there and they were all attracting attention from some of the students who knew some of their songs that made the charts 10 years ago when he was only sixteen. Chris loves that. We packed up the stroller quickly when it started drizzling and the fireworks abruptly stopped.
I suppose I enjoyed my quiet-loud time with Zoe. She even pointed at the fireworks. I think she was mimicking my pointing, but still, she pointed and I read that kids with Autism don’t point. I was a little melancholy, but lovin on my beautiful baby girl. Tomorrow will be a year since we lost Meliah. My heart just aches for her. Everything seems like it is in slow motion…like one of those dreams where you can’t run fast no matter how hard you try. I will just get through tomorrow by trying not to think about it.
Today Jake wasn’t out on his hammock, which since it is raining, makes sense. Zoe is a preschool and I am not going to do much today because I don’t feel like. it. Maybe I will take an Ativan to give my heartache a four-hour rest break. Chris will be working at the music shop all day. I’m supposed to write some “peppy” marketing stuff for a social media website. I think I’ll just sleep instead.
Yesterday night, Sunday night after I came out from putting Zoe to bed, Chris wanted to know when I was going to be normal again.
He put his joy stick controller thing down and said, “When are you going to stop thinking about yourself and think about someone else for once?” I contemplated pointing out that I had just been rubbing Zoe’s resaless little feet for an hour to help her go to sleep while he played video games. But instead I said, “Like who?”
“What have I done to you?” I expected a list of what I was doing wrong.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing, which is the problem.”
His green eyes seemed to be tearing up. I was a little shocked that he still cared that much.
“What do you want me to do?” I said.
“Be attracted to me again perhaps, that would be nice.”
“I can’t do that to her.” I said, looking at my feet. “I can’t be with you and live my life like when she is dead. It isn’t fair. Every time I think I can go back to normal and be with you again, my stomach gets in knots and I can’t do it.”
I looked at his face. There was no sympathy there, just anger and disbelief. “It has been a year. This is not normal. I try to give you your space but it isn’t working. You probably should talk to someone.”
“Who should I talk to? You?”
“A counselor or something.”
“What are you saying, that I’m crazy?”
“It is just that a year is too long.”
All I wanted to do was leave. But I knew I needed to finish this conversation.
I said, “I can’t change how I feel. I can’t help being sad sometimes. I’m sorry that it is such a huge inconvenience for you. I’m surprised that you even noticed.”
He snorted, “What? What are you talking about? How could I not notice that you are sad? We live in the same house don’t we?”
I smiled and shook my head, then left to go to our bedroom to sit on my bed and try to put the conversation out of my mind. I have perfected the art of blocking out unpleasant thoughts after Meliah’s accident…but our conversation sat there, heavy, confusing and my conclusion was…he is tired of my grief, tired of me not performing my “wifely duties”, and he thinks I’m crazy. Great.
What a crazy Satruday…beach fun then I saw Jake out at a club.
We (Chris, Zoe and I) went to the beach, fun! I noticed a couple of weird things though. There was another little girl that looked like she was Zoe’s age and I saw her tell her mommy that she needed to go potty. It was very strange to see. There is no way that Zoe would ever tell me she needed to go potty. We are so far from that skill.
I also noticed that when we were walking on the beach I had to pull Zoe along with her hand, or even her wrist. But the other little girl walked right next to her mommy and they looked at each other and even chatted a bit.
It worried me. I haven’t been worrying about autism but I feel like I am starting to see some potential problems…and it squeezes my heart, so I try not to think about it.
So, I decided to try out some dance therapy that night and get rid of the anxiety that was threatening to creep back up on me. Lisa was “totally in”. So Chris said he didn’t mind staying home with Zoe as long as I put her to bed before I went out.
It was a perfect night. The dance floor of the club is outdoors and the moon was high. When I looked up at it in the dark blue sky I could see the lines of lanterns strung from the dance floor to the bar.
Jake was there. I hadn’t seen him since I’d gathered up my clothes and scurried out his door last monday morning so it was a bit of a shock to see him. I didn’t even know where we stood. So much had happened that week with Zoe’s autism diagnosis that I didn’t even know if I ever wanted to talk to him ever again…or if I would be completely offended if he blew me off.
I’ll tell you tomorrow what happened at the club, but before I go, check out what Zoe and I wore to the beach:
(Scroll to the bottom to see the super-cute outfit.)
Jake didn’t blow me off. He came up and talked to me at the bar while Lisa was off dancing with her super cute (in the girliest way possible) friend, Bobby. I was drinking a Gin and Tanqueray and Jake was holding a glass of some sort of draft beer.
He smelled so good and he was wearing his crisp white T-shirt that hung so nicely over his chest. I smiled to myself remembering what he looked like without that shirt on. There was a very pretty girl with long, silky dark brown hair looking at him/us a few bar stools away. I wasn’t the only one who thought he was gorgeous. Normally I would have been totally intimidated by her. But as this was my second g&t of the night, I was confident enough to cut my eyes at her then settle in to chat with Jake Nead.
“Hi” he said. He had to lean right into my ear so I could hear him over the music.
“Hi” I said. I sipped on my straw, my heart pounding.
“I’ve been thinking about you all week.”
“It has been a crazy week,” I said.
“Yeah for me too. I have a question that has been bugging me. I’m just going to come right out and ask it.” I looked up at his eyes. I knew what he was going to ask.
He said, “You are on the pill, right?”
“Yes, of course,” I lied. I was suddenly embarrassed about everything between us. This was so out of control. I stepped away from him and looked for Lisa on the dance floor.
“Do you even know how amazing you are?” he said.
“ I think I am out of my ever-loving mind,” I murmured into my drink.
That is when Lisa came up with Bobby. “Are you going to dance?!” she yelled in my ear.
“In a minute.”
“He works with Chris” I said. Lie number two in 2 minutes. I was going to have to keep track of these.
“He likes you” she said in my ear. God she was observant.
“Let’s go dance” I said. So I left Jake there as Lisa and I went to completely let loose on the dance floor. We were glowing gold from the lanterns and Bobby was making me laugh so hard with his remarkable and wonderfully-silly dance moves.
My troubles were stripped by the loud music engulfing us until I looked up to see Jake looking at me from the bar with that intense gaze of his. What was I going to do with him? I knew what I wanted to do, so badly, so I told Lisa it was time to go.
She was really nice about it and we headed out to her car. I looked behind me as we left and Jake was just starting to talk to the pretty brown-haired girl at the bar. I almost turned around to go back and get rid of her. But Lisa is way too intuitive for me to get away with doing something like that. Oh the interrogation that would have followed. So I kept walking out of the club and internally scolded myself for being so unjustly and weirdly jealous.
So it was an interesting Saturday. If only, IF ONLY, I could stop thinking about Jake. But you know, I haven’t cried about missing Meliah since last Monday.
“Do you still like me?” I asked Chris.
“Do we have to do this?” he said.
I pretended I didn’t hear that and moved on. “Because I still like you.” I said. “And I miss you.”
He turned his head from his online soccer video game and looked at me. I think the other team scored a goal.
“What do you mean?” He said.
“I was thinking about when we used to always go out to Point Reyes and go for hikes and go camping in the Redwoods. It was so fun. Do you remember?”
“Um, yeah” he said and started playing his video game again.
I didn’t have much time left. My act of infidelity had been about a week ago. Even if Chris and I were together tonight, a ten-week ultrasound would show discrepancies.
I decided to leave subtly alone. We were too far gone for him to get any hints. “I’m going to bed early tonight, wanna come?”
“Why?” he said. I think he was genuinely confused.
“So we can hang out.”
“What do you want to talk about?” He said.
“Maybe, Chris, just maybe I don’t want to talk.”
He stopped playing his video game again then reached for the remote and turned the TV off. I tried to think if I had ever seen him do that before.
“Is this some kind of a joke?” he said.
“If you keep being so negative about everything then maybe it is.”
“You are dangling carrots and oh so ready to whip them away.”
“I’m not…going to, um, whip anything away.”
He smiled. I suddenly remembered that smile. It was gorgeous. It made my heart flutter a little. Zoe was asleep. We had the whole house to ourselves. I couldn’t help but entertain the thought that if I never cheated on him then this little step forward in our marriage wouldn’t be happening right now.
Meliah flashed into my head but I pushed her out of my head. Not now. I needed this, I couldn’t let grief take even more away from our family than it already had.
Related post: https://ungratefulbliss.com/page/2/
“The leaves on the trees are so beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
“No, it’s just the whisky,” he murmured, pulling me closer.
“No. It’s super amazingly beautiful,” I said looking up into the oaks of McCarren Park, feeling sky high while we lay in the grass. I twisted his hair between my fingers.
We must have fallen asleep. When we woke, I pulled the twigs out of my hair and shook the grass off my skirt.
As we started walking toward my apartment, I looked at my watch and it was nine in the morning. How did that happen?
I have no thoughts as I walk up the stairs alone. I feel blank. I walk through the door and set my bag down quietly. I grab a glass from the sink and fill it with water as quietly as someone could do when they are sneaking into their apartment absorbed in dread. I fumble through the junk drawer, pop an Advil, and take a sip.
I hear Jonathan in the shower so I speedily slide off my skirt and pull my tank top over my head. I dig deep in my drawer and slip on the softly faded Joy Division t-shirt. I dive under the sheets, close my eyes, and hold my breath.
The water stops and so does my heart.