« Home | Overheard in the Land 'O' Terra » | Grace Likes Screaming TIMMY! » | Meow » | You Had Me at Secret » | Sometimes I Swear, I Am Just Fucking Retarded » | Alexandra Turns Nine » | Alex proved she knew how to do a cannonball. It's... » | my friend J and I jumped in the bouncy castle. I... » | It was a kids party, and some masked girl crashed ... » | my mom and aunt thought they'd try to be cool like... » 

Monday, June 06, 2005 

Pretending to Sleep

We were married for a long time, well seven years to be exact, before I crawled into bed one night and said, “I want a baby”.

The words hung heavy in the air and the only sound that filled the room was the sound of him breathing. I counted to thirty by the ticking of the clock before he turned off the light, and just like that, the spell of us was broken.

It’s hard to describe my husband, he is a quiet man and if you asked him he would proclaim to have no layers, no complexities. He is one dimensional and obsessed with staying that way. When I met him I fell in love with his simplicities, his lack of subterfuge, his inability to surprise. In a world filled with emergencies, sudden plot twists and heartbreaking sorrows, he was my lifeline. Steady, flat, he threw out a hand and I grabbed on tight. Amazed that anyone had even noticed I was drowning.

I had been drowning my whole life.

Click, the light went off and in the quiet still of the night I was crying the kind of cry that is impossible to cover up. I sat up, wiped my face, and when I opened my mouth to apologize I found instead that I was choking on the word divorce.

Quietly he handed me a tissue box, pulling the covers aside I heard the sound of his feet hit the floor and the door to the bedroom open.

This is my husband. Throw him a loop and he goes for a walk. I sat in bed with my head in my hands and waited for him to come back. He always comes back.

“Why do you want a baby?”

It is twenty minutes later and my eyes have adjusted enough to the darkness to see that he is standing in the doorway with his hands hanging helplessly by his side. He is looking down, around, anywhere but at me and I just want to hold him, run my fingers through his hair and once more pry open that heart of his. I want to say, “Stop resisting me, stop resisting change. When I met you, you were cold and impenetrable and no one realized anything lay underneath, but I didn’t see that. I saw your loneliness.”

I stand up, I hold him tight until I feel his body relax and sink into mine. He rests his forehead on mine, his fingers play with my hair and I say, “It’s time. You’ll be such a good dad.”

And he is.

He taught the boys how to ride bikes and they have a standing basketball game every Friday night. I sit inside pretending to read my book but really I am listening to the sound of joy fill my home.

My youngest boy screams, “Score!” and my older one shouts, “Gotcha!” but my husband is quiet. We are loud enough to make up for him and he is okay with that.

The boys are good with him… I made sure of that. When they were little I told them that daddy was quiet because he thought so much. I explained how he went on walks to make sure he gave them the most perfect answer because that’s how very important their questions were to him. I used little boy words to banish awkwardness and inspire love. You see, my husband turned off the light that night because the only thing in the world that he is more scared of then change, is losing me. He doesn’t say it, but I know. I saw it in the way his hands shook when he signed the birth certificate of our first born and how he cried when the doctor said I could have no more after our second.

In the hospital room, while he thought I was sleeping, he crawled into bed with me and holding me tight whispered, “I was drowning too”. I kept my breathing deep and even and while I was letting that sink in, he turned off the light.