The sound of the helicopter landing outside was growing louder as all of us in the room scurried around. The man on the bed had woken up this morning the same way he always did, with no clue that the day would take the turn it did. In two minutes, we would load him into the chopper for the fifteen minute ride that would, hopefully, save his life. His wife stood watching, her fist pressed against her mouth. I gave her a map and directions to the hospital he was headed to, and suggested that she might want to get a jump start on him and leave, since it would take her considerably longer on the ground than it would take him in the air.
She leaned in toward him and said, "Don't leave me. Please. We have three boys. We aren't done yet, you and I."
My eyes filled with tears and I had to turn my head quickly to the back wall. It wasn't an unexpected reaction on my part. This job makes me tear up more than I like to admit. What was unexpected was my next response.
I was furious. In the unlikeliest of settings, I had accidentally stumbled onto what it is that is making me so "blue" at the moment.
I am really, really angry at the FX, and don't have any problems saying so. The reasons I'm angry at him are not, I'm sure, the reasons he would expect me to give, but I think we've proved repeatedly this year that he doesn't know me nearly as well as he always thought he did. How telling it is that he never thought I was worth the effort of figuring out. Just as telling is that I never trusted him enough to show him the real me. Should I be surprised that my reasons to be mad would be perceived differently?
Here's why I'm NOT angry:
I'm not angry that I'm not married to him anymore. I am - honest to god - more at peace with the world now than I've been in my entire adult life. It's like I'm me again. He's been out of the house for six months, and in that period of time I haven't missed him one single time. He's fine in small doses, but then he starts doing the things that always drove me crazy, and I'm thrilled that I don't HAVE to deal with them anymore. That's not anger. It's relief.
I'm not angry about his job success. Lately, he has had some accolades for a couple of the projects he's done recently. I have mixed feelings about this. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Oh, yeah. That film you're thinking is such a big deal? Wasn't that the same one I had to listen to you scream and yell about, about how much you hated doing it and that you were ready to quit? Who was it who held your hand and calmed you down enough to think rationally about what you were doing? Who was it who talked you into staying on this project? Huh?" But then my calmer side comes into play, and what I end up thinking is this. I'm happy for his success. Truly. I think that for a person who measures his worth as a human being based on how other people perceive him and his success, this is a very necessary thing. Imagine what it would be like if he threw everything else away and then didn't even have a career to fall back on.
I'm not angry that he continues to want to talk to me. He wants to chat, he wants to gossip, he wants to shoot the breeze. Why? Do you not have any other friends to play with? Why in the world would you ask my opinion about anything that doesn't involve the children? Why do you care what I think - now - when you never did before? What's the purpose? This one baffles me. I just don't get it. But it doesn't make me angry. It just makes me scratch my head.
And here's why I AM angry.
And the house.
There was a comment made here a couple of weeks ago that I've carried with me since. I think it was Frances who said it, and what she basically said was that the kids had a right to be angry, because their father had deliberately chosen his happiness over theirs. Short and sweet. Devastating. And so true. I watch them all, watch the way they deal with their hurt and their anger, and I wonder. Does he see it? Does he see all the ways they compensate with him to hide what they're really feeling? Surely he does with Sasquatch, because he has the subtlety of an onion sandwich. But the other two? Does he just think that because he's okay they're okay? Or worse yet, is he so caught up in his own world that these things never even occur to him?
The house speaks for itself, too. Tonight, my saviour Kevin came over and fixed my sink and my downstairs toilet. On a work night and with one day's notice. Toting a kid along with him while the rest of the family did some holiday stuff. And wanted to charge me a whopping $15, which was exactly what he paid for supplies. (Even called me a dumbass when I argued). When I thanked him profusely, he stopped me in my tracks. "Listen," he said, "we both know this is not how this was supposed to be. You would never have bought this house if you thought you'd be trying to do this all on your own." Short and sweet. Devastating. So true. And so anger inducing.
The woman today was speaking out of love for her husband, and how much their kids needed him.
For some reason it reminded me of one of our earlier blow-ups back when we were "trying to fix the marriage". I have to put my needs first, the FX told me. Well, I replied, I have to put the kids needs first. To myself I said, Wow. Someone's needs aren't being taken into account here.
I think I'm making up for lost time.