Embarrassment

Weekly-writing-prompts-embarrassing
I once joked in high school that my life was just made of embarrassing moments and the days in between.   I was the quintessential klutz, and to some degree, I still am.  Falling out of the limo at my sister's wedding solidified my family's belief that it's not a party or event until I fall.

Up stairs, down stairs.  Over cracks in the concrete, over my feet.

There's the time I spotted my crush in school talking at the bottom of the staircase.  (You see where this is heading don't you.)  I was rocking new clothes, feeling hot; I planned on walking down, catching his eye and walking away.  I thought it would be a perfect way to get his attention.   Except I got a little ahead of myself.  Then, my feet got ahead of the first step.  I slide down the entire way, landing in a mess of legs and books at his feet.  I made an impression alright.

There was the time I tried to impress a date and fell off a picnic table.

And the time on stage where I fell through the trap door during a performance.

Sometimes I'm so lucky that my embarrassment isn't completely related to my lack of physical finesse.  Most recently, I was in an audition when my face flushed and my mind emptied and my voice went silent. 

But I find these are the things that give me character.  Or, so I tell myself in order to buck up and prepare for the next slip up or pratfall.

Without provocation

things fell softly into place

He kissed her mouth

fully leaning

himself

into her

mouth, hair

They moved together

fluidly, the cold

of the night warmed

by one anothers embrace

The honesty of the passing

emotion between two people

former strangers, future lovers

Nothing but cloth, thin

ten years and a marriage

between them

All that’s left is a band of gold… or not.

As we sat in the waiting room, paperwork filled out, anticipating the called name that would take him away for his MRI – I took his watch, his cross and held my hand out for his wedding ring.

Which he wasn't wearing.

Which I haven't noticed he hasn't been wearing.

Since July, apparently.

I reacted. Wait, forget that, I overreacted.

I asked him when he stopped wearing it and he answered. 

He started to offer some other words, but I shushed him on account of the eight or so other people in the waiting room.

They called his name and I was free of him for thirty minutes.

I used the restroom, I got a bottle of water, I returned a phone call and I paced a bit. 

Returning home, he retreated to his office to catch up on the work he missed by making the appointment.  I went into my bedroom to read and relax.  I decided to not start the conversation, I felt too emotional.  I have felt raw since Thursday and his subsequent return from out of town.  Shortly after reading I fell asleep.  I remember standing just long enough to strip and crawl back under the covers.  Next thing I knew, it was 5:30 a.m. and he was up.

Upon reflection, I think, was my reaction based on guilt?  That somehow I've not noticed his left hand?  It's amazing how you see someone everyday without seeing them.  (Yes, please feel free to insert the blind joke here)

Or is it anger?  If he has given up, enough to quit wearing his ring, why did I not know?  And if he's been done since July, then what the fuck am I still doing here?

Wanting

Sometimes we struggle with what we want.  Maybe it's hard to think about it when we don't have it.  Maybe it seems too far out of reach; maybe we're tired of working towards something that rarely comes to fruition.

We all want for the basics.  To be happy.   To be healthy.  To be loved.

We elaborate from there.  We want to be comfortable, maybe wealthy.  We want challenging careers.  We want people around us to support us.  We want to be able to help others. 

You start to get into the specifics.  Sometimes this is where the material, and even the frivolous things come in.  Sometimes, we want better.  We want a bigger house, a nicer car.  We want to replace that old TV, enroll the kids in classes.  We want a vacation, a weekend away.  We want to be able to treat ourselves, our families, maybe our friends.  We want a new coat, that cute pair of shoes, that newly released game. 

But I keep going back to asking myself "what do I want?" and what that means for me now, where I am.  The answers can change, slightly, but they usually remain the same.  It's both a hard and easy question to answer. 

If you wanted for nothing, I can't imagine life would be very fulfilling.  It's a nice concept, having everything you want, but maybe overrated in reality.  That said, I don't suppose any of us would mind being granted everything we wanted.  Wanting keeps you hungry.

bad news

In a moment, a life can change drastically.  There are other moments where that life is merely altered. The effects of the causes are simply unknown at the time.

It was the summer, she remembers that much.  Sitting in a peachy, sterile office, across from a doctor who meant well.

They had been in that same office before, her husband humiliated, only that was a younger, more calloused doctor.  This doctor had a specialty, and that’s why they were there. He laid out three papers, each more devastating than the one before it. 
“It’s not as bad as it could be”, he offered as a hopeful statement.  Only that was the kind of thing you just didn’t want to hear.

He read the results.  The numbers didn’t make much sense at first, but he offered the controls at which they were measured.  That made the reality of the situation sink in. He spoke clearly, offering many avenues at the time.  It was a lot to take in. 

His testosterone was zero, which was the possible cause of many things.  Fatigue, low sex drive, loss of muscle mass, and the news that couple feared that afternoon, infertility.  It was a blow to his masculinity.  They were asked intimate details of their private lives.  How often, how was it, any plumbing issues?  A young bride blushed, and answered as truthfully as she could.  Her older husband was no less embarrassed, that was certain.

Their eyes widened as there was discussion of implanted pumps and weekly needles.  Hearing that there was no cure was daunting.  Fear coursed through her bloodstream as she saw her dreams of a family and a fulfilling sex life fly out the window.

Months later, no new protocol on the horizon.  Pills, patches, shots and creams never produced results.  Psychologists and urologists could offer nothing more than patronizing advice.  Occasionally, in the middle of the night, she'd find herself glancing to her left, in the hopes a subconscious erection would appear.

Years later, she climbs into bed beside him, trying to remember the desire that once existed, and finding only scraps of memories.

It seems hollow if I only remember you today, because of the date.

I remember you more often than that.

I won't type your name here, for those that could go looking for you could find me.  I know you'd forgive me, having known a darker part of me than most would acknowledge existed.

I miss you. 

I wonder where you'd be now if you weren't there then.

Fondly yours… (there's a wink to go with that, thanks to you)

Eating cake

I read. I ask.  I think to this nerd at heart, it makes me feel better informed.  When I went through all the infertility nonsense, I think I read any book I could find on the topic.  I amassed a collection and read whatever applied to my set of circumstances.  I joined support groups and advocated, eventually becoming so passionate about the subject that it took my ass to congress. When the cancer struck, same thing.  I was grateful to have had access to medical journals.  I probed every connection I had to find new oncologists, better treatment.  I’ve done this with any big thing I had to conquer, with any fascination I’ve had.

Makes perfect sense that my marriage would be no different.  I’ve devoured books on the subject.  Originally perusing through how to improve and working my way into the books meant to help you decide if divorce is the better option. But, it dawns on me, that not many marriages are like mine.  Not that I’m special, but often the case studies just don’t reflect enough of my situation and I become frustrated.

I’ve been told by more than one helpful reader lately that I’m seeking permission to go.  I think that’s very accurate.  I listen to my instincts, but they seem clouded, so I read.  Expecting to find the answer there that I’m not getting from my husband, I keep waiting.  But after searching, I discover something.  When I think about what I really want – I want to have my cake and eat it too.  One of the more annoying cliches – here it fits.

(Ducking from whatever might be thrown my way)

If having an affair can make someone happier at home, should they do it?  Probably not.  They should of course explore options, etc.  I know I’m not trapped by anything but my own volition, but I feel sometimes as if I must stay.

Just think though, that through all carefulness, you can fly below the radar.  You can avoid emotional entanglements.  My husband is not the type to grant me an open marriage.  In the conversations we’ve had, I’m told that if sex is that important to me, I should leave, since I won’t get it here.  Essentially, in saying “sex or me” he’s made the ultimate ultimatum.  But could we manage a don’t ask, don’t tell existence?

Until we moved here, he never asked me where I was.  Never felt the need to question who I was with or what I was doing.  I wonder if we could get there again. Could the pleasure and the knowledge of having sex accessible make this marriage good enough for now?

Could sneaking out for cake sustain me?