Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome to the Suck

"Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don't even want to let them start

They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They're mopping up the butcher's floor
Of your broken little hearts"

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - O Children 

"Welcome to the Suck."      Alan Troy - Jarhead

I hate to do it, kids, but I have to break the streak of lighthearted posts. I am in a strange place today. . . I think I'm starting to degrade a bit under the constant low-level stress that comes with every day lately, which occasionally heat-blooms into full scale, nuclear-fuckin' war for an hour or two, only to recede back to the murky cold war that casts such a long, long shadow on me.

To submit my candidate for understatement of the year - divorce is fucking terrible. There's quite literally no quick, easy method of closure, unless you own nothing valuable and have no kids. For the rest of us, it is a drawn-out, bloodless murder of the soul.

A semi-apt metaphor is something I read once about soldiers in combat. Before you pillory me for comparing my marital woes to people getting shot at to defend our country (or other, more nefarious political reasons, but I digress), I only use it as a brush to paint a broad picture, as it were.

I'm paraphrasing here,  but the description was long and drawn out periods of crushing boredom and malaise, filled with menial tasks and directed by authority figures that you are absolutely powerless to disagree with or defy. Underneath this already terrible feeling is a gnawing, insidious fear that comes from knowing what is going to happen next, compounded by not knowing WHEN it's going to happen.

Finally, the first shot rings out and your whole world disintegrates into pure survival mode, with every sense heightened to preternatural levels, everything around you seeming to wish you injury or destruction, and time and context have absolutely no meaning. You keep your head down, move as much as possible, and try to do what you know will get you through this and safely back in your bed.

Almost as fast as it begins, it's over. The universe slows back to its normal, torpid pace. You are thankful that you made it through alive, but that feeling is undercut by the knowledge that it's just going to happen to you again. And again. And AGAIN. You have no idea when it's going to end, you just know it isn't going to be anytime fucking soon.

Now, my actual life is in no danger, and I would never try to detract from what those people actually go through, but it FEELS like that sometimes. I relate to that description.

My kids alternate between smothering me and pushing me away out of confusion, and in the case of my one-year old, sometimes actually recoiling from me in fear, reaching out for my wife desperately. My three-year old asks me why I don't live with Mommy anymore. I spend every day with them wondering if this is going to be the week my wife finally realizes that staying in the Northeast doesn't make much sense for her, and she decides to pack them all off to Texas. I find myself alternating between smothering them in return, trying to drink in every single cute little word or act, and sliding wildly back into a weird apathy - letting them run rampant around the apartment while I sit and stare at the TV or the internet, refreshing Facebook over and over hoping for some adult contact (not THAT kind of adult contact, get your head out of the gutter).

Meanwhile, my erstwhile wife does her own vacillation, either attempting to seduce me with the physical contact I miss so badly, or venting her sorrow and rage all over me  . . . telling me through a haze of tears over and over how this is all my fault and wondering how I could do this to her, sometimes both in the same day. She claims with one breath that she still loves me and she swore before God to work it out one way or the other, and in the next tells me that she only accepted my marriage request because she was pregnant, and was afraid I would have run out on them if she said no.

In the middle of this, I have no job or means of supporting myself or the children, because I agreed to stay home and take care of them. With the job she had, it made more sense at the time. Now I live in my car, seemingly, driving to the city to watch the kids and driving home to crash on my mom's couch in the country. I get up before the sun and don't get home until well after it has set. I hardly see friends or get the chance to do normal, adult things. I just don't have the means.

After two months of this, yeah . . . .I kind of feel like some grizzled veteran, watching the new kids come in with wide-eyes and completely unaware of what they're in for, and all I can tell them is, "Hey kid, welcome to the Suck."

Sorry if this wasn't what you came here to read, but I had to get this out and this is the only place I have to do it. I'll dispense with the emo crap, and hopefully feel much more inclined to talk about that one time I funneled Jagermeister and tried to fistfight a pine tree. Until next time, Disciples.

1 comment:

  1. Divorce is hard. I only know because I watched my parents string their divorce out for ten years before finally getting it finished. So, if you're going that route, don't drag it out. It just makes it harder on the kids, who WILL convince themselves you guys are getting back together no matter what you say because you haven't finalized it yet and that means hope.

    I hope things get better for you, though. Nobody deserves to be miserable.