Thursday, May 17, 2007

A sweetness breezes in

After nearly a week of awkwardness, a week where the house felt too small, our bed a postage stamp, a week of sideways glances and small blames that had him retreating to the couch, or had us leaving the house without goodbye, the way we’d refer to each other in front of the children, “your father,” I’d say, “your mother,” he’d say. After nearly a week of this, a sweetness breezes in, as if on loan.

It was the way he sat in his office chair and slapped both hands on his thighs motioning you to sit down. And the way you do, the girls in the other room watching a show or doing homework. And his thighs feel warm under his jeans and he puts his arms around you, though your own arms stay crossed.

Why they’re crossed you do not know. Why you have such a hard time loving him, letting him in you do not know.

The other night after a few hours with P., after all the fun was over, he fell asleep beside you, and you listened to the sound of his snores. An hour later you were back at home in your own bed, leg to leg with your husband listening to his snores, and the whole scene could have been completely interchangeable. You could have spent the evening making love to your husband. The men, their snoring, you, what's the difference? And you think that it’s not so much that one is more deserving of your love, but that you princess, you have become quite the choosing committee.

Name it baby, you like to wear the pants around here, you like it better when you’re in charge, when you’re calling the shots, making the rules, and then, well, thank god somebody left the window open, thank god after a week of awkwardness, you acting like his mother, his roommate, reminding him of carpools and bills unpaid, all said with the faintest glare, and him giving it right back in his perfect way; not coming to bed or saying goodnight.

After nearly a week, a sweetness manages to drift in, and he slaps his hands on his thighs and says sit down and it really doesn’t matter if your arms are crossed because you do sit down and you let the weight of you, the grief of not loving, the effort of so much holding and controlling fall away and you realize how tired you are.

And even if later or tomorrow, the way he says it or does it or forgets the carpool, whatever it is, god help you, put down your weapons woman, surrender, cry uncle, whatever you have to do, open a window and pray, pray for a little sweetness.