So Keith and I just had a horrible and completely unnecessary argument and in a way, I am relieved. In another, I am feeling butt hurt and dragging my ass around work not wanting to look anyone in the eye in case I either a. cry or b. get my feelings hurt again, since I’m feeling kind of raw and if an acorn fell on me, I would be certain that the oak tree had taken a very deeply personal dislike to me.
But relieved, too, because we’ve been having it so, so good for so long. There’s only so much deeply loving, intimate and enjoyable conversations a couple can have before something's gonna give, right? It was starting to unnerve me.
I could feel Keith getting more and more tense as the end of deployment got closer. All the men, I think, are beginning to grate on one another. Most of them are not doing missions, they are in line for the phone and in line for the computer, or in line for a meal.
Strangely, Keith still in out doing missions and now also doing other things having to do with redeployment, so he’s busy and the congestion is getting to him. I just think most of them go a little stir crazy right around now.
And I was wondering when this tension was going to overflow up and into our relationship. Over and over again I could hear it creep up in Keith’s voice and each time he’d push it down. This impressed me to no end, but on the other hand, I wanted to tell him, “Just let it out.”
When Keith calls me, he is looking for a specific kind of conversation. He is looking for me to be adorably sweet, overflowing with cute anecdotes about my calm, quiet and monastic day (this being both entertaining and reassuring) and he is hoping for stories about us that he has forgotten but I have remembered, in charming detail.
In short, he is looking to be transported from the hell he is in into a cool, green oasis of love and home, and I am happy and proud to provide. Usually I can do so almost effortlessly, since I am by nature (privately) adorably sweet and giggly and generally do have calm, quiet and monastic days that I usually can recall entertainingly. After all, I am a story teller by nature.
But there are some days when I just don’t have it in me. I am tired, or distracted, or both, as I was today. Instead of amusing stories about how Abby almost got stuck when she hid under the bed during a thunderstorm and had to wiggle her way out snout first, I have boring stories about how I drove a coworker to her eye surgery appointment and then back home again.
Not only that, but instead of happily merging onto our own personal highway of future bliss, we found ourselves taking an unexpected detour into conflicting opinions regarding houses. He likes brick, I like white painted clapboard. He likes new, energy efficient houses; I like really old houses with unexpected corners and sloping floors. I like hardwood, he likes carpet.
I could go on and on and in fact, we will, for the rest of our married life. We will go on not matching up as well as we’d expected to do. Normally it doesn’t bother us. Mostly because I also like brick and old houses are charming but costly and as long as the house has a good kitchen, a wide lawn and room for a garden, I’m going to be fine with it.
And it won’t really matter anyway, because this won’t be our dream house, the one we settle into for good. There’s no reason to get into hard core housing arguments until it really, really matters and that’s a good many years away. I can store up all my angst until then, have it bubbling away like fossil fuel for a really good kick later.
I think it only mattered today because we were both just irritable. There should be a flag or something. The “I’m feeling irritable, let’s just call it quits before I blow my long burning fuse over the rhetorical question of whether or not I want electricity in the imaginary house that we will never actually live in,” flag.
Alas, having no such flag, I went on pretending my feelings weren’t hurt and he went on trying to clarify his position and neither one worked and then the conversation ground to a halt because without calling it like it was we were left with nothing more to say.
This is reality, though. This is married life; the cozy threesome. You, your beloved and the white elephant; whatever the hell it is in that moment. Usually unspoken expectations that aren’t being met, because, well, they didn’t know, it being unspoken and all. Or just the disappointment of not living up to the usual standards.
But this is when I love marriage the most. Sheer bliss makes me nervous. I like that smoky smell of burnt rubber meeting the road. It reminds me that I, the human and faulty person that I am, actually do have a faulty and human man to love and who loves me back. It’s deeply reassuring.
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