The Other Side: Part IPosted: March 16, 2014
A few weeks ago I was headed for the mental ward. I had been considering a new tattoo–something that would symbolize all I hold dear, as well as my transformation from Bible-hugging good girl to hedonistic nihilist. I had ideas in my head, but I wanted my former-art student husband to design it for me. For some reason, he was reluctant. I mentioned it again and again, but he kept dragging his heels. I could have put a pencil in his hand, passed him a sketchbook, simply commanded “Draw.” I could have decided I would sketch it out myself, then have the tattoo artist render it into something useable. Instead, I went completely off the rails.
I started to cry, to hurl accusations–my husband didn’t love me. He didn’t want any connection to me, to be part of anything I thought was important, to participate in my inner life. Example after example spewed out of my mouth–he wouldn’t switch sides of the bed so I could spoon with him without laying on the hip that was still sore from child-bearing. He wouldn’t proof-read my novel, watch the movies I wanted to watch. He had bought me an engagement ring from a store instead of designing one as I’d asked. He didn’t love me, he wouldn’t put the least bit of effort into me, he horded his creativity for himself, he did not want us to be one.
It got worse. I listed his failures one by one–he had quit a decent-paying job mere weeks after we’d been married, taken six months to find another one as I’d gone down to part-time at school so I could pour coffee and keep us off the streets. He’d allowed his depression to debilitate him to the point where he’d had to take a leave of absence off school, while I, barely hanging on to my sanity, had taken multiple buses across town each day to once again serve caffeine to assholes, my self-worth at rock-bottom, my unflattering uniform announcing to the world that despite my best efforts, I remained a loser. He had lied to me while we were dating, lied to me through the beginning of our marriage, lied as recently as last year about important issues like bill-paying and whether or not we had car insurance. He had chosen to go to school for something lofty, setting his eyes on being a professor or a researcher instead of learning a trade which would have been quicker and would have more of a guarantee of finding employment. He had sent me out whoring, spreading my legs for strangers in studio apartments, richly appointed houses, anonymous hotel rooms, instead of manning up and fucking me himself.
I forgot everything else. The way he had courted me, spoiled me, supported my dreams and goals with unwavering faith. The way he took better care of the kids than I did–realizing that he had to make dinner before we were all starving, keeping close tabs on when the diapers were about to run out. I forgot how he had driven me around for years because I was too afraid of other drivers to get my license until I was 26, the fact that he made me feel good about my post-baby body, forcing me to say “I’m sexy” as we made love until I believed it. The way, for two years, he’d put his relationship with his family on ice, until they were willing to accept that I was his wife and that if they wanted to talk smack about me they’d have to do it behind both of our backs and not to his face. I forgot it all. I was miserable and I threw the blame around his neck like a stone.
Locking myself in the bathroom, I contemplated suicide. Turned on the water and wrapped a scarf around my neck until I could no longer breathe. Lay on the cold tile, knowing I’d probably rip it off before I passed out but not sure I possessed the will. He broke into the bathroom, freed me until I gasped for air, told me he was taking me to the hospital.
I left for work instead, not sure I was going to make it there without getting off at a random stop and hurling myself into traffic. Not sure I’d make it through my shift without walking out, wandering away, forgetting my name and place in a haze of despair.
He was waiting when my shift ended–the children bundled in the car, offering once again to take me to the hospital. I wouldn’t go–who would make the money? Who would keep a roof over our heads? What if the hospital was awful? What if they kept me forever?
I went straight to bed and slept all night, most of the next afternoon. I called in to work the next day, citing a cancellation from a fictitious baby-sitter, and fantasized about death as I lay in my bed, dehydrated, starving myself.
I needed something to dull the pain. I texted The Switch, took a shower for the first time in days, made myself look human and drove over to his place. He fucked me. He made me beg for it and then he put his cock inside me, temporarily filling a hole that was soul-deep and located nowhere on my body. I screamed and bucked, called him “Daddy,” took over when he stopped rubbing my clit and commanded, “Finish it.” I came again and again, using his body as my drug, riding him, then crouching helplessly on all fours as he rammed me from behind, doing me until my pussy swelled shut and he had to use his fingers to open me again so we could both have more.
I went home slightly better. High, like a coke head who does not give a fuck about their life burning down around them, as long as they can have the substance that makes it so that they do not have to feel at all.
Days later, I was still low. Weeping at the slightest provocation. Guilty as sin for opening wounds in my marriage that I’d promised to let heal. Like the time as a teen I had cut myself again, scarring the skin where the evidence of my pain had completely disappeared, leaving marks that remain until this day.
I was so tired. Maybe I needed a higher dosage of my anti-depressant–I made an appointment to see the doctor. Maybe I was so worn out because I hadn’t been eating well–I made a decent dinner, something I hadn’t had since I started working evenings. Maybe it was my iron. I swallowed the pills the doctor had prescribed months ago but that I’d neglected to take with any regularity. All of that failing to restore me to my Zen former self, the one who did not fall apart at the drop of a hat and who had been fine with her going-nowhere job because she’d known it was only temporary, the one who’d loved her best friend husband even if they didn’t have the relationship she’d dreamed of as a kid, led me to a moment where I would join a club I thought I’d never have membership in.
I sat on the toilet seat, stunned, blinking at the wall. Two pink stripes staring up at me. This is why I had gone insane. It was ironically, the same reason that I could not take birth control–I cannot handle fluctuations in my hormones. I hadn’t gone off the deep-end for no reason. I was losing my mind, that was true, but it was not because of my un-impassioned husband or whiny kids or dead-end job.
I was pregnant.