I need a hair dryer
Oct 2015

The first few days, I managed with the bare minimum. A folding table, one chair, a cup, paper plates, plastic spoons, 4/5 comforters and sleeping bags piled up on the floor. The focus was on getting through one day, then three, then the week. The cessation of arguments, the silence of refuge and the comfort of solitude, to heal the battered and bruised feelings. A few essentials to tide over the time it took to absorb the enormity of what I had done. I had finally moved out. Tired of trying to find acceptable compromise, I was walking away from the problem, leaving it unsolved, for the first time surrendering myself to the possibility that despite all my efforts, my much vaunted logic and obsessive analysis, I would have to just accept this was beyond my powers to understand and fix. 
It felt very final, the end of a long and intimate association. But as days went by, then weeks, I realized that deep down in me I had fully expected to resolve this somehow. That at some point, some miraculous explanation would appear, a convenient scapegoat, someone or something else to blame, so I could excuse my own complicity in the breakdown. I could somehow go back to that state of marriage, of knowing I was loved and supported, and that I was the center of a family, the driving force, the lynchpin. I wasn’t conscious of this conviction, I thought I had given up, and had cried hot bitter tears over it. 
It was the day I got exasperated with my makeshift bed on morning. I had been folding it away every morning and then recreating it every night, an annoying process. By then I had purchased cups and plates and spoons and dishwasher soap. But I could excuse all those as temporary disposable items, like one would purchase for a vacation home. I had even carted in a couple sofas and lamps. But nothing that involved a large expense because ….
I would never finish that thought, my mind agile in its attempt to shield me from my own weakness, leaping to some other minor domestic issue. And so the days went by, some better than others, as I unclenched within, and reflected on my behavior. And there were days when we re engaged in discussions, negotiations and then acrimonious arguments over blame and responsibilities. And later, as we looked at each other, holding our tattered beings up to seem adult and competent for the kids, an old feeling of concern, shared recognition that whatever the future might bring, our common history would bind us, and thus would come the grief. The desperate appeal to somehow fix this break. 
But of course, there were no easy answers. I realized how much I had hoped to find them when I bought a futon, not a bed. Because…..
And this time, I recognized the prevarication for what it was but I am willing to let myself be a little cowardly. I need a vacuum cleaner, and a hair dryer. It had seemed silly to buy them because I could easily cart them from the house as the kids were transported back and forth. Why waste money? And yesterday, when a friend talked about an upcoming trip and invited me to join over a weekend, I found myself figuring out how I could go, the geeky destination one I loved. In my plan, I would travel alone. It wasn’t till today morning that the nagging thought brought me fully awake. Travel was an interest I had shared with him, both of us delighting in every aspect of the activity, from choosing and planning and budgeting and enjoying. 
I need a couple more sets of sheets, and I probably should buy that vacuum cleaner, and a hair dryer. And let go a little more of that hope that one of these days, I will find myself awakening from this nightmare, back in socially acceptable middle class normalcy, putting together a Diwali celebration, laying out new clothes and planning to make sweets. That once again, I would be nagged by my mother, adored by my sister, my kids exasperated by my intrusive questions, my husband running last minute errands, my friends complaining about their husbands, the husbands sheepishly defending themselves, evenings ending in sleepy goodbyes as we planned to get together the next day. 
It would be so easy to just give in, just persuade myself somehow to re engage in that Madison Avenue branded golden holidays glow. I think about it for a moment, and then laugh at myself. If I could have, I would have a long time ago. ©alka

My journey

Dec 12, 2014 — Feminism
Sep 16, 2015 — to leave or not to leave
Sep 26, 2015 — Gas lighting
Oct 1, 2015 — I need a new Hairdryer
Oct 15, 2015 — a New Companion
Nov 18, 2015 — Pessimist
Dec 2, 2015 — Therapy
Dec 2, 2015–20 signs you are with a covert narcissist
Jan 9, 2016 — I am a good person
Mar 8, 2016 — loved for who you are

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