A note arrived in my inbox yesterday. The subject reads “Please be my Valentine” and the note itself says, “Wishing you were in my arms.” This picture was attached –
I would like to talk a little bit about this particular picture of the two of us. It was taken in 2004, shortly after we moved to a 5-acre farm in a small town where I could at last have my horse at home and maybe soon have some sheep and chickens. It was supposed to be our dream come true, but like every dream the Narc appropriates, it was all a fantasy.
M’s “best friend” Anna took the picture. She was up from California visiting and I met her for the first time that day. She is a mixed media artist, speaks three languages and is very educated and politically aware, travels to France every year to play chef at an exclusive resort and visit with her world traveling friends. She and M have never been romantically involved (they met while she was married to an old friend of M’s) but were close friends for years before I came along. Anna has three children, two of which were grown at the time of this picture. She has lived all over the world and met every kind of person you can imagine.
Needless to say, M did his best to make me feel intimidated by her before we ever met. “Be prepared, Anna is a snob. She won’t like this place or how we live or anything about you. Just don’t want you to be shocked.” I was feeling pretty low about meeting her, afraid I would never be able to stand up to her scrutiny, never be good enough for M in her eyes. I was an emotional wreck over the visit.
So Anna arrived. She was charming, polite, warm, very open to what we were attempting to do on this little farm in the middle of nowhere. She was not snobby or cold or dismissive of my art. She was encouraging and just really, really nice.
This put M’s nose out of joint – she was supposed to be his exclusive friend and I sensed his anger and gave them time to talk alone. I have no idea what he must have told her about me.
Anyway, M cooked dinner (he fretted over the menu for a week, telling me that Anna was a world-class chef and had a very refined palate, something that I would never understand) and afterwards we were sitting around talking and M asked her advice about how to deal with my son (he must have been 13 at that time and he and M were not getting along at all.) I almost stood up and cheered at her reply:
“He’s a man-child and will do things that make you mad. You have to let that shit go or you will go crazy.” She said it in an offhand, casual way, and he was prompted to shoot holes in her theory but she stuck to her guns and kept saying that children are a trial, you do the best you can without losing your mind, you “forget” the stuff that doesn’t matter and deal with the stuff that does and you don’t agonize over every word or action – they are children and need to be taught what their limits are in a kind way.
He was floored. He couldn’t believe she could be so cavalier about what he saw as an insurrection by a teenager. How could he just “let shit go?!?” He was in charge! He had to be in control or the kid would kill us all in our beds.
When she saw he was not going to be convinced, she dropped the subject. I was so surprised at many things that she said, things that totally disagreed with M’s point of view, and she said them without fear, not caring what he thought about her opinion. I was amazed that she was confident enough to stand up to him in a way that I never could.
After she left, M brought up the subject of the boy again and I repeated what Anna had said, hoping that since she and I agreed, M would see that my point of view was not worthless.
Know what he said? “I would never take Anna’s advice about raising kids – she knows nothing about parenting!” What?
She had two grown children, both college educated, both with wonderful careers, loved by everyone they meet, world travelers, and they are both beautiful to boot. How did she go “wrong?” Her youngest split time between Anna and her dad and was loved by everyone – I heard how fantastic she was from other people who knew both M and Anna. Seems like she did a pretty good job and I told M so, but it changed nothing.
So, this was a bad choice for a Valentine’s Day picture to send to me. That damned car is another sore point with me, too. The picture does nothing but piss me off and make me want to send a caustic reply, but so far I have kept silent.
And let’s talk about V-day for a minute while we’re at it. M expects Big Romantic Gestures for this day. He will not say what those gestures might be – I am supposed to come up with something as wonderful as whatever he has in mind. But I don’t have a romantic bone in my body – he’s told me so many times. Some years he gave me a box of chocolates, others just a card. After our first year together, I don’t recall any gifts. That first year was the hated leather jacket, so yeah, V-day doesn’t have any positive associations for me.
This year he wants us to “learn to communicate” so we can heal our relationship. So far, every phone conversation we’ve had is a replay of every speech he has given me – it starts out with him admitting wrong, then starts turning around so that I am at fault (for everything) and then to what I need to do to improve things between us. He promises (again) that he won’t raise his voice or dismiss my feelings, but by the end of the conversation, my feelings are “wrong” and I’m being unreasonable.
“How are we supposed to get past this if you won’t talk to me?” is his plaintive refrain. Sigh. I just don’t care. Talking to him makes me tired. That’s healing, right?
He keeps sending me YouTube videos. Seems he has finally figured out what type of music I like – no more of his Classic Rock or Reggae crap. Sigh. I need a nap already.