Over the next week or so my husband became increasingly helpful and thoughtful. Morphing into the attentive loving man that I had missed for months, possibly more than a year.
And I became more and more uncomfortable.
I mean honestly, the man told me that he wanted a separation. I wasn’t hearing things, I wasn’t drunk, I was wide awake when he said it. And I made him repeat the words out loud to make sure the he knew what he was saying.
However one week, four meals and a bouquet of flowers later, I came in the house after work one day to find him painting the stairs going to the ground floor.
I spoke quietly, using the voice I reserve for small children holding sharp objects or escaped mental patients wielding incendiary devices.
“What are you doing?” He looks from me to the paint brush in his hand and then back to me.
“Um…painting the steps.”
My husband cocks his head to one side like a puppy who can’t figure out if what you’re offering him is edible or not.
“Because you asked me to.”
My brain instantly flies over the conversations that we’ve had in the past week or so, stopping at random intervals…
relationship, not working, moving out, clear my head, packing, not leaving, eggs, cats, the Matrix, separation, alternate side of the street parking, need space, breakfast, bills, laundry…
Nope. Got nothing.
“Yep. You don’t remember? We were talking about the…”
Then it hits me.
Over a year ago when I was contemplating starting reno again on the house I may have mentioned, (or been thinking out loud, who really ever knows with me), that it might be just cheaper to paint the steps rather then have them sanded down and refinished.
“Over a year ago!” I practically yell, eyes bulging in shock.
Mask integrity at 80%.
I clear my throat and pinch the bridge of my nose willing my nostrils not to flare.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m painting the…”
“No. What are you doing? Why are you cooking me breakfast? Why are you doing laundry? Why are you cleaning? Why are you painting steps? Why are you buying me flowers ? And why on earth are you buying me eggs?”
Mask integrity at 74%
His face falls, and he pouts a bit, doing this expression that’s half angry male, half kicked puppy he does when he doesn’t like my tone.
“What. I can’t do nice things for you?”
Suddenly, I’m very scared. I can’t process what’s happening. Why all the nice gestures? It doesn’t make sense, after months of practically being ignored, I don’t get it. I can’t stand it when I can’t reason something out, and make sense of it.
“A guy can’t turn over a new leaf?” He raises his voice.
“There’s turning over a new leaf…and then there’s ecological deforestation! What.are.you.doing?”
Mask integrity at 50%.
Shit. I’m losing it.
Now we’re getting loud. I can count on 3 fingers the times I’ve had a yelling fight with my husband. We usually agree to disagree, or walk away when things get heated and then come back to duke it out with cooler heads later.
But this…this is new territory.
He wants me to tell him what I want him to do.
I told him I don’t know.
I just don’t get it. First he says he wants to separate, now he’s acting like he doesn’t want to leave. His actions are not lining up with his words, which means either he’s lying or faking it and neither action is computing properly. The script just won’t run. Whenever I’ve tried to talk about my true feelings in the past, he either changes the subject or gets me on a technicality. Either my tone isn’t right, or the time of day of the offending incident in question is wrong, or I don’t have enough corroborating evidence to support my story. I wish all of our arguments came with a court stenographer so I could ask them to read back what I just said. There is broken code somewhere hidden deep in the formatting and I can’t find it. If I can’t find it, I can’t fix it, and if I can’t fix it…it won’t work.
I am so confused.
I know I should appreciate all the things that he’s doing for me. But I can’t. I don’t know why. I’m just angry. It just feels like too little too late. I can’t make sense of it all. I want…I want….
“I want you to leave!” I yell.
Mask integrity at 15%. Warning: Hull breach imminent!