I am talking/arguing/wrestling with the one I love.
She says something hurtful. I respond in kind. Hating myself immediately. Feeling justified. “She started it.”
She hurls something worse.
And then she starts spewing, loathsome, hopeless, ugly things. Like Ed Harris in the Abyss, she is falling, falling to a dark, crushing depth. Sword out, she is flailing at me.
The moment looms, and it does not linger. The window, the tipping point, the fulcrum, the pivot point draws itself up like a monster. You can feel its presence, foul breath, and menacing stare focusing on your hope for your marriage, your relationship, your future.
You wrestle with whether to be brave, witty, caring, mindful of the fact that she is the “love of your youth” — the one who has been enough for all these years. Or to hit back verbally.
And sometimes, more often than I want to admit here or to her, shutting up. Swallowing everything. Asking for a “time out” or cease and desist is most needed.
Any words may come from me with a backhand spin. Any she hears, she can hear negatively.
“Shut up,” I say to me.
And that’s hard. I’ve already thought of four witticisms, even if they have negative spin, but they are mostly, good.
Wait to hug. Wait to remind. Silence has slain more monsters, stared them down when they loomed largest than I have slain.
Shut up because she is the brilliant, well read, believing, soul who is pretty stinking wise, and she will return to that because she loves living there, and just before you can remind…. Just as you are hugging….
She can say the wise, witty, believing, affirming things, as if God wanted to remind her, and let you watch and reap the benefits.
Actually, she has slain a few of those foul breathed monsters, and pushed the tipping point in favor of a win, all by herself.