My cell phone rings. It’s 2:30 a.m., but it hasn’t woken me. Sleep has abandoned me for weeks, to be replaced by worry and thoughts of rearranging my future. I do not need to look; I know that it’s him.
“I need you.” Quietly and softly. A tone of voice I haven’t heard in months.
Instinctively I pick up my keys and go to the car. Thoughts begin to race through my mind as I drive. He left you. He says it’s over. After all his illness has put you through, why are you going to go to feed the mania? But something in his voice had the whisper of my husband. A faint hint of the reason why I fight so hard and forgive so easily.
As I pull up to the hotel and get out of the car, the cold snap of the wind slaps me in the face as if it’s trying to remind me why he’s here. He can’t live in our home anymore. The laughter and conversation has been replaced by anger, aggressiveness and arguments. The illness is winning. It wasn’t so much that he left me as that I let him go. I’m exhausted. So tired from the battle. A battle that seems to be so entrenched in him right now that no amount of medication can halt the forces.
I enter the room and he’s standing there, waiting for me. His eyes look at me with such longing. A longing that says come and find me, I’m still here. I see the man I married. He strips me of my clothes and takes away all of my insecurities as easily and naturally as a caterpillar sheds its cocoon. I step into the light, naked both emotionally and physically. I’m not the tall, tanned, slender girl I once was. The years and the illness have taken their toll.
He inhales as if catching his breath. “You’re beautiful.”
I’m not sure if he is reminding himself or reassuring me. I let him take over, and explore my body. His touch is slow and gentle, comforting in its familiarity. And yet at the same time, it is filled with a newness, a rediscovery. His hands and mouth cover me as if to memorize my body. My skin burns from his breath, his lips, his kiss. I press myself to him, urging him to move faster, but he’s lost in the pleasure of my excitement. Only after he feels my body shudder and go still does he climb on top of me. I feel the animal instinct that is driving him. He makes love to me with such passion and need that it spills forth in a crescendo that leaves us both gasping. We lay intertwined, in body and soul. Each of us holding tight to the other as if we were life rafts; as if we were saving one another from drowning .
Reality begins to sneak back in like smoke beneath the door of a burning building. My emotions take control. I can’t let him see me cry. I know that the illness will soon return and it will use any weakness I exhibit to wedge its way between us. I have to get out.
He asks me to stay, but I get dressed and leave. The door slams behind me, locking the moment behind it. The sun is rising. In a few hours we will be back at the hospital, seeing psychiatrists, therapists and doctors. I am overcome with the feeling that this is the beginning of the end. What end, I do not know.
* * *
Elena left her retail corporate job over a year ago and began a journey to mold the next chapter of her life by her own rules. She loves to keep a journal and write short stories so it was an easy transition for her to enter the world of blogging. Though it has been an ongoing learning curve, she has jumped in with both feet. Now on the precipice of 50, she has begun a blog to share her humor and bits of wisdom as a woman entering into the prime of her life. You can join her on her quest for serenity at www.livingwithbatman.wordpress.com.
On a personal note, Elena was a divorced, professionally educated woman raising two children alone when she met her second husband. After a whirlwind romance, they married and blended their families. Together they have four wonderful children, three dogs, two cats and one very busy, noisy house!
Elena’s current husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 1 very soon after they were married. To raise awareness for mental illnesses, she shares her personal experiences as the spouse of a bipolar person on her second blog, thebipolarmaniac.com, which she co-authors with another blogger living with bipolar, giving a twin perspective on the disorder. This blog has recently been nominated for Best In Show and Rookie of the Year in the Wego Health Activist Awards. Please visit and endorse her nomination here: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/10251.
Elena’s post tells so well the story of longing for a change we know is doubtful to come. It happens for some as the result of illness, with others through addiction and still others through serial infidelity. In each case there are memories of better times, lingering vestiges of dreams spun long ago and hope that refuses to see or grasp the truth. What I feel all these things have in common is our belief that we can in some way affect that change ourselves in spite of the fact that in some cases we want it way more than the ones we want it for. It’s a very tough path for all who travel it regardless of the cause. Thanks Elena for brilliantly bringing that longing to life.
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Very insightful analysis. That’s a large part of what I think is so moving about this post – it’s about a particular type of relationship, but it could be about any relationship.
I had to come back for a second read. This is such a powerful story. We all have that innate desire to hope this time will be different, but when we get stuck in a cycle, it turns within a painful reality. Great empathetic writing that creates a pathway into a topic not many are courageous enough to write about.
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That’s what I think is so relatable about this post – few of us have partners with bipolar disorder, but I think we all get the concept of getting trapped in that cycle.
One of my step daughters was diagnosed with bi-polar – it’s been quite a roller coaster ride dealing with her illness. My sympathies – Elena’s writing is very powerful and genuine! Jan
I love Elena’s writing. When she first sent me this, I thought, wow! So amazing listening to a spouse’s side of the story – totally different perspective.
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Thank you for letting me guest post for you Lori! You are an inspiration and I am very honoured to have been asked.
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Likewise, Elena! :)
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