You can hide but you can’t run

I’m sitting here smoking a joint and looking out the window at the gray sky and deep snow.

It’s not beautiful by any means.

Last year when my lover’s wife left for her vacation home, things were wonderful. We talked on the phone before or after dinner and we enjoyed the freedom of seeing each other overnight, every week almost. 

We were what I would describe as giddy the whole time she was gone. It felt like a real relationship, even though we were both still married. 

Looking back, it was probably one of the happiest couple months of my adult life.

This year is a lot different. He’s busy fixing a place up for them to move to and that’s just the beginning of his list of huge projects. 

His depression/sadness seems to have been triggered by his wife’s leaving. It was either that or the loss of the extra girlfriend, or the lack of sun in our state or all the above. 

His wife JUST left a few weeks ago. Last time this happened when she came BACK. It is perplexing as hell.  

All I know is every time I bring up the fact that he’s emotionally distant when we are apart or that something is off, it gets me chastised so harshly and efficiently that I end up apologizing profusely for whatever it is that I shouldn’t have brought up, and I feel ungrateful and selfish for wanting more than the tons of attention I already get.

I also feel ashamed for wanting his time when he works so hard and is in physical pain. I know I am selfish to a man that has loved me unconditionally. 

But it’s not attention I’m missing…it’s the uncertainty, the shift in his emotions…the way he abruptly changes his demeanor and deems isolation preferable to interacting with me. It hurts. It’s always a shock. It makes me feel lost.

It has never FELT like an affair because we were so close and we depended on each other for everything emotional in nature. I don’t want to force him to text or call because the problem isn’t the amount of calls or texts, it’s the sudden lack of interest in communication outside of our face to face visits. 

I usually vow that I will never set him off or upset him again.

His isn’t the screaming and yelling kind of anger.

It’s a silent punishing anger that makes you feel like hiding in a corner with a blanket and a jar to pee in so you don’t have to come out anytime soon.

I actually did that when I was a little girl, because my young, inexperienced father would lose his cool and go what he referred to as “ape shit.”

I didn’t know what Ape Shit was. All I knew was when my questions started bothering him or my requests for his attention were met with a foreboding “No”, it was time to get as far away as my little body could get me, which was a recessed cubby hole built into the knotty pine wall of my tiny bedroom. That was my sanctuary.

That’s where I went to avoid the anger and comfort myself until my good daddy came back and his face softened and took me into his arms and on his lap. 

His love and affection was dependent upon my behavior. If I was good and said the right things, or kept quiet when things got tense, I felt like he still loved me. I was so afraid to say the wrong thing and lose his favor. I learned to apologize and regret what I DID say, and then to shut the fuck up and go to my cubby until the tornado was done sucking up debris. Number one rule, stay out of its path.

Other times, most times, my father was my life. He was the governor of my pleasure and pain. He was my benevolent dictator. He was my moral compass and he commanded respect. I was terrified of him when his voice rose because I learned what happened when I stuck around to see the show.

My lover is a lot like my father.

I am afraid of disappointing or angering him, too.

If I do the wrong thing or if I say the wrong thing, will he still love me? Or will I get to meet the other side of him, instead? If I annoy or disappoint or fail him, I feel just like that little girl that took a canning jar to the cubby to hide from the pissed off Giant.

The memories are vivid. I had a big blue stuffed Huckleberry Hound from the Hanna Barbera cartoon show that my dad won me at the county fair. I would take Huçkleberry into the cubby with me to hold and talk to, and we would sometimes stay there until I fell asleep or got so thirsty my lips would stick to my gums and I was forced to emerge.

All this sounds so abusive and self pitying,  but I know it was just the immature brain of a 7 year old that formed my intense memories, and it seemed like the end of the world for that very reason and no other.

Adult me knows my dad would have probably done nothing more than spank my ass, at worst with a belt, and that neither of those would hurt me permanently. He might have smacked me upside the head, as he called it, and while I don’t believe that is an acceptable form of discipline, a million fathers did it and mine is the last generation with intact morals and a conscience. 

It was about 3 foot by 3 foot, the cubby.

If I had one now, I’d take Huçkleberry and hide.

But I don’t fit in the cubby anymore. I’m a grown woman and the 7 year old is gone and my lover is not my father and my best friend is dying and I just need to be held so badly that my heart feels like it’s gonna burst.

And I hate feeling weak or needy. It does not suit a short, sexy Dominatrix.

There is nowhere for me to hide except inside my own MIND. That is not a place of comfort lately. The words and thoughts are so wildly jumbled and tossed around that there is no solace. It’s all so overwhelming that I shut down, or I write. I understand wholly what my lover is doing when he pulls away from me because I have been in that ugly place before.

Yesterday, he indignantly snapped “cuz I like being a Hermit, that’s why!” in response to what probably felt like his whiny girlfriend bitching.

I can isolate with the best of them.

I can make myself invisible.

And still be in plain sight.

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