The bus rattled along the road, but I could barely grasp the images glimpsed so fleetingly through the windows… not with my eyes turned down to stare at my phone. The people texting from another side of Facebook messenger were the only ones loosely tethering me to sanity.
Yesterday, it took me three bus stops and uncertain, spastic wandering to catch the one bus I needed.
It wouldn’t have rubbed me so raw, perhaps, if I hadn’t gotten to the first one early. Only when the unusual quiet and the absence of other passengers hit me did I finally go to check the schedule on the transit pole. And then I saw it. Bus rerouted due to construction.
So I took off, in a bit of a panic, knowing that if I couldn’t find the right rerouted stop in time I would be at least thirty minutes late to my counseling appointment. Second stop? Closed for construction. (Might I add: construction entirely unrelated to the previous stop.) Now panicking that I might miss my appointment entirely, I quick step, hoping the 3rd time is the charm.
It was. But I was rattled, the quick breaths of anxiety already rasping within my breast. My world narrowed, and my fingers shook as I typed out a quick e-mail to alert my therapist. The domino effect wasn’t as terrible as it could be, for she replied swiftly, letting me know the person after me had cancelled. We had time.
Yet my plans for the day, once neatly outlined, shook out of place. My ride after the appointment would be impacted, and the familiar feelings of being a burden swelled. So did the welling fear that I would have to find another way home, or to their house (where I stay after counseling on Wednesdays). The lack of control over my life swept me the rest of the way into a panic. So it was, that I stared at my phone, flicking my thumbs across cheekbones, grasping for encouragements through offered messages, yet unable to stymie the flow of silent tears.
For the first time in a long time, I finally felt the bitter tang of anger.
I left him. I left the man I called husband, but who had become more of an angry, unkempt roommate. A man who required my care, and was incapable of loving me and supporting me, because he couldn’t love or care for himself. His love was often selfish, needy or self-serving, when it was extended, and always offered in a grandiose way for others to see.
Yet even in my departure, I still tried to take care of him. I hid all the things I came across that he might use to harm himself in a fit of suicidal depression. I left the bed. The futon. The TV. Dishes. Anything really, that wasn’t something sentimental to me. I left him our home, instead of trying to kick him out of it. (Partly for my own safety reasons.)
Although the motorcycle was available, I was afraid he might crash it in a bipolar, depressive or suicidal mania. So I left him our vehicle. Just told him I went home early and left it for him to pick up, instead of me picking him up.
I can be independent. I can take care of myself. He can’t.
Those were the thoughts spinning through my head the day I left. And yesterday, dealing with the inconstancy of the bus system, my anger flared. He’s got it easy, right now, because even in leaving I tried to make it as easy on him as possible. A home to himself (a home I made my own, and that I can’t go back to). Essentially two vehicles. All the bills paid, and I only took less than half of what was in our bank account, most of which went to cover other minor bills and things.
Now, I am thankful I have a place to stay. Thankful my friends and family are taking care of me. But here I am, a woman in my mid-30s (at least I have a job), squeezing what is left of my life into a single, closet-less room. Begging rides from friends, relegated to the bus and the erratic, uncertain nature that is our local bus-system. This isn’t forever, but it’s hard. I know this year, I should be able to get some kind of vehicle. Hopefully we can sell the home, and I’ll have a little something when everything shakes down as seed money. I know I’m a better place than most in my situation.
But he has the freedom to go where he wants, when he wants, and the freedom that comes with four wheels. Or two. I kept none of those freedoms for myself. There were reasons at the time, but I’m finally feeling the sting of always putting him first. Always catering to his needs.
Yet still, I couldn’t stop the tears, though I held in the noises, as I always did. It is always safer to weep in silence.
A Xanax and 30 minutes later, I settled. The rest of the day went smoothly, that little aberration hardly more than a blip in the world around me. But somehow, something in me changed. A little part of me realized that I really was important too, and that I needed to stop inconveniencing myself always for the people around me. I need to make sure I am cared for too.