|The absolute value of x|
But I don't want to write with my fists. I prefer to write with my calm, measured fingers. Writing that is clearly conceived through years of craft, that gingerly considers the double helix of love and anger. I have to admit that I still love my husband even now, in a limited, rueful way. Restricted, neutral, arms held tightly at my sides between the two straight lines of absolute value. Once upon a time I did love him. so intensely that I thought I would burst, heady days of early love, clawing lust, shortness of breath, manic nights where sleep was not necessary. Looking into a benevolent mirror foggy from a steamy shower. Sweaty picnics on the floor of the studio, drinking champagne. Van Morrison murmurs poetry on the stereo. Linden Arden stole the highlights. T.S. Eliot joined the ministry, joined the ministry.
And then twenty years went by. And now we look into a different mirror. Harsh fluorescent cold tiled locker room. Bodies sagging, failing. Falling arches, ugly feet. Stick legs. Pot bellies and cellulite. Faces unprotected by forgotten sunscreen. Faces that have lived in the sun and wind, laughing, crying. Faces that once felt love but now can only muster indifference, regret.
He snores next to me. Something called apnea can be quite dangerous. I know that sympathy is required. But I only feel stabbing annoyance that I telegraph with angled elbows and shaken shoulders. Wake up, wake up, you are snoring! Then, changing course, soothing, placating, please try to stop snoring, you need to breathe, you are not getting enough oxygen.
But secretly I am pleased that there is something concrete to hate him for. Something he can't talk me out of when I complain. Because I have a mood disorder, I can't be taken seriously. I rail against endless injustices but I am dismissed airily with a wave of a hand. How long since my last shrink appointment? Have I had my meds adjusted? Surely that’s what my tedious and pathetic rantings are really about.
I savor the triumph even as it wanes.