“You doing okay, buddy?”
After one minute on the phone, Husband knows something is wrong. He claims he can’t read my mind, but the Marriage Mind Meld makes him dangerous enough.
The answer to his question, “no,” lacks all evidence to support it. Nobody died. Nothing went wrong at work. There was no call from home with drama. I am not hurt, or sick, or crying, or worried. But I’m not okay.
Nothing’s wrong. But something’s not right.
Numbness crept back in where I thought I had beaten it back. I found myself in that dark bubble, where time moves slower, food tastes muted, and all ties between me and the world dissolves. My existence distilled down to the couch and a subscription to Hulu.
I’m letting Husband down. I’m letting myself down. Vaguely, I worry about falling into old habits. In the end, though, I don’t care enough to do anything.
You doing okay, buddy?
“No. Yes…I don’t know.” It comes out petulant, like a seven-year-old girl stamping her Mary Janes.
“Okay. We’ll talk when I get home. Do you need anything?” Like what? A new brain? A fucking time machine? Food? I can’t be bothered.
Then Husband is walking into the dark house, finding me on the couch, dimly illuminated by the glow of the television screen. He offers me his hand and pulls me up. I stand, immediately folded into a hug.
“Scientists say that hugging releases dopamine. Or endorphins. Let’s say endopamines. They make you happy, but you need twenty seconds for the hug to work.”
“One Mississippi…two Mississippi…three Mississippi…” he whispers in my ear.
I sink into him. We stay like that, him supporting me and counting softly, for a full twenty Mississippis. Finally, he pulls away, kisses me on the forehead, and sits us down on the couch.
“Why don’t you tell me about it?”
No judgment. No admonishment. No you-should-do-thises. Instead, he sits and listens. I tell him the everything and the nothing of it all. He says, “Whatever this is—if it’s work, if it’s me, whatever—we’ll figure it out.” Eyes brimming with tears, not trusting myself with any more words, I nod, then sink my head down onto his chest.
He loves me. So much.
He’s not here to charge in and chase anything away, or even shine a light on it. Depression, the sneaky bastard, doesn’t work like that, and he knows it. Rather than stand outside the boundaries of that darkness, taking shots at it, he sneaks inside the bubble with me. He sits. He takes it in. He’s here.
He shares it all with me.
Already, I feel lighter for it.