My dad bought me this cheap perfume from the drug store at Christmastime and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved it. My sister even liked it and wanted to steal the deep purple vial that’s hideously bedazzled in hookerish looking rhinestones. It’s the kind of perfume that needs only one spritz and would probably stain dark clothing.
I imagined that the smell lingered on Shawn’s forearm in the morning as he left for Japan.
At least I had hoped so.
You know, I’ve never been without Shawn for more than a weekend.
I woke up to a house that was eerily quiet and with a pang in my heart, missing my big cheese slice already. At first I thought I was being as stupid as my pajama shorts for be feeling so out of sorts that soon, and even blamed it on my misfiring brain and my frumpy fall heart – was it too quick to take a mole hill of a situation and construct it into a towering, rumbling, internal, volcanic eruption of emotions?
I am pretty sure this is normal.
It’s normal to feel this way when a spouse leaves.
OK, maybe I feel it a pinch more than regular people.
When Shawn told me he had this wonderful opportunity to go to Japan, I think I punched him in the arm over lunch and said, “Get the f*** out of here! When do you leave?” I think he was surprised by my reaction. I told him that he’d be foolish not to go.
As the time came near, my anxiety spiraled. He mumbled about this trip and I said, “You need to go. This happens to me every fall. You have to go. We will be fine. I promise.”
Shawn doesn’t get my anxiety and bipolar brain so I stopped trying to make him understand it years ago.
He doesn’t get that my thoughts run constantly. They can be fast and sometimes as slow as the thick drizzle of honey off of a tip of a spoon. And it’s the loudest ones I must weed through – the ones that tell me that horrible things will happen to him and to my son and to myself. They can be so believable sometimes.
It’s literally impossible to make people understand this when they don’t have a mental illness themselves…
So now, I just tell him I’m sick.
When I tell him that I’m sick, he asks: “What do you need me to do?”
Or when he sees that I’m struggling, he asks: “Do you want me to take you to the hospital or call Dr. B? What can I do?”
I’ve learned that it’s OK that he doesn’t understand my personal pain.
He understands that I need help, that he jumps in to help right away, and that is more than OK.
He asked me what I had wanted from Japan as I was ironing his dress shirts the evening before he left. “I’ll get you whatever you want!”
I laughed and he said, “Well not whatever you want. I am not made out of money and customs has rules.”
I wasn’t laughing at that. I was actually laughing as I folded the sleeves of his dress shirts to rest just below the bends in his forearm. He can’t fold them himself. He looks like an angry struggling giant T-Rex. I could only imagine him in a hotel room in Japan trying to wrestle with a damn dress shirt…”The f***** sleeves on these things. I can’t see behind…is it folded straight? They’re crooked! For the love of shit!”
“I don’t need anything. I just want you to be safe.”
He bugged me once more and I said, “I want you to take pictures of Japan and to text me.”
I love taking pictures and so he said he’d take the good camera.
Of course he left it at home.
Just like I left my wallet at home and the keys in the doorknob on Monday.
On Sunday, when I saw two lights in the middle of the road and realized they were actually a set of raccoon eyeballs, I just kept plowing forward. Just like Shawn taught me to do.
I. Did. Not. Back. Down. Shawn.
Sigh, we really do need each other.
Cracker and cheese.
PS. Japan looks beautiful from the pictures Shawn sent so far. What a guy.