I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last, being but a broken man,
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.
W.B. Yeats….”Circus Animals’ Desertion”
With a hollow marrow and broken bone, I am trudging.
Outside, my smile on display, my heart for all to see, I am a vibrant shell. A bright shining beacon. But I am invisible.
I feel alone. Not in life. Not in friendship. Not in any avenue other than the one I seek with a seething passion: my marriage.
I feel invisible. To the one person who I want to shine.
Not him. He sees me. Has seen me. Will always see me.
And like any other affliction, any other pain, I have blamed all I can imagine.
While at war, I blamed others. “Tell your husband I am proud of him.” “Tell your husband I am praying for him.” “Tell your husband I am thinking of him.”
I wanted to scream, “What about me?” Where are my thoughts? Who is proud? Who is thinking of me?
Immediately followed by guilt. How could I seethe this venom while he fought in war? How could I ever be so selfish?
So I tied yellow ribbons. Created a world of wife. Mother. All with the knowledge that I am a good mother. A good wife. This I know.
But what about woman?
Where is she? The person I have sought for so long? The creator of music? Art? Poetry?
The woman who once thrived on beauty and experience?
When he came home, I blamed it on the deployment. Blamed it on the waiting. Always, I am waiting. And when I have to wait no longer, perhaps she will be there: the woman I seek in the mirror. The lady who at one time shone with an inner light I never saw. Not until I extinguished it. Not until it was too late. “You don’t know what you had until it is gone.”
“If I wasn’t locked in this house, this life, waiting—perhaps I could be her. She. The.” Right? Must be something outside. Something other than ME.
“I want you to see me, the woman I am inside,” I told him. And was met with a blank stare.
And my heart broke and splintered into a thousand pieces.
Because I am alone in my marriage.
Not the one between man and woman. No. He is here. Pulling his weight. Putting his shattered soul back together. And healing. And I used him for a crutch. He needed me right?
Needed me to keep waiting for him. Needed me to continue to be the mother, the wife. The person of “perfect” family?
I am invisible. And empty in my relationship.
But not the one with him. The one with me.
I forgot how to love that part of me. The one that is more than this. The one that existed, and I pray, somewhere still lives and thrives inside me.
The one that is more. Brighter. Vibrant.
The one I love more than anyone else. And the one I have failed miserably. And made invisible.
And so I stand here, looking in the mirror, and hoping and praying it isn’t too late. That I haven’t let her go and that somewhere, somehow, I can resurrect our love. Our friendship. Our one-ness that must exist. Needs to exist.
Without her, the one who I desperately need to be complete, to be whole again, I am invisible.