Early Marriage | Part 6

by Elouise

Side of Bed 2

My side of the bed, 1965

I’ve taken a deep breath and a break. It’s time to say more about early marriage and my anguish about sex. Here it is in a nutshell: I didn’t want to talk about it! I just wanted it to happen. Naturally. Magically. Isn’t that the best way?

Looking back, this was only part of the problem. But I don’t yet see the problem clearly, and it doesn’t have a name.

We still enjoy life together and love each other dearly. At the same time, I don’t have just one predictable life. I have an interior and an external life that take on different incarnations. What you think you see in me may or may not be what you get.

So it’s 1965 and I’m coming home from a day’s work in the dean’s office. I’ve had a great day at the office. I can’t wait to see D and tell him all about it. Everything is simpatico; all’s right with the world!

Then there are those other days. That’s what this post is about. The other days. Goodbye office. Goodbye beautiful stand-up desk. (Here it is–I finally found a photo.)

1966 Jun Dean Griswold's Books and Stand Up Desk

Mr. Griswold’s Stand-Up Desk

Hello home sweet home. Yes, these are the stairs up to our apartment. I’m going up the stairs, feeling like the stairs look: tired and unloved, though full of potential.

1966 Oct Stairway to Cambridge Apartment

Stairway to 2nd-floor Cambridge Apartment

I get to our apartment on the second floor. D smiles and greets me warmly. I say nothing. I nod my head in recognition, but I say nothing. I’m in my own little world called Silence. Not with everyone. Just with D.

It began last night. Sex wasn’t so great. It happened again. The shutting down intruder. I couldn’t go to sleep. I cried, hoping to cry myself to sleep. I resented D’s blissful slumber. Eventually I got what I’d call 3rd or 4th rate sleep, though not enough of it.

The next morning I’m sullen. Silent. Uncommunicative. I just want to eat breakfast, dress and go to work. D wants to talk. He’s worried about me. He cares. I’m glad he cares. I just don’t know what to say or how to say it.

I sit on the side of the bed staring into space. It feels as though my jaws are wired together. I’m in despair. This quickly becomes resentment because life has to go on, doesn’t it? I have to go to work. He has to go to classes or the library.

There’s no one to talk with, and do-it-yourself books on marriage don’t help one bit. They’re all about how wonderful sex is, and here are some techniques to help you make it even more wonderful. Interesting content. But it never solves the sudden weight of self-consciousness that descends on me unbidden and makes my blood run cold.

Sometimes the silence lasts more than 24 hours. Sometimes it doesn’t. Yet even breaking my silence doesn’t solve anything. It just allows me to reconnect with D who wants nothing more than to help me, but can’t.

Even more difficult, I want nothing more than for D to be what he can’t be—more like I am. More relationally savvy so he just understands me without my having to describe anything. He should just ‘get it,’ especially when I don’t know how to put ‘it’ into words that make sense.

It never enters my mind that I might be a survivor of trauma. Or that my deepening depression has roots beyond my present unhappiness.

When I married D, I left my parents’ home. In my mind, this means I’ve made a clean break with my past (you know, the ‘leave and cleave’ part). Yes, we’re having a little challenge right now. But I don’t want or know how to talk about it. So I swallow it. It works great.

To be continued. . . .

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 May 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, Fall 1965