May 5th, 2012 - Tisha Scott
Letters to My Lover
May 5, 2012
I attempt to get up from the table for the third time before I’m finally successful. My pelvis feels as though it will break under the weight of life and other things. I’m thirty-five weeks pregnant with my third child. Another boy. No girls for me. And maybe that’s okay.
We’ve been married for four years and together for five. At least in the real sense of that word, “together.” Talk about something so surreal. In my head, I’m not old enough to have two and a half children. My body feels the years, though. The pain and the struggle. The unbelievable heaviness of all that we’ve experienced.
We aren’t perfect. Right now, you work odd shifts and I’m basically a single parent who is exhausted to extremes and trying to keep it all together. I’m lucky enough to stay home with the kids but I’m not sure they are lucky to be staying home with me. This was supposed to be the most amazing experience in life. Spending each day with them and watching them grow. Soaking up all of the life and love. Counting my blessings.
l try to do these things but life is getting heavy. I don’t understand when people ask if I’m ready for three kids, like it’s so different from having two. I’m sure it will all be okay. It has to be, right?
I’ve not yet reached the pinnacle of my angry resentment. I’m still a little naïve. I tell you that we’ll wind up divorced if we remain on this path but I don’t believe it. I’m just trying to keep us accountable for our actions.
May 5, 2017
I still see you but you’ve become blurry. We move quickly past one another as roommates do, not lovers. But we aren’t really lovers anymore, now, are we? I watch you step into the house and look around, dipping your toe in to test the temperature of the room. What will life be like this glorious evening? Will it be a glorious evening? Do we even have those anymore? Did we ever?
As I watch you, I feel the complaints of the day swim up the back of my throat and without warning they are flying off my tongue and sticking to anything in their path. I feel their impact and I know I should keep them inside but it’s become a physiological response. There’s no holding these things inside or it’s quite possible I will spontaneously combust.
I watch you prickle up like the neighbor’s cat when she sees the dog from around the corner. My mind briefly flutters through the alternative ways this afternoon could have played out. All the things I could have said, but didn’t. I quickly let the remorse melt away, though, because this is all your fault, after all. Isn’t it?
If you could just do things the way I ask when I ask you to. If you cared more. If you quit screwing up. If you could just change all the things about you that bother me then I wouldn’t have to be like this, right? And likewise, if I could be less of a go getter. If I could quit volunteering for things and be content with coming home each night to make dinner and do laundry and dishes and never question my worth in life. If only I hadn’t taken the job that takes up so much of my time but that I truly love and feel is my mission. If only we could have stayed twenty-two and careless forever.
I’ll lie in bed this night and replay each and every word I spewed and all of your responses and then I’ll mentally weigh them to try to figure out which one of us has the upper hand. You won’t apologize and I’ll spend an angry week in the basement secluding myself from the children that I so love. Because each attack takes a little more out of me. Because I’m so resentful. This is not the life I had envisioned.
At some point I’ll get sick of being angry and one of us will laugh and then we’ll go back to business as usual. I suppose I figure this is life. I suppose I figure it will always feel like this.
But I don’t realize, at this time, that the burden of this weight will become unbearable. I don’t know, just yet, how angry I can really get. I don’t know that this isn’t the way it will always be and that love cannot always endure everything the world has to offer.
May 5, 2022
My mom and Rob are no longer Mom and Rob. Mom cries a lot but she is coming along and Rob has disappeared with his mistress. The world is not quite post pandemic. Grandpa is gone. I watched him take his last breath and I think something in me died, as well. I knew it would happen at some point and I thought I was better prepared. As it turns out, I was not. He and cousin Josh died within days of one another. Roughly a month later, Kim and Mike were killed in a vehicle accident leaving behind so much love and heartbreak.
Through it all, I tried to grit my teeth and remain for the sake of everyone but myself. And maybe a little, for myself. But that didn’t work. I tried to be a good mom and a good wife and for all that I gave, I am losing everything.
Tonight, a decade later, I am alone in a new apartment, tears streaming down my face. This is the first time, since the beginning of motherhood that I’ve slept without my kids for more than a few nights. My brain will not concentrate on anything but what they might be doing and on the amazing burden that they will now carry. I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I thought we were better than this. I thought, I thought, I thought.
The light from the courthouse glistens off the street and finds its way through the boys’ window.
The apartment is coming along. It’s almost complete.
I pray someday, I will be too.
Tisha Scott has a Master’s Degree in Writing from Lindenwood University. She is a Persian Gulf Veteran and spends her days as a Veterans Service Officer in Southern Iowa, writing veterans narratives to help them obtain VA benefits. She is currently writing her way through heartbreak.
Tisha urges you to learn more about Homes For Our Troops (HFOT), a non-profit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post–9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on their family and recovery.