Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain



ImageI do prefer playing in the dirt to just about any girly kind of thing.  Spending two hours in a chair getting my hair did and paying upwards of a hundred dollars to do it seems like a total waste to me – of time and money.  I can find a lot of more fun and productive ways to spend those resources.  But I do like to get a pedicure.  I’m not worried about a manicure.  It never lasts very long, I can’t stand chipped nail polish, and I use my fingernails like tools.  But a pedicure; that’s a different story.  It’s not even about the toenail polish.  Keep it.  Just let me soak my tired old dogs in that hot water and give me that massage and wrap my legs in those moist, steamy, towels.  That’s what I’m paying for. It’s so relaxing.  I don’t let my stress out of my body.  I hold it all in so I’ll take a massage any day of the week.

I only do this every once in a while as a treat and I usually do this with a friend because we can engage in some girl talk while we drink our wine and get our tootsies all pampered up.  It’s a whole thing – the experience.  So a few weeks ago when my friend called me up and asked me to go I said, “What time?”  It had been a while since I’d indulged myself in this kind of luxury so I was all in.

We’d gotten our pedicures and sat in the drying chairs and because we hadn’t gotten together in quite a long time we got lost in conversation.  We talked about everything from the kids she’s fostering to our jobs to our husbands to our daydreams of giving up the ball and chain of the timeclock in favor of some ridiculous form of self-employment that allows us to simultaneously earn loads of money while laying on a beach sipping Mai Tais brought to us on silver platters.

My phone rang and as I looked down at the number I could feel the panic rising. My heart was pounding and I could feel the perspiration creeping up my back.  My mind raced.  Trying to maintain my composure and hide my panic from my friend, I answer the phone.  “Hey, whatcha doin’? Are you on your way home?”, came the voice of Lanky Brit on the other end.  “No, we got caught up talkin’.  I’ll be home in about thirty minutes, though.”  In his usually pleasant cheery voice he says, “No worries, just don’t forget about the cat food.  See ya soon.”

My friend and I wrap up our conversation and I head into the grocery store next door.  Still panicked I practically run through the grocery store to grab what I need. Scanning all the checkouts I pick the shortest line.  Yes!  It only has one person in it.  Price check!  I stand there as patiently impatient as possible, now sweating.  What kind of greeting will I get when I get home?  Will I get a greeting at all?  Am I going to get yelled at for being an hour later than I said I might be?  Will I get the silent treatment for three days? Will I say the wrong thing?  Will I look the wrong way?  Will this get ugly?

Finally the person in front of me is finished and I step up to the cashier.  She’s pleasant and friendly.  Too friendly for a bag of cat food.  I’m pleasant in return but in my head I’m thinking, “yeah, yeah, just ring up the damn food, I  don’t have time for conversation”.  I’m acting like a crazy person. If he’s pissed he’s already pissed and making myself crazy isn’t going to change that. Still, I rush to my car and speed away.

I head down the highway speeding home to try to minimize the lateness as if that will make any difference whatsoever.  I go over what I’m going to say when I get home. “I’m sorry I’m late, I know I told you I’d be home around seven.  We haven’t seen each other for a while so we had a lot of catching up to do.  We didn’t realize it was already seven-thirty when the phone rang.”  My mind is going ninety-to-nothing.

I arrive home, take a few deep breaths, try to calm myself, and hurry in the door.  He meets me at the door, wraps his arms around me, and says, “Hey, I missed you today.  Let me see your toes. Ooh, red.  Those look great.  Tea’s ready, let’s eat.  I’m glad you’re home.”

Tears fill my eyes, I am undone, and he has absolutely no idea why.

Sometimes it’s hard to leave the past where it belongs.  When I don’t he reminds me why my present is so much better.

16 thoughts on “Undone

  1. Loved the post, been hoping that all was well with.


  2. OMG Ruth . . . what a great post! Confession. I knew it would end this way and I knew you were caught in the past. My past stuff interferes with the present. I’m thinking he knows why now. (((hugs)))


    • Thanks for the (((hugs))) and (((hugs))) back at ya.

      I try not to visit there often, but every now and again it hits me right up side of the head right out of the blue. It’s involuntary. And I have these internal conversations with myself about how irrational and stupid it is to act like such a crazy person because I know that my new life isn’t that way anymore. Still, there it is. It’s something I have to work my way through but it’s good to know I’m not working my way through it on my own. I guess it would’ve been a little dumb on my part to think it would leave me so quickly.


  3. Not dumb. Normal and expected. You have good reason and every cell in your body remembers it and they aren’t dumb. 🙂 It takes years to train them and it will take time to retrain them.


    • It feels so strange. Sometimes it seems like all that happened in another life and at other times it feels like it happened five minutes ago.


      • Yes. To me that sounds like PTSD.

        BTW, a mention about LankyBrit . . . tears of you in my eyes for his greeting to you when you arrived. 🙂


      • Maybe a bit of PTSD, but I don’t think it’s severe and, thankfully, it doesn’t hit very often. And with each time I realize how a ‘normal’ person behaves it helps me to relax a little and the next time it’s not so bad. I’m able to confront those ‘crazy’ feelings and talk myself down before it escalates.

        I also try, try, try my damnedest not to take it out on Mr. Lanky. He’s far too kind for that.


  4. Very well written, Ruth!

    Like our sweet Zoe has already said, I knew in what direction this would take us as your readers, but I can relate to your fear.

    To be in bondage to parents, a religion, a specific Church, leaders or a spouse is no way for anyone to live. To this day, I feel the social pressures of having to have a relationship with my abusive/neglectful parents. However, I have to cut myself completely off from toxic people and I have done so.

    From what you’ve shared about your husband, he sounds awfully kind. That still doesn’t undo the two decades you spent with another man who repeatedly almost took your life with his bare hands. Healing doesn’t happen over night, but it does gradually happen in time.

    This article made me cry. Thank you for sharing this story.


    • Thanks, CHope. My husband is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.

      I can’t imagine the dynamic that creates when it’s your parents who abuse you. You know the saying, you can’t pick your family. There’s an expectation to ‘honor you mother and father’ no matter what. I also understand needing to cut yourself from them. But I’d imagine it’s much harder to do that than it was for me to simply leave my husband. (((hugs)))


  5. Yay! Sorry the past still haunts you (in its off-and-on, where-did-that-come-from? way), but glad the present is so much better.


  6. Tears of “joy” is what I meant to say. 🙂


  7. What a beautiful and moving post. Hats off to Mr. Lanky Brit.


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