Showing Up for Love

It goes against all my sensibilities to be corny and Hallmark and Lifetime movie channel blech. But I’m just going to come out and be slightly mainstream just this once.

Sometimes the heart’s desire is actually just right there in front of you.

This last year has been a whirlwind of all things bizarre and mundane at the same time. Bizarre in that I published a book ( I don’t do that all the time), I gave notice at my job (because 11 years of being taken advantage of and discriminated against is enough right?) and I went head first into various artistic endeavors: doing LTYM another year, writing and producing a play, publishing more work, more readings more singing, everything creative. Children were getting older and snarkier but had moments of great insight and wonder.

And then there was my health and my mothers. She fell down a flight of stairs and has never quite been the same since though much better day by day and my body picked 2014 to be the year it decided to start various changes which made me spend some quality time in two different ERs (still paying for that one…). On top of all this my sister made a brief reappearance in our lives bringing decades worth of strife to confrontation.

Any one of these things would be a tall order but I had them all between last year and now. Oh see? I totally forgot that our former landlady wanted to sell her house so in the midst of all that we moved too. Holy hell. The things we block out of our minds…

Going through all of this with me was Julian. The husband. THE husband. I first met him fourteen years ago and I was attracted to him because he’s my type. Because he’s a survivor and because he’s on the same page as I am about most things that matter. I am by no means the marrying kind and yet here I was marrying this man and having two children and moving to the forest.

I often don’t give him enough credit and he certainly does things to annoy me and at times I’m like, wait, why am I here? And indeed last year we almost broke up. No shit. We were about to throw in the towel even though we’d both promised that even if we hated each other we wouldn’t break up the family and call it quits.

We have all the issues most couples have I assume: roaming eyes, the sexuality of camels (as in camels take a sip of water and just live off that for like…..ever), lack of communication, tiredness, broken down bodies, student loans, living in isolation, dealing with tween children dragging us screaming through their new found puberty.

We went all the way down to the words “I’m fucking leaving you.” I think both of us said a variation on that theme last year. All grass in the drought of our hearts looked exceptionally greener. Being entirely alone was the greenest place of all.

The biggest challenge I think last year was identity. Mine was emerging and lost at the same time. How could I take writing seriously if he was treating it like a hobby? Something that took time away from him like a lover?

And I don’t know what it was that changed our course. Perhaps it was the health issues being taken care of, or the reality of my transition away from teaching coming to fruition–no more what ifs just no paycheck. Maybe it was remembering that I kind of like his touch after all. Or the realization that all men are shitty communicators so as long as I’m on this side of my sexuality every man will fall short there. The bodies are still half broken, the student loans still loom. The children have hair down there and locked doors.

I still spend late nights in my office typing away.I still make sure the fridge is stocked with things I made. I still make sure the house is cleaning. But I’m beginning to realize I wasn’t really showing up for him last year so how could I expect him to just be showing up for me?

Dumb ass me.

I’m trying new things. Like putting the computer away. Like watching him go play darts. Hanging out with him. Kicking the kids out of the bedroom, the house. It all sounds stupid, this showing up for a man one sees everyday and it sounds so traditional that my teeth ache from the sweetness.

I’m still going to be a time hog. I’ll still save hours for me alone, the laptop, my office, books, singing, all that.

This Sunday we are celebrating our Lucky 13th Wedding Anniversary. We’re getting remarried even. I like him again. I love him again.

So there’s that.

About Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and lead playwright of Las Pachucas, theatrical troupe. She teaches creative writing and theatre in a California state prison.
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1 Response to Showing Up for Love

  1. Aw–I love you guys!

    And no it doesn’t seem silly at all. I came to the same realization recently too…. I actually have to show up. To make the effort. To give as much as I want take. And appreciate what I have right in front of me. It’s crazy how low the lows can be, and how incredibly high we can go together too.

    Holy hell, I never realized how FULL ON marriage can be!

    I love how doing the old getting married and raising children is actually the wildest thing we’ve possibly ever done : )

    You’re killing it Margaret.

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