He does not see me. For years I have been unseen. I know this is stereotypical of men vs women.
But he recalls the name of every prostitute he fucked during our marriage.
And every strip club. Likely every stripper.
I think I deserve my life to be equally as remembered. Elsewise, this relationship is a total waste of my life.
This is likely my own fault. My invisible spell works far too well.
He asked about the trees. Which ones I had planted when. Never mind some are obviously larger than others. Never mind one row is healthy and firm and the other young and spindly. Never mind I spoke often of their progress and what went where over the years as i planted and tended them.
My thoughts roiled – He pays so little attention to what I do. I’ve told the story of my little rows of apple and crabapple trees more than once, but as usual, he remembers nothing I say. Can the boy he not see by the sizes? Can the man do more than merely ask what I did? Does the manboy really give a damn which trees I put in when? Did he truly pay so little attention to anything going on around him? Did he not notice these trees for the past 4 years as he passed them coming and going every day? Is he merely attempting to make poor conversation?
That is not the sense, the intuition I get from his seemingly innocent question. He is never innocent. The question feels like a slap, a dig, that he stands there spilling his willful ignorance of the past 6 years of our life right all over me. He seems to be hoping I will hurt. Like he is trying to push my buttons and see if I will flinch. Or get upset. Or rage. Or anything negative he can inspire and feed from. Once he fed from my teat of adoration. Now he feeds from my abject pain. Either emotion will do for a hungry psychic vampire.
He sounds like a child. That website mentions that 3 year old need to be told things a million times. But if I treat like the age he actually behaves, he becomes belligerent and defensive about he’s not a child and doesn’t like being treated like one. And he pouts and sulks while he says it. I do my utmost to respond, not react.
It is sad, how little the past 6 years have touched you.
That is what I chose to say.
Yes, is all he says, and sulks away.
Maybe I could have thought 5 seconds more. Maybe I could have come up with something more clever, or more adult, or more majestic, or more cutting. Maybe I could have chosen a teaching moment and asked him quietly, gently, and without condescending, which trees he thought were older. Maybe I could have begun a discussion.
But that something in his voice that poked, prodded, pushed. I think I did well enough. I did not explode, but neither did I play.
If he had been a child, what might I have said?
Can you describe the trees to me? How do they look different? Which ones do you think are older? Yes, the fuller ones are older. This one, however, just isn’t growing as well. And this one, well, it has been replaced twice, so it looks younger because it is. How about this other row? What do you think? Yes, I think that makes sense, too.
I don’t know how to say those words to an adult. I expect better from a grown man.
If he demands to be treated like a grown man, maybe he should practice how to be one.