“Something’s not right.”
The kids are in bed. Advent is done. The house is a mess–a blessed mess.
Man and wife are exhausted. We’re not connected. We haven’t been. It’s been too long.
The clocks strikes midnight.
It’s all a blur. The words. The actions. The throws. The strike outs.
The missed communication.
The great misunderstanding.
The man lays lifeless on the couch.
I stand at the doorway, the threshold of hope.
This is not about me. This cannot be about me.
“What is it?,” I ask, “What did I do? What can I do?”
Tell me what’s wrong. Tell me what you need.
“You…I just need to know you like me.”
The man whispers, pleads with final breath.
Does he not know? Has he not heard?
I stand firm in the dining room doorway. I scramble for words.
I have an idea.
“Tell you what. Five days. Let’s take five days. I’ll try extra hard to do things that tell you and show you I like you. Then, at the end of each day, you can try extra hard to see that I like you, to write down the ways that I show you. We can work on this together.”
He doesn’t move.
What’s the matter with me? This isn’t working. Nothing is working.
I don’t understand.
Isn’t this what he wanted?
Not right now.
He doesn’t have the strength. He doesn’t have the will. He doesn’t have the heart to work anymore, to try anymore.
He tries again–
“I just need assurance. I just need you to love me.”
I’m standing still in the doorway, staring at the lifeless man.
His words carry me over the threshold.
Why am I still standing in the doorway?
I’m here. He’s there.
Of course. OF COURSE.
I run to hold him, to heal him.
We don’t need to do anything–we’re together now, connected now.
The man is still lifeless, but now he’s not alone, now he’s lifeless next to me.
Now he knows.
The man lays with his wife and now he knows.
Now he knows he can breathe again.