Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sea Level - Act III

Yes, I realize this was advertised as a play in two acts. Think of this as an encore, my twisted response to imagined lighters held aloft and a crowd asking for more. Act III takes place in Carrie and Nate’s home – children watching television and some time alone to talk.

I am empowered by my session with Bob. No grand pronouncements, no sweeping gestures, but positive yardage: just surge into that line. First a few steps backward because I am still confused. Carrie believes I stopped sleeping with men already and now realized she is incorrect. Where did this misunderstanding come from? It seems on vacation this summer I indicated this but really there were two vacations this summer. That first week where Carrie and I found each other, confided all, shared all, and made the most exquisite love. In hindsight, the most exquisite love with a liberal dose of the homo-erotic. Why trust to chance.

Then we crossed the border. I have alluded to it – a late night, much sex, and Carrie suggests we shave. Selfishly I agree and in front of a blazing fire, children asleep, we do the deed. It was exciting, it was invigorating: it was after 3 AM. I was done for the night and at that moment so was the first half of the vacation. So I may have forsworn men that first week, but after the second week, I thought all bets were off. But as usual I digress.

We sit and talk – that comfortable talk that only comes from a life shared together. We are so beyond pretense anymore. I mention the small steps, I mention my taking the first one- doing well – and then we get to our sex life. I have said compromise: she has heard ultimatum. Carrie is plain spoken: if I am giving up men thinking that will jumpstart our sex life, I might as well continue my erstwhile ways. Later that evening it is clear that while she says that she does not really mean it: my sleeping with men will be tolerated but not exactly welcomed.

I have walked into the proverbial buzz saw – No, I have dashed in with a beautiful head first slide. And I realize where Bob was wrong, very wrong. Bob considered the dynamic, the fairness of the compromise. Bob did not consider the external. Carrie is struggling – depression born from a trifecta of abuse, from a childhood that wasn’t. The assumption was that Carrie was denying sex to a husband who was sleeping with other men. The reality is that Carrie is not interested in sex with any members of the gender who have left her landscape ravaged.

It gets back to the heart of things – our marital and sexual issues did not occur in a vacuum. Carrie’s depression and my fleeing (into the arms of men), were almost predetermined. So I can start the compromise – it strikes me as the right thing to do. Yet something sits poorly. Will my step help us find the road back in a month or two, or in a year or two? It should not matter – one’s support for a spouse, a struggling spouse, should not be determined by the projected length of an illness. Yet I know my answer would be different for a month than for two years (yes, I realize I have chosen the extremes to make the point).

So as warned, the curtain drops but there is no resolution, no defining moment. Just life and ultimately life is always good: even when it does not feel that way.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I guess I’m not a patient theatre go-er. Mamma Mia! and others of its genre are seemingly produced just for me. Everyone leaves happy with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. But a drama without closure? Without promise of resolution? I feel your pain; there is empathy. But I’m left lost in the woods.

I want the epilogue. Or at least the reunion show. Intellectually, I know it may never come. Emotionally, I need closure. Am I too far into this?

I’ll consider it a page-turner.