Sis responded to an e-mail the other day:
“Put more simply, you are neither the sole reason for her current situation, nor her salvation.”
The line struck me – it of course is reversible in a sense, Carrie could say the same to me. But the more I thought of the line – of the concept – the more it resonated, though the chords kept changing.
Carrie and I have been together as a couple for nigh on twenty years and had a friendship for a number of years before that. We each were in unhappy marriages, each not in the best place in our own lives. Looking back, we were each in our own way looking to find ourselves, who we were, who we wanted to be. And then we found each other, a wonderful thing in many ways. But with the wisdom of hindsight, not so wonderful in other ways.
By finding each other, we found a level of joy – friendship, sex, companionship: the whole package if you would. But once we had found each other we no longer needed to find ourselves. Why search when conjugal bliss reigns. Of course now it is clear to even the most casual reader of these pages that both of us merely put our personal searches on hold and that an underlying truth is that one cannot solely define oneself through the prism of another.
There is another theme which Sis’ comment also touched home with: “not her salvation.” For much of the last year or two Carrie has been taken with the concept that I have been a domineering force, the maker of family decisions, the center of our universe – a mantle I have oft denied. It seems that here there is a truth, though not as stated. Carrie was in a horrible marriage when we first met, her husband a poor provider, their home exceedingly modest. Carrie was the primary breadwinner. Along comes Nate with a chance for her “salvation.” Psychological joy for both of us – the abused child being rescued, an almost fairy tale move to the big house in the nice town and of course for me a chance to be the knight, far from the inner geek that is still, all these years later, lingering.
Looking back one can see the inherent inequality and why it worked. I did not dominate as accused, but psychological inequalities do not need to be effected in order to wreak an underlying damage. Carrie and I spoke of this last night – after twenty years, after countless hours of therapy, after two years of hell, we finally could glimpse this little piece.
But the finding of ourselves – the main event for today: once we found each other the search was over, or so we thought. The tale of the moves, of the search for a shared peace is a post for itself. Suffice for the moment to say that we are about to place our house on the market and Carrie and the kids will hopefully move sixty miles north, another state, another start. There will be a place for me, my weekend country home, a new start with our new definitions.
Looking back over the years I am particularly struck by the issues of my sexuality and wonder how much of my search, my interrupted search, was related to that and how much was the myriad of other issues in any life. Of course in finding Carrie, in her willingness to allow my homo-erotic fantasies to exist, even thrive, it both solved my search, or so it seemed, and did nothing for the search which has since taken on a life of its own.
For me, and as it turned out for Carrie, the last two years have finally been back to those basics, our search for ourselves. And it is that search that has both led us apart and has also kept us, if not as a traditional couple, together. Somehow there is comfort in stepping back and realizing the depth and breadth of it all: I would hate to think that the swath of destruction in my wake was solely for some fleeting carnal pleasure.