I wanted to shout. Instead, I waited. I just wanted to keep my distance, and I guess he wanted the same. I bumped into him once or twice at family events and got occasional updates on his life from relatives.
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One of them showed me a picture of him in Germany, glowering at the camera in his Army uniform with a black beret. I heard that he served in the Ranger regiment of the Special Operations Command and that the Army threw him out, though the circumstances were never clear. He and his wife stayed in Europe for a while, then returned to the United States.
I knew that they lived in Pennsylvania for a couple of years, then moved to South Carolina. My wife was clearly relieved by this.
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She remembered his reputation from high school. Some of her friends still held me responsible for the time he pulled the gun on that kid in my car. She wanted no part of men like that. She hated violence, and she recognized the attendant danger of men who valorized it. In our first months together, I felt her watching for signs of that instinct in me.
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When we bicycled up the East Coast together, we stopped by his house. He was drinking heavily, weaving around with no shirt and the word RAGE tattooed across his stomach in three-inch Gothic letters. Every few minutes, he would emerge from a back room with some new shotgun or rifle or laser-sighted pistol. My wife was repelled. As we continued north, I promised myself not to entangle our lives with his.
By the time we settled in the mountains of Virginia, another year had passed. We had a sense of the life we were making and saw no reason to think it would change. The change was instant. It was obliterating.
Nothing about our lives converted to the mountains. I spent each day at a desk in the spare bedroom, trying to generate writing assignments, while she took on the household responsibilities. We conceived our son a few months later and decided that it would be good for him to have his mother close at hand. I converted my office into a nursery and built a studio on the far side of the property for my work.
I would leave the house after breakfast to spend the day there. If I was running late, I left a plate in the sink, asking my wife to add it to her dishes from lunch. She never objected, and eventually, I stopped asking. By the time I got home in the evening, she had dinner ready. Afterward, she did the dishes while I returned to the studio for another hour or two of work. The conventional roles of breadwinner and homemaker felt alien, yet familiar.
https://ustanovka-kondicionera-deshevo.ru/libraries/2020-04-17/1968.php I began to joke that in our house, it was Our son was not an easy child, and none of us were sleeping. We spent hours rocking him to sleep at night, only to hear him crying as we shut the door. Exhaustion emptied us. It followed anywhere we went. When we drove to town for groceries, my wife sat in the back with our son, and when his cries tapered off, I would see her slump over his seat in spontaneous slumber. Sometimes I fell asleep at stoplights, waking to blaring horns. By the time we got home, hours later, we were too tired to unpack our bags.
We threw them on the counter and began the ordeal of getting the baby to sleep. Later we stood at the stove in silence, choking down forkfuls of pasta directly from the pot. Our isolation made this worse.
Spending all day with just one parent, he grew increasingly dependent. He would cry at the sight of me entering a room, terrified that she might leave.
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I knew it was wrong to be hurt by this. He was an infant and would outgrow it. I knew that, but I ached. I began to dread the walk home at night. I often came in near midnight. I was falling behind at work, my brain lagging from lack of sleep, and I was consumed by the fear of working too slowly to pay our bills. My wife and I began to clash. We had never fought before. We argued over time and money and the best way to care for our son. We argued over what to do when it was 4 a.
I spouted jargon from tough-love parenting manuals that gave me an excuse to stay in bed. When I pulled the blanket over my head to muffle the sound of his crying, my wife would hoist herself upright and return to his room alone. Our life was a vault. Each day, we sank deeper into the roles of housebound mother and work-obsessed father. In a world of our choosing, this division might have seemed indefensible and incoherent. We may have recognized how untenable it was to saddle each other with separate burdens to carry alone — but in the world we knew and had always known, it was easy to accept that division as normal.
It was the same divide we had seen in our parents and grandparents, onscreen and in countless novels, one that echoed in the marriages of most of our friends. We tried to accept the new roles we inhabited, even as we resented them in ourselves and each other. My wife had been working all her life. She began selling daffodil bulbs to her neighbors when she was She worked her way through college and then graduate school.
She built a professional life. She was mortified to depend on my income and determined to manage as much as she could. I would like to say that I offered more support to her than I did. I was drowning in my own frustration at the responsibilities on me. We rarely voiced these frustrations.